Felipe Massa managed to out-qualify his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso for the very first time this season today in Hungary.
Massa will subsequently line-up in fourth on the grid – one spot ahead of Alonso, although he conceded the result was something of a mixed blessing, especially given he will now be on the dirty side of the grid and thus at a disadvantage at the start.
“What does it mean to me to be ahead of my team-mate for the first time this year? I am pleased, but what counts is being ahead of everyone and I hope we soon get some qualifying sessions where we are the best,” said the Brazilian.
“Here I don't think I could have got under the 1.20 mark: McLaren and Red Bull are very strong and will be so tomorrow. My only complaint is starting from the dirty side of the track: I know how penalising it can be at this track.”
As for the grand prix itself, Massa added he is hopeful the Scuderia will be closer to the pace of the Red Bulls and McLarens on Sunday.
“Usually our rivals find something extra for qualifying and we make a step forward in the race: we will see tomorrow if this unwritten rule will also be confirmed at this track,” he continued.
“I hope I have a car that is competitive tomorrow, as it was in the final part of qualifying.
“Again this morning, I had too much oversteer and then, after making a few changes, it ended up the other way: we made a further adjustment to the front wing and the car's handling was much better.
“It's difficult to predict how many stops there will be: four is not impossible, three absolutely probable. Much will depend on the length of the first stint: that's where it will be clear which way to go for the following stops.”
“You could say this was a predictable result,” added Ferrari technical director Pat Fry post-qualifying. “We did not get all the potential out of the car, but it would not have changed much in terms of our grid positions. It's true that compared to the start of the season, we have caught up quite a bit, but it's equally true that, especially in qualifying, we still lack something compared to our closest opponents. We need to work more to improve our performance on a first flying lap, there's no doubt about that.
“From a technical point of view, we suffered particularly in the third sector: while being competitive in the first two, in the last one, we lost a few tenths too many. It was to be expected, also after what we saw last week in Germany in the first few corners of the Nurburgring track.
“However, tomorrow will be a very tight race, partly because I expect to see a lot of tyre changes. We will have to be careful when choosing the right moment for the pit stops, especially as overtaking on track will not be a walk in the park for anyone, even with DRS. We will try to do our very best, aware of the strengths of our main rivals.”