Two weeks after the Canadian Grand Prix we're here in Valencia, convinced of our strength and optimism regarding a good result on the track. Despite the last, disappointing race considering the result, due to bad luck, which mainly conditioned Fernando's race, our drivers' performance in Montreal was really good, which helped us and pushed us to work even harder for this important European Grand Prix. This permanent track here in Valencia is really challenging and aerodynamics plays a determining role, while this weekend there's also the unknown factor of the new Pirelli medium compound, with its premiere here in Spain. After an excellent Friday with Fernando as a protagonist setting the fastest lap time and Felipe with some problems, today we didn't really make it beyond a forth and fifth place on the starting grid. The lap times driven by our drivers are in line with the fastest, but there is a little bit of disappointment, especially considering that there are six single-seaters just seven tenths of a second apart. So there's lots of optimism for this eighth race of the season and everything's set to go well. Naturally it's always very difficult to make predictions, but Fernando and Felipe are both extremely focused for a challenging race.
Never trust the time sheet on Friday: programmes and fuel loads at the other teams can lead you to getting the wrong idea. Furthermore the times driven in the first 90 minutes on the track aren’t always really relevant. And although Fernando Alonso kept the enthusiasts at bay, considering the tough competition yesterday, a certain confidence could be felt inside the Scuderia. Confidence which has paid off today in this year’s best qualifying so far for Ferrari: Fernando Alonso second and Felipe Massa third.
This is an important and encouraging result, because it means that all the work done by the men and women from the Scuderia are leading in the right direction to closing the gap. Naturally the characteristics of the track in Montreal are well-suited for our car, but it’s no coincidence that the Ferrari 150° Italia has been competitive since the start here in Canada.
A first step has been taken, but the road to the finishing line of the Canadian Grand Prix is still long. Tomorrow’s race is, as it is traditionally here in Montreal, uncertain. The track is really unforgiving and the Safety Car usually has to come in for “overtime”. KERS and DRS should guarantee the right amount of overtaking manoeuvres, which haven’t been too rare here in the last editions of this race. Furthermore there’s the possibility of rain: this is something the teams had to take into consideration today before they started into the qualifying, bearing in mind, that adjusting the cars’ set ups between the qualifying and the race is only allowed for safety reasons. So who will have placed the winning bet?
Having said that: the right ingredients for an exciting Canadian Grand Prix are all there. We just have to stay concentrated, continuing with the good work done so far this weekend. Or as Felipe Massa said: “a place on the podium would be a nice result, fighting for victory would be even better.”