• European Grand Prix - Qualifying

Alonso targets podium in Valencia

ESPNF1 Staff
June 26, 2010 « Button rues driving error in final qualifying run | »
Fernando Alonso struggled on the soft tyre © Sutton Images

Fernando Alonso is eyeing a second consecutive podium after qualifying fourth for tomorrow's European Grand Prix.

Ferrari has brought a major update to its car this weekend in the hope of closing the gap to Red Bull and McLaren at the front of the field. Over longer runs during practice the car looked impressive, but Alonso failed to hook up a decent lap on the soft tyres when it mattered in Q3.

"I am happy with this result," he said. "Here, so many teams, including Ferrari, have brought new parts and so it was important to show we are capable of fighting for the top places. We managed it and we must bear in mind that, without the updates we have on the F10, we would probably have struggled to make it into Q3.

"Tomorrow, we have the potential to fight for a podium place: it will be important to get a good start, choose the right strategy and not make any mistakes because the walls here are not forgiving. Obviously, reliability will be very important as this track is very tough on the cars.

Alonso said the car had been more predictable on the hard tyre but, because he had to start the race on the same set he used in Q3, opted for the softs.

With the harder tyre, our car was more competitive as its behaviour inspired more confidence over the flying lap, but to have done Q3 with this compound would probably have compromised our race."

Ferrari's chief engineer Chris Dyer added that the F10's incompatibility with the soft tyre cost the team a better result.

"There is a hint of disappointment at this result," Dyer said. "After this morning's third free practice session, we saw that our car was very competitive on the harder tyre, while it struggled a bit more to get the best out of the softer one on the single flying lap. In the two hours before qualifying, the team worked on trying to find the right compromise and the situation improved, but not enough to put us in the fight for the very top positions, which was also down to the fact that neither driver managed to get a clean lap in Q3.

"That explains why Felipe and Fernando ended up where they did. All the same, it's not a bad position for the race: from what we have seen so far, the F10 seems to be very competitive over a long run."