“We did what we could today and even if as always, we were aiming for a podium finish, the cars ahead of us were just too quick. It was a good race, even if it was very complex, as we decided to change from a two to a three-stop strategy. It was not easy fighting while also keeping an eye on consumption and in the end, with the help of newer tyres, getting ahead of Ricciardo meant we finished in the highest position that we were capable of. Here in Hockenheim, we made a small step forward and even if that didn’t translate into lap time, it encourages us to keep trying to improve. The aim is still to score points to help the team in the Constructors’ Championship. So now our thoughts turn to Budapest. We will only find out how things will go once we are there, because every circuit is a story in itself.”
We can’t be happy with seventh, but it reflects the fact this weekend has been one of ups and downs. Apart from the actual numbers in today’s qualifying, I did find I was more at ease in my F14 T and I think I got the most out of it. I reckon in the race we will suffer more because of tyre degradation. With such high temperatures, the rear tyres slide a lot and it will be really important to choose the right number of stops to make. The forecast is unclear as to whether the rain will arrive during or after the race and so we have to be clever at being ready to anticipate it if we want to be in the game. Here, as in Austria, Mercedes and Williams seem out of reach, but we will do all we can to be at the front of the following group. I hope to see a bunched up race, with a lot of overtaking, even though I’m not expecting too many surprises because the absence of FRIC hasn’t produced any significant changes, nor closed the gaps much
“It’s nice to be back racing at Hockenheim. I’ve got fantastic memories of the last race here and I like the track a lot. Today, we concentrated on set-up to try and adapt to the temperatures, which are going to be extremely high all weekend. I had no problems with either the Soft or Supersoft compounds and we just need to understand how they will behave in the race and what the weather could be like on Sunday. I don’t think going away with FRIC changed much in terms of driving style and in order to have a clear picture you’d have to do a comparison with and without it, but running without it, we just have to adapt and be as well prepared as possible with what we have.”
“I think today’s race was very spectacular, certainly for us it was extremely hectic, first with Kimi’s retirement and then with the penalty for being out of position at the start. Then there were also my duels with Button and Vettel. When Sebastian came up behind me I was saving fuel and battery power and had a problem with the rear wing so I knew that sooner or later he would have overtaken me. I think both Red Bulls deserved to finish ahead of us, because they were quicker. Now we must analyse our performance and try to improve for the next round in Germany: if we want to make up ground in the Constructors’ Championship, we must try and do our utmost at the track, working on strategy, set-up and especially we must try and be more astute than the others, when it comes to grabbing any opportunity to score points.”
When it rains in qualifying it’s always a lottery, it can go well or it can go badly. Most of all, it’s easy to make mistakes. At complicated moments like this, you need to fit the right tyres at the right time, but luck definitely plays a part. I think if we had fitted the Mediums thirty seconds earlier or later, with a dry track, things could have gone differently. In the race tomorrow, we will try and make up as much ground as possible. Yesterday, in the dry, we had a strong pace and even in the wet, as we saw on the first lap in Q1, it seems quite good. Mixed conditions might help us, but here it’s impossible to know now what the weather will do tomorrow. One thing for sure, is that starting so far back, we will see a lot of action
“This Friday was much like any other and we followed our programme, testing some components and working on set-up in the morning, while evaluating both tyre compounds in the afternoon, looking at the Medium with both qualifying and the race in mind. There were no problems with wear or graining on the softer compound, while in order to correctly evaluate the Hard, we will have to wait for a long run test. For now, I can say it’s hard to get them up to temperature. Now, as usual, we must analyse everything to understand which components to use tomorrow, although if as predicted, it rains tomorrow, then in reality the data we got today will be more useful for the race. Here, there’s always a strong wind and in some corners it’s a help, while in others it’s a hindrance, but it’s the same for everyone. Now, all we can do is wait and see how things turn out.”
“I think that I can consider this to be my best race of the season, because finishing eighteen seconds off the Mercedes in a race without a Safety Car or any particular incidents, is a good result. It was impossible to keep Hamilton behind me and fifth place is really the best we could do today, because the first four cars were quicker and therefore deserved to finish ahead of us. We pushed hard all race without any problems, which means that little by little, we are improving. Sure, there’s still a long way to go but the aim is still to do well and score points. Each track is a different story and we will always try our best.”
I have mixed feelings after this qualifying, because on the one hand, this is the best result since early in the season, but it’s also true that the session was very unusual and it’s highly likely that the final order does not reflect the true hierarchy down the field. In Q2, I made a mistake at the final corner, which meant I had to try another run and in Q3, I went long in turn 3. But fourth place makes up for the disappointment of not having done a perfect lap and it should make us proud of what we have accomplished so far, because the updates we started bringing since Canada seem to indicate we are on the right road. With some faster cars behind us, we can expect a difficult race, in which defending will be as important as attacking. Now we must try and work out how to make the most of this advantage for as long as possible in terms of strategy and to have a solid race.
It’s nice to be back racing here, the track has many changes of gradient and that always makes for enjoyable driving. In both sessions, Kimi and I were on different programmes and now we must put all the data together to choose which of the elements we tested have worked best. There were no surprises on the tyre front, the Supersoft seems quicker and will definitely be the tyre for qualifying, but for the race, it’s impossible to establish now what the strategy will be. It was always cloudy today and there were even a few drops of rain, but the next days are meant to be sunny and so tyre behaviour could change. The good forecast means that anything is possible and hopefully that means the chance to put on a good show for the fans who were already here in large numbers today
Driver, supporter and guest starter: Fernando Alonso was all of these on Saturday at the Le Mans 24 Hour race. In fact, the Spanish Scuderia Ferrari driver flagged the race off with the traditional French tricolor at 3pm.
Fernando arrived at the circuit around noon. At the track, he met the President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, Pierre Fillon and the President of the FIA, Jean Todt, after he which he endorsed the Federation’s road safety campaign.
Then, wearing a race suit and helmet, Fernando tried the cockpit of a Ferrari 512 S, which was entered in the 1970 24 Hours by Scuderia Filipinetti for the German Herbert Muller and the Englishman Mike Parkes. The Spaniard then did one lap of the track in this, one of the last prototypes built by Ferrari for Endurance racing, when he was given an enthusiastic welcome from the 250,000 spectators who lined the 13.6 kilometre-long track. Fernando said he was struck by the atmosphere of the event. “It’s nice to be here and you can feel a special mood linked to this really fascinating form of racing,” said Fernando. “It would be nice to actually take part on track one day. I often speak with President Montezemolo and, while the priority remains winning again in Formula 1, an interesting format like Le Mans is worth keeping an eye on too.”
Back in the pits, Fernando went to wish his friends and colleagues in the AF Corse team the best of luck, meeting up with the two crews that took pole in the LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am categories – Gimmi Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander the former, in car 51 and Sam Bird, Stephen Wyatt and Michele Rugolo the latter, in car 81. Alonso spent a long time walking down the grid with the head of Ferrari’s Racing Activity, Antonello Coletta, the two of them meeting his friend and former Formula 1 rival Mark Webber. After waving the cars off, Fernando stayed to watch the opening laps before paying a visit to Race Control, from where all 55 starters can be monitored throughout the race.