| MONTREAL, June 9
MONTREAL, June 9 Fast-improving Ferrari showed
they were truly back in the hunt in Canada on Saturday with
Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa reeling off the team's best
qualifying performance of the season.
Championship leader Alonso will start Sunday's race from
third place while Massa, who struggled in the early races,
After starting the championship with a car panned as one of
the team's ugliest, and that looked further than ever from
securing Ferrari's first pole since 2010, the red racers are
looking much prettier.
"We can be pleased with our qualifying session, the best out
of the seven so far this season with both our drivers in the top
three rows on the grid," enthused team principal Stefano
Domenicali at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
"We are back to being in the hunt for the pole and that is
the most important fact.
"(That is) all the more encouraging, when one considers that
this track actually highlights the very qualities that to date
had been our weakest points, in other words traction and top
speed," he added.
"It means all our efforts to improve the performance of our
car are bearing fruit."
When the 2012 car was unveiled, the dramatic broken nose was
jarring to Ferrari purists who would rather admire something
stylish and smooth.
The initial performance, despite Alonso's against-the-odds
win in Malaysia in March, did not make it any more attractive
but Ferrari have turned things around.
They have also been helped by a wildly unpredictable season
that has thrown up six different winners in six races and
rewarded consistency over outright speed.
Alonso now has 76 points, three more than Red Bull's
Sebastian Vettel who will start Sunday's race from pole for the
second consecutive year.
"I am happy with way things have gone so far this weekend,
especially because the car has proved to be competitive even on
a track which certainly does not suit its characteristics," said
Alonso, the 2005 and 2006 world champion with Renault.
"I well remember where we were in Australia (season opener)
and if today we are in a fight for the pole, it signifies we
have done a good job over the past few months especially as the
others have not exactly been twiddling their thumbs."
Despite the progress, Alonso was quick to point out that
there was still much work ahead.
"We must not forget that today there were two drivers that
were quicker than us therefore there is still some ground to
make up," said Alonso. "Third on the grid is a good position
from which to attack in the race especially as pole is not so
It is eight years since Ferrari last won in Montreal, whose
island circuit is named after their late great.
"For sure it would be nice to give all the Canadian Ferrari
fans a nice result on the 30th anniversary year of the death of
Gilles Villeneuve," said Alonso.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Montreal, editing by Alan