Qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix was a mixed day for Ferrari.
Fernando Alonso was satisfied with fifth on the grid, especially given Ferrari’s struggle at the two preceeding rounds: “This fifth place is good news after a couple of difficult weekends in Silverstone and the Nurburgring and especially after seeing things improve compared to yesterday, when our race pace left us with even more doubts.”
He put the overnight improvement down to a tweak in set-up and aerodynamics made yesterday: “Today, we were more competitive thanks to a change of set-up and some modifications on the aero side, done more with the aim of getting consistency rather than pure performance. Traction and turn-in have improved and now we must look carefully at the start to try to make up a few places then and, on this front, the extra grip from being on the clean side should help.
He also said that he will be targeting a podium finish, although it’ll be hard to overtake on such a narrow, windy track: “Here, it is hard to overtake in the race and so it’s even more important to try to make up ground immediately, particularly if we want to prevent Vettel from increasing his lead. The strategy will be very open, the tyres are new for everyone and the high track temperature means we need to think of a strategy that can be modified at any moment. The podium is always our target and I feel we can fight for it, even though we know it won’t be easy with such strong competition ahead of us”.
Meanwhile, team-mate Felipe Massa finished seventh but admitted that this did not live up to his expectations pre-Qualifying – despite the Brazilian’s more than disappointing performances at the Canadian, British and German rounds.
“Today’s qualifying was extremely complicated and the result does not live up to our expectations” Massa said. “Both myself and Fernando pushed to the maximum without making mistakes, but we were not able to fight for the front positions and got the maximum we could.
We are well aware of the fact that Saturday is still our weak point and for that reason, we must stay focused on a race that will not be easy, because the high temperatures will impact on tyre behaviour, on the car and on us drivers. Overtaking is almost impossible here, unless the car ahead of you makes a mistake, but I hope I have a good enough race pace to make up some places and bring home the important points that we need.”