Ferrari: Team showed it could react extremely well

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso

Scuderia Ferrari recorded its best result of the season today. Fernando Alonso finished second, having led for a while until three laps from the end, while Kimi Raikkonen staged a great charge up the order to go from 16th on the grid to sixth at the flag.

It was a spectacular race, in part because it started on a wet track with everyone running Intermediate tyres. After a few laps, the Safety Car was required when Marcus Ericsson crashed heavily in the Caterham. The SC came out after the top four, including Fernando, had passed the pits, which jumbled the order, promoting Ricciardo to the lead.

The Safety Car came out again when Sergio Perez crashed the Force India on the pit straight, with Ricciardo changing tyres and mixing up the strategies.

When the race was on again, Alonso therefore found himself leading, although Ricciardo, on a different strategy, retook the position, handing it back to the Spaniard with 15 laps remaining. Raikkonen meanwhile had his best race of the year, making the most of the run of pit stops to get as high up as third at one point.

On lap 60 of 70, Alonso led from Hamilton and Ricciardo, who on fresh rubber was catching the leaders. The battle was very close as Fernando’s tyres were worn out as he still defended bravely from Hamilton.

Then, when with four laps to go, the Australian passed the Englishman, it was more difficult for Alonso who could not hold off the Red Bull which sailed past one lap later to give Ricciardo his second career win. However, Alonso used all his skill to fend off the Mercedes.

The second and sixth places mean Scuderia Ferrari is back in third ahead of Williams in the Constructors’ classification.

Marco Mattiacci: “It was a great race and very pleasing to see our team fight back from an extremely complicated Saturday. Kimi and Fernando demonstrated just what they are capable of and the whole team was up to the task. However, this result is just a step on a journey which started a few months ago. Fernando’s second place is a confidence booster and a sign that the major effort everyone is making to bring Ferrari back to the top is moving in the right direction, however we have to be realistic about it. Here, the weather and the track conditions leveled out the performance differences and that’s why we must not delude ourselves. Now we must just go back home, set on always doing better.”

Fernando Alonso: “This podium means a lot to me and the whole team, because after so many difficult races, we managed to get the most out of everything, also taking a few risks and second place seems like a win. To do 31 laps at the end on used Soft tyres was a great challenge. At that point, the strategy suggested that if we had made a third stop, we could have finished fourth, but we decided to run to the flag instead. This race shows that anything is possible when there are unusual conditions like today, with a wet start and the appearance of the Safety Car. We managed to make the most of all opportunities that presented themselves, taking the best decisions even at the most difficult moments. Sure, the characteristics of the circuit, with its limited overtaking opportunities, helped us and that’s why we have to be realistic and continue to work on the car, to improve in all aspects.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “Today’s race was difficult, but much more fun than the others, as I had a good feeling with the car, the pace was good and I felt I could push. After the way qualifying went yesterday, sixth was the most we could hope for. At the start, I got away well but then I lost vital time behind a Sauber and when I caught Massa’s Williams, I couldn’t get past: here in general, overtaking is not easy and we lack speed down the straights. Sure, this is a good team result, but we must not get too excited, because even if there are signs of improvement, we still have much work to do in a lot of areas to get to where we want to be. We’ve had a very complicated start to the season, but I hope the second part of the championship will go better. I have great faith in the team and I feel we are going in the right direction. Even if it’s going to take some time, I’m sure the results will come.”

Pat Fry: “After mixed fortunes in qualifying yesterday, today the team showed it could react extremely well and keep a cool head when faced with the variable situations that arose during the race. It’s never easy in cases like this, with rain at the start, the Safety Car, having to avoid traffic and especially with having to keep faster cars behind us, but the team performed very competently. The F14 T demonstrated the good race pace it had already shown on Friday and that has helped us re-take third place in the Constructors’ classification. After the summer break, we come to two races that will be difficult for us, on two tracks where it will be important to make the most of any opportunity, just as we did today. On behalf of the team, I wish to congratulate Fernando and Kimi. We had promised them redemption and we were true to our word. We know that there is still a long way to go, but we will spare nothing in our efforts, continuing to work hard to improve, day by day.”