July 5th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Ferrari had a Friday of mixed fortunes in Germany. Felipe Massa completed his testing programme and was pleased with the long run performance of his Ferrari, but Fernando Alonso lost out on the entire morning session due to a problem with the electronic control unit on his car. Alonso was nonetheless marginally quicker than Massa in the second Free Practice session.
Both Ferrari drivers have been struggling in qualifying all season, as the car seems to lack low-fuel pace over a single lap. Neither driver has qualified on the front two rows of the grid at any of the last four races. Ferrari's qualifying difficulties peaked last weekend at Silverstone, where Alonso could do no better than 9th on the grid and Felipe Massa was down in 11th place.
This weekend there seems to be something of a recovery from Ferrari, and their potential qualifying pace is not looking too bad. Both drivers were in the top ten in FP2 and set almost identical lap times, six tenths off the front-running pace of Sebastian Vettel. If that deficit can be maintained into tomorrow's qualifying session, Alonso and Massa should be looking at reasonable grid positions for Sunday's race.
This is what the drivers had to say after Friday's practice sessions:
Fernando Alonso: “Today went better than last Friday and even if there is still a long way to go, in general we seem to have made a step forward and returned to the level of competitiveness which we had prior to Silverstone. One of the positives was the behaviour of the tyres which worked well today and did not create any problems. Unfortunately, we lost the morning session because of a programming problem on the electronic control unit, which we then changed. That halved our work programme and this evening we will have to do all we can to make up for it, but we already have an idea of where and how to make changes, because Mercedes, Red Bull and Lotus are ahead of us and we want something better than being the third or fourth team in the classification”.
Felipe Massa: “It was a particularly busy day, because we had a lot of things to test and we did as many laps as possible in order to complete the programme. We split the time between assessing the Pirelli tyres and a long run test. There is a big difference between the two compounds, caused by the high degradation of the Softs compared to the Mediums and it will be interesting to see how much influence this will have in the race. As usual, choosing the right strategy will be very important. Qualifying remains our weak point, because usually we are less competitive than in the race and that’s why we will do our utmost to try and start from as far up the grid as possible. Over a long run, the car behaved well and this makes me very confident for Sunday”.