Team and drivers report from qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix, Round 4 of the 2013 Formula 1 world championship, at Sakhir.
Fernando Alonso: “It’s really good news that once again we managed to do well in qualifying, which is our Achilles Heel! This is now the third time this year that we end up in the top three and, even if usually Sunday goes better thanks to our race pace, I am really pleased to see our potential already maximized on Saturday. The data seen from Friday’s long runs means we can be optimistic about a race in which our main adversaries are represented by Vettel and the Red Bull in front and the Lotuses which might be behind us on the grid, but they will definitely be in the game. Because of the penalties for Hamilton and Webber, Felipe will start from fourth: I think it’s much better that I find myself alongside my team-mate’s Ferrari than Lewis’ Mercedes! We won’t discover which is the best strategy until tomorrow and it’s impossible to make predictions. But I think the best tyre for the race will be the hard and that could work in our favour, given it’s the one we have been most comfortable on all weekend”.
Felipe Massa: “I am very pleased with the outcome of this qualifying, because in the end, the decision to take a risk in Q3, going in a different direction to the one we had originally planned, turned out to be the best one. On the Medium compound, I didn’t feel able to fight for the top places, the car had little grip and suffered a lot at the back. Even with the Hard tyres, the chances of ending up further down the order was extremely high, but I still opted to stay with the tyres I felt most comfortable on. The penalties for two of the drivers ahead of me – Webber and Hamilton – mean I now move up the grid to fourth place, a point from where I can race with the leaders. Starting on the Medium will definitely be an advantage, but to have a good race it will be vital to find the best strategy and ensure everything runs perfectly”.
Pat Fry: “It was reasonably straightforward to interpret this qualifying session and the good start positions we now have mean we are optimistic for tomorrow’s race and they also reward the entire team for all their efforts in improving our performance during qualifying. Of the updates brought here to Bahrain, we have decided to use only the most significant ones, while we will introduce the others in the upcoming races. We are not yet where we want to be, but the gaps seen today tell us that our work is going in the right direction and we must continue like this. Tomorrow, for the third consecutive time, Fernando will start from third place, which is on the clean side of the track here and we hope that could be an advantage at the start. Felipe’s fourth place is a great basis from which to build a race that he will run on a different strategy to his team-mate, having opted to use the Hard tyres in Q3. Once again, we can expect a Sunday on which drivers will have to pay close attention to tyre degradation, while the pit wall will have to make the right calls”.