Qualifying - Chinese GP report: Ferrari
In the third wet qualifying out of four races so far this season, Fernando Alonso was fifth fastest, while Kimi Raikkonen had to settle for eleventh place. The Spaniard did not have much difficulty getting through to the final part of qualifying, but in the last 12 minute session, he struggled on his first run, while on his second set of intermediates, he set a time of 1.55.637.
Raikkonen had a much tougher time, failing to make the cut to Q3 by just 13 thousandths of a second, with a time of 1.56.860. The Finn got caught up in traffic, which wiped out any advantage from having fitted new tyres. Kimi ended up in a train of cars, which is always a problem in the wet as visibility is so restricted.
Lewis Hamilton took the 34th pole of his career for Mercedes. He will share the front row with Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull. Ahead of Alonso are Sebastian Vettel, third and Nico Rosberg fourth.
“When it rains you never know how things will turn out as track conditions can get worse lap after lap and so that’s one reason for me to be pleased with the way qualifying went. Fifth place means I can start with the lead group and if I can stay with the leaders we can finish close to the podium. The opening laps will count for a lot therefore and we must try our absolute best to get a good start and to avoid battles, which in the last few races have seen us lose ground. Yesterday, the car was more competitive and that means we can hope for a better race than in the last three. I think that here in China, we have taken the first step towards improving; the car behaved well in all areas and is performing better on the aerodynamic front, thanks to the small updates we have introduced here and we have more power, having revised some settings on the power unit. Certainly, we are still a long way off the pace of the leaders, because they too are progressing, but we can hope to fight for better positions and more points.”
“The past two days have been difficult, because after yesterday’s technical problem, this morning I also only did a single run, but overall, I felt more comfortable in the car. Unfortunately, on my last run in Q2, when I was on my quick lap, I lost a lot of time in the final sector and that meant I didn’t make the cut to Q3. The car’s handling was inconsistent, as it was stable in some parts of the track and less so in others. I had some problems with the balance and this had an effect on my performance. It’s too early to say what happened, but the time lost yesterday definitely didn’t help. Now I want to concentrate on tomorrow’s race and try my best to end this weekend with a good result.”
“The weather forecast for today proved to be right and a light but persistent rain had a significant effect on both sessions. In the morning, we chose to run as little as possible so as not to use up the rain tyres in order to have as many new sets as possible for qualifying and the race. Kimi unfortunately did not get past Q2. Yesterday he lost the first free practice session and today he was fighting with the balance of the car, especially in the slow corners. As for Fernando, he managed to get through the three parts of qualifying without any particular problems and fifth place on the grid tomorrow will mean he can be in the leading group. With him, we will try and exploit any opportunity to attack while with Kimi we will try and move him up the order to take as many points as he can. In both cases, the opening two laps will hold the key.”