No matter how you want to look at it, when your top driver refers to the pit wall brain trust as "geniuses" (with heavy irony) things are not, in RonSpeak, optimized for maximum performance.
What happened? Ferrari, unlike anyone else in the field, purposely set out with a strategy to have Alonso get a tow from Massa. It's a risky strategy: it can help but it can also ruin a lap if you get it wrong. In Q3 Massa and Alonso were released so that somehow Ricciardo was between them on their warmup lap and Alonso lost time and contact with Felipe.
Massa slowed and by sector 3 they were in tow but in the meantime Fernando let fly a heavy " should have let him by, you are truly geniuses, c'mon guys" ( c'era da farlo passare, veramente site dei geni. Mamma mia ragazzi).
At the very least a sign that Alonso is not happy about the way things are managed. At worse they are hints of a driver coming a bit undone. Certainly with di Montezemolo and all the Ferrari brass in the pits and having that message go out on the world feed, even if in Italian, will not go over well.
Of course this is only a snippet of conversation and one must ask, exactly who makes the editorial decisions on which radio calls to make public and what might be their motives?
There was no catching Vettel today, the Red Bull was consistently 2 to 3/10th faster in the German's hands. But behind him, P2 to P7 all were within less than 5/10ths.
Ferrari's plan for Alonso did not work out because Massa ended up getting a bit of a tow from Webber, enough to pip Fernando by 1/100th of a second. Massa however will have to start on the "dirty side" behind Webber so it may not be ideal.
There is also a chance of rain which might explain the bad performance in qualifying from Lotus today. Hamilton was held up by Sutil quite clearly in Q2 and did not make the final pole shootout.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m23.755s 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m23.968s +0.213s 3. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m24.065s +0.310s 4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m24.132s +0.377s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m24.142s +0.387s 6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m24.192s +0.437s 7. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m24.209s +0.454s 8. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.502s +0.747s 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.515s +0.760s 10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m28.050s +4.295s Q2 cut-off time: 1m24.776s Gap ** 11. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m24.610s +0.633s 12. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m24.803s +0.826s 13. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m24.848s +0.871s 14. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m24.932s +0.955s 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m25.011s +1.034s 16. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m25.077s +1.100s Q1 cut-off time: 1m25.030s Gap * 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.226s +0.907s 18. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m25.291s +0.972s 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m26.406s +2.087s 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m26.563s +2.244s 21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m27.085s +2.766s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m27.480s +3.161s