Ferrari: Alonso slips back on medium tyres

2011 Brazilian GP team review

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Alonso captured third place from Jenson Button but had to surrender the position later on.

Fernando Alonso Felipe Massa
Qualifying position 5 7
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’12.591 (-0.477) 1’13.068
Race position 4 5
Laps 71/71 71/71
Pit stops 3 2

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 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71
Fernando Alonso 85.195 78.988 78.835 78.839 79.032 78.82 78.51 78.458 78.678 78.439 78.542 78.745 78.531 78.656 78.38 82.074 91.993 77.897 77.899 78.26 77.93 77.923 77.762 78.013 78.003 77.789 77.339 77.812 77.904 78.043 77.815 77.647 77.96 77.761 81.167 91.156 77.019 76.981 77.081 76.792 76.924 77.296 77.475 77.036 76.735 76.951 76.854 77.346 76.838 77.69 77.32 77.458 77.422 81.191 91.438 76.797 77.027 77.742 76.873 76.603 76.877 78.083 76.621 76.977 76.181 76.193 76.745 77.972 77.862 76.257 77.06
Felipe Massa 86.525 79.668 79.033 79.505 78.86 78.861 78.78 78.63 78.728 78.679 78.849 79.28 78.972 78.994 78.899 78.704 78.847 78.985 78.925 79.405 83.942 93.729 78.268 78.298 78.649 78.842 78.312 78.307 78.344 78.169 77.976 77.891 78.37 77.642 77.756 78.175 77.84 77.907 78.65 78.088 78.257 78.794 78.129 78.407 81.349 92.157 77.747 77.77 78.069 77.8 78.216 78.043 77.526 77.288 77.485 77.318 77.55 77.471 77.756 77.734 77.709 77.589 77.396 77.271 77.693 78.008 77.768 79.575 77.998 77.782 78.258

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 2011
Start tyre Soft
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.”

Fernando Alonso 2011 form guide

Felipe Massa

Start tyre Soft
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.”

Felipe Massa 2011 form guide

2011 Brazilian Grand Prix

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    23 comments on “Ferrari: Alonso slips back on medium tyres”

    1. Once again Ferrari were derailed by their poor performance on the hard tyre. I’m pretty happy to see the back of a season that seemed to have the same pattern for every race with Alonso: Great start, constantly fighting his way up to a podium position, then being reeled in for the last 20 laps.

      Roll on a more competitive 2012! Here’s hoping!

      1. Won’t be a positive message for them, that this tyre will be used next year as well. Although having all tyres a bit softer might be fine for Ferrari.

        1. I would hope they set a team to work on a different suspension for next year at the latest before two races were over, it was a pretty clear problem, both for qualifying, and then in races with the harder compound. They clearly overestimated the wear on the tires.

        2. @BasCB I hope for their sake they develop a car that gives them a little more freedom on the tyre choices Pirelli make. Any race with a compound above the soft has just been a write off for them really.

          1. One would think that a top of the pack team like Ferrari would be able to get that done, right?
            But they had a bit of the same problem last year, if I remember right.

            1. @BasCB Pretty basic really!

            2. sid_prasher (@)
              1st December 2011, 19:29

              yes…they are the most vulnerable to tyre changes. Its strange that they can’t get their act together on this.

      2. having a car which is so good on the softer tyre it is not surprising ..that’s what allowed him to pull away from button

        only vettel seemed to have a set up which worked on both tyres

    2. alonso has scored 20 podium in 38 race with ferrari & this year he has scored 257 pts that’s even more than the 2010 world champion
      that’s consistency !!!!!!!!!!

    3. Massa actually had a puncture in qualifying which prevented him from doing 3 stints on options, it wasn’t just the extra use in qualifying.

      Even so, I think considering he was 6th in the first stint, it actually was a good idea to try something different and go for a 2-stop strategy, as it got him in the mix with the McLarens.

      1. All season I wanted Massa to do a two-stop strategy. As he always pitted after Alonso and had more life in his tyre, it could’ve helped him. Considering there was rain predicted, it was a good idea to keep him out without further stops in case it came. It didn’t, and the pace he lost on old tyres deleted any advantage of pitting one time less than the others.

        1. Yes, it was good to see them try an alternate strategy, but the problem for Ferrari was that they were so slow on the harder tyres this year, so couldn’t afford to risk a long stint on them.

          You could see how Felipe (and Fernando) dropped off when they put the medium tyres on.

    4. Alonso and Ferrari did all they can do, so there should be no complain. Massa was quite disappointing not to mention 2 stop strategy was not a good idea. 2012 would be a serious year for Massa. I expect in-season line up change if Massa is same to this year…

    5. That’s a sweet thing to say for Massa by Domenicali, but there is no way Massa finishes fifth with Hamilton on the track. Ferrari were so slow on the hard tires it was ridiculous. Button caught Alonso like he was chained to a post. Massa was set to lose way more than 20 seconds struggling around on his worn soft tires.

      Again a brilliant job by Alonso, all considered. He was quicker than Button on the softs and probably Hamilton too, before succumbing to his car’s terrible infamous flaw. He should be driver of the year. I’m starting his campaign now.

      Massa needs to part ways with Smedley for 2012. At the least, he needs someone with credibility in the team and possibly someone with a different technical approach. There is no reason to keep this failed combination if you are going to keep Massa in the car.

      1. I think Smedley needs to part company with Massa. It used to be a joke that Rob was half engineer, half driver, but this season it has gone to ridiculous extremes. He’s now telling Felipe when to brake, how to turn into the corner, and has to tell his driver to speed up.

        Can you imagine any engineer telling Vettel, Hamilton or Alonso they need to go faster? Or how to turn the car? (Hamilton obviously could have used some advice in that respect this year, but still). Rob Smedley is widely admired and respected up and down the paddock, by any account I’ve heard. If anything, his reputation is being tarnished by Felipe’s diminishing credibility. Remember how mediocre Massa was before he landed in Ferrari, and was trained in by Rob and Michael?

        If Rob and Felipe were to get the bullet tomorrow, I know which of them would have team bosses banging down their door with a contract…

        1. Rob really did not accept the number 2 driver mentality so he has lost his driver in the process. Massa on the other hand, accepted the number 2 driver role, at least for this season but it turned out looking too bad even for a number 2.
          Considered above, I (an F1 fan) would keep Massa and release Rob.

      2. Alonso, the driver of the year!?
        Yes, I doubt any other driver would do as much under the circumstances but we got to admit Vettel has done really exceptionally the first half of the season which was nerve breaking for the most superior team.

      1. That’s weird. Should have read “Nextgen-Auto” as the link text. Never mind, Rob Smedley will sort it out for me.

      2. @Hairs I thought it was a good thing to do by Hamilton, and by Massa to accept it. Having read that piece I can only hope Massa was somewhat misquoted though. No problem with Hamilton indeed Massa – but maybe some other issue to look at there?

        I am happy to hear that most drivers thought that India incident was a racing incident, but I still believe that Massa had enough small bits of blame collected for conduct on track to get the penalty, just as Ham got blamed more the more he hit people. Both should just accept that and improve next year.

    6. I do not understand the deal with Massa this year, OK you’re a number 2 driver in your team, but he was not even that. I wonder who should be glad that he will be at Ferrari, even Alonso whould be better if he had a teammate that could challange him now and again (not to much, he can’t handle that).

    7. To me Alonso was the vest driver today,his start was electric & that pass over Button has to be one of the best of the season.

      1. @wasiF1 I was just thinking the same myself regarding that pass on Button.

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