Spa-Francorchamps, 23 August – The two Ferrari F14 Ts will start tomorrow’s twelfth round of the World Championship from the second and fourth rows of the grid and fourth placed Fernando Alonso admitted that the rain which, almost inevitably affected qualifying, helped him today. The Spaniard was pleased with his performance and so he should be, because his lap time was only fractionally slower than third placed Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull.
However, looking at the bigger picture, the two Mercedes were once again in a class of their own and, with the very long lap here, their advantage looks even bigger than elsewhere. Pole man Nico Rosberg put in a lap over 2 seconds faster than Vettel, with second placed Lewis Hamilton just under three tenths slower than his team-mate.
On paper therefore, especially as the race should more than likely be run in the dry, one could expect the silver cars to clear off into the distance. However, this is Spa and anything can and usually does happen. Add in Fernando’s fierce determination and his reputation for breathtaking opening laps and there is a good chance the Ferrari fans in the forests will have something to cheer about, come the end of the 44 laps.
The good news on Kimi’s side of the garage is that in this morning’s dry FP3 he was happy with the car. This afternoon, but for a few little driving mistakes, possibly the lingering effect of not having a trouble-free Friday, he might have been higher up the order than eighth. The two Prancing Horse runners are separated on the grid by three different cars; the Red Bull of fifth placed Daniel Ricciardo, the Williams of Valtteri Bottas and the McLaren of Kevin Magnussen.