Montmelo, 11 May – Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were fifth and sixth respectively at the end of a very closely contested qualifying session. In the final Q3 section, both Scuderia Ferrari drivers took to the track for two runs on the Medium tyre. Alonso crossed the line a few seconds ahead of Massa, beating the Brazilian’s time by just one thousandth of a second.
In Q1, Fernando and Felipe were fifth and seventh, doing just one run on the Hard compound. In Q2, they used the Medium and both drivers needed only a second attempt to ensure a place in the top ten shoot-out, with the Spaniard in third and the Brazilian eighth,
Pole position went to Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes with a lap in 1.20.718. The conditions were stable throughout, with clear skies, 21 degrees ambient temperature while the track got up to 35.
Spanish GP – A result matching expectations
Stefano Domenicali: “First of all, I want to wish the best of luck to Pat Fry, our Technical Director who will be undergoing an appendectomy this afternoon and we wish him all the best for a rapid recovery. As for qualifying, we knew we couldn’t be in the hunt for the very front: we definitely cannot be satisfied with the result, but the third row is still a good starting point on which to build in tomorrow’s race. It was not a surprise to see the two Mercedes being so quick, as it was also the case in winter testing at this track. Looking ahead to Sunday, we are reasonably sure we can count on the potential we have seen so far and as usual, the start will be very important to try and make up a few places. Tyre degradation will still be a key factor and so we must stay focused and make the most of any opportunity.”
Fernando Alonso: “It’s a well known fact that Saturday afternoon is our weak point and fifth place is more or less what we were expecting. We were well aware that Red Bull and Mercedes would both be very strong, but while it’s true we have to start taking back points on Vettel, we are not too scared of Mercedes, who usually have higher tyre degradation. The team and I are optimistic for tomorrow as our race pace is good and usually we manage to go better on Sunday. We start from the clean side and hope that will allow us to get off the line well, because what we need here is to make up some places at the start and then put in a few clean laps in the early stages or at half distance. We will also have to defend against Raikkonen: so far he has gone very well in the races and the Lotus doesn’t seem to suffer too much on the tyre front. As usual this season it will be very important to choose the right strategy, because there is only one lap difference in terms of degradation between the two tyre compounds”.
Felipe Massa: “I can’t say I’m pleased with this result, because I was expecting more after the times I did this morning. Unfortunately, in the third sector I had slight understeer which was costing me time, but all the same, I feel very confident because our car seems competitive. Now we must concentrate on tomorrow’s race, because it will be a long one and anything can happen. As for the Stewards’ decision relating to what happened with Webber in Q2, it was not my intention to get in his way and in all honesty, I can’t recall having affected his qualifying. When I saw him in the mirrors, I thought I’d get through the corner before letting him by, which was the only course of action at such a narrow point. On top of that, he was on worn tyres at the time and I don’t think he was doing a quick lap. I’m not surprised at the pace of the Mercedes, as they were already strong here in winter testing and their car is always very competitive in qualifying. This result shows once again that, on Saturdays, our rivals prefer to take a more conservative approach in the morning before revealing their true potential in the afternoon”.
|ALONSO – Chassis 299||MASSA – Chassis 300|
|Q1||P5||1:22.264||New Hard – 3 laps||P7||1:22.492||New Hard – 3 laps|
|Q2||P3||1:21.646||New Medium – 3 laps||P8||1:21.978||New Medium – 3 laps|
|Q3||P5||1:21.218||New Medium – 3 lapsNew Medium – 3 laps||P6||1:21.219||New Medium – 3 lapsNew Medium – 3 laps|
|Weather: air 22°C, track 35/38 °C. Sunny|
Spanish GP – Massa on top for Ferrari in final free practice
Montmelo (Barcelona,) 11 May – Felipe Massa was fastest in the third and final free practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix at the Catalunya circuit. During the last sixty minutes of track time prior to qualifying, the Brazilian took his F138 round in 1.21.907, to beat Kimi Raikkonen by just six thousandths, the Finn doing a 1.21.907 in his Lotus. Third was Mark Webber (1.22.044) in the Red Bull. In the other Ferrari, Fernando Alonso was sixth in 1.22.254 in a session when the Scuderia concentrated on finding the best aerodynamic set-up and on a further comparison of the two Pirelli compounds. Alonso did two runs on the Medium after first going out on the Hard, while Massa also started on Hard and ended up on the Medium.