Ferrari number one driver Fernando Alonso was pleased following qualifying for the F1 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix today, even though he couldn't secure a place on the front row of the grid.
Alonso, who leads the battle for the F1 drivers' championship by eight points, will start Sunday's crucial season ending race from third, but with his main title rival, Mark Webber, down in fifth, the Spaniard is currently well placed to secure his third crown.
“After a good Friday, during which we worked on the set-up, today along came a good Saturday, in which we secured a good grid position, especially in terms of where our main title rival finds himself on the grid,” Alonso reflected.
“Now, we need one more day at this level and that should bring us closer to our objective. It was an important qualifying session, but you cannot call it decisive, because the race is tomorrow. Reliability and team work will make the difference, as is usually the case.
“We knew we could expect a difficult weekend, with Red Bull being strong as ever and McLaren at a very high level. Having only [Sebastian] Vettel ahead of me, rather than both Red Bulls is positive. It was a very closely contested session, with the order changing all the time.
“Our first run in Q3 was not the best, because we had problems with traffic, but we knew we had the potential to do better and that's how it turned out: I started the lap, also thinking about saving the tyres for the final sector so as to avoid the risk of getting there and finding myself in trouble.
“I am confident for tomorrow but I want to repeat one more time that, however it ends up, it has been a great year for me at Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, where we enjoy a very special atmosphere together.”
Ferrari's chief track engineer, Chris Dyer meanwhile echoed those thoughts and was similarly not exactly bothered that Webber only managed fifth: “A great qualifying from Fernando, which puts in a strong position for tomorrow's race. I knew the Red Bulls were very quick and to manage to get ahead of Webber is really a nice result," he added.
"We saw various strategies adopted in qualifying, but I think the one that we and McLaren adopted paid off best. Starting from third with Mark fifth is definitely positive in terms of the championship."