After qualifying at the German Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso denied Ferrari’s tactics were a gamble to challenge Red Bull and Mercedes, even though they appeared to be a last minute decision. Both Alonso and Felipe Massa ran the slower medium Pirellis in Q3, which led them to qualify on the forth row of the grid.
Was this a calculated move or a desperate measure, relying on the other teams suffering early tire degradation on the soft options? I’m not so sure and agree with what former World Champion Alonso had to say. Alonso claimed their qualifying pace deficit was now small, and ultimately, they went with their best race strategy.
Although Ferrari did look slower in practice and the early part of qualifying, they did manage to find some good pace later on. Maybe they are confident in their race set-up and feel they can hang on using the harder compounds? Although they may lose a few tenths per lap at the start of the race, they’ll have the advantage of pitting a lot later than the cars on softs.
“We are more competitive than we were at Silverstone,” Alonso told Auto Sport, “where we were 1.5 seconds off the pace, in practice and Q1 and Q2. That was not the case today.”
This is where I agree with Alonso and fully understand the team’s choice in tactics:
“So more or less as expected, we knew with the soft maybe we could qualify fifth or sixth, with the medium seventh or eighth. And in terms of strategies, it is not clear which will be best. Tomorrow we’ll find out.”
Ferrari are always better in race trim and whilst Alonso may have lost a few spots on the grid going for the medium compound tire, are benefiting from a later stop outweighs the option of going for the softs.
Was this a calculated move or a panicked last ditch attempt in ‘spring-boarding’ the scarlet stallions ahead during the pit stop windows?