SINGAPORE, September 21st, 2013 (F1Plus / Jacob Polychronis) - For just the fifth time this year Felipe Massa has out-qualified team-mate Fernando Alonso, placing sixth during the Saturday night session in Singapore.
Alonso clocked a time of 1:43.938, 0.048 seconds shy of Massa. The result came as a surprise to most, excluding Alonso, who sang the Brazilians praises after qualifying.
“I’m not really (surprised to be behind Felipe). He was on pole position in 2008 and he’s always fast here; he knows the circuit. I think he was struggling a little bit in practice with confidence but he has been getting better and better.”
New aero showing minimal effect
Nonetheless, neither Ferrari driver has reason to celebrate as their aerodynamic upgrades appear to have only had a marginal benefit to performance.
“We tried to bring in new parts to this race. They work in a way, unfortunately maybe not enough," said Alonso.
Regardless of the lacklustre performance, Alonso remained pleased with the work the factory has completed in Maranello.
“I think we are happy with the work the factory has done. We are not in the position we wanted in terms of performance but that is not because they didn’t try. They work day and night to bring new parts to the races.”
Alonso remained disappointed however, with his gap to the front-runners. Sebastian Vettel, who claimed pole position, was 1.097 faster than the Spaniard.
“The gap is very big, no doubt” said Alonso. “I think we need to be realistic and not be happy at all with the performance we did here.
"On Sunday is when you get the points so Saturday is still not the priority.”
Alonso happy at Ferrari
Alonso’s future, which has been heavily speculated over this weekend, was again called into question by the media. Alonso made his position clear:
“I think for four races now I’ve said I want to stay at Ferrari and I would like to end my career here and maybe extend my contract.”