Team and drivers report from qualifying day at the Korean Grand Prix, Round 14 of the 2013 Formula 1 World Championship.
Fernando Alonso: “I am not surprised at the outcome of this qualifying session, because in terms of pure performance, Saturday is always difficult for us and will continue to be so until the end of the season. Usually, on Sunday, things go better and our aim is always to get to the podium, as has happened in recent races. This weekend seems harder than usual, because while up until now we have always had a good race pace, both yesterday and today we suffered on the long runs and that means we must absolutely improve for tomorrow. We have a few problems with the tyres which we are unable to manage as well as the others: there’s a lot of graining and if you push very hard in the first sector you almost risk being unable to finish the lap. We will have to find the right compromise to get them to survive the number of laps proposed by our engineers, because the ideal strategy is still a two stop. Given how we look in the dry, the rain could mix things up and in fact we have nothing to lose and even if there will be little time to adapt to it, we must be ready for this eventuality”.
Felipe Massa: “I can’t be happy with the result of qualifying, as I expected to be closer to our rivals than in Singapore. But that wasn’t the case, because here too, both Red Bull and Mercedes had a much faster pace and we didn’t manage to get everything out of our car. Tomorrow I hope to be more competitive, even if it won’t be an easy race. The degradation on the Supersofts on our car is rather high, while other cars are suffering less, and based on how the first stint goes, we will decide if we should switch to the Mediums, which at the moment seems like the best choice. Apart from Red Bull, Mercedes and one Lotus ahead of us, we will have to be very careful about other cars that are also very close and it will be important to get a very good start, trying to push to the maximum to bring home a reasonable points haul. It would definitely require a lot of luck to make it to the podium.”
Pat Fry: “Today’s result reflects more or less what we had expected from before, even if we can’t claim to be happy about being unable to fight for the front rows. We are aware of what is our potential but again today, we tried to extract the maximum from the package we have available, trying to adapt the car to the track characteristics and as a function of the performance of the two types of tyre. In the first sector, we have always been competitive, but from halfway through the second one to the end of the third we have suffered, especially on the Supersoft. It wasn’t easy finding the right balance which would allow us to push to the maximum without accentuating the tyre wear, which is inevitable when you don’t have a high level of aerodynamic downforce. For tomorrow, we will have to try and manage the tyre degradation as well as possible over a long distance, especially in the first stint. Reliability and the uncertainty over the weather will be two key factors”.
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