Fernando Alonso says he was surprised his Ferrari Formula 1 team was so strong during qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix.
The Spaniard had been quickest in the first and third practice sessions, and then followed team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in a Ferrari 1-2 in Q1.
Alonso ended up qualifying in fifth, but just two tenths behind polesitter Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, in what was one of Ferrari’s strongest showings of the 2014 F1 season.
“It was quite a surprise for us, to be honest,” said Alonso. “Two tenths from pole position is something that we could not imagine yesterday.
“In free practice we normally are competitive, and then in qualy we lose some ground. But it didn’t happen here. In qualy we were competitive also, so that was good news.”
Alonso reckons the lower power demands of the Marina Bay circuit were the main reason for Ferrari’s competitive performance.
“The reasons are not clear. Probably the track characteristics suit our car a little bit better,” he said.
“We know that power effect is quite low here.
“I felt confident in the car from lap one.
“We did one minor set-up change in the car, so the car was quite good from the first lap, which also helps the driver to keep doing laps with similar characteristics and performance.
So a mix of things, but I think on top of those it’s the power effect that in this track helped us a little bit.”
The Ferrari driver said his main goal for the race was a podium finish, as he reckons victory may be unrealistic unless the cars in front hit trouble.
“I think we need to see how the race develops,” Alonso added.
“We’ll see. I think the podium is closer than ever, because the level of competitiveness is quite good this weekend.
“We are competitive and we start in the top five so why not think of the podium? But victory is very optimistic, but we’ll see.”
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