Alonso: Slide not a surprise
Fernando Alonso has conceded it wasn't a surprise for Ferrari to see their timesheet-topping form of Friday give way to the fourth row in qualifying at the Canadian GP, even if the increase in temperatures in Montreal forced the team to row back on some of their upgrades.
The Scuderia have introduced a number of significant aerodynamic and power unit tweaks onto their underperforming F14 T and the team's pace on Friday, when Alonso topped the P1 times and then both he and Kimi Raikkonen made the top five in P2, suggested that the car was in better shape at the power-hungry circuit.
However, not for the first time in recent seasons, Ferrari slipped backwards when it really mattered in qualifying with Alonso going only seventh quickest and Raikkonen tenth in Q3. Reflecting on another mid-top ten grid position, the Spaniard conceded Ferrari must approach the opening day of track action differently to their competitors given how often the tables turned. Despite only finishing on the podium once this season, Alonso is the only driver other than Lewis Hamilton to top the P1 timesheet in seven grands prix this season.
"On Friday at certain races we have been in the top three - I think it's all Fridays! - so definitely we approach and prepare the race weekend in a different way compared to our competitors," the Spaniard told reporters.
"It seems we are always very competitive on Friday and back to the normal level in Saturday for us. So for us it was not a surprise."
Alonso said he couldn't have got any more out of his final Q3 lap but felt the upgrade package which Ferrari have brought to this weekend has delivered performance and handling improvements.
"I think it was the limit. The lap was very, very good, surprisingly good, and when we crossed the line there were six cars faster than us and they've been faster all throughout qualifying," he said.
"It was a difficult Saturday for us and means we were not fast enough. The new package worked okay, I felt the car better and there were improvements, so I'm happy with those and I know that there are some more things coming in the next races that hopefully put us in a better position."
The Spaniard though revealed that the increase in temperatures at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Saturday had caused overheating problems after they reverted to the older-spec engine cover.
"Some of the parts of the new package that we brought here they ran a little bit too hot, the ambient temperature is high, so today we went back with some of these new parts.
"In the next races it is going to be cooler, Austria and Silverstone, so the improvement will come."
Although Alonso, something of a first-lap specialist, admitted making up many places into Montreal's bottle-neck first corner was "not too easy" he said trying to finish in front of Red Bull, which will start in third and sixth and currently lead Ferrari by 21 points in the Constructors' Championship, was their Sunday target.
"[There is] a surprisingly good Williams here, Red Bull did a good qualifying," he admitted.
"We want to fight for the second place in the constructors'. Red Bull are in front of us, so we'd like to finish in front of them tomorrow if we can."