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.