German Grand Prix Qualifying – Ferrari
German GP – A result that matched expectations
Nuerburgring, 23 July – Fourth and fifth places for the two 150º Italias in qualifying for the German GP. Fernando Alonso was fourth fastest with a time of 1.30.442, which puts him behind pole man Webber, Hamilton and Vettel. Felipe Massa is right behind his team-mate in fifth place in 1.30.910.
It was a good qualifying which reflects the pecking order in the pack. Rain could play its part tomorrow, a factor which could make this German race even more uncertain and interesting.
German GP – Rain and rubber could hold the key
Nurburg, 23 July – Fernando Alonso and Pat Fry claimed there were no surprises at the end of this afternoon’s qualifying session for the German Grand Prix, in which the Spaniard claimed a spot on the outside of Row 2 of the grid, in fourth place with Felipe Massa taking the other 150º Italia to the inside of Row 3 in fifth. However, one major surprise came courtesy of Sebastian Vettel who, for the first time this season will not start a Grand Prix from the front row. It was the reigning world champion’s team-mate, Mark Webber who delivered another pole for Red Bull, while Lewis Hamilton put in a strong lap in the McLaren to guarantee himself an uninterrupted view of the run down to the first corner tomorrow. Felipe shares his row with Nico Rosberg who set the sixth best time for Mercedes. The order at the top shows that nothing stays the same for very long in Formula 1 and a combination of yet another regulation change regarding engine mapping and the fact that teams do not always introduce major changes at the same time means the hierarchical map is in a constant state of flux, even if one team still seems to be at the top of the pile.
It makes predicting the likely outcome of tomorrow’s tenth round of the championship almost as difficult as it was back in March in Australia. Every race this year has had some of the uncertainty of going to a new track because of the tactical trio of new elements, DRS, KERS and Pirelli tyres. How easy will it be to pass another car in the DRS zone is one question mark, while the fact that the Prime tyre is working very well over a long distance means that a one-stop strategy might finally be the top choice tomorrow. However, that is not entirely clear, while the biggest unknown concerns the weather. Summer has definitely not made any attempt to attend this race meeting and tomorrow, rain is reckoned to be on the menu. Starting from fourth and fifth, a podium has to be the minimum target for Scuderia Ferrari, but the cliché that “anything can happen” looks like being the order of the day tomorrow.
German GP – No surprises at the Nurburgring
Fourth and fifth places for the two 150º Italias in qualifying for the German Grand Prix, with Fernando Alonso setting the fourth fastest time and Felipe Massa the fifth. In Q1, Fernando used just one set of Prime tyres, while Felipe also had to use a first set of Options. The Brazilian made up for that handicap by using the same set of tyres to set his best time in Q2, which meant both drivers found themselves with two sets of new Options for Q3.
Stefano Domenicali: “First of all, on behalf of Scuderia Ferrari may I offer our condolences for the victims of the tragic incident in Norway yesterday. Seeing once again the extent to which human folly can drive people is always shocking and makes everything else seem unimportant today. All in all, I think the result matched our expectations. There is still a gap to the quickest, but it is definitely smaller than it had been a few races ago, which confirms we are working in the right direction. It might rain tomorrow, which would add further uncertainty to a race that already looks very open.”
Fernando Alonso: “We are neither surprised nor disappointed, quite the contrary in fact. This grid is more or less what we could have expected, from what we had seen in free practice yesterday. We though the Red Bulls would be three or four tenths faster than us and that was the case and then even Hamilton went very well, especially in the first sector and got in between us. In fact, McLaren had so many new parts here and you could see they were working well. I am happy with my lap and with the result and anyway, this year we have seen that we have always gone better in the race than in qualifying. Let’s see what the weather will do tomorrow, as rain is forecast. If it turned out to be dry, then we can claim to have a 25% chance of winning and a bit less if it rains, but only because so far, in the wet others have been better than us. Maybe tomorrow the situation could turn around, you never know. I am still aiming for the podium, but if the chance of a win comes along I won’t need to be asked twice. Also at this track, we have seen the updates we have introduced helping to improve our performance, race after race. Clearly, we must take a further step forward if we want to be up there with the best.”
Felipe Massa: “I can’t claim to be completely happy with this qualifying, because some cars were faster than ours. That might not be surprising in the case of the Red Bulls, but it definitely is the case with Hamilton’s McLaren. Tomorrow, we will aim to make our usual step forward in the race, but we know it won’t be easy. Sure, if it had been ten degrees warmer, I would not have complained! Especially with the Medium tyre, we struggled a bit and that’s why I used my first set of Softs right from Q1. At this track, tyre wear is very low, therefore it was not much of a penalty, not even in terms of the race. The big unknown for the race will be the weather: we have the maximum aerodynamic downforce possible, which should be a help if it does rain. In any case, in the wet it will be vital to make the most of any opportunities that come our way.”
Pat Fry: “No surprises at the end of the day. We knew the Red Bulls would be quicker and clearly McLaren, at least with Lewis, has made a significant step forward compared to Silverstone, be it because of a return to the Valencia situation in terms of engine mapping, or because of the updates introduced here. For our part, we are where we expected to be: the gap to quickest is more or less the same as in Valencia on a different track with different temperatures. If we had been given the choice, we would definitely have raised the temperature by ten degrees or so, but that’s not within our capabilities…Just as it won’t be possible for us to control the weather tomorrow, which looks like being very unsettled. Rain is predicted, but it’s not clear at the moment how heavy it will be or when it will fall. That means we need to be ready to manage every eventuality in the best way possible. However, if it does not rain, from a strategy point of view, one has to consider there is a big performance difference between the two types of tyre: therefore, even if wear is much lower, it’s not a given that it might not be a good plan to do one more stop and reduce the number of laps on the Prime to a minimum.”
Q1 FM 1st 1:31.826 9 FA 7th 1:32.916 6
Q2 FA 3rd 1:31.150 4 FM 7th 1:31.582 4
Q3 FA 4th 1:30.442 6 FM 5th 1:30.910 6
Weather: air 16/15 °C, track 21/29 °C; cloudy. Chassis: Alonso 290, Massa 288