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Formula 1: Alonso Takes 7th Place For Japanese GP, Massa 11th

Qualifying session
Q1 ALO 5th 1.32.459 8 MAS 10th 1.32.946 6
Q2 ALO 4th 1.31.833 6 MAS 11th 1.32.293 6
Q3 ALO 7th 1.32.114 3

Weather: air 27 °C, track 38/37 °C. Cloudy. Chassis: Alonso 295, Massa 294

A yellow flag sealed Fernando Alonso’s fate in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix. When the Spaniard was putting his all into the last flying lap in Q3, the yellow flags came out, after Kimi Raikkonen went off at Turn 14, which meant Fernando had to slow and was therefore unable to do better than seventh place, having also run into traffic going into the last chicane. Felipe did not have much luck in qualifying either: his best time in Q2 was just 21 thousandths slower than that of the tenth and last placed driver. Tomorrow, the two F2012s will line up on the third and fifth rows of the grid, both men benefiting from penalties for the two drivers who finished ahead of the Ferraris this afternoon.

Stefano Domenicali: “We definitely couldn’t say the Gods were smiling on us today! Yellow flags meant that Fernando was unable to secure a place on the front two rows: it’s all part of the game, but that doesn’t lessen the disappointment, at least in the heat of the moment. It’s regrettable because neither of our two grid positions reflect our potential. Felipe could also have secured a good result: we have to understand what happened on his second run in Q2, because it’s strange not to improve on a lap time set with old tyres when new ones of the same type have been fitted. Clearly the way we approach the race changes completely after this afternoon: we will try and score as many points as possible in a race that will be very tough and tricky, especially in terms of tyre wear. As usual, the number one priority will be reliability, because without that,
you’re not going anywhere.”

Fernando Alonso: “What can I say, other than get angry about being unlucky? The yellow flags came at the worst possible moment, when I was coming into Turn 14. Up ‘til then, my lap was great and there was every chance of setting the fourth fastest time of the day, which would have then seen me start from third on the grid. From there, the race could have taken on a completely different picture, but we have to accept what happened. We were unlucky today, so maybe we’ll be lucky tomorrow! We are up against some very strong opponents, like Red Bull who are in front and there is also McLaren who are behind, so we will have to keep an eye on both sides of the track. I’m expecting a difficult Sunday: the main aim will be to finish – reliability is crucial- and bring home a good points haul. We changed a few things on the car compared to yesterday, but after FP3 we went back on our settings as we were not convinced about the changes. I am honestly more optimistic for tomorrow than I was for today, given that our race pace is usually better than our performance over a flying lap: let’s hope that really turns out to be the case.”

Felipe Massa: “I am very disappointed with the way this qualifying went. Up until the second run in Q2, everything was going well: the car felt very quick and I was happy with its balance. But suddenly, once we fitted a new set of Softs, I lost grip at the front, right from the first corner and it never returned throughout the lap. To miss out on Q3 by just 21 thousandths is a further blow. It’s very frustrating not being able to get the right results when you know you can count on a good car. It definitely won’t be easy making up places on a track like this, but we will give it our all and try and bring home plenty of points.”

Pat Fry: “It’s been one of those days where it seems everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Felipe was fast all day, but at the moment when he should have made the most of his second set of Soft tyres, he was unable to exploit all their potential: we now need to understand why this set of tyres did not live up to expectations. In Q3, we were hit by the yellow flag, which deprived Fernando of the chance of at least setting the fourth fastest time, a result that was within his grasp. Clearly, starting from these positions on the grid, we can expect a very difficult race, also when one takes into account that our closest competitor in the championship is on pole. We worked a lot over the past two days to find the right car configuration and it seems we have found a good compromise: it’s just a shame we were not able to demonstrate that fully when it came to the lap times. Putting this disappointment behind us, now we are concentrating on race preparation, always keeping in mind that the points are only given out tomorrow afternoon…”

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Posted by on October 6, 2012. Filed under Formula 1. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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