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Alonso: Setting the practice pace means nothing

Despite sending his adoring fans home happy by setting the fastest Friday practice time ahead of the European Grand Prix in Valencia, Ferrari star Fernando Alonso is far from willing to count his chickens just yet...
He might have ended proceedings on top following the opening day of practice ahead of this weekend's European Grand Prix on home turf in Valencia, but double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso insists that based upon past experience this season, he doesn't 'even want to consider today's timesheet'.

Although lapping third-quickest in the morning session around the Valencia Street Circuit, Alonso was a full eight tenths of a second shy of Mark Webber's benchmark for Red Bull Racing, but the Ferrari star successfully turned the tables in the afternoon to pip former McLaren-Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by a fraction over two tenths and send his partisan supporters home happy. He stresses, however, that he is not letting himself get too carried away by his strong form just yet.

“Overall, a positive start to this Valencia weekend, my second home race,” the 29-year-old acknowledged. “We got through all our planned programme, working mainly on tyres, where the chief element at this grand prix is the first appearance of the medium [compound]. It was important that we were able to do so many laps, because on a circuit like this one, getting a lot of kilometres under your belt helps you gain confidence in the car, looking for the limits and thereby improving performance.

“The track characteristics are well-suited to our car, but it is too early to say where we are compared to the others. Already, in the past, we have gone well on the first day only to see ourselves losing out by a second in qualifying, therefore I don't even want to consider today's timesheet. In FP1 and FP2, you try so many things and the track changes very quickly – even more so on a street circuit like this one – so it is really impossible to make predictions.

“The car seems to handle well, therefore we can tackle qualifying with confidence, aware that we are up against very strong rivals – it's not by chance that Red Bull have always taken pole in the first seven races of the year, and clearly they are still the favourites. Overtaking here will be easier than in Monaco, but grid position will nevertheless be important.”

Albeit not quite on the same pace as Alonso, team-mate Felipe Massa lapped sixth-fastest in the morning and fifth in the afternoon, winding up just under half-a-second adrift and professing himself in similarly optimistic mood.

“I'd say it was a good day, better than many other Fridays this season,” the Brazilian underlined. “From what we could understand after three hours of free practice, the car is pretty competitive and I don't expect the situation to be that different to the one we saw two weeks ago in Canada. It's true it is only Friday, but at least it's a positive start!

“The tyres worked well; both the 'Prime' and the 'Option' delivered more grip than we had been expecting going into the weekend. Sure, there's a big difference between the two compounds, but the medium, with higher temperatures than we saw in Canada, did not do badly.

“Now we must make the right decision regarding set-up on the car for the next two days. The car balance is not yet perfect – for example, we are still locking the fronts too often under braking – but we are working in the right direction. Let's hope we can put up a fight in qualifying, just as we did in Canada.”

“Another busy day's work, divided up as usual into working on development of new solutions and preparing for the race weekend,” summarised the Scuderia's chassis director Pat Fry. “The track was not as dirty as expected, which allowed us to gather a lot of interesting data to evaluate over the next few hours in order to define our technical choices for the next two days.

“We still have to fine-tune the car, so it is still a bit early to say if we will be as competitive as we were over the past two races. In particular, we must try and improve our performance in the third and final sector of the track. The medium-compound tyre makes its debut here; from what we could see, it offers less grip than the soft, which is the other tyre for this grand prix, but we have not yet found out how it lasts over a long run as we worked mainly with the 'Option', as did so many other teams.”



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
26.05.2011- First Practice Session, Pat Fry, Scuderia Ferrari
24.06.2011- Friday Practice 1, Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
24.06.2011- Friday Practice 1, Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
24.06.2011- Friday Practice 2, Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
11.06.2011- Saturday Practice, Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
10.06.2011- Friday Practice 2, Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
24.06.2011- Friday Practice 2, Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
24.06.2011- Friday Practice 1, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
24.06.2011- Friday Practice 1, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
24.06.2011- Friday Practice 1, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
24.06.2011- Friday Practice 1, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
24.06.2011- Friday Practice 2, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
23.06.2011- Press conference, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H

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Mikeyy - Unregistered

June 24, 2011 8:54 PM

Title of this post is completly correct but still as a Alonso fan its great to see hes got the pace to challege for the win and as i remeber the Ferrari tends to get faster as the season progress so we should see more performances like this from both Alonso and Massa

Gordo - Unregistered

June 25, 2011 4:14 AM

At least Alonso is not full of his own Sh** like the Hamster (HM). He's got so much more going on than the HM. Ask anyone whom is the most feared on the grid...Alonso. Oh but perhaps the HM is 1st cuz he takes them out?



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