Ferrari: Mixed fortunes for our team

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen

Mixed fortunes for Scuderia Ferrari in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix. When the lights go out at 2pm tomorrow, Fernando Alonso will start from fifth on the grid, while Kimi could do no better than 17th, after taking a strategic gamble that didn’t pay off.

The sky looked threatening at the start of Q1, with the forecast claiming a 30% chance of rain. There was drama right away, as Pastor Maldonado stopped his Lotus at the side of the track and Lewis Hamilton had to park his Mercedes at the entrance to pit lane with a fire at the rear, not even having set a time.

Midway through Q1, Fernando was comfortably in a Q2 position, with Kimi 14th. The team then decided to keep the Finn in the garage, confident that the Caterhams and Marussias would not manage to beat his 1.26.792, which would have seen Kimi no lower than 16th.

However, Jules Bianchi put in a great lap which meant that, by just a handful of hundredths, Raikkonen failed to make the cut to Q2. Now, the Finn has nothing to lose and will be attacking all the way in tomorrow’s race.

Alonso then proceeded into the final part of the session which started on a damp track, as a few drops of rain had begun to fall. He managed a 1.23.909, which would be good enough for fifth place on the grid.

Ahead of him, Nico Rosberg took his tenth career pole in the Mercedes, with a time of 1.22.715, followed by Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull,) Valtteri Bottas (Williams) and Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull.)

Fernando Alonso: “After a chaotic qualifying like today’s, you always think you could have done better. But if you then analyse everything that happened, finishing fifth is a good result, because we made the most of every opportunity that came our way. Getting to start on the clean side of the track is very important as it gives you a chance to make up places at the start and to race with the leaders. The rain expected for tomorrow definitely has an effect on strategy: so far, in the hot and dry conditions, there was talk of two or three stops, but tomorrow everything changes. Both Kimi and I need to score points for the team, because we want to get back the third place in the Constructors’ championship that we lost last weekend. Even starting far back, a good strategy could help us reach that goal.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “I am very disappointed with the outcome of qualifying, especially because this weekend I was going well and had a good feeling from the car. After the first run on the Medium tyres the team told me that my time should be good enough to get me through to the next part and so we decided to take a risk and not go out for a second run on the softer compound. Unfortunately, it didn’t pay off and I couldn’t get past Q1. It’s going to be difficult, because there’s not much chance of overtaking here at the Hungaroring. We definitely made a mistake, but now I only want to look ahead. Tomorrow, even if it will be tough, we will do our best to try and move up the order.”

Pat Fry: “Mixed fortunes for our team in today’s qualifying, with our drivers ending up no less than twelve places apart. In the first part, the fact that Maldonado and Hamilton were out led us to keep both cars in the garage, banking on the times set with the Medium tyres. With Fernando this worked, but unfortunately, with Kimi we were caught out by the evolution of the track. It’s very disappointing not to have got through with him because he’s been going better this weekend. Clearly tomorrow he will be on the attack: on this track, it’s not easy to move up the order because of the traffic, but our race pace is good and we will do all we can to turn things around. In the second part of qualifying, the track continued to improve and Fernando got into Q3 easily enough. In the end, when the rain came, we decided to go out immediately, but then it was impossible to finish the lap. The hot track dried out very quickly but, concerned it might rain again, we decided to go out on track earlier than planned and Fernando ended up fifth. Rain is forecast for tomorrow which means it is even harder to make predictions, but whatever the weather we must try and get Kimi back up into the points and to get a good haul with Fernando.”