Less than seven days, or just enough time to get the wheels back on at the Hungaroring track and listen to the general hypocrisy which followed Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s one-two finish at Hockenheim to lower the tone.
The Hungarian Grand Prix weekend got off to a special start for both our drivers: on Thursday, at a very emotional meeting, Felipe thanked the track marshals and the medical staff who had looked after him following his terrible accident here a year ago. Fernando on the other hand, celebrated his 29th birthday with the Scuderia, who presented him with a giant cake: two of the team engineers, Sergio and Francesco, blew the candles out alongside the driver, as it was their birthday too. It’s not by chance that it is said that for all the team members, Ferrari is one big family.
Even here at the Magyar track, the F10 demonstrated it was in good form, although the Red Bulls definitely seem to be on another planet. Their performance in qualifying can only be described as incredible, given the gap they had over the rest of the pack. It is equally clear that Ferrari is the best of the rest here in Budapest, although its habit of usually demonstrating excellent race pace might not be enough to battle with the Red Bulls. But anything can happen like the long race we can expect tomorrow, with 70 laps in prospect before seeing the chequered flag.
With Fernando third and Felipe fourth, the start will more than ever be crucial if the team is to aim for a good result, which means bringing home as many points as possible. Given that McLaren and Hamilton, who respectively head the Constructors’ and Drivers’ classifications, start behind us, we have a good hand to play, which could see us reduce still further the gap to the leaders. Because, and it needs to be said, there is still everything to play for.
In all walks of life, actions speak louder than words. That’s especially true in Formula 1 where only results picked up on track show the true merit of the performance that your package can deliver. And yet… and yet we at Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, have often stressed how much the F10 had really progressed in performance terms over the last few races thanks to intensive and incessant development work. Needless to say this did not always sit well with the more sceptical of Formula 1 pundits and we had no argument to counter with, given the unusual events in recent Grands Prix.
However, today’s qualifying proved that our belief was not just a load of hot air: Fernando was second fastest to secure his first front row start of the season, just two thousandths behind Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull and Felipe was third. All in all, it means we are in a situation where we can really show our true colours and fight for the win, or at least bring home a big bag of points.
There are two factors that could influence the outcome of what promises to be a tough German Grand Prix all the same: the weather and then the strategy choice, which means to say finding the right moment to switch from the super soft tyres to the hard compound. The focus within the Scuderia is on red alert, with race preparation going into the most minute detail. Because, as Stefano Domenicali pointed out today after qualifying, “the time has come to reap the rewards of all the work we have done to date.”
That is something everyone within Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro is in absolute agreement with.
It has to be said that being at Silverstone and not even seeing a single drop of rain is rather strange. Believe it or not, the Circus has found nothing but sun and hot weather over the first two days of work at the track. And the forecast is for more of the same for tomorrow’s race.
After today’s qualifying, the current feeling within the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team was summed up perfectly by Stefano Domenicali this afternoon. “For us, it is encouraging to see that, on a track that is definitely not best suited in terms of its characteristics to our car, all the work we have done over the past few weeks is now paying dividends.”
It’s true that Red Bull is still ahead of us. Getting your wheels ahead of the two Adrian Newey designed cars however, is pretty much impossible at the moment. That does not mean tomorrow we will start downhearted: we respect our opponents, but we are also aware that several times during the season, the F10 has proved to be more competitive in the race than in qualifying. A good start and reliability will be the crucial factors. All the essential ingredients to get a good result on the same track where, in 1951, Ferrari took its first ever Formula 1 win are therefore in place. It would be nice to honour in the best way possible that historic win secured by Jose Froilan Gonzalez.
Finally, we would remind all our fans that on Monday 12 July, it will be possible to interact with Fernando Alonso in a video-chat. For more information, go to the relevant web page