Australian GP team-by-team analysis

Alonso couldn't find a way past Massa

Alonso couldn't find a way past Massa

Fernando Alonso comfortably out-qualified Felipe Massa on Saturday but never looked likely to beat his team mate on race day.

And while Vitantonio Liuzzi scored point for Force India for the second race in a row, Adrian Sutil seems to have better pace so far.

Take a closer look at how each of the team mates compared in the Australian Grand Prix.

Compare the performances of the drivers in each team. You can get a more detailed breakdown of their qualifying and race statistics including a graph of their lap times by following the ‘Compare…’ links below.


Jenson Button

Jenson Button, McLaren, Melbourne, 2010

At first Button thought his early switch to slicks had been a mistake. It turned out to be the decision that put him in a position to win the race. On lap eight he was over two seconds faster than any other car on track and he was 4.3s faster on lap nine.

It was a necessary move to pit for slicks. I was struggling for grip on the inters, and the rears were destroying themselves very quickly, so we figured it must be time for dries. As I drove down the pitlane, I could see it was soaking wet and I feared it was a massive mistake on my part. When I left the pits, I went off the circuit and just thought, ??Oh no!?
Jenson Button

Compare Jenson Button’s form against his team mate in 2010

Lewis Hamilton

Much has already been written about McLaren’s decision to bring Lewis Hamilton in for a second pit stop which almost certainly cost him a podium finish.

Although the gamble to bring him in didn’t pay off it did look as though he’d finally found a way past Fernando Alonso when Webber took the McLaren driver out with two laps to go.

Hamilton had made life difficult for himself by failing to reach Q3 on Saturday – he was over six tenths of a second slower than Button in Q2. And he lost precious time immediately after his second stop by running off the track, without which he could have attacked Alonso sooner and with fresher tyres.

Despite all that, he’s right to be proud of a performance which featured several well-judged passes on other front-runners:

This was probably one of the drives of my life.
Lewis Hamilton

Compare Lewis Hamilton’s form against his team mate in 2010


Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Melbourne, 2010

Michael Schumacher

Much closer to Nico Rosberg in qualifying than he had been in Bahrain. But made surprisingly little progress after falling down the field early on after being hit at the first corner.

Read more: Alonso fourth, Schumacher tenth in their battle from the back in Melbourne

Compare Michael Schumacher’s form against his team mate in 2010

Nico Rosberg

A solid run to fifth, much like his racat Bahrain. But getting passed around the outside of turn 11 by Hamilton must have hurt his pride. Kept his nose clean, though, and was the highest-placed two-stopper in the race.

I had a bad start in the wet and after that we lacked pace and I struggled with the option tyre. The rear degradation was pretty bad so we decided to go for a second stop and get some fresh tyres to try to attack the group ahead. Even with the tyre advantage, it would have been difficult to pass once we caught up and therefore it was good to make up a couple of places when Mark and Lewis had an incident, so I’m pleased with that.
Nico Rosberg

Compare Nico Rosberg’s form against his team mate in 2010

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel

He took pole position and led comfortably until a wheel problem threw him into a high-speed slide at turn 13. You couldn’t have asked much more of him, though it was odd he waited a lap longer than everybody else to change to slick tyres.

I felt that something was wrong one lap earlier than I went off. I had some sparks coming up from the front left wheel; we didn?t know what it was and so wanted to pit. Then, a couple of corners before, I had huge vibrations building up and as soon as I touched the brakes, I had some sort of failure going in to Turn 13 and ended up in the gravel. There was nothing I could have done, I lost the car and that was it. It?s a shame as I think we had the race in total control at every stage, even though the conditions were difficult. But to win you have to finish. It breaks my balls not to get the win, but there?s still a long way to go in this championship.
Sebastian Vettel

Compare Sebastian Vettel’s form against his team mate in 2010

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2010

Mark Webber

His race started promisingly. Despite losing a position to Felipe Massa at the start he soon passed the Ferrari driver and caught his team mate.

But it started to go wrong when he delayed his switch to slick tyres until lap ten. He then went off, letting Fernando Alonso past, and ran wide at turn 13 as well losing a position to Hamilton.

Webber was another driver who took an extra pit stop later in the race. This allowed him to jump past Rosberg, who also pitted, but left him behind the Ferraris.

He was on course for at least sixth place when he ran into Hamilton, earning an official reprimand from the stewards.

Leaving the pits I couldn?t get second gear and went wide. I knew I had to make the moves on track. We then decided to pit which worked out okay. At the end of the race we caught the leading guys, but then we had the incident. I apologise to Lewis about that. I lost all down-force in the front of the car when I got close to them, the car lifted and I slid into the back of him.
Mark Webber

Compare Mark Webber’s form against his team mate in 2010


Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Melbourne, 2010

Felipe Massa

Alonso out-qualified Massa by over seven-tenths of a second – the biggest gap between any pair of team mates apart from the Renaults.

Despite that Massa was able to keep Alonso behind for much of the race. However he wasn’t able to do anything about Robert Kubica.

I was able to close on Kubica but I never had a real chance of passing him, while behind me Fernando got very close on more than one occasion, making the most of a few errors.
Felipe Massa

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

Fernando Alonso

Having comfortably beaten his team mate in qualifying Alonso collided with Button at the first corner, falling to the back of the field. It was a strange incident which made you wonder if Alonso couldn’t see Button in his mirrors, or thought he could intimidate him into backing down.

In his recovery drive he picked off the new cars then passed Pedro de la Rosa and Rubens Barrichello.

Although he’d been much quicker than Massa on Saturday he couldn’t find a way past in the race, but acknowledged he’d been keen not to crash into his team mate. He defended his position from Hamilton very carefully at the end of the race – though without Webber’s intervention it looks like Hamilton was poised to get by after Alonso locked up at turn 13.

When I found myself behind Felipe, maybe I could have gone a bit quicker, but we know it?s very hard to pass in Formula 1 and between team-mates, one should not take any unnecessary risks. If we had managed to get past Kubica, then it might have been a different story, but it wasn?t possible, apart from the fact I also had to defend my position against Hamilton and Webber, who were on fresher tyres than us.
Fernando Alonso

Read more: Alonso fourth, Schumacher tenth in their battle from the back in Melbourne

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


Rubens Barrichello

Barrichello also lost places with an extra second pit stop. Although he recovered the place lost to de la Rosa he wasn’t able to recover the position lost to Vitantonio Liuzzi.

It was a good race, but we should have finished in seventh really. We took the chance to change tyres when we did and go for it. I thought everyone else would also come in, which is why I went for that route.
Rubens Barrichello

Compare Rubens Barrichello’s form against his team mate in 2010

Nico H???lkenberg, Williams, Melbourne, 2010

Nico H???lkenberg

Taken out of the race by Kamui Kobayashi on lap one. H???lkenberg was very enthusiastic about the Melbourne circuit which he hadn’t raced at before this weekend.

Compare Nico H???lkenberg’s form against his team mate in 2010


Robert Kubica in the pits

Robert Kubica

Steered clear of the lap one mayhem to take fourth, and gained another place during the pit stops to run third. Vettel’s retirement put him second.

Kubica lapped consistently in his long stint on soft tyres and neither Hamilton nor Massa were able to pass him.

This was a classic example of a driver getting the most out of inferior equipment and coming home ahead of several better-equipped drivers who should have been in front of him.

I managed to jump Massa in the pits and I came out ahead of Button, but it was my first lap on slicks so I could not hold him off. I thought I would pit again later in the race, but the team said we didn?t need to if I could look after the tyres until the end of the race. I tried to take care of them as much as I could, which wasn?t easy because I had Hamilton behind me and then Massa, but in the end my tyres lasted and we managed to get this great result.
Robert Kubica

Compare Robert Kubica’s form against his team mate in 2010

Vitaly Petrov

It was Petrov’s turn to fall into the Q1 trap, being eliminated along with the cars from the three new teams.

But as in Bahrain he stayed out of trouble at the start and picked up a lot of places. That was all for nothing when he spun off shortly after swapping his intermediates for slicks, while the track was still damp.

We made a change to slick tyres at the same time as most of the field, but when I was on the slicks I got caught out in the braking zone for turn three and got stuck in the gravel.
Vitaly Petrov

Compare Vitaly Petrov’s form against his team mate in 2010

Force India

Adrian Sutil

Comfortably out-qualified his team mate but retired early on with engine failure.

Compare Adrian Sutil’s form against his team mate in 2010

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, Melbourne, 2010

Vitantonio Liuzzi

Scored points for the second week in a row but the signs are Sutil has better pace.

Compare Vitantonio Liuzzi’s form against his team mate in 2010

Toro Rosso

Sebastien Buemi

Taken out of the race on lap one by Kamui Kobayashi.

Compare Sebastien Buemi’s form against his team mate in 2010

Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, Melbourne, 2010

Jaime Alguersuari

Did a remarkable job keeping Michael Schumacher behind but finally cracked a few laps from home. If it hadn’t been for that he’d have scored his first ever point.

I think on the one hand I?m quite happy as I had a long fight with Michael (Schumacher) which was nice. I was under a lot of pressure, but I was able to keep him behind me for many laps until I made a small mistake at Turn 13 with a few laps to go and he managed to pass me.
Jaime Alguersuari

Compare Jaime Alguersuari’s form against his team mate in 2010


Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Melbourne, 2010

Jarno Trulli

Did not start the race after a hydraulic power pack failed on the grid and the team were unable to replace it in time.

Compare Jarno Trulli’s form against his team mate in 2010

Heikki Kovalainen

Led the Virgins before they dropped out and brought the car home for the second race in a row, two laps down.

Compare Heikki Kovalainen’s form against his team mate in 2010


Karun Chandhok, HRT, Melbourne, 2010

Karun Chandhok

Gave the HRT F110 its first race finish, five laps down.

Compare Karun Chandhok’s form against his team mate in 2010

Bruno Senna

Covered four laps before retiring with a hydraulic problem.

Compare Bruno Senna’s form against his team mate in 2010


Pedro de la Rosa, Sauber, Melbourne, 2010

Pedro de la Rosa

The Sauber’s kindness to its tyres had been talked up by some pre-season but its performance at Melbourne suggested this claim was wide of the mark. De la Rosa dropped out of the points two laps from home as tyre wear became a serious problem. Like the top four finishers, he made only one stop.

We underestimated the tyre degradation. In the end I really had no rear tyres left. For the last 15 laps it was just a question of how to keep the car on the track. I was absolutely helpless when Michael and Jaime came in the end to overtake me.
Pedro de la Rosa

Compare Pedro de la Rosa’s form against his team mate in 2010

Kamui Kobayashi

Suffered a huge crash on the first lap when his front wing came off and lodged beneath his front tyres. He ricocheted off the turn six barrier and ploughed into Buemi and H???lkenberg, eliminating both.

He believes the wing failed of its own accord but it was his third such failure during the weekend. The first occurred when he hit a cone, the second appeared to fail of its own accord. FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer inspected the car during practice.

It looks as if I touched a kerb or another car in turn three. Everything was very close and I don?t really remember anything major, but on the data it looks like there was something. I had no worries about the front wing, but a few corners later it went off and got stuck under the car. At first I had no idea what had happened. I had no control any more.
Kamui Kobayashi

Compare Kamui Kobayashi’s form against his team mate in 2010


Timo Glock, Fernando Alonso, Melbourne, 2010

Timo Glock

Made it as far as a pit stop this time, but didn’t get to the end of the race:

It was a real shame that we had a problem just 15 laps from the end of the race when I started to feel that there was something wrong with the way the car was feeling. I came in and we found a problem which we now know to be a camber shim having worked loose, and this was causing the suspension to move around on the left rear. Had we not had the suspension issue I think we would have been looking good for our first chequered flag.
Timo Glock

Compare Timo Glock’s form against his team mate in 2010

Lucas di Grassi

Stopped with a hydraulic problem.

Compare Lucas di Grassi’s form against his team mate in 2010


Team Driver Lap time Gap Lap time Driver Round
McLaren Jenson Button 1’24.531 -0.653 1’25.184 Lewis Hamilton Q2
Mercedes Michael Schumacher 1’24.927 +0.043 1’24.884 Nico Rosberg Q3
Red Bull Sebastian Vettel 1’23.919 -0.116 1’24.035 Mark Webber Q3
Ferrari Felipe Massa 1’24.837 +0.726 1’24.111 Fernando Alonso Q3
Williams Rubens Barrichello 1’25.085 -0.663 1’25.748 Nico H???lkenberg Q2
Renault Robert Kubica 1’25.588 -0.883 1’26.471 Vitaly Petrov Q1
Force India Adrian Sutil 1’25.046 -0.697 1’25.743 Vitantonio Liuzzi Q2
Toro Rosso Sebastien Buemi 1’25.638 -0.451 1’26.089 Jaime Alguersuari Q2
Lotus Jarno Trulli 1’29.111 +0.314 1’28.797 Heikki Kovalainen Q1
HRT Karun Chandhok 1’30.613 +0.087 1’30.526 Bruno Senna Q1
Sauber Pedro de la Rosa 1’25.747 -0.030 1’25.777 Kamui Kobayashi Q2
Virgin Timo Glock 1’29.592 -0.593 1’30.185 Lucas di Grassi Q1

This table compares the best lap times achieved by each teams’ drivers in the latest stage of qualifying both their drivers reached.

Race – fastest laps

Team Driver Fastest lap Gap Fastest lap Driver
McLaren Jenson Button 1’29.291 +0.785 1’28.506 Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes Michael Schumacher 1’29.185 +0.696 1’28.489 Nico Rosberg
Red Bull Sebastian Vettel 1’31.556 +3.198 1’28.358 Mark Webber
Ferrari Felipe Massa 1’29.537 -0.170 1’29.707 Fernando Alonso
Williams Rubens Barrichello 1’29.210 No time Nico H???lkenberg
Renault Robert Kubica 1’29.570 -13.562 1’43.132 Vitaly Petrov
Force India Adrian Sutil 1’43.223 +13.538 1’29.685 Vitantonio Liuzzi
Toro Rosso Sebastien Buemi No time 1’29.713 Jaime Alguersuari
Lotus Jarno Trulli No time 1’33.638 Heikki Kovalainen
HRT Karun Chandhok 1’35.045 -46.195 2’21.240 Bruno Senna
Sauber Pedro de la Rosa 1’30.587 No time Kamui Kobayashi
Virgin Timo Glock 1’34.230 -2.377 1’36.607 Lucas di Grassi

NB. Drivers in italics were not classified finishers (did not complete 90% of the race distance or more)

Race – average laps

Team Driver Average lap Gap Average lap Driver
McLaren Jenson Button 1’36.837 -0.515 1’37.352 Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes Michael Schumacher 1’38.033 +0.909 1’37.124 Nico Rosberg
Red Bull Sebastian Vettel 1’44.770 +6.773 1’37.997 Mark Webber
Ferrari Felipe Massa 1’37.087 -0.031 1’37.118 Fernando Alonso
Williams Rubens Barrichello 1’37.880 No time Nico H???lkenberg
Renault Robert Kubica 1’37.044 -31.377 2’08.421 Vitaly Petrov
Force India Adrian Sutil 2’05.632 +27.763 1’37.869 Vitantonio Liuzzi
Toro Rosso Sebastien Buemi No time 1’38.066 Jaime Alguersuari
Lotus Jarno Trulli No time 1’41.592 Heikki Kovalainen
HRT Karun Chandhok 1’46.003 -46.458 2’32.462 Bruno Senna
Sauber Pedro de la Rosa 1’38.114 No time Kamui Kobayashi
Virgin Timo Glock 1’44.031 -46.398 2’30.429 Lucas di Grassi

NB. Drivers in italics were not classified finishers (did not complete 90% of the race distance or more)

Over to you

What’s your take on how the team mates compared in Melbourne? Who impressed and who disappointed? Have your say in the comments.

2010 Australian Grand Prix

Images (C) Ferrari spa, Renault/LAT, Williams/LAT, Bridgestone,, Getty Images/Red Bull, Force India F1 Team, Lotus F1, Virgin Racing, BMW Sauber F1 Team, Motioncompany

Promoted content from around the web | Become an F1 Fanatic Supporter to hide this ad and others

Advert | Go Ad-free

102 comments on Australian GP team-by-team analysis

  1. Pawel said on 30th March 2010, 9:39

    Hi there,

    Got one suggestion Keith – I was wondering if it would be possible to compare lap times of drivers from different teams? For example choosing names from a drop-down menu and the application would overlay the graphs.

    Nevertheless the team-mate comparison feature you’re doing is great and quite extensive! Where did you get the lap data? Would you be able to share your spreadsheet so that we could compare laps from different teams ourselves?


  2. David said on 30th March 2010, 9:56


    Could we have an average of the top ten, or twenty lap times? I think this would give a better picture of the true pace of a driver as it would eliminate pit lap times and (some) lap times stuck behind other drivers/safety cars.


    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th March 2010, 10:05

      I’ve been looking into something similar but there are two tricky things to consider:

      1. Lap times come down so much during the course of a race.

      2. As you say, drivers stuck behind other drivers.

      I’m trying to think of a good way to approach this and get some representative data but haven’t cracked it yet. Any ideas?

      • David said on 30th March 2010, 11:56

        The more processional races with fastest drivers higher up the grid and a minimal overtaking at the start should give a better idea. But hopefully that never happens as I’d rather have rubbish stats and great races than vice versa.

      • I think that there are far too many variables to even consider who is the fastest driver in any race. For all we know Karun Chandhok may have driven better than anyone else, but it would have largely gone unnoticed simply because of the pace of his car.

      • Umar Farooq Khawaja said on 30th March 2010, 12:27


        When comparing drivers of the same team relative to each other, if one of them has not finished the race, it makes sense to compare them only up to the lap (or point in time) which both drivers completed.

        This would correct for the fact that lap times come down a lot towards the end of the race, and therefore, the fastest of, say, the first 20 laps has no meaningful comparison to the fastest of the entire race.

  3. I really think Ferrari should let Alonso past Massa… that way Alonso would have been probably at least second, while Massa would probably lost his position to Lewis and Mark…

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th March 2010, 11:37

      I’m glad they didn’t. If Alonso wanted to get past Massa he should have passed him. Hamilton did it to Button.

      • Patrickl said on 30th March 2010, 13:10

        Alonso was much faster than Kubica and Button. I’d rather have seen Alonso battle with Kubica for 2nd or even with Button for first than see him dangle behind Massa. Massa mad one or two half hearted attempts of following Kubica and then gave up.

        There is no way that Ferrari would let them fight for position. So realisticly, Alonso was never going to get passed.

        Only when Massa had one of his many mishaps perhaps, but even then Massa could just defend hard and Alonso would have to yield.

        I can understand why Ferrari opted to keep Alonso behind Massa, but it sure cost us overtaking opportunities.

        • Wateva said on 30th March 2010, 13:19

          I dont think Ferrari opted to keep Alonso behind Massa, I dont think Alonso could get past him. Alonso’s tyres were not the best, plus its difficult to overtake when u r behind another car anyways. But ya I dont think Alonso tried very hard, because he also had to defend the two guys overtaking him from behind.

          • Patrickl said on 30th March 2010, 20:30

            Well the news is that it’s a policy at Ferrari not to pass on the last stint.

            Of course for 2010 “the last stint” is practically the whole race …

    • Wateva said on 30th March 2010, 13:21

      Quite weird how on one hand you want racing and on other you want the team to let one driver pass the other!

      • Patrickl said on 31st March 2010, 11:50

        Because drivers of the same team are practically unable to overtake one another.

        Button ruined his inters and made a driving error so that Hamilton could pass him. Massa made plenty errors too, but apparently not big enough for Alonso to easily breeze past.

        Anything but an “easy breeze” is not going to happen between team mates.

  4. just thinking if HRT actually had a non rookie driver they could be right up just behind Virgin/Lotus…. perhaps at least

  5. Well I think if Alonso really wanted to pass Massa he would’ve done it. Perhaps he was just thinking my tyres are on my car from lap 8, so hopefully I can force Massa into a mistake and pass him. If not, than I’ll spare my tyres and have my own battle with the guys behind me with fresher softs in the final laps of the race.

    I don’t think Ferrari should’ve let Alonso pass Massa, its just the 2nd Grand Prix of the year and still 17 to go. I think (after Alonso’s spin) Ferrari must have been very happy with 3rd and 4th. They should send Webber some gifts, because without the collision with Hamilton I don’t think they’d have finished at those positions.

    There are predicitons of rain (t-storms) for the Malaysian Grand Prix next weekend, I don’t want another ‘half points awarded’-race like last year! Perhaps they should reconsider the 5PM local time start, because Sepang is going from (one of) the hottest race (1999-2008) to the wettest race on the calender (2009-2010?). :-(

    • Maybe Alonso should next time ask Smedley to keep his trap shut. Massa was obviously saved by Smedley’s exasperated advice to stop the pointless burn-outs at the last corner so “people will pass you less easily.” It worked, and it spared Massa having to chop Alonso going into turn one as he did with Hamilton, in vain.

      And yes, if not for Webber, Hamilton would either have passed them both or taken at least one red car into the gravel with him.

  6. spare? I meant save

  7. About Virgin:
    Both times Glock had suspension problem, but di Grassi both times Hydraulics prblem. So myb they wanna change with cars ?:D

  8. Glock had a Gearbox problem in Bahrain, Kovalainen finished both GP’s and Chandhok brought his HRT home by finishing in Australia. Not bad for the new teams if you ask me, I think one of the new teams will get some points this year.

  9. If Hamilton and Webber would’ve retired after there crash, Kovalainen would’ve finished 11th and Chandhok 12th… so I think you’ll have a big chance to run around the Big Ben this year. Lmao!

  10. andy k said on 30th March 2010, 17:28

    think u will be running round big ben bob,when lotus get there new suspention and aero package

  11. Howick said on 30th March 2010, 19:48

    Don’t know you but by the looks of how this season may pan out, i can tell that your not a betting man and i may see you at Big Ben in November. In all honesty, i would love to at least one of the new teams score a point, and ‘when’ it rains in Maylasia, i wouldn’t bet against it..good luck Bob!(great name btw)….

  12. Daniel said on 30th March 2010, 21:39

    I like the way Massa always tries to improve. His biggest mistake in Bahrain was a bad start, and now in Australia starting was his best moment of the weekend! He started so brilliantly that he managed to score a podium and stayed ahead of Alonso, despite being much slower than him…

  13. @ Daniel

    I think Alonso was the better driver, being 19th after the 1st lap and finishing 4th.

    Even more surprised about the soft tyres, I didn’t expect that they were made to last for 53 laps, I suppose the harder compound can last over 150 laps.

  14. Chaz said on 31st March 2010, 17:55

    Comprehensive , thanks…

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.

Skip to toolbar