Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa are not at all happy with their qualifying performance on Saturday afternoon, when they only managed to finish 11th and 13th respectively.
In what became a very close fight for pole, all three qualifying sessions threw up different pole leaders and no certain winner was i sight until the very last minute, when Sebastian Vettel smoked the opposition by clearing more than three tenths off the pace and qualify for his third pole in Valencia.
Speaking about their qualifying session, Alonso and Massa were clearly disappointed, especially, as both drivers feel that the progress made with the car has been positive and it also felt better to drive.
“When you don’t qualify for Q3, it’s obviously very sad and there’s no point hiding the fact,” said Alonso.
“This result is a cold shower, because our expectations were high and the car’s potential has also increased, to the extent that in Q2, we were only three tenths off the best. It’s easy to say now that with two runs on Softs in Q2 we would have made the cut, but maybe now we would be here lamenting the fact that we did not have two for Q3: it’s always easy to judge things after the fact. However, we were not quick enough to be in the top ten in the second part of qualifying and now the race will naturally be tougher.
“The podium is out of reach and clearly, with Hamilton on the front row, it’s easy to expect that we will lose ground to him. However, the race will be very long and will be run in even higher temperatures than today’s, which means everyone will have to be very careful when it comes to tyre management. Let’s hope that, starting from the clean side of the track I can quickly make up a few places and then we will try to also make the most of the two sets of new Softs we have left: that’s at least a small consolation after this far from positive afternoon.”
Team mate Felipe Massa, who has been under fire all through 2011 and 2012 so far for his performance, agreed that the cars are capable of much more, and that the qualifying results does not give a clear picture of the potential possible.
“It’s really frustrating ending up outside Q3 by less than a tenth,” said Massa.
“It was a very close qualifying, with so many drivers very near to one another in performance terms: in Q2, we were three tenths off the fastest time and we were eliminated…A shame because the feeling from the car was very good and I always felt comfortable and capable of fighting with the best. The position does not tell the truth: today we were worth a place in the top three rows. With hindsight, it’s easy to say that if we had used two sets of Soft in Q2, we could have made the cut, but we wanted to be in the best possible shape for Q3 and Q1 had shown that we were even quick on the Medium tyre.
“Tomorrow, strategy will play a very important role and we have seen on several occasions – Canada being the last one – how even those who start from the back have a chance of fighting for the top places. Obviously, we are not happy today, but we know we have a good car and we still have every chance of securing a good result.”