Jul.31 (Inautonews.com/GMM) Felipe Massa on Saturday outqualified his Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso for the first time in 2011.
Spaniard Alonso was quicker than the Brazilian’s sister car in Q1 and Q2, but a hundredth slower than Massa in the grid-decisive Q3 session.
“My teammate drove a nice lap,” Alonso, who will start the race in fifth place immediately behind Massa, said.
Ironically, Alonso may get a better start than Massa, due to fifth place being on the much cleaner side of the dusty Hungaroring venue.
But asked what it means to finally outqualify Alonso, 30-year-old Massa admitted: “I’m pleased, but what counts is to be in front of everyone, and I hope that soon we’ll have qualifications in which we finish the best.”
Still on top of the pecking order is Red Bull, but Alonso thinks the field has closed up on the previously-dominant team in recent weeks.
The RB7 has never failed to secure pole position in 2011.
“It’s like they have a magic button that makes the car a second faster in Q3, but in the race they don’t push it,” joked Alonso to Auto Motor und Sport.
Mark Webber agrees: “When people praise the RB7 it is basically because of our qualifying performance. In fact we had an incredible qualifying performance so far, but we all know that points and trophies are allocated on Sunday,” he told F1’s official website.
In fact, even Red Bull’s qualifying dominance seemed to be in danger earlier this weekend, until the team’s mechanics worked overtime on Friday night.
“We tested some new parts on Friday and then took them off,” confirmed pole sitter Vettel.
Auto Motor und Sport said the car is now in its Valencia specification, after losing to Ferrari and then McLaren at the subsequent British and German events.
Pirelli’s motor sport director Paul Hembery is predicting about three tyre stops per driver on Sunday.
“We need to have the pitstops perfect,” Alonso told Spanish reporters, “because there will be many, probably four (stops) per car and so some of them will be good and some less good.”
It was raining early on Sunday morning ahead of the GP3 race at the Hungaroring, but the grand prix is expected to be dry.