Alonso captured third place from Jenson Button but had to surrender the position later on.
|Fernando Alonso||Felipe Massa|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’12.591 (-0.477)||1’13.068|
Ferrari drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
|Pit stop 1||Soft 20.773s|
|Pit stop 2||Soft 20.664s|
|Pit stop 3||Medium 20.752s|
For the ninth time this year, Alonso took fifth place on the grid: “We got much closer to the McLarens than we could have expected,” he said.
The Ferraris were quicker early in the race on soft tyres and Alonso picked off Lewis Hamilton and the start before hounding Jenson Button.
He lined up on the outside of Button at Ferradura on lap 11 and claimed third place as the McLaren driver backed off to avoid some debris.
But when they came to use the harder tyres at the end of the race it was the usual story – Ferrari struggled and McLaren were much quicker. Button reclaimed third for Alonso with ease in the DRS zone.
“On the medium tyres, we no longer had the speed to fend him off,” said Alonso.
“I also had a problem with the DRS which would not activate: I was not fighting closely with other drivers, but it would certainly have helped me gain a few tenths while overtaking.”
With Webber winning, Alonso slumped to fourth in the points standings, but he wasn’t bothered: “Losing out on third in the drivers’ championship is definitely not a big problem. First place is the only one that really counts.”
|Pit stop 1||Soft 21.696s|
|Pit stop 2||Medium 21.053s|
Massa had a scruffy qualifying session and had to make a second run in Q2, using up a set of soft tyres. He was beaten to sixth by Nico Rosberg.
Due to his tyre use in qualifying he was the only driver from the top three teams to run a two-stop strategy, and staying out late allowed him to lead a couple of laps before falling back.
His fifth place came under attack from Hamilton before the McLaren driver retired. But Stefano Domenicali reckoned Massa would have been able to keep the place:
“Felipe was forced to adopt a strategy which looked slower on paper, but he had a good race all the same and would have finished fifth on track even without having to wait for the retirement of the second McLaren.”
2011 Brazilian Grand Prix
Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo