Montreal: Ferrari`s Canadian Grand Prix hopes shone brightly on Saturday, even if the forecast for race day was rain, after their best qualifying performance of the Formula One season.
Spaniard Fernando Alonso and Brazilian Felipe Massa were second and third, sandwiched between the Red Bulls of Formula One champion and pole sitter Sebastian Vettel and his Australian team mate Mark Webber.
"For the first time this year we managed to fight for the very top places on the grid, right down to the final second and for once the gap to pole position was reasonable," said Ferrari team principle Stefano Domenicali.
"It`s our best qualifying of the season and it`s great to have both cars on the front two rows, one of them with a clear view of the track ahead.
"This result is encouraging because it means that our efforts are taking us in the right direction," added the Italian.
Without a win since double world champion Alonso triumphed in South Korea last October, Formula One`s most successful and glamorous team has found itself struggling to satisfy the expectations of a legion of fans.
Wrestling with aerodynamic design issues, problems that saw Aldo Costa removed from the technical director position last month; Ferrari has struggled to keep pace this season.
Alonso finished second in Monaco on May 29 but he was fifth and lapped by Vettel at the previous race in Spain.
The aerodynamics are less critical at the twisting Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, named after the late Ferrari great, and Ferrari made the most of the layout to grab their first front row start since September.
`It`s a long time, since Singapore 2010 that I was last on the front row and I am pleased that Felipe is also right up close to me on the starting grid," said Alonso. "It`s important to show that we can be competitive and we managed it.”
"Clearly, on a track like this, where aerodynamic downforce is not as important as elsewhere, our deficiencies are a bit masked.”
"But it`s equally true that the updates we brought here worked as we had expected and that`s important for the rest of the championship because we want to be fighting for the top places," said the Spaniard.