Ferrari on form in race after poor qualifying

2011 Malaysian GP race review

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There was gloom at Ferrari after qualifying but their race pace was much better.

Fernando AlonsoFelipe Massa
Qualifying position57
Qualifying time comparison (Q3)1’35.802 (-0.449)1’36.251
Race position65
Pit stops43

Ferrari drivers’ lap times throughout the race:

Fernando Alonso115.143105.931105.505105.57105.898105.085104.948104.912105.18105.325105.775106.296107.215108.8123.818104.128104.478103.511102.602102.739103.121103.012103.042103.36103.496106.769122.365102.633102.406102.572103.273102.868102.726102.184102.384103.566103.147102.993103.017103.399106.315121.352101.81102.04103.721110.259123.135100.737100.717100.933101.406101.207101.374101.999102.094102.789
Felipe Massa114.814105.731105.408105.534105.293104.973104.963104.688105.248105.148105.783107.451110.942131.733106.332104.098103.63103.689103.271103.176103.215103.791103.762103.858104.445104.603107.718121.044102.109102.246102.617102.357102.57102.831103.143103.091103.302105.772121.506102.353101.999102.563102.909103.402102.407102.971102.105102.305103.6105.008102.733103.321103.582102.882103.147103.618
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Sepang, 2011

Fernando Alonso

After finding themselves well off the pace in Melbourne, Ferrari devoted part of practice to running the kind of constant-speed aerodynamic work usually seen in testing.

This attempt to better understand what was going on with their car, at the expense of fine-tuning their Sepang set-up, underlined their concerns about their competitiveness.

Alonso was almost a second slower than Sebastian Vettel in qualifying. But in race trim the 150??? Italia looked much more competitive.

He lost two places at the start, falling to seventh, but gained a position when Vitaly Petrov went off. He was handed another place when team mate Felipe Massa had a slow pit stop.

After his first pit stop Alonso launched an attack on Jenson Button and took third. He then began to close on Lewis Hamilton and led for one lap after Vettel and Hamilton pitted.

Alonso’s attempts to pass Hamilton were frustrated by a faulty Drag Reduction System. While trying to get by Alonso clipped the rear of the McLaren, damaging his front wing. He had to pit for a replacement, dropping him back behind Massa in sixth.

After the race the stewards gave him a 20-second penalty for hitting Hamilton. Given that Alonso was the only driver that suffered in the exchange, this is out of kilter with many past instances of drivers making similar contact and not being punished.

It’s possible the stewards have decided to clamp down on drivers making contact in this fashion. But if they have it’s not been announced, and without that knowledge Alonso’s penalty seems harsh even if it was entirely ineffectual.

Fernando Alonso 2011 form guide

Felipe Massa

For the second race in a row Massa started behind Alonso but ended the first lap of the race in front of him.

Massa started well and picked off Vitaly Petrov for fifth before losing time with a slow pit stop.

He recovered to finish fifth, just a few tenths in front of his team mate, before Alonso took his penalty.

Felipe Massa 2011 form guide

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

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    Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

    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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    49 comments on “Ferrari on form in race after poor qualifying”

    1. Sorry Keith, I don’t mean to complain, but could you make the colour distinction a little bigger still please? I’m going to guess that Alonso’s is a little darker than Massa’s from the legend, but in the graphs I can’t see the difference at all.

    2. The gap between race pace and quali pace is impressive. I’d rather call it ridiculous. It’s confirmed they have competitive race pace so now they have to find out what is problem with one hot lap. even though yesterday’s result was quite disappoingting, F150 is not bad car at all. Early 2 race reminds me Valencia and Silverstone last year. or I hope so. Maybe their biggest proble is not car but slow pit stop. It’s worse than last year.

      Oh, congraturations, Massa! He did quite solid race. I hope he would keep it.

      1. Early 2 race reminds->Early 2 races remind

        English is difficult to Asian lol

        1. The pace has to be with how the car manages or rather fails to manage the tyres over one lap, with no added weight of fuel on board. Tyre management, which they are not bad with over the one race (at least getting warmth into them, not necessarily gentle on them) but in quali they lack it. The set-up must be the same (parc-ferme rules) so the downforce will be more or less exactly the same…

          Oh remember it was alot cooler during the race compared to practice and quali, which according to the BBC commentary (brundle) would have suited Ferrari better…

          1. If Brundle is right, then in China they should be better. We will see…

          2. I don’t think cold weather is that much better for them a lot if you look at Australia.

      2. Indeed he did! Some nice passes and fighting on the track and he finished Ahead of Alonso, which is the most important thing he can do next to winning.

        1. He only finished behind Alonso because Alonso had to make an extra unscheduled stop.

          His team principle will look at the race situation and not just the result.

          1. And indeed Massa was ahead of Alonso before the slow stop.

            1. which he over shot himself. his pace after that was never as good.

              which is a shame. alonso stops were stupidly slow anyway. he twice pulled himself back into play only to lose 2+ seconds at the stops. madness

    3. Dolph Lundgrenade
      11th April 2011, 17:58

      You know there is some bad blood between Alonso and Hamilton, but when I saw Alonso clip that right rear tire I immediately noticed Hamilton pulling right to ensure that it happened. Alonso had to let off because of this…

      I guess Hamilton is more subtle than Schumacher in his tactics, but for all those who say MSC is a dirty driver who has tarnished his career with his antics, I’ve closely watched every incident involving Hamilton since he joined F1 (because I believe he’s got the speed and killer instinct req’d to challenge MSC levels) and I have to say that he is ALWAYS, at some level, at fault in every incident.

      With that said, there are two ways to look at it. 1. He’s just another fast, but dastardly driver or 2. To become a legend like MSC has, one has to have those super win-at-all-costs instincts despite the possible outcome. I like to think the latter; and with that suggestion I propose that MSC haters/Hamilton lovers learn to accept this fact and realize that every time they have pointed a finger at MSC they have, in effect, pointed the same finger at Hamilton. These guys don’t know quit. They don’t relinquish. They don’t know how. They fight to get to the top like a fat person to something deep-fried. …I’m glad they aren’t global corporate CEO’s because the world would, somehow, be in a worse state than it already is in!

      1. I agree, and let’s not forget some of the moves that Senna pulled

      2. I think the comparison with Lewis and MSC’s win at all cost attitude is ridiculous. I’m not a Hamilton fanboy, and yet I can honestly admit that Lewis still hasn’t reached the levels of adelaide 94, jerez 97, monaco 2004 and 06, hungary 10, etc. Sure, Lewis has not had a perfectly clean record, but he still has a long way to got to match MSCs antics.

        1. Let me see, Lying to stewards,
          Weaving on the straights
          Escaping the safety car just before it comes out of pits and ruining another driver’s race
          Crashing into your the title contender from behind in the pits

          He certainly is getting there, good boy Lewis!

          Although I should admit, I didn’t like putting Lewis and Michael in the same line. Michael is thousand times the driver Lewis is.

          Let him win another couple of WDCs before we even start thinking of him as the modern day Schumi. And let us also not forget that Senna wasn’t exactly a saint!

          1. Not the mention all the times he’s sliced rear wheels with his front wing and escaped unharmed himself.

          2. Although I should admit, I didn’t like putting Lewis and Michael in the same line. Michael is thousand times the driver Lewis is.

            Let him win another couple of WDCs before we even start thinking of him as the modern day Schumi. And let us also not forget that Senna wasn’t exactly a saint!

            Exactly same feeling here. Al the time from the start of Lewis he is starting to get some one into the path of Accident. Either in active manner(colliding with one) or playing passive role(just being slow and have some one got stuck his wing and crashed).

            And MS is 1000 times better than LH and LH has to go million miles to reach the level of Shumi.

            As a Ferrari fan i did not like alonso in the days of Ferrari Vs. Renault time or Rikonnen in Ferrari Vs. McLaren time but i did not hate those two driver rather have a lot of respect and fear for them. But for LH i cant say this. In the year he crowned champ he had already clipped massa twice and also more than once with kimi. so LH may be a racer but for earning the respect that we had for MS is another thing in another plannet.

    4. I take it all back. Felipe – everything I’ve said, it was all wrong.

      Sure, Nando was so bored during the race he went on a reconnaissance mission to find out what the new McLaren rear floor looked like, and he took an extra stop because he was missing his mechanics, and he almost gave Lotus fans something to cheer about by letting Heikki overtake him (DRS-assisted or not).

      But, Felipe, none of that matters. Because you beat him on the track. :D

    5. Massa was doing very well, in fact better than his spoilt brat excuse of a team mate, until Ferrari once again messed up a pit stop.

      It’s all very well for Alonso, as always beacon of modesty, to talk about a lost place at the podium. But the one who was on a hot streak was his supposed lieutenant.

      Massa must feel devastated that when he for once was clearly faster than Alonso, his dear friends in the team made sure his first visit to the boxes lasted six extra seconds.

      1. Come on guys, did Felipe managed to fool you? It was a one off, I’m pretty sure next weekend he’ll be his mediocre-self again. It will be better if the race is wet so we could see his entire “talent”.

        1. Alonso had two bad stops but Massa did have a great race.

          Klaas I think that’s a bit harsh if I’m honest but I can understand it as he hasn’t set the world on fire for a while now :P. Massa had been fairly quick all weekend and I tyhink his race was pretty good at Aus too but for his silly late stop. I think this year he’ll be closer to Alonso but it’ll be very difficult for him to beat the Spaniard. It’s still early to say anything “for sure” though (sorry, it’s Massa I had to drop that phrase somewhere).

          1. Actually, if you look at the times of the rest of Ferrari’s stops, Fernando’s were no slower than Felipe’s – despite what it looked like on screen.

          2. I think people can get a bit ridonkulous when Ferrari is mentioned. How I see it, as usual, Alonso was incredibly quick but, unlike the past year, Massa was quick as well.

            Race just worked out in Massa’s favour this time round, I think large conclusions about either driver’s pace is to large a call after two races. But for Ferrari, I think it’s a good sign both drivers achieved the standard Ferrari fans rightly expect.

        2. Nobody’s fooled. Merely commenting, if you would care to read the note properly, on the fact that Massa was faster than Alonso, not only in the results table but more specifically and more obviously so during the first stint (until he was let down by his team in the boxes).

          Unlike Alonso however there was no delusion of grandeur from Massa during the post-race press conference. You may hold your opinion about his talent as a driver, but surely you could at least acknowledge his honourable character. Just compare his behaviour at Ferrari with Alonso’s during the McLaren season, given team orders, suspicious delays in pit stops, and what not.

          1. alonso was right on massa tail before there stops.

            then after pulled away.

            Massa was not quicker than alonso in that race.

            sorry to burst your bubble dude.

            great drivers recover from errors. massa doesnt and didnt.

          2. I don’t know the reason why you are watching F1, but my reason is to see fast drivers win not to see them act like nice guys. Maybe this “delusion” you are talking is the thing that fires up talented drivers to win championships (remember how delusional Alonso was after the British GP last season) while modest guys look for excuses for their failures.

        3. And Alonso has bewitched you … You’re like his idol, talks a lot of s…

        4. Klaas,
          Alonso has bewitched you … You’re like his idol, talks a lot of s…

          1. I think you meant something else, try again, maybe for the third time you’ll get it right. Who is Alonso’s idol?

        5. I should be pointing here that if Ferrari messed up one of Massa’s pitstops they messed up TWO of Alonsos’s, making him lose positions. But it’s no use pointing the obvious to the voluntarily blind.

    6. I agree, with you on Alonso’s penalty, hard to understand why this suddenly goes penalized. They might have given him a reprimand.

      And Ferrari do look to be slowly finding an approach to their car, even if its still a bit off.

      1. Yes, I think the best example of this is Brazil 09. In this case, Lewis cut Barrichello’s tyre, but didn’t get penalised. Here, Fernando damaged his own car and did get penalised.

        I still maintain that it was a fairly reasonable penalty though, as that could have been a big accident, and penalising it should prevent drivers getting too close before moving out again.

      2. Most people agree that the penalties were ridiculous, and I do too. Anyway I think that LH got his as a delayed fruit of his massive weaving in front of Petrov in Sepang last year. And Alonso got it As a compensation, so the steward’s decision would look less one-sided.

        Then of course LH lost a position but FA didn’t. But also FA lost a podium and 3 positions because of the incident, which is itself enough of a penalty, while LH’s car didn’t seem to be harmed.

    7. Hopefully Ferrari can have another character building season. I love listening to them moan.

    8. Was it just me or Massa’s Ferrari stopped at the end of the race and it was put on a truck? Anybody knows the reason for that??

      1. I wondered the same.

      2. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
        11th April 2011, 20:00

        I think it was because he needed that fuel sample for the stewards, and because he’d been pushing in the race he wouldn’t have had enough left to get to the pits and provide the 2litre sample

        1. I don’t know the rules so if anyone could help me out here I’d really appreciate it but shouldn’t the rule be that they have to be able to return back and get a sample or they should be penalised? Hamilton got a warning for it at Canada so it would only be fair.

          It’s not the first time something like this has happened to Felipe if that is the reason why he stopped. Massa couldn’t return because of a fuel issue was Spain 09 although ti transpired he actually did have enough unfortunately this was after having let Vettel and Alonso by when trying to save fuel.

          1. Hamilton’s was a quali run in Canada in Q1. And I’m pretty sre McLaren were also fined for that. Remember the lesser fuel might have contributed to less weight hence more speed. Alternatively the less fuel might have also decreased the engine power :)

    9. Chuffed for Massa. Was probably the most pleasing aspect of the race for me to see Felipe back at the right end of things. He still looks far from perfect and no doubt will have a few miserable weekends this year, but its just pleasing he got a result here (relative of course, considering the pace of RBR and Mclaren).

      1. Same thoughts here MattHT. Though the results for either Ferrari driver look far from spectacular on paper, I am pleased with the way Massa has begun the season, his fight with Button was the highlight of Australia and he had some good fights and nice racing in Sepang. I think once Ferrari get their qualifying sorted out he and Alonso will be right up there with the Redbulls and McLarens.

      2. Yea it was a good result for him. He’s keeping his head down and getting on with it. Hope he improves further still.

    10. I don’t believe there is a fundamental issue with the downforce of the car, the issue is merely turning the tyres on. Ferrari of the past have always had this issue and this is no different.

      I stated this on another article on this website, the issue is the tyres are heating up irregularly. They are inconsistent so the balance is all over the place and there is a disconnect with the front and rear. In the race where temps are regulated over a couple of laps, Alonso was as quick as the mclarens if not quicker. How much is this down to the car vs his skill is unknown but the car is not bad. There is a slight lack of downforce but not 1 second in quail format.
      What amazes me is the difference in performance between quail and race. How come the cars get no where near the quail pace during the race. For example Alonso and Hamilton pitted with less then 10 laps to go. Therefore very low fuel, they place a set of new tyres on and they are still over 5 seconds off the pace. It doesn’t appear to me they are pushing as hard as the cars can go. It appears to me they are pacing themselves to save the tyres well over 3 seconds from the ultimate pace. If this is the case I don’t think its good.

    11. Did you not know anything. Rubens Barrichello one of the greats. Scored many points. One day will be world champion!

      1. He was going to take pole at Melbourne too, but he obviously spun off to give Vettel a chance!

      2. Its hard to tell if Theo is being sarcastic or serious.

        1. O.o I think he’s a legend, but…. yeah… I don’t hold high hopes for the championship bit… Unless Newey returns to Williams next year. Then it’s pretty much in the bag.

    12. Alonso came alive in the race in the later part not sure what happened with him in the early stage. Ferrari needs to develope their car soon if they want any chance of fighting their car for 2011.

      1. he made a bad start and was stuck behind massa so im guessing he was saving his tyres so he could stop that little bit later for all his other stops.

        which was working a treat until he hit lewis.

    13. Personally I disagree with the penalty Alonso got, Hamilton seemed a bit on the slow side, almost intentionally so, looked to be nothing wrong with how he took the corner…but maybe that’s just me!

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