Pit lane pass hands advantage to Alonso (Chinese GP team-by-team: Ferrari)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Alonso clearly didn't fancy staring at his team mate's rear wing again
Alonso clearly didn't fancy staring at his team mate's rear wing again

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 position 7 3
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’35.180 (+0.267) 1’34.913
Race position 9 4
Average race lap 1’55.356 (+0.82) 1’54.536
Laps 56/56 56/56
Pit stops 4 5
Chinese Grand Prix lap times
Chinese Grand Prix lap times (click to enlarge)

Felipe Massa

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.

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

Fernando Alonso

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.
Fernando Alonso

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.
Fernando Alonso

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.

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

2010 Chinese Grand Prix

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