Spanish Grand Prix Qualifying – Ferrari
Spanish GP – A step forward
Montmelò, 21 May – Best qualifying of the year for Fernando Alonso, who secured fourth place on the grid for the Spanish GP.
Today’s performance therefore put an end to the Spaniard’s subscription to the fifth place on the grid: tomorrow he starts one place further up the order. As for Felipe Massa, he starts from row four, having set the eighth fastest time.
Spanish GP – One Spanish step forward
Montmelo, Barcelona, 21 May – Both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa believe that the updates introduced on the 150º Italia have delivered a small performance improvement. However, the fact that our Spanish driver finally managed to unlock the wheel-clamp that seemed to have left him permanently parked on the fifth place of the grid so far this season, had more to do with his own skills than the car. Even the man himself said he could not put into words the feeling he experienced on the perfect lap that secures him his best grid placing of the year, as he starts on the outside of row 2 in fourth spot. Team-mate Felipe Massa had a more difficult time, having struggled all weekend long when it comes to getting the balance right on his car and he set the eighth fastest time this afternoon.
So, was the intense development programme undertaken in Maranello for these past few weeks only worth one grid position? To put it in perspective, one has to remember that in Formula 1, just standing still sees your performance slide backwards, so although the Prancing Horse is galloping more vigorously than before, the other teams are also working on improvements.
Last year, the Red Bulls were completely dominant in Barcelona and that situation seems to be repeating itself, as 2010 winner Mark Webber took pole position ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel. Fernando, whose good qualifying performance should ensure even more Ferrari flags in the grandstands tomorrow, finds himself on the outside of third placed Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren. The third row sees Jenson Button fifth in the other McLaren ahead of Vitaly Petrov’s Renault and Felipe shares row four with Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes.
In all honesty, past Grands Prix at this track have occasionally been a bit dull and processional, because of the nature of the track and the difficulty in overtaking. However, the new rules have turned the old order on its head and, even if it might not reach the levels of Istanbul a fortnight ago, we can expect plenty of passing moves on Sunday afternoon. Much of that will be down to tyre degradation which will be significant, while the actual performance difference between the hard and soft Pirellis means that timing the very best lap on which to make the pit stop – three per driver is the most likely scenario – could make a difference of several places on the final result sheet. Starting from fourth, Fernando has to be aiming for another podium, while Felipe will be hoping for a strong points finish.