Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso has laughed off all concerns over his qualifying form, despite having been outqualified by teammate Felipe Massa in four consecutive races.
“I haven’t slept since Australia,” Alonso joked in an interview. “I’m only eating white rice. I’m losing my hair. A huge drama!
“After 200 races, it’s very surprising that two qualifying sessions matter so much. I’m pleased that it’s so important, because it means that when I finish ahead of him [Massa] it will mean I have done an stratospheric lap.”
Alonso’s qualifying form was generally regarded as the weak link in his 2012 championship charge, claiming just two pole positions. However, he preferred to focus on Massa’s good form instead of making a direct comparison.
“He’s doing a fantastic job. It’s true that for these calculations you are using strange numbers, with races from last year, races from this year.
“In Australia qualifying was with dry tires on a wet track, in Malaysia we qualified with inters on a dry track, so I don’t think they were completely normal tracks.”
The Spanish driver also undermined the importance of qualifying, claiming that the unpredictable Pirelli tires made a good starting position less important.
“There were years when it was vital to start from the first row or from pole position, but since Pirelli arrived qualifying has become less and less important.
“In the first two races of the season Kimi [Raikkonen] won pretty easily in Australia starting from seventh and anyone could have won in Malaysia. But there is a tendency for qualifying to become less important.”
Quite whether Ferrari share this sentiment is unclear. At last year’s United States Grand Prix, Felipe Massa took a grid penalty in order to elevate Alonso one place up the grid, suggesting that there is still value in a good qualifying position.