How badly did Fernando Alonso not want to spend another race stuck behind his team mate?
We can judge that from his bold pass on his team mate on their way into the pit lane which the team sought to play down after the Chinese Grand Prix.
|Felipe Massa||Fernando Alonso|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’35.180 (+0.267)||1’34.913|
|Average race lap||1’55.356 (+0.82)||1’54.536|
Massa went into the race as the championship leader but he was beaten in qualifying for the third race in a row.
Like Alonso, he switched to intermediate tyres on lap two. However while most drivers who did that switched back on lap five, Massa waited another lap, losing more time and track position.
Now 13th, he spent several laps trying to find a way past Rubens Barrichello. When the rain returned Massa headed for the pits but his team mate beat him in. Massa lost time having to queue behind Alonso, dropping him back behind Barrichello again.
He got past Barrichello and then Adrian Sutil – though both moves took several laps – and a slowing Michael Schumacher conceded eighth place to him two laps from home. But Massa fell from first to sixth in the championship battle.
Lost vital time on Friday with an engine failure but took third on the grid behind the Red Bulls. But two errors in the first two laps destroyed his hopes of victory.
First he jumped the start, something he accepted responsibility for:
I made a serious mistake at the start as my reflexes let me down and I left early. It’s never happened to me before and I am very disappointed with myself.
Not long after that he, along with several other drivers, made he fateful early switch to intermediate tyres. Having pitted three times in the first six laps he was now behind his team mate, a position he might be rather tired of after the previous two races.
When the rain returned at the mid point of the race Alonso elbowed past Massa on the way into the pits, Massa having hit a puddle at the exit of the hairpin. Alonso shrugged off the move, saying:
If he was not my team-mate, there wouldn’t be so much talk about it and for me it was a normal move and it definitely won’t compromise our relationship.
What was surprising about this move was that Ferrari were able to get Alonso’s tyres on his car at that pit stop even though they had, presumably, been expecting Massa, and not had much time to swap sets. You can bet if they had got their tyres the wrong way around a rival team would have protested.
Alonso made quicker progress past tougher opposition than his team mate did, picking off Sebastian Vettel, Adrian Sutil and Robert Kubica to finish fourth. A good result considering he had run as low as 17th, but one that would not have been possible without the second safety car period.
2010 Chinese Grand Prix
- Sunday in Shanghai – a fans’ view of the 2010 Chinese Grand Prix
- 2010 Chinese Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic review
- Ferrari deny Alonso-Massa rift
- Points for Petrov and first McLaren 1-2 since 2007 (Chinese GP stats and facts)
- Safety car spares Hamilton and Alonso’s blushes (Chinese Grand Prix analysis)
- Chinese Grand Prix fastest laps
- Chinese Grand Prix in pictures
- Webber loses out in safety car incident
- Button leads McLaren to one-two in wet race
- Hamilton’s pit lane dice with Vettel could cost him second (Update: no penalty)