The Italian Grand Prix is meant to be Ferrari’s showcase event of the season, given that it enjoys tremendous support from the loyal ‘Tifosi’ fan club that packs out the grandstands, turning them a shade of Maranello red.
However, during qualifying at Monza today, they had very little to shout about as Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen both struggled to make much of an impact.
Alonso was the lead car once again for the Italian marque, qualifying in seventh place in front of the home crowd. He was the leading driver not to be using a Mercedes power unit, which is proving to be particularly potent at this high-speed circuit where straight line speed is king.
Raikkonen, on the other hand, was less impressive. For the fourth time in five races, the Finn dropped out in Q2 after failing to finishing inside the top ten. On his final lap, he made a mistake at the second chicane, causing him to lose some time. This allowed Daniil Kvyat and Sergio Perez to improve, pushing him into the dropzone and out of qualifying.
However, the Finn was not too downbeat about the result given the pace of the Mercedes-powered cars ahead.
“I think obviously today, qualifying was not very good for me,” Raikkonen said. “But overall, the weekend has been maybe a bit better than we expected. We knew that qualifying would be difficult compared to some of the Mercedes people.
“It was a bit disappointing to fall out, but it’s another day tomorrow. I had a good long run. I believe we can be much better in the race, but obviously here against the Mercedes-engined cars, it will be difficult. We’ll do the maximum we can.”
Raikkonen will make up one place on the grid tomorrow by virtue of Daniil Kvyat’s grid penalty.
Ferrari will be hoping to bounce back in the race tomorrow, but given that nearest-rivals Williams start from third and fourth place on the grid, the team may struggle to retain third place in the constructors’ championship.