Alonso pleased with fourth and new Ferrari upgrades

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Fernando Alonso is pleased to have qualified fourth for the Austrian Grand Prix after benefitting from Mercedes’ problems during the qualifying session today.

Lewis Hamilton made a mistake on both of his hot laps in Q3, meaning that he will start the race down in ninth place. Alonso was just one of the drivers to make the most of his demise, qualifying in fourth place.

The result is in fact Alonso’s best dry qualifying result of the season, having also qualified fourth during the wet session ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Despite the result, Alonso is aware that Ferrari is not normally running in fourth place at the moment, but he is very pleased with the upgrades on his F14 T car.

“Definitely it was not a normal qualifying, of which we took advantage,” he explained. “It is not normal to see Hamilton behind us or Mercedes.

“Definitely the new parts that we ran in Canada and here, they seem to work fine. In Canada, the track or layout or whatever was not good for us, so we didn’t to have a good race, but the new parts were better than the old ones.

“Here, again, we tested some more. They seem mostly positive, so hopefully we’re moving in the right direction. We know that there’s still a long way to go.”

Given Mercedes’ pace during practice, Alonso knows that, under normal conditions, he will struggle to beat both Hamilton and Nico Rosberg during the race tomorrow.

“We were 1.1 seconds behind the Mercedes this morning in practice. Now we have one Mercedes ahead and one Mercedes behind, so I don’t think that everybody used their full potential.”

The biggest beneficiary from Hamilton’s mistake was Felipe Massa, Alonso’s former teammate, who secured his first pole position since the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring today.

Ferrari junior Ilott victorious in Macau F3 qualification race

Theodore Racing
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Ferrari Driver Academy member Callum Ilott will start the 64th Macau Grand Prix from pole position after beating his Formula 3 rivals to victory in Saturday’s qualification race.

Ilott, 19, started third on the grid on Saturday behind pole-sitter Joel Eriksson and McLaren junior Lando Norris, but made a good start to rise to second early on.

Ilott hounded Eriksson for position for much of the race before battling past at Mandarin on Lap 7 as his Swedish rival struggled to keep his tires alive.

With Eriksson unable to respond, Ilott ultimately crossed the line more than seven seconds clear to take his first Macau win and secure pole for Sunday’s main event.

“We started quite strong as I got up to second from third which was not too bad. Then in the middle part of the race I had a good pace and I got past Joel for P1,” Ilott said.

“After that I managed to pull away. It was a good race, even quite relaxing at the end. I’m really happy for the result. Thank you SJM Theodore Racing by Prema, they did a great job and it should be good for tomorrow too.”

Eriksson held on to second ahead of Sergio Sette Camara, who completed the podium ahead of Maximilian Günther in P4.

Ferdinand Habsburg finished fifth ahead of Pedro Piquet, while Norris was left to settle for a lowly P7 after a clutch issue off the line caused him to drop down the order.

You can see full results from the Macau F3 qualifying race here.