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Australian GP: Qualifying notes - Ferrari

NEWS STORY
26/03/2011

Qualifying for the first race of the season did not live up to expectations for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. Tomorrow, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa will start from fifth and eighth places respectively on the grid.

Stefano Domenicali: We definitely cannot be happy with the way things went in this first qualifying session of the season and there is no denying it. However, there is no point in immediately getting into a state about it. We have to work out why we were unable to get all the potential out of our car at the track, at least in terms of pure performance. From what we saw in winter testing and in yesterday's free practice, our race pace is not bad and we will try and make the most of that in tomorrow's race. This year, more than at any time in the recent past, strategy will hold the key, while reliability, as ever, remains the number one priority.

Fernando Alonso: Clearly, we cannot be happy with this result, but we must not immediately make a drama out of it. We definitely did not get the most out of the car and we have to understand the reasons for that. Compared to what we saw at the tests, here we ended up much closer to cars that had been a long way off in Spain. We went well yesterday and we had a good feeling for the car, while right from this morning the situation changed, obviously for the worse. Now let's see how the race turns out. In testing and in yesterday's free practice, our performance over a long run was good and we were definitely closer to those who today seem to be a long way off. Fifth place on the grid is not too bad and it means I am in a position to fight for a podium finish in a race which is still wide open, if you only think what happened last year, with Kubica starting from sixth or seventh and finishing second. McLaren seems to have made a good step forward, but you should not dismiss Mercedes either, who were impressive at the last Barcelona test.

Felipe Massa: We were less competitive than we could rightly have expected and there's no doubt about that. Sure, I did not think I would be fighting for pole, especially when you look at the very quick time that Vettel did, but I had hoped to be higher up the order. We had problems with grip on both the hard and the soft tyres on a surface where the tyres wear a lot less than we have seen in winter testing and they provide less grip on the first lap, or at least they do with our car. Now we have to prepare as well as possible for tomorrow's race, when pure speed will not be the only thing that counts, with reliability and team work being especially important. My spin in Q3? When I came out of pit lane, I accelerated and the tyres were evidently still too cold: the set was not damaged for the race, but it was definitely not a help on my only flying lap.

Pat Fry: We were not on the pace at the end of the first qualifying of the season and we have to take that on board. We knew Red Bull was very quick, but they were even faster than expected and also McLaren were better than us. We had to already use the first set of soft tyres in Q1 in order to ensure we got through to the next stage and we paid the price for that a bit in Q3, when we only one had one new set of Options. We have to study the data very carefully to understand what led to this situation. Having said that, we still have the race ahead of us and that's where the points are given out. Reliability remains the key factor: we have worked a lot on this front over the winter and we hope to reap the rewards of that now. Compared to last year, we will tackle the race with a different strategic approach and there could be some surprises.

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