The Brazilian managed to sneak in to the final qualifying session and will line up eighth on tomorrow’s grid. After Friday practice, he was worried that Q3 would be out of reach but the pace exceeded his expectations.
Talking about his qualifying performance, the 32-year-old said: “I am pleased with my qualifying and things went better than I’d expected. All weekend, we haven’t been competitive enough and after this morning’s free practice, I was worried I wouldn’t make it to Q3, but then, thanks to a lap where I got the maximum out of the car, combined with the drop in temperature, I managed to make up a few places. Today I did all I could and I think that without a bit of oversteer at the final corner, I could have done even better.”
However, he admits that the circuit doesn’t suit the Ferrari F138: “This track does not suit our car, as you need good traction and the high temperature doesn’t help either, but the race is run in the evening and I hope that will allow us to bring home those important points we need right now, even if it’s definitely not going to be easy.”
Fernando Alonso surprisingly exited qualifying in the second session after failing to get a clean lap in and narrowly missing out on a spot in the top 10 shoot-out. “This qualifying has been as difficult as the rest of the weekend, even if in some races, starting eleventh on new tyres can help, so let’s hope that’s the case here,” he admitted.
“It is without a doubt better to make it through to Q3 but unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a very clean lap and I didn’t manage to make it by a few tenths. This is one of the tracks where we suffer a bit more than usual, but in general our Sunday performance is better and so, again this time, our approach to the race is positive.”
The Spaniard is expecting a tough fight: “We must absolutely get a good start, stay focussed and run a perfect race if we want to take points towards our aim of finishing second in the Constructors’, because it will be a tough fight. We have seen that in the heat, the Softs work better than the Mediums and so logic dictates we should start on the softer tyre while it’s still daytime and switch to Mediums when darkness falls. Clearly, we have to see how things go.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic