MELBOURNE, March 26, 2011 (AFP) - Ferrari searched for a positive spin on Saturday’s disappointing qualifying outcome for their drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. The Italian giants were the big disappointments of the qualifying shoot-out with Alonso fifth fastest and Massa eighth.
Ferrari urged their army of fans not to get too despondent about their chances in Sunday's season-opening race in Melbourne. “We definitely cannot be happy with the way things went in this first qualifying session of the season and there is no denying it," team principal Stefano Domenicali said. "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. “Alonso, the two-time world champion, said he didn't get the best out of his Ferrari, but the race would be a different proposition. “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," he said. "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. “Alonso pointed to last year's Australian race when Poland's Robert Kubica started down the grid and still finished second behind McLaren's Jenson Button.
Brazilian Massa said he had tyre problems in qualifying. "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," he said. Massa also endured a spin out in the third and final qualifying sector. “When I came out of pit lane, I accelerated and the tyres were evidently still too cold," he said. “The set was not damaged for the race, but it was definitely not a help on my only flying lap."