Alonso blames traffic for losing first and second places (Ferrari race review)

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Button caught and passed Alonso in traffic late in the race

Ferrari’s criticism of the new teams took a twist at the Canadian Grand Prix when Fernando Alonso blamed backmarkers for losing him the race.

But Felipe Massa took advantage of the lapped cars to pull off one of the best passes of the race. It proved one of few highlights in a frustrating race for Massa.

Felipe MassaFernando Alonso
Qualifying position63
Qualifying time comparison (Q3)1’15.688 (+0.253)1’15.435
Race position153
Average race lap1’22.550 (+1.941)1’20.610
Pit stops42

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Felipe Massa

The collision between Massa and Vitantonio Liuzzi on the first lap was ultimately a racing incident which both of them could have done more to avoid.

Massa had to pit with a broken front wing but was at least spared having to use the super-soft tyres again having started on them.

The highlight of his comeback drive was a gutsy dive past the other Force India of Adrian Sutil, who took his time passing Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus.

But a potential eighth-placed finish was lost when he collided with Michael Schumacher late in the race, knocking his front wing off a second time. “This was a horrible race,” was his verdict afterwards.

Compare Felipe Massa’s form against his team mate in 2010

Fernando Alonso

With the F10 looking far stronger this weekend than it had two weeks ago Alonso lined up third on the grid, promoted one place by Webber’s demotion.

He mirrored Lewis Hamilton’s opening stint on the super-soft tyres, pitting on the same lap as the McLaren driver and coming out ahead thanks to some speedy Ferrari pit-work.

But an attempt to pass new leader Sebastien Buemi around the outside of L’Epingle left Alonso vulnerable to a Hamilton counter-attack and a chance to take the lead was lost.

At the second round of pit stops Alonso was poised to get back ahead of Hamilton but he lost time behind Trulli’s Lotus and came out behind the McLaren once again.

He caught Hamilton and put him under pressure but when Hamilton got past Mark Webber at the start of lap 49, Alonso spent the rest of that lap stuck behind the Red Bull until Webber pitted. He never got that close to Hamilton again.

His concern now was an advancing Jenson Button in third place. Alonso was 1.2 seconds clear as he began lap 55 but caught Chandhok at turns six and seven, allowing Button a clean run at him and through into second place.

Afterwards Alonso counted the points lost:

We overtook [Hamilton] thanks to a fantastic pit stop from our guys in the pit lane and then we lost the position with some traffic and then we lost the position with traffic again with a Hispania in front in the last laps of the race with Jenson. In both of those cases we lost 10 points from 25 to 15 but we are still there in the championship.
Fernando Alonso

Compare Fernando Alonso’s form against his team mate in 2010

2010 Canadian Grand Prix

    Browse all 2010 Canadian Grand Prix articles

    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    85 comments on “Alonso blames traffic for losing first and second places (Ferrari race review)”

    1. Hmmm, is this different traffic to what the other drivers came across? Can’t say I saw it at the time. Poor little Alonso…

      1. It deppends where you catch up the slower cars. Alonso obvioulsey lapped them at the worst possible place… Cant say what happend with Button but when Lewis got in on second pitstop Alonso would’ve maid 2 great laps and came out infront of Lewis if it wasnt for the Truli i think who didnt yield at the best place… that eventualy worsent Fernandos lap time by 2.5 seconds on his pit in lap.

        1. [quote]It deppends where you catch up the slower cars. Alonso obvioulsey lapped them at the worst possible place…[/quote]
          Or maybe he just made a complete hash of passing the backmarkers at the worst possible place.

      2. I definitely think Alonso has the right to bemoan the traffic. He DID lose 2 places as a result.

        Gotta admire that he acknowledged that it’s a luck issue and it either works for or against you. I don’t think he was complaining – rather, he was stating facts.

        I’m not a Alonso or Hamilton fan.

        1. Funny, in other forms of racing there’s none of those convenient blue flags to push lapped cars aside and you have to deal with traffic through your own merit. If a driver can’t deal with traffic when they’ve already got the cars being told to move aside, then I have no pity for thm.

          1. I agree 100%.
            In this particular case, the driver BEHIND Alonso was able to handle the slower cars AND the Ferrari, so please no excuses.

        2. I also think, he has a right to bemoan traffic. He was pretty unlucky to get behind them at the points of the track where he did. Those were desicive moments for his race turning from great to not bad.

          But it is not right to blame any of those cars and not even right to say it is something unfair. It is the same as having technical problems, those are unfortunate and can screw a race, but thats part of the race.

          Everybody had the possibility of traffic and had to deal with it. Some were lucky, some made great choices how to go throug, and some had bad luck or made mistakes (see Sutil passed by Massa)

          1. Well said Bas, I agree.

        3. What is not to be admired is naming a particular driver for his problem to overtake, unless it becomes the norm for drivers to name drivers who assist the pass….Webber lost a lot of time to backmarkers, but he just gets on with it…

        4. Of course he was complaining — he blamed losing 2 places on the backmarkers.

      3. LOL,That’s a good on.what did u expect,he’s a crying baby.

        1. these comments are so stupid; he was very composed after the race. he could have whinged a great deal: he was unlucky in that he got held up at the wrong moments.
          i think on balance he deserved 2nd place on the basis that hamilton made more ‘moves’ and was more assertive generally. losing 2nd to Button was absolutely bad luck.

          1. Totally correct. Alonso was unlucky, but losing 2nd place to Hamilton when they were behind Buemi was not ‘unlucky,’ so I think second overall would have been a fair result – not behind Button.

      4. I agree but poor Luca seems to think Ferrari is once again special and these back markers are not respectful of that.
        LH and JB had the same issues and LH had more pit stops. That would suggest that McLaren is better tactically and Alonzo did after all come out of 2 behind the slower car so JB had a shot on the outside. Maybe Luca should review the tapes. Driver error cost them 2nd for sure although he may never have gotten by Lewis. Whinning from a bunch who cannot stand to be sucking the hind mammary gland these days.

    2. Like he said. In Australia the trafic helped him, here it made him loose 2 places… it evens out on the long run.

      1. Its always a distraction when you have Hamilton pushing you and slow cars infront of you stopping to get your proper exit out of the corner

      2. In Australia he wasn’t giving credit to backmarkers though.

    3. Smeh, in China his jump start and resulting penalty was neutralised by a quirk of fate. Like he says, it goes both ways.

      1. Thats true, he seems to be filosofic about it. Bad luck / good luck, nice to have but not something to blame anyone for.

        I like that.

    4. Wow such whining from a world champion race driver, hence racing equals passing not cars pulling out of your way.

    5. Uhm, the “traffic” that “caused” you to lose a place to Hamilton was then race leader Buemi who had every right to be a pain in the backside. You simply should have been smarter.

      1. I think his press conference comments quoted were about the HRT, don’t think he said anything about Buemi.

        1. “At the second round of pit stops Alonso was poised to get back ahead of Hamilton but he lost time behind Chandhok’s HRT and came out behind the McLaren once again.”

          I’m certain it was a Lotus, and GP update reports it was Jarno Trulli.

          As for the incidents themselves I am absolutely certain they cost Alonso the race. He had done everything right before the second round of pit stops as he’d preserved his tyres, and when Hamilton pitted he set two purple laps. But then he came across the above mentioned Lotus costing him an enormous amount of time and the lead of the race.

          Hamilton was also blocked quite badly in the race only a couple of laps before when I think it was Virgin, nearly allowed Alonso to pass untill Lewis dived into the pits. To pretend that Alonso is somehow especially bad at lapping cars as some have suggested is utter nonsense when the same thing happened to Hamilton. If a backmarker is blocking you there’s not much you can do.

          1. Yep it was the Lotus – have changed that in the article.

          2. I think he was disappointed because he knew he could have won with a bit more good fortune. It is important to note, for Ferrari and him, that this time he did have the pace to do it.

            However, because they cannot be sure to have this pace at many other races, it makes it even more frustrating for them to not be able to make it stick.

            I do still think the top teams/drivers need to take those backmarkers more seriously, and consider them a part of the race, not just an obstacle (as said in the article, they are also an opportunity). I think they have become a bit too reliant on those blue flags. Without them, they would have to think of them more.

      2. Thats simply wasnt the problem… thats because later Fernando cought and practicly overtook Lewis when Lewis pited for the 2nd time… at that time Fernando stayed 2 more fast laps which would put him probably back in the 1st place infront of Lewis if it wasnt for the slower car which Fernando cought in turn 6 and 7 where is imposible to overtake and then you loose all the momentum for the relativly long straight. In the same spot he lost place to Button later on..

        1. So you are basically saying if Alonso had been in a different race at a different time he most definitely would have won!

          Maybe, but he wasn’t. The traffic was there for all and throughout the whole race. I’m not denying it could have fallen better/worse for HAM/ALO/BUT/WEB/VET (etc.) It was just there and dealt with better by some/not by others.

          The race winning move was Lewis getting by Webber at the decisive moment. Where was Alonso for the rest of that lap?

          1. Again… Lewis got lucky to overtake Mark on the straight, whereas Fernando had to wait till the end long straigt… your not being objectiv on this… sorry…

    6. Alonso’s times in each of the three sectors were significantly slower than the mclarens’… and Button out raced him in the Chandok situation. GREAT MOVE JENSON

    7. maestrointhesky
      15th June 2010, 0:33

      I think that dealing with traffic is part of a drivers ability i.e. if you’re seeing a back marker, then it’s up to the approaching driver to control the race pace in such a way that he arrives at a passing point in which enables a clean pass without losing a position to the following car. I noticed when Hamilton came out after the second pit stop there was a lot of traffic he had to negotiate before he reached Webber and you could see he put a gap between himself and Alonso before he arrived at the first car to diminish the threat of getting passed. To be fair to Alonso though, I think he was on the limit of the car’s pace so he perhaps didn’t have that option.

      Did anyone else notice the embrace between Alonso and Hamilton just before the podium parade? I think they’ve now developed a genuine respect for each other now they are in separate teams. Shame they couldn’t do it within McLaren as I think that they are ultimately the best two drivers in the grid!

      1. Well put, also about Alonso/Hamilton respect. Maybe the won’t say it out loud, but they both have probably realized by now that “giving your team mate space” also applies to letting them shine if they can, and getting them the next time, if you want to stay in the race for WDC AND WCC.

      2. Canada is the type of race track where its almost impossible to overtake a lapped car at certain parts of the track. If his ability was great enough, maybe he could have used his mind to lift his car into the air and then fly ahead of the lapped car.

        Other than that, its simply bad luck to have to have come up to back markers on that lap and in that spot.

        1. Well said.

          Probably everyone is talking about first bad move of Fernando when he tryed to overtake Buemi… but that wasnt the decisive moment in the race. Trafic right before his second pitstop and slow HRT when Button passed him in the same spot on the other hand was. Bad luck…

    8. Keith, looks like you have ‘qualifying position = 6’ for both drivers in the table above. :(

      1. Fixed – ta!

        1. …and they say one man can’t make a difference.

          Thanks Keith :)

    9. The chart say’s both Massa and Alonso qualified in sixth place. Surely thats not right? Or am I missing something? (like, say, a brain that actually works)

    10. Yes Alonso lost out to traffic, but I think too many people are dismissing the error completely of his own that in my opinion lost him the race. He put himself on the outside into the hairpin which was a position he should never have been in. It was this that lost hime the place to Hamilton and without being stuck behind Lewis he could have built up a gap and we may have seen a completely different story.

      1. maestrointhesky
        15th June 2010, 1:40

        Totally agree! Alonso showed no respect for Buemi when he arrived at the hairpin arriving in such a way that implied he could just drive around the outside. Hamilton actually got into the position Alonso should have occupied which meant he had the tow from both Alonso and then Buemi which allowed him to make the pass. Ironically, had Alonso followed Buemi down the pit straight, he would have had his tow all the way down the pit straight and gained the lead from Buemi when he pitted.

        1. Agree with that too. Running into Jarno after Hamilton pitted was bad luck but diving around the outside of the hairpin with a fast Mclaren behinnd you was a mistake. Although as was said before though Alonso only complained about Jarno and Chandhok. Think he kknew it was his fault he lost out to Hamilton. Great to see them both taking chunks out of each other again. Both such good drivers.

          1. Great to see them both taking chunks out of each other again. Both such good drivers.

            Hear, hear.

          2. Yes, because Buemis error wasnt in the end decisive error, it was not compliting perfect scond pitin lap and Button overtaking in the same spot at turn 6 and 7… so i still dont get it why are you saying he lost a race on his own fault which looking the whole race objectivly isnt nearly the case

            1. Sorry I’ve no idea what you mean.

            2. Hahaha… no idea what i mean… your problem then…

            3. no seriously… that doesn’t make any sense.

    11. Hamilton had the quickest car for sure in each sector so there would have been no gap between him and alonso.

      In the chandok situation alonso was in the middle of the track and button got a better line to the side allowing for a quick pass through the turn

    12. No, he meant Buemi in the first line when talking of “traffic.” Buemi should be aggrieved at this terrible slight. Anyway, his move on Buemi was kind of amateur. Did he really think he was going to around the outside of the STR at the hairpin without letting Hamilton gobble them both up on the next straight? He’s a brilliant racer but he is a little scruffy this year at times.

      1. How so? He was once impeded when setting fast laps after Hamilton pitted. The other time he was held up and Button went past him.

        Those two incidents were with backmarkers.

        1. maestrointhesky
          15th June 2010, 12:45

          I reckon the McLaren team saw that coming, hence the earlier than expected 2nd pit stop. They left Alonso out knowing he would reach traffic that would prevent him setting purple sectors, hence Hamilton would regain the lead with ease!

      2. I agree. When it came to overtaking Buemi, Alonso tried to overtake him on a very difficult part of the track, and he would have been better off just following a defensive line against Hamilton. However, Chandok and Trulli did make him lose a lot of time, and there was nothing much he could have done about them.

        As an Alonso fan, its hard to see him lose his mental composure and make mistakes. Its amazing how in 2005-2006 he was driving incredibly composed races no matter how much pressure he was under, however, this year it seems like he is not handling the pressure all that well.

        1. Roger Carballo AKA Archtrion
          15th June 2010, 9:07

          That’s what happens when you need to overdrive above the limits of the car, just to be on the edge of the competition. The nearer you are to the edge, the more prone to error you are. As simple as that.

        2. Its amazing how in 2005-2006 he was driving incredibly composed races no matter how much pressure he was under, however, this year it seems like he is not handling the pressure all that well.

          That’s what I was expecting from him this year – a return to the old Alonso.

          1. Maybe this is one reason he hugged Hamilton. He might now be really sorry that he has not stayed at McLaren. He could have won 2007, and possibly 2008. And this year he can see that Ferrari is struggling in keeping up development, so maybe he secretly envies Button for going to McLaren.

            Even though being part of Ferrari feels good, a clearly winning car is better.

            1. with ron dennis gone i think Alonso could of had a good couple of years at mclaren after 2007. he would have accepted that Hamilton is just as fast as he is and carried on.
              don’t forget he had no problem with HAM as a person but with how the team handled him. that tension would have gone after 2007.

            2. Alonso is the equivalent of a social climber in F1.He is an aggressive but good driver,and it is a shame he did not stay with McClaren,but I suppose he thought the Ferrari clothes would look better!!:)

        3. And how could Fernando possibly follow a defensive line behinde much much slower Buemi, in that case Lewis would overtake Fernando even sooner… so in the end he had to try to attack, the only shame for him was that Buemi took the inner side, and Fernando was still to slow to completly ovetake Buemi… so in the end he had to go round the outside.

          1. By not leaving the inside open. There is better traction off the corner if you keep to the inside. He should have forced Hamilton to take to the outside to overtake him.

      3. I think the Buemi move was almost as costly, but it was for position even I’m not going to blame him for trying to hold onto the lead! I do think though it was always going to be pretty difficult for Alonso to get that made him vulnerable to Hamilton. In hindsight maybe he could have tried a different line into that hairpin, but thats racing.

    13. Shame that he got caught twice in traffic as it would have been a fantastic spectacle for the end of the race to see him fight off both the faster McLarens

    14. “But Felipe Massa took advantage of the lapped cars to pull off one of the best passes of the race.”

      Really? A highlight for us, or a highlight for him? I supposed when you’ve been trying and failing to pass anything all season, and similarly trying and failing to pass anything for most of 70 laps of this race, to finally take advantage of another cars problem with a back marker could just about be considered “one of the best passes of the race” when judged subjectively only on Massa’s own form to date.

      1. I thought it was a brilliant, opportunistic pass, the best of the race and one of the best of the season.

      2. It was a fantastic move, and one of the best moments of the race. In any case, Massa went from last to 8º (until the mess with Schumacher) so it is not true that he failed to pass anything for most of 70 laps.

    15. Long.Beach.wants.F1
      15th June 2010, 5:53

      Backmarkers or not, it’s your responsibility to stay ahead of the guy behind you. Wasn’t that the same exact spot that Alonso ran into trouble getting past Trulli earlier? Why not defend better instead of whining?!

    16. Lewis also complaind bout da backmarkers afew races ago.but I do think alonsa is a big baby he expects ppl while fytn with him for position to just give way bcos its alonso behind them…then he blames traffic and then when bits his fault for meesn it up he say “we” this and “we” should b “I” this and “I” that.for a double champion his character is as thin as the surface of water in a glass.he complained when lewis a riookie was beating him.he whines.he is worse than my wife on pms!

    17. Why do people think Alonso is whining? He’s just stating the facts and is being pretty grounded about the whole thing.

      Yes, attempting to overtake Buemi in that way was a mistake but coming across traffic in an unfortunate place twice at critical moments in the race is a bit unlucky. On the other hand he’s had luck at other races and on the face of it, third place in that Ferrari is at least two places higher than where it should be at the moment.

      1. Buemi wasn’t lapped traffic though – I don’t think that’s what Alonso was referring to.

        1. I hope not. He did seem to underestimate Buemi, which cost him the lead as Hamilton profited.

          But he did lose time with Trulli (?) and Chandok, definitely. Maybe he could have handled them better, maybe they could have done better to let him past. Anyway, I think talking about them was just part of analyzing where he lost the win and 2nd place, after gaining it in the pits.

          He seems to me to be constantly analyzing his position, and chances, and here he knows he had good chances, but could not make them work for him, thus his disappointment with a podium.

          1. I was responding/agreeing to the general view of commenters in how he dealt with Buemi, rather that misinterpreting Alonso’s words.

    18. He has been unlucky in Canada, particularly when you think of his disastrous 2007 race there. Or is he just slightly behind the best drivers in terms of raw talent when it matters ?

    19. It was just unlucky to meet them when he did. But are they to ‘blame…’ I don’t think so.

      Dan Thorn is correct though, Alonso hasn’t really moaned that much. In fact, he was rather more upbeat generally this weekend.

    20. I´m sure Lou will step up to the microphone soon for a rant about this

    21. Alonso’s comments where quite factual of how he lost his places. There wasn’t any whining in his analogy rather complimentary on the improvement of the car. As he said he was racing for the win and it was a huge improvement over Turkey. There isn’t a driver that doesn’t comment about why they have placed where they did whether its the grip or lack of it, a pit stop error, and in this case a bit of traffic.

    22. I like how everyone takes alonsos words and puts them out of context. You know what, for how crappy the ferrari level of performance has been yes it totally does suck that the team had a shot at winning and due to backmarkers the win was blown (ok, alonso screwed up in mishandling the backmarkers) but he was probably aware mclaren was quicker anyway, so he figured try to take a risk and it might pay off, as lewis was catching up anyway. I wouldn’t call him a crybaby (I reckon many of you would be crying if it was lh or jb) but just consider how many times this guy has had misfortune this year, hitting the wall in monaco and not qualifying, jumping the start, having to battle back several times, then having no pace the following two rounds, and then he’s presented with a chance to beat the two mclarens that clearly were quicker and losing because of traffic, yeah I’d be mad too.

      1. I dont think I’d call hitting the wall at monaco and jumping the start as misfortunes. They were both mistakes completely of his own doing. He’s not had any more misfortune than anyone else.

    23. LOL Alonso is more used to BEING the traffic than dealing with it.

    24. I have to complement Keith for this article because in the live blog maybe you thought Alonso was whingeing or whatever but this is a very fair article leaving people to draw their own conclusions. Proff that one can have an opinion on the sport but step away and be balanced which is why I love the articles on this site.

      It should be a skill to get around backmarkers and Alonso made a mistake. However, with the rules being blue flags meaning effectively ‘get outta the way now’ I couldn’t helpd but be annoyed that they were an issue. It’s not a rule I agree with at all as I think getting ahead of backmarkers should be challening but the way the rules are I wasn’t that impressed.

      1. I am with you here Steph. I also like the way the articles written by Keith offer a second thought and taking a step back before writing it down (for expample, I think Brundle should do good to tone down the critique of Schumi after the race instead of increasing it).

        Alonso made mistakes, but he was driving around pretty god. The Blue flags were an issue, i have read (a Dutch site) that Sutil was certainly unimpressed with Vettel coming to him after the race complaining.
        Sutil stated that firstly he did not readily recognize Vettel, the car being very much like a STR car and being in a tough fight with several cars there, and having been shown blue flags for half a lap before, when he was actually racing someone.
        Seems the Canadian stewards have to improve a bit here.

    25. I really do not understand all the talk of him missing out through backmarkers. Teflonso simply did not have the car to win!! Even if he had passed LH on his second pit, how come Button came close to him and subsequently overtook him? Talk less of LH who had more pace to spare. He should stop apportioning blames and get on with the job!

      BTW, where is the 6/10 he prominently brought to McLaren?

    26. Typical Alonso, always making excuses. timing your pitstop to avoid traffic is an essential part of strategy, and Ferrari and Alonso failed. Alonso had the chance to finish 2nd later on in the race, but he carelessly let Button through when they hit traffic. I thought he had a poor weekend and did not deserve to finish 1st or 2nd.

    27. When is it that standing on the podium is a poor weekend. Started 3rd on the grid and ended 3rd. Pretty good result. Button was the highest achiever considering his grid position. All three podium finishers deserved their places.

    28. It seems to me that I am the only one that can’t stand anymore Alonso complaining about this and that, waving the hand at other drivers, complaining about this and that… And showing a fist to slower drivers…
      The guy is seriously fast and a two-times world champion, but, hey, gave us a break, man.

      1. I mean “give” us a break, please…

    29. As much as I like you, Alonso – S*** happens.

    30. Massa was not that hot this race. It took him one year to get through the Force Indias at one point. Schumacher did it with a worse car on a single lap.

    31. Clearly the Mercedes motor of the Force India’s were much stronger after l’epingle so it was difficult for Massa.

      Ferrari just had bad luck in this race. Alonso lost 10 points, Massa would have ended up 5th easily.

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