Ferrari pilot Fernando Alonso
has predicted that 'everyone' will be out to optimise their cars for qualifying in Hungary, even if this does mean giving up pace for the race.
Alonso was fourth fastest in both practice sessions on Friday in his F138, his best effort at the end of the day, a 1 minutes 21.426 seconds, which left him just 0.009 seconds off Romain Grosjean
in third, and only 0.162 seconds off pace setter, Sebastian Vettel.
With overtaking always difficult at the tight and twisty Hungaroring, however, just like in Monaco, qualifying on Saturday will be the key to a good result and the Scuderia is putting a special focus on it.
“Here, more than at other tracks, starting from the front is extremely important and for this reason I believe that everyone will try and optimise their cars for qualifying, even if it means sacrificing a bit for the race,” Alonso confirmed.
Asked about the opening day in more detail, the Spaniard added: “As usually happens on Friday, today we managed to get an idea of what sort of pace we should see in Sunday's race. Conditions look like being reasonably stable over the whole weekend and this will help in analysing the times and strategies of the other teams, in order to understand exactly where we are.
“The type of tyre has not changed, so we can count on last year's experience and apart from that, they are the same for everyone. To gain an advantage over our rivals, it helps to understand them as well and as quickly as possible.”
Felipe Massa meanwhile was only 15th in FP1 this morning, however, this afternoon he improved and vaulted his way up to fifth, only 0.118 seconds off his team-mate.
“All went well today and we tested everything on the programme, with the car seeming reasonably competitive,” the Brazilian commented. “Even the long runs produced positive results and that is a very important factor for the rest of the weekend. Now we must decide which of the solutions we tried can be used for qualifying and the race.”
“On this track, it's really important to start as far up the order as possible and we will do all we can to be in the game,” he added, echoing the thoughts of Alonso.
“On Sunday, it will be difficult for everyone, as overtaking is almost impossible here and on top of that, they are predicting very high temperatures, which is a factor that needs to be given plenty of consideration when it comes to getting the maximum out of our car.”