Fernando Alonso was pleased with his qualifying effort, despite having no answer for the pace of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
The Spaniard will start third on the grid for tomorrow’s race – the only man other than the Red Bull duo to break into the one minute- nineteen second bracket.
Although the Spaniard was surprised by the pace of the RB6, he believes that this can not deter the team from aiming to claw back points in the championship race.
Team-mate Felipe Massa will line up alongside Alonso in fourth – albeit on the dirty side of the track.
Fernando Alonso – 3rd: “I am pleased with my qualifying lap and with the performance of our car, as I don’t think I could have done better today. The Red Bulls proved to be very strong and the gap to them is certainly a surprise. Having said that, we have to remain focussed on our work and try to do the maximum, aiming at getting on the podium. We must bear in mind that the leaders in both championships are behind us on the grid and our aim is to make up ground on their points total. The start will be very important. Usually at this track, starting on the clean side brings a clear advantage, but this year we have seen good starts from the dirty side and bad ones from the clean: it will be vital to do everything as well as possible and then we will see where we are at the end of the first lap. At that point we can also decide whether to have an attacking race or to manage the situation. The circuit is very demanding for cars and drivers and you must not lose concentration for a moment.”
Felipe Massa – 4th: “When you are gapped by over a second in qualifying, there is always something to think about: the way in which they make their tyres work on the first lap is especially incredible and their aerodynamics help them so much in some corners, especially in changes of direction. In the race, the situation can be different, but clearly we cannot claim that we will be quicker on track. However, overall, we have to be pleased with this result because, all the same, we are ahead of everyone else. I did not produce a perfect lap: with these tyres you have to drive extremely precisely because you can easily run the risk of going off the ideal line. The start will be very important and, unfortunately, I am on the dirty side of the grid: let’s see what we can do. The race will be very long and as always, anything can happen. What did I feel today, thinking of events one year ago? During qualifying, I did not think about it for a moment, as I had too much to do in the car, but now, I can tell you it’s a nice feeling being here having completed qualifying! Today, Professor Robert Veres was in our garage, one of the doctors who looked after me when I was in the AEK hospital and I was very pleased to have him here with me.”
Stefano Domenicali: “First of all, we wish to offer our respects, along with all Italian sport, for the recent death of two Italian soldiers in Afghanistan, where they were part of a peace-keeping mission, representing our country abroad with honour. We are pleased with this result because it is the most we could reasonably have expected from this qualifying session. Certainly the gap to the top is very significant and it’s incredible to see how the picture can change in the space of one week: from a gap of two thousandths, we have gone to 1″2 seconds on the same tyres and with almost identical cars to those raced in Germany. Probably, we were not that close in Hockenheim and we are not that far off here: as they said in Ancient Rome, ‘in medio stat virtus.’ I wish to congratulate both our drivers who got the very most out of the car’s potential. Now we must concentrate on the race which will be very long and tough, both in terms of reliability and for the drivers: here the slightest mistake carries a high price. Our aim is to try and make up as much ground as possible in both championships.”
Chris Dyer: “A good job from both our drivers who today were able to extract all the potential available to them from the car. Honestly, I do not think we could have aspired to a better result: we definitely did not have the speed to fight for the front row, however, we managed reasonably comfortably to lock out the second one. Given the situation on the grid, I am almost very slightly disappointed that one of our rivals did not manage to go quicker than Felipe, so that he could start from the clean side! We will try and get a good start and to get amongst the cars starting ahead of us: if we manage it, the race could turn out to be interesting.”