Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso believes he achieved the maximum out of his F14T racer by qualifying in eighth position for the 53 lap inaugural Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.

The Spaniard ended up over a second behind Lewis Hamilton’s pole-winning Mercedes in the final shootout phase. He was out-qualified by Mercedes, Williams, McLaren and Toro Rosso cars.

“So far here, we have not been competitive, even though the car seems OK and on the set-up front we have changed almost nothing,” Alonso claimed afterwards.

“We can’t single out any particular bad point because we are losing in all the sectors. The truth is just that the cars ahead of us were quicker.

“The grip seems to improve with every lap and on top of that, reducing the pit lane speed to 60 km/h all points to a one-stop strategy,” he continued.

“Even if the Safety Car could mix things up a bit, I think the start and first corner could define the outcome of the race, so we must prepare to tackle the early stages as well as possible.”

Kimi Räikkönen was just six-hundredths of a second slower than Alonso in ninth and was disappointed with the overall result he achieved. Nonetheless, the Finn said he was inspired by the progress the team has made since Friday’s opening session.

“After a difficult Friday, things went better today. The car has improved a lot thanks to a series of changes that worked,” the 2007 World Champion said.

“We can’t claim to have ended up where we would have liked, but compared to the start of the weekend, we have made a step forward and this makes me confident for the race.”

Both Alonso and Räikkönen will be promoted to seventh and eighth on the grid, respectively, as a result of Kevin Magnussen’s five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.

Image via XPB Images

The following two tabs change content below.

Michael Terminello

Journalist at MotorsportM8