Ferrari: Alonso stops the rot with podium run

2011 Turkish GP team review

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Alonso gave Ferrari their first podium finish since Interlagos last year.

Fernando Alonso Felipe Massa
Qualifying position 5 10
Qualifying time comparison (Q2) 1’26.152 (-0.243) 1’26.395
Race position 3 11
Laps 58/58 58/58
Pit stops 4 4

Ferrari drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58
Fernando Alonso 97.58 95.062 94.667 94.161 94.313 95.507 94.554 94.021 94.17 94.061 109.322 93.292 93.441 93.281 93.177 93.226 93.023 92.922 93.534 93.515 93.48 93.529 93.642 108.811 92.05 91.999 91.729 91.898 91.964 92.07 91.934 92.233 92.23 92.478 92.494 92.725 107.356 90.953 91.048 90.434 91.319 91.072 91.182 91.436 91.243 91.166 106.529 90.279 90.399 90.296 91.654 91.865 90.667 90.807 91.017 91.304 91.615 91.897
Felipe Massa 100.887 95.441 94.398 94.599 94.539 94.508 95.118 95.094 95.003 111.479 93.498 93.683 94.244 93.521 94.172 94.173 94.15 94.52 94.976 96.509 95.264 94.438 96.419 108.983 93.347 93.123 92.882 93.642 93.517 93.506 93.364 93.669 94.19 94.298 113.85 91.897 92.047 92.524 92.897 92.499 92.38 92.31 92.322 92.517 92.453 92.598 113.325 91.133 91.253 91.208 91.921 93.985 92.404 91.52 91.38 91.178 91.118 91.508
Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg, Istanbul, 2011

Fernando Alonso

Poor qualifying and poor starts have held Alonso back so far this year. And while the former was not fixed in Istanbul – he started fifth for the fourth consecutive race – his start was much better.

Alonso picked up a place as Hamilton ran wide on the first lap. He took third off Nico Rosberg easily in the DRS zone on lap seven.

It was no surprise to see the Ferrari exhibit good race pace – it has done so all year. But Alonso finally had the chance to use it and briefly took second place from Mark Webber, passing the Red Bull at the end of his second stint.

It didn’t last – in the final stint Webber reversed the move, but Alonso nonetheless held on to give Ferrari their first podium finish since Interlagos last year.

It was a welcome result for the team after a difficult start to the weekend when Alonso experienced hydraulic problems in FP2, spinning and later stopping at the pit lane entrance.

Alonso said: “Given the shape we were in at the start of this season, this is a great finish. The next three or four races will be crucial.

“At 99% I could not have fought with Vettel, but the remaining 1% went when I was stuck behind Rosberg for too long: maybe I could have put him in difficulty, forcing him to push even more.

“In the end, Webber passed me because he had the benefit of a new set of tyres, while I had none left.”

Fernando Alonso 2011 form guide

Felipe Massa

Massa only made one attempt to set a time in Q3 and he abandoned it, leaving him tenth on the grid.

His race got off to a good start. He passed Nick Heidfeld at the end of the first lap and inherited two more places when Vitaly Petrov and Michael Schumacher collided.

He caught the McLarens and passed Lewis Hamilton, only to lose the place with a slow pit stop.

He lost further ground after his third pit stop when he got onto the marbles at turn eight and ran wide, falling behind Schumacher, Adrian Sutil and Kamui Kobayashi, though he quickly re-passed the Sauber.

He passed Sutil on the next lap and Schumacher three laps later. But a slow final pit stop dropped him back behind the Mercedes.

Massa got ahead of Schumacher for good with five laps to go but finished out of the points in 11th.

Felipe Massa 2011 form guide

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Keith Collantine
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39 comments on “Ferrari: Alonso stops the rot with podium run”

  1. With so many pitstops this year, it seems it is very important to save tyres during qualifying.

    1. Yes, many people criticised Ferrari for sending Massa out on options in Q1, but ironically, sending Alonso out on primes probably hurt them more as it turned out.

      1. Well, not having Massa set a lap time in Q3 hurt his chances bigtime as well. Not the best of thinking there at Ferrari.

        Or was that a ploy to prevent Massa from pipping Alonso at the start again :-D

        At least Alonso did not drop back at the start and he is contending for drive of the weekend I think.

        Massa lost it after the second bad pitstop and never found the way back.

  2. Thats a lot of races without a podium for a Ferrari. When did they last have a non-podium drought like that?

    1. Early 2009 I’d guess, off the top of my head.

    2. At the end of 2009.

    3. The last time Ferrari went four races without a podium was the end of the 2009 season (Singapore, Japan, Brazil and Abu Dhabi).

      1. That’s two recent runs on podium no shows… I think Red Bull are the new Ferrari.

  3. He caught the McLarens and passed Lewis Hamilton, only to lose the place with a slow pit stop.

    He lost further ground after his third pit stop when he got onto the marbles at turn eight and ran wide, falling behind Schumacher, Adrian Sutil and Kamui Kobayashi, though he quickly re-passed the Sauber.

    He passed Sutil on the next lap and Schumacher three laps later. But a slow final pit stop dropped him back behind the Mercedes.

    Two slow stops, and Massa’s Turn 8 error became almost irrelevant as he rapidly got back those three positions. He was one of the drivers to overtake the most and author of one of the best overtakes of the race, on Rosberg out of Turn 8, although that move was condemned not to last.

    1. Two slow stops, and Massa’s Turn 8 error became almost irrelevant

      Almost but not quite. He recovered well enough from his and Ferrari’s errors but if he hadn’t have made them in the first place he should have ended up in the points. The first half of his race was terrific and his passing (outside of the DRS zone) was wodnerful to watch particularly on Heidfeld, Rosberg and Schumacher but everything just seemed to fall apart half way through which summed up his weekend as whenever he looked quick some blunder (strategy in quali, pitstop, turn 8 mistake) set him back.

      1. Well I suppose you could argue that it was because he was buried in the field he needed to push so hard and made a mistake, but that’s impossible to prove.

        That’s a good point about the non-DRS zone passes, Massa has shown again this year that he is a much better overtaker than people give him credit for.

    2. I think he actually did the best overtake though it has been lost in the swarm of overtakes. He dived alongside Michael down the hill heading for the tricky braking point of Turn 1 on lap 50-something.

      That was a masterpiece and without DRS.

  4. I would consider, in all honesty, Alonso to be the second best driver of all time. I don’t want to start arguments by saying number 1, but I will unhelpfully say his second name starts with an ‘S’… yesterday alonso was near flawless.

    1. The New Pope
      9th May 2011, 19:00

      I would put him in the top ten but not the top five. At least, not yet.

      1. Going as far as saying Alonso is the second best is probably a bit far fetched.

        I would say he is in the top 10, definitely. Apart from Schumacher, he is the only one of the current crop that fits into the top 10.

        Hamilton and Vettel have potential, but they need to prove themselve over the coming years.

        Vettel is proving his consistency for flawlessness, Lewis however has hardly been a model of consistency.

        1. The New Pope
          11th May 2011, 4:33

          I agree, Jay. I have a lot of respect for Alonso’s talent, and should he win another championship, he will certainly move up

  5. Alonso simply re-affirmed his stance as the dominant force in Ferrari, a lot of people were being hopeful that Massa could get ahead of him but it’s not going to happen.

    I said once the car is Race/podium worthy we will see once again the real Alonso.

    Imagine if he were in the Red Bull.

    1. Which gets me thinking, when was the last time two drivers of equal quality were in clearly the best car? Apart from Prost and Senna in ’88 I can only think of Hill and Villeneuve as the most recent example and that’s debatable depending on who you ask.

      1. 2007 mclaren. easily the best car that year but imploded thanks to internal squabbling.

        1. No the Ferrari was a better car that year.

      2. Yeah highly debatable.

        And yeah I also think it was Hamilton and Alonso in the MP4/20-something of 2007.

        Although I think – and this is going to be strange – that Alonso has matured a lot since then. In the second part of last year he showed something really really rare piece of quality – almost never missed an apex. It was just perfect. Monza for example. Or Singapore. Etc.

        So while I think Hamilton and Alonso were two extra talented drivers in the same team in 2007 I think neither of them was at the peak of their respective career – although they did showed consistency and results I have rarely seen before. Kimi owned them totally in the second part of 2007, he totally deserved that WDC even though he did needed a miracle for that. (I think of Lewis’ 17-point lead with 2 races to go.)

        1. You could argue that Massa and Kimi in 08 were evenly matched with in a pretty good car.

          If it wasnt for Ferrari’s blunders in the pit lane, Massa would have been champion, no doubt. Too bad Kimi decided he doesnt need to show up on Sundays from that year onwards.

          I can agree Alonso-Hamilton in 07, Senna-Prost in 88, Hill-Villenueve in 96, how about Mika-Coulthard in 98?

      3. I wouldn’t call either 2007 cars or the 2008 Ferrari clearly the best car. I mean RB7, F2002, FW14B sorts of cars.

  6. Alonso has really thrown the gauntlet down on his teammate. This is Massa’s favourite track, and all of friday he has had error free practice sessions and has maintained a strong pace. But on Saturday he was out qualified by teammate yet again, and was slower than Alonso on almost every lap of the entire race. If there was one track where Felipe had an edge on his teammate, it was turkey. Either Massa performed really poorly or Alonso stepped up his game big time.

    1. You could say the opposite about China – that it is one of Massa’s least favourite tracks, and one of Alonso’s better tracks.

      I think it just shows that ‘favourite tracks’ don’t really have much of an impact.

    1. So he didn’t get mugged by everyone behind. Those were fresh tyres so it was his best chance of moving up the field early with more life in the tyres.

      It would’ve worked had he not ruined his 2nd set of tyres by locking up.

      1. Well and those stops didn’t exactly help him as well. But he did show a good race until that second stop I think.

      2. He was scheduled for a pitstop that lap anyway, so it only cost him a second or two.

      3. Locking the wheels didn’t matter at the time, he was heading to pits anyway on that lap.

  7. Well done Alonso, about time!

  8. The more many people expect Massa to out perform Alonso the more he is making things hard for him.I really expected a good result from him but a mix of bad driving & Ferrari bad pit stop stopped him doing that.I think his bad weekend started when out of no reason Ferrari opted to run him with the option in Q1.

    1. The reason is that he was not finding a good balance with the car with the hard tyres, and he decided go with options rather than stay out for Q2.

  9. Grant Gordon
    10th May 2011, 9:09

    An unfortunate weekend for Felipe, who I personally felt drove very well for the most part, some great over taking moves and looked set for a reasonable finish early on. Unfortunately there were a number of things that went wrong for him.

    Firstly, I’m baffled by the use of soft tyres in Q1, I can’t imagine that was his decision, and even if it was, surely the team would have talked him out of it, Kobayashi was already out and there’s no way he would have lost out to any of the 3 new teams. This forced him to try only one run in Q3 since he was already a set of softs down, obviously he had a problem on his run and was unable to set a time.

    The race came and he made a good start and started picking up a few places, culminating in him overtaking a struggling Hamilton just as they both dived into the pits. A slow pitstop from Ferrari saw him released unsafely into the path of the McLaren, but both drivers kept their heads and an incident was avoided. Ferrari failed to cover Petrov in the second round of pitstops and Massa ended up behind him on the road, costing him a lot of time. More problems with Felipe’s pitstops saw him come out of his third pitstop behind all those he’d been battling up til then, resulting in him pushing too hard and making a mistake in turn 8. He then made up some places again only to have issues in his 4th pitstop (I’m not sure what the issue was here, whether it was driver error or not).

    All in all, I don’t think the result was really indicative of Felipe’s performance this weekend.

  10. For some reason, the team insists with bad pit stops with Felipe. In Turkey, they did it TWICE or three times, being that in the first one he entered the pits ahead of Hamilton and left behind him. That was simply ridiculous. That should NOT be Ferrari’s standard.

    1. Ferrari’s total pit time was 13.6 seconds slower than Red Bull, which is not good enough.

      Ferrari’s best pitstop was almost one second worse than Vettel’s worst, and they were not only slow, but made mistakes.

      1. The last one was in 9 seconds, those guys really have to practice changing tyres… on Shumacher days Ferrari was the best on it.
        I guess RBR are paying better lol

        1. Certainly that 9 seconds was mainly because of the clutch slipping, so they were changing tyres on intermittently moving axle.

  11. The New Pope
    11th May 2011, 4:36

    I really wish Massa would catch a break and become more competitive again.

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