April 13th, 2013 (F1plus).- So far, it has been a good weekend for Ferrari even though none of their drivers will start from the first row, having both, Alonso and Massa made it within the top five. It's a good sign that things are going well.
After this performance display the team seems to be in good spirits, a feeling that the Spaniard does not hide, even though, as usual, his cautious thinking is always present.
Part of that relies on the fact that uncertainty is the norm these days. Tyre management once again pivotal in strategy, will determined the outcome, especially in the first stages of the race when a mix of soft and medium compounds are spread across the top ten cars, which will might generate a disparate range of performances.
"To end qualifying with both cars in the top five is a result that fills me with hope for the race. The F138 has been competitive all weekend and that means we have made a step forward, which is down to the work of the team.
"Some of the updates we had here worked as we had expected, but others need further work. In terms of establishing what will be the best strategy, we will be in for a long night and that will be the case for everyone, given that almost all our main competitors will start on the Softs.
“I’m not concerned about Red Bull’s choice and Mercedes usually has a higher degradation than ours. I’m definitely expecting an interesting race in which the biggest threat could come from Raikkonen as the Lotus has shown it manages its tyres well”. Said Alonso.
The Brazilian keeps his upward trend, although this time around it was his teammate who had the upper hand in qualifying. Massa had outqualified Alonso in fourth straight races, and even if he could not kept that tendency he will start from a good fifth just two spots below his Ferrari fellow.
“It was a good qualifying, with the car working well and being quick. To be honest, after my performance in the second and third free practice sessions, I expected to start in the top three, but it’s very likely that our competitors were running with more fuel and it’s also true that strategy counts a lot more than one or two places on the grid.
“Today’s qualifying featured different choices: we preferred to use the Soft tyre right from the first run in Q1, because it looked complicated getting through to the next part with the Medium. That has allowed us to save them for tomorrow in a race that looks like being very closely contested and where as many as three stops might be necessary.
“Today, our main competitors probably did better than us, but the race is long and anything can happen. Tyre management and tactical choices will definitely be the key factors”. Said Massa.
Again, even Pat Fry showed positive thinking ahead of tomorrow's race.
I am extremely pleased with the performance of Fernando and Felipe and I am also optimistic for tomorrow, even if I expect a difficult race in which strategy and tyre performance could play an even more important role than ever”. Said Fry.