Ferrari's two drivers started on the third row of the Korean Grand Prix
grid, and they came home in fifth and sixth place as well - albeit with Fernando Alonso
having got the better of team mate Felipa Massa during the race. In the circumstances, it was all they could have hoped for.
"Logic dictates our result in this race: we have the third best car in terms of its potential and we finished the race in fifth and sixth places," conceded team principal Stefano Domenicali.
Domenicali and his drivers all stressed that the race pace of the car was very good, and that it was the relative lack of pace in qualifying that was holding them back.
"As usual this year, Red Bull
are clearly stronger in qualifying, but then on Sunday we are all much closer," pointed out Alonso. "We must try and improve our Saturday performance."
Domenicali agreed with that: "Our race pace is definitely better than our outright performance in qualifying and that means we end up almost always fighting for a place on the podium, but if one does not start from the two front rows it becomes difficult to target the top places."
Alonso struggled with understeer on the supersoft tyres early in the race, not helped by the lack of aerodynamic downforce resulting from being stuck in traffic. "When we switched to the softs, the situation improved significantly and, with a clear track, I was able to push as hard as I could, but by then it was difficult to reach the small group that was fighting for the podium."
Alonso put in some dazzling laps during this stage of the race and closed right up on the back of Jenson Button
in fourth place, but that was all that the car had in it - he could push it no further in the few laps remaining. "Hence what I said on the radio: having given my all for twenty laps, but there was no way I could do more with just two laps to go," he explained.
For his part, Felipe Massa
also found the early supersofts a handful and was much happier when he switched to the prime tyres. He explained that his race had been dictated by pit lane necessities.
"At the first pit stop, I rejoined the track behind Rosberg and Button. This was mainly because the team had to keep me on my spot because Michael was coming and also because the other two had pitted before me," he said. "After the second stop, I found myself behind a Toro Rosso
and a Force India
who were fighting amongst themselves and I lost valuable time which allowed Fernando to get ahead of me."