“That result was down to the many improvements introduced race-after-race, as could be seen from the fact that – even from Monaco – we had returned to a good level in terms of being competitive and here too, where we are back to the Valencia rules, we are at the front end of the field.
“In theory, the cold is not a friend to us; in these conditions, the Red Bull
has even more of an edge, but it's up to us to adapt as well as possible to these conditions. On top of that, the low temperatures can also impact on our strategy for qualifying, given it's not easy to do a time right from the first timed lap. It if was to rain, the situation would be even more complicated.”
Felipe Massa, for his part, completed 59 laps of the Eifel Mountains track – nine fewer than Alonso – as he joined his team-mate in evaluating new technical components for the F150° Italia and comparing the two types of tyre supplied by Pirelli, along with an additional experimental soft compound. The Brazilian wound up fourth on the end-of-day timesheets, half-a-second slower than the sister scarlet machine.
“It was a good day,” confirmed the 2008 F1 World Championship runner-up. “We had so much work to get through and we managed to do it in both sessions, without having any problems. I would say we can be reasonably satisfied with our level of competitiveness, even if it's too soon to say if we can fight for something important.
“The pace over a long run is not bad on both types of tyre, [although] there is quite some difference between the 'Prime' and the 'Option', and we will need to keep that in-mind when coming up with our race strategy. It's a bit of a struggle to do a time immediately on the first lap, even with the soft, but I think it's the same problem for everyone. I like this circuit – there are climbs and descents and a lot of changes of direction, which make it fun to drive. Sure, if on top of that you have a quick car, then you can have even more fun!”
“We had a very full work programme that we managed to complete without any reliability problems, which is always a good way to start a race weekend,” summarised Ferrari
chassis director Pat Fry of what was a generally unremarkable day.
“Felipe and Fernando did practically two grand prix distances between them, picking up a lot of data that is now being studied by our engineers. There were various elements being assessed, both for this race and for the forthcoming ones, and we will now try and put together the best possible package for the rest of the weekend.
“It's hard to say where we are compared to the others, because of the usual unknowns regarding fuel loads and also because of the different programmes being run. From what we could see, the low temperatures are certainly not helping when it comes to getting the tyres working at their best right from the first lap, especially with the medium compound. Tomorrow, qualifying could be affected by rain, which means it will be important to do a good job of managing the tyres and the strategy.”