SILVERSTONE, 5th July 2014 (F1 Plus / Graham Keilloh) - Fernando Alonso reflected on a tough qualifying session for Ferrari at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix, which resulted in him having to start the race tomorrow from way back in P19, and his team mate Kimi Raikkonen one place further back, by noting that luck plays a huge part in such sessions, but that Ferrari also needs to review its own approach.
Ferrari one way or another got it wrong in a session beset by ever-changing weather conditions, with both red cars dropping out in Q1, beaten by several cars who improved their marks late in that first part with laps on slick tyres, laps that the Ferraris couldn’t beat subsequently thanks to more rain when they tried slicks for themselves.
‘Definitely we did something wrong compared with the other teams because both are cars out of Q1 like this. At the wrong moment with the wrong tyre, that’s definitely something that we need to look at.' Alonso said.
'It’s true that we haven’t (done well qualifying in these conditions) some other times, we (were) saved many times by luck. I remember being on pole position in 2012 here and in Q2 I pass (the finishing line) ten seconds before the chequered flag and then had to do a lap in very wet conditions. So that’s something we need to look at; something to improve.’
But Alonso reminded us of the role that fortune plays in such wet-to-dry qualifying sessions: ‘At the same time it’s a very narrow line. When everyone put (on) the dry tyres there was a spot of rain that passed over our lap (if that) comes two minutes earlier that no one can predict then those people would be in the wall now. They would crash, we’d be in Q2 and the people will say “why did you put the dry tyres on when the track is still wet?” And now it’s easy to say “why did you not put the dry tyres on?” in our case.’
‘There’s a narrow line between being a hero and making a big mistake.’
Alonso also suggested that the bigger teams need to try to quicken their decision-making in such sessions, in order to contend with the more light-on-their-feet smaller outfits who frequently achieve giant-killing results on days like today.
‘I think the bigger teams they have longer procedures than smaller teams so we need to speed up some of the communications and some of the things that we do’.
But Alonso noted too that the smaller teams benefit also from having little to lose from rolling the dice: ‘I think the small teams, they are position 22, 23 every single qualifying, so when there is mixed conditions they put on the dry tyres, if they **** up they will be P23 if they are right they will be P4. So that’s a lot easier than (for) the top teams.
‘But I definitely agree that there were some cars on dry tyres today a couple of minutes before us doing green sectors and we were in the garage, so that’s something we need to improve for next time.’
Alonso ironically also hopes for more variable weather tomorrow: ‘Mixed conditions will help. If it’s multiple pit stop race with many changes, dry and wet, that will help because in one lap you can gain 30 seconds if you’re on the right tyre in that moment. A chaotic race will be better because when you start 19th there is nothing to lose, so we’ll see which type of race we have.
‘The car performed OK in dry conditions yesterday and I think the car could be also OK in the wet, the first lap we did in wet conditions we were P5. Anything that happens tomorrow is only positive news. We need to attack.’
He also believes he should be able to make race-day progress, but cautioned about the Ferrari’s relative lack of straightline speed: ‘It’s a circuit that if you have the pace you can overtake as here there are some corners where you could gain a lot of time and take the slipstream for the next straight.'
'Our biggest problem this year to overtake is our lack of (straightline) speed, we are not too high on power, so sometimes we’re stuck in the races. In Canada I remember we had newer tyres in the last stint but we arrived to a group of cars and we stayed behind them’.
Alonso also admitted that his championship hopes for 2014 are gone: ‘If anyone apart from Rosberg and Hamilton tells you they believe in being world champion this year they will lie. And I don’t like to lie’.