Despite 799 Grand Prixs worth of past experience, Grand Prix number 800 is proving to be one to forget for the Ferrari team, with the red cars enduring a wretched time in qualifying thanks to an 8th place result for Felipe Massa and a shock Q2 elimination for team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Team boss Stefano Domenicali was quick to admit that the result achieved was hardly up to scratch on such a significant weekend, describing the result as “not up to our standard”.
Despite Massa having achieved a treble of pole positions and race wins with Ferrari at Istanbul between 2006-8, the Brazilian would be at long odds to make a fourth Turkish victory come to fruition this year, in spite of seemingly holding a mortgage on this place in times past.
"We were slower than our main rivals, so we will have to work very hard to get back to fighting for the top places and there can be no doubt about that," a rueful Massa said afterwards.
"Even if this is a track I like very much, today I could not do any better than eighth place. The team and I cannot be pleased about it but we have to react calmly and analyse the reasons that have led to this situation. Now we will concentrate on tomorrow’s race; it will be tough but we will try and do our very best."
Team-mate Alonso was at a loss to explain his lack of qualifying pace and his shock elimination from the running in Q2. It was believed that a brake lock-up on his penultimate hot-lap caused the loss in time, but Fernando was quick to dismiss that as the reason.
"Saturdays have not been one of my strongest points," the Spaniard said to the journalists after he was knocked out of further participation in qualifying.
"I’m still very calm and tomorrow we need to take as many points as we can. With the difference of just two or three tenths, you can be third or 12th – we were unfortunately 12th today, so we need to improve tomorrow.
"I pushed very hard on one lap but was slower on my next lap – I don’t think that moment cost me getting into Q3."
[Original image via GP Update]