• Malaysian Grand Prix - Qualifying

KERS problem takes edge off Alonso's qualifying lap

ESPNF1 Staff
March 24, 2012 « Schumacher eyeing podium finish | Red Bull getting closer - Webber »
Fernando Alonso: "I think we got everything we could out of the car" © Getty Images
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Fernando Alonso said a KERS problem cost him lap time during qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix, but does not think it was enough to alter his grid position.

Alonso will start from eighth on the grid - one place higher than he qualified thanks to Kimi Raikkonen's grid penalty - but was 1.347s off Lewis Hamilton's pole position. While he admits the Ferrari is off the pace at the moment, he is confident the gap is not quite as big as it seems.

"It was a good qualifying, because I think we got everything we could out of the car," Alonso said. "I had a KERS problem on my only run in Q3, but I don't think it cost me any places, but it would definitely have made the gap to pole look more realistic. If it was to rain, it will take a lot of luck to pinpoint the right moment to change tyres: it only takes a little to drop a dozen seconds or so and we will need total concentration to get everything right. A dry race will require just as much concentration to maximise the performance of the car and tyres which, at this track, degrade a lot. We must try and bring home points that could be significant for the championship.

"The start and the first corner will be complicated, because so much is at stake then. We know we have a lot of work to do, especially on the aerodynamics of the car. Here, the performance is slightly better than in Australia, which proves we are working in the right direction, but obviously we must move on in leaps and bounds if we want to fight for the front rows."

Alonso denied rumours Ferrari will overhaul its chassis design at the Spanish Grand Prix, but said he was expecting some improvement over the next few rounds.

"A new car in Barcelona? No, there's no truth in that. Clearly we are pushing a lot on car development, which is as it should be, but in a consistent fashion with no revolutionary changes. At the moment, this car has many problems, but as a result, it also has a big margin for improvement."

Technical director Pat Fry praised Alonso's lap, agreeing that the Spaniard got the most from the car.

"We had a KERS problem right in the final stages of the session, when Fernando set out for his last timed lap in Q3," Fry said. "That cost him a few tenths, but I don't think that without it he would have got a different position on the grid. As usual, the Spanish driver squeezed every drop of performance out of the F2012."