• Chines Grand Prix - Qualifying

Alonso gives Ferrari '10 out of 10'

ESPNF1 Staff
April 16, 2011 « Rear wing problem slows Schumacher | »
Fernando Alonso was well off the pace of Red Bull and McLaren once again in qualifying © Getty Images

Fernando Alonso says he believes Ferrari deserves full marks for its qualifying performances so far this season, after he qualified fifth for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Team-mate Felipe Massa was sixth as Nico Rosberg's improved Mercedes beat the pair to fourth position. Despite having had a poor start to the season and yet to score a podium position, Alonso says that the team has maximised the performance of the 150th Italia during every qualifying session so far.

"I would give the team 10 out of 10 for how they managed qualifying over these first three races," Alonso said. "It is always very difficult to find the compromise between the need to take risks and being prudent and we have already seen mistakes costing some drivers dear in these three sessions. At the moment we should not be trying anything clever, instead keeping things simple."

Massa also had a positive outlook, saying that the car's performance during the race in Malaysia was reason for optimism, and didn't rule out a top three finish.

"I really hope we will see a repeat of the Malaysian situation with a performance jump from qualifying to the race," Massa said. "If that was the case, then a podium might not be out of reach. The track has improved a lot compared to yesterday: there is more grip and the cars slide less, thus using the tyres less and that will be a factor to take into consideration when working out the ideal strategy."

Team principal Stefano Domenicali also said that the team's troubles had been put in to perspective this week following the sudden illness of one of the Ferrari mechanics.

"I want to express our delight at the positive progress in the condition of Paolo Santarsiero, one of our mechanics who fell ill on Thursday with an aneurism in his head and was subsequently operated on at the Rui Jin hospital in Shanghai: I wish to thank the entire medical team who acted so promptly and efficiently in carrying out the procedure. Incidents like this make one realise what the priorities really are in life and puts everything else into perspective."