Alonso salvages sixth after missing qualifying (Monaco GP team-by-team)

Alonso was struggling for grip at the end of the race

Alonso was struggling for grip at the end of the race

Sixth place for Fernando Alonso was a valuable piece of damage-limitation.

It ensured he stays in touch with the championship – something which didn’t look likely on Saturday evening as he faced starting from the pit lane in the race.

Felipe Massa Fernando Alonso
Qualifying position 4 24
Qualifying time comparison (None)
Race position 4 6
Average race lap 1’24.821 (-0.047) 1’24.868
Laps 78/78 78/78
Pit stops 1 1
Monaco GP laptimes: Ferrari

Monaco GP laptimes: Ferrari (click to enlarge)

Felipe Massa

Massa promised a better performance on the softer mix of tyres used at Monaco. Given what happened to his team mate and the amount of time both spent in traffic it’s hard to draw meaningful conclusions about their performance.

What we can say is that Alonso looked the quicker of the two in practice, but Massa didn’t make the mistake of crashing and, consequently, missing qualifying.

He qualified fourth he never looked likely to challenge the three cars in front of him nor lose position to Lewis Hamilton during the race.

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

Fernando Alonso

Alonso’s crash on Saturday was a costly mistake. Had he made the same error on almost any other track he would have slid harmlessly into a smooth tarmac run-off, then set off on his way again.

But this was Monaco, and the impact with the barrier meant Ferrari had to replace his chassis, consigning Alonso to the back of the grid.

During his arm-waving moments behind Lucas di Grassi’s Virgin I wondered if it was going to end like his 2004 race here did. But he kept his cool and got past the slower cars quickly enough to give the front-runners some strategic worries.

With sixth-placed Rubens Barrichello holding up the Mercedes, only the top five runners were far enough ahead of Alonso to be able to make pit stops and get out in front of him.

So it proved once the pit stops had been completed. There remained the challenge of managing 77 laps on the same set of tyres, and even though Alonso took care of them well he was clearly struggling for grip in the latter stages.

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

2010 Monaco Grand Prix

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54 comments on Alonso salvages sixth after missing qualifying (Monaco GP team-by-team)

  1. Roger Carballo AKA Architrion said on 17th May 2010, 16:08

    Second time this year that Fernando finds himself last of the pack, and after barely half a race he is at the back of Massa….. Felipe has won this round, but merely on the stats, because all along the weekend, Fernando looked quite faster.

    In fact, looking at the fastest laps of the race, Alonso made 1:15:905 and Massa 1:15:503, within a stint 20 laps and change longer.

    Only my opinion. Wait for yours

    • Edu said on 17th May 2010, 16:13

      He finished at the back of Massa because the safety car in the lap 1, and the other SC. Nothing great, just luck.

      • steph said on 17th May 2010, 16:25

        Ted Kravitz (from the BBC) said at times Massa was a second faster and generally always quicker. Now it isn’t much of a surprise given the new chassis and vital time lost on track but this was a convincing performance by Massa. It’s kind of like Kimi last year though where he gave some very decent performances but always wondered where he would have been if Massa hadn’t have been out.
        Alonso was very good though and I did think at one point he would bin it with his temper when he was behind di Grassi. Like Button, he took a strategy gamble that paid off. It was brave and I don’t just put it down to luck as he needed the lap times and overtaking to make it work.

        • BasCB said on 17th May 2010, 16:31

          For sure it was not luck. A Safetycar was bound to happen at a certain point, even if it would not have been on lap 1/2.
          So the only question was, how far could he go, with three desicive factors 1. time needed to pass the new teams
          2. how much time will the SC give him
          3. his own speed enabling him to get in front of as many cars as possible.

      • macahan said on 17th May 2010, 16:54

        Not much luck. Strategy was based on that there would be a SC. Monaco is prone to SC so wasn’t that big a surprise there was a first lap SC. For Alonso it was just staying cool and out of trouble get in on first lap do his tire change and then peddle to the floor jumping cars during their pits. Of course if for some reason the SC hadn’t come in the first few laps his race would been ruined but the chance was minimal. Surprised that not more of the backmarkers didn’t go for a similar strategy.

        • OEL said on 17th May 2010, 18:24

          But Ferrari don’t have it in their own hands (that there will be a safety car, unless telling Massa to crash, lol), and therefore, they were lucky, even if it’s a very likely thing to happen. Because Ferrari and Alonso couldn’t affect it, for them, I see it as luck.

          And also, not making mistakes is part of the game, and therefore, Felipe did a better job than Alonso this weekend!

          • Soumya Banerjee said on 19th May 2010, 11:50

            Its like the difference between a blind guess and an educated guess-like you see a cloudy day and say that it will probably rain today that’s an educated guess. Ferrari took a gamble,which they knew was likely to pay off given that with 24 cars,it is always likely that a big crash can take place.And any big crash in monaco is likely to bring out the safety car.

      • Gill said on 18th May 2010, 5:41

        Luck favours the brave.

    • Richard Merk said on 17th May 2010, 19:21

      “Fernando finds himself last of the pack” because he drove his car into a wall

      “Felipe has won this round, but merely on the stats, becuase all along the weekend, fernando looked quite faster.” Being fast isn’t everything, to be world champion you need consitency and avoid driver errors.

      I am not a big fan of Massa, but looking at this from a distance I haven’t seen Alonso do anything special this season. He had as much bad luck this season as he had good luck.

      The way I look at this weekend is bad luck, Alonso stuck it into a wall and Massa didn’t. Good luck, Safety car was pulled out in the first lap so alonso got a free 25 seconds.

      • Horacio said on 18th May 2010, 2:07

        I have to agree with Richard, here. I mean, even in Monaco, it was obvious that Alonso will overtake the six new cars, and take good care of the Williams, Force India, Renault and Sauber when they stop for new tires.
        It looks impressive when you see a guy who started from the pits in Monaco and reached 6th. But it seems to me that considering the F1 this year, any of the top six (the duos from RBR, McLaren and Ferrari) would be able to do it WITH A SAFETY CAR in the second lap.

  2. BasCB said on 17th May 2010, 16:21

    No mention of the being passed under SC, it was clearly visible, that Alonso struggled through that corner possibly becouse of the tyres.

    I think he had a pretty scruffy race here in 2008 i think. Crashing when trying to pass somebody after a wild ride.

    • steph said on 17th May 2010, 16:30

      He hit Heidfeld when he tried to pass him at the hairpin. He hit the barrier too and got a puncture for his troubles in 08 but I think he was the fastest on track at one point but eventually was pipped to flap by Mas.

      • BasCB said on 17th May 2010, 16:33

        That was exactly what i was thinking, i was not sure about it being Heidfeld. Thank you for filling that in.
        So you must seem pretty satisfied with the race, Massa had a solid qualifying and had only one small moment (saving it over the kerbs after the tunnel) to get home in 4th.
        I think he has a good chance at going for Podium in Turkey.

        • steph said on 17th May 2010, 17:04

          No problem.
          Yeah I’m very happy with both sides of the Ferrari garage to be honest but esp Felipe. It was a good boost for him. I’m not sure about Turkey as it’s back to the harder compounds but by now, they should hopefully have a set up solution or Felipe can drive around it more. I’m thinking good points but would be delighted for a podium :P

          • OEL said on 17th May 2010, 18:28

            To be honest, I had expected more of Felipe in qualifying after watching practice. I beleaved it would be between him and Kubica. Silly me, discounting Red Bull! But really, I think with a perfect lap, he could (perhaps) be 2:nd. But ok, 4:th is not bad.

        • David A said on 18th May 2010, 0:19

          I’d be hoping for a Massa win in Turkey, his best track.

          • tEQUILLA sLAMMER said on 18th May 2010, 9:51

            to OEL…and even James Allen said he thinks Alonso would have been on the front row if he hadnt wrecked his car in practice!! Felipe just held station all race….what a shame we was denied Alonso for practice with this stupid no spare car rule!!! And Bernie Shekelstone talks about “putting on a show”??? We were deprived of the best battle for this weekend……. #:/

          • OEL said on 18th May 2010, 10:00

            Yeah, so do I, that would be great, but I suppose Red Bull will score another 1-2 unless something unexpected will happen. But I hope he’ll outpace Alonso at least.

          • OEL said on 18th May 2010, 12:26

            To tEQUILLA sLAMMER: But now Alonso DID put his car in the wall, and the rules are the same for everyone! Why didn’t Webber or Massa put their cars in the wall? Because they didn’t make silly mistakes in practice, thats why.

  3. johnno said on 17th May 2010, 17:03

    Alonso has been EXTREMELY lucky to be a close third in the championship, and very little of it is down to good driving.
    Bahrain should have been 2nd instead of 1st
    Spain should have been 4th instead of 2nd
    Australia should have been nowhere but was lucky due to other people’s pit stops
    Monaco was nothing special even though he started from the pits – was lucky with safety cars
    *rant over*

    • Todfod said on 17th May 2010, 19:09

      Slow down buddy.

      If it wasnt for Jenson’s shunt on him in Australia, he probably would have won australia. China he made a very unalonso like error, or that was another win for him.

      I agree he has made mistakes, but to say he doesnt deserve to be three points behind the leader is rubbish. I think Alonso has been the most impressive driver this year.

      • DanThorn said on 18th May 2010, 8:50

        It took Fernando 25 laps to get from the back to right up Massa’s gearbox in Melbourne. His drive in Malaysia was the best drive of the season by anyone, comfortably. And in China he pretty much followed Hamilton through the field to salvage a good 4th place after his own mistake.

        Yes, he was a bit lucky to get the win in Bahrain and 2nd in Spain, but it’s not like he’s the only driver to ever gain through others misfortune. In Spain in particular, he wouldn’t have been in the position to capitalise on Vettel if he hadn’t been giving it 110% throughout the race. If he didn’t keep compromising himself with silly mistakes he’d be leading the championship easily.

        • If Alonso’s engine hadn’t let go in Malaysia he’d be leading the championship even with all the mistakes. Such is the fine balance of the season so far.

      • Ben Curly said on 18th May 2010, 11:10

        Definitely. Most impressive outside of Kubica and Hamilton… and Rosberg… oh, and Webber… Outside of that, definitely most impressive!

        :)

  4. DaveW said on 17th May 2010, 17:22

    Luck. If it were not luck, then everyone who started 7th or below would have been advised to do the same as he did from the get go. Not saying he didn’t do a good job in the race. But having a SC period on lap one allowed him to basically run the race without stopping. The subsequent SC periods allowed him to leap up even more. The fact Hamilton had to cover him by lap 16 or so proves this—it’s ludicrous to say that he positioned himself to challenge for 5th on lap 16 after staring last based on skill. Or strategy. The tire strategy was not genius, but rather the only rational response to the situation. Further, it was clear that anyone could have run the whole race on the harder tires, such was Bridgestones efforts to cover their own *sses at the expense of the racing. On balance, you have to give Felipe-baby plaudits for this race. Keeping it out of the fence is the goal at Monaco. He qualified basically as high as possible. Barring the RBs, Massa held back each legitimate season rival, including the car that showed massive race pace the previous week.

    • IDR said on 17th May 2010, 20:23

      I’m missing some “for sure” here and there.

      • Roger Carballo AKA Architrion said on 17th May 2010, 21:45

        for sure

        (and I have to add something, because system warns me that my comment is too short… my godness)

  5. Adam Tate said on 17th May 2010, 20:36

    You can’t honestly say Alonso has been the most impressive driver this year. Yes he has won and what he did this weekend was impressive. But more impressive than Webber completely dominating two grands prix in a row? More impressive than Button calmly making the right calls and taking him to victory, more impressive than Vettel leading each of the first three races? More impressive than Kubica pulling Renault up by the bootstraps. Jumping starts, putting it into the wall at Monte Carlo and inheriting a win aren’t impressive. Everyone treats Alonso as if he is still the man who beat Schumacher in 06, but that was four years ago. Webber is clearly the hottest driver in the series at the moment, Button is as complete a driver as Alonso. Vettel, Webber, Schumacher, Kubica, and yes Massa, still the most underrated driver in the whole series can put Alonso in his place and I’m sure over the rest of the season they will, many times.

    • Roger Carballo AKA Architrion said on 17th May 2010, 21:47

      It hasn’t happened too much at the moment… IMO. I would say that Felipe is loosing the inner battle, but maybe you know something I don’t….

    • Todfod said on 18th May 2010, 7:59

      Webber is on a roll, and in the first three races Sebastian was the guy to beat. However, the Red Bull package is way too strong, as shown in qualifying. As well as Webber has raced in the past two races, I have to still give more credit to his car than him.

      Jenson button will never be as complete a driver as Fernando. I agree he made some good strategic calls, but … he doesnt have the pace or the aggression that any of the top drivers have. I agree he was leading the championship, but in a normal race under normal conditions, and without lady luck helping him constantly, he is the worst of the 8 drivers driving for the top 4 teams.

      The reason I think Alonso has been impressive this year is because he has taken more than a 100% out of the Ferrari. The Ferrari’s true pace is displayed in Massas performance. The Red Bull is the quickest in the dry and the Mclaren in the wet. So for Fernando to be just three points down on the leader after all those mistakes is commendable.

      I agree that Kubica has been equally impressive in teh Renault.

      • Jay Menon said on 18th May 2010, 14:36

        I agree with Todfod.

        Fernando has been working that Ferrari hard, finding the extras all season so far.

        People can put Fernando’s position down to luck, thats what you normally say when you dont like someone…I say, people who succeed in life make their own luck.

        We cant compare Ferrari to Red Bull, they’re in a different league altogether. Webber and Seb have been great this season, but they should have won more races then they have to their name.

        I would say the most impressive driver this season is probably Kubica. I’m a big fan of Fernando, but kudos to Kubica for his performances thus far.

    • Carl27 said on 18th May 2010, 17:43

      I think you just don’t like Alonso full stop, because he is considered by his fellow drivers as the most complete driver in the grid.

    • Soumya Banerjee said on 19th May 2010, 11:56

      OK bur you are seeing only one side of the story because clearly you are biased against him…i am not an alonso fan i used to support kimi but i will admit alonso and hamilton have been the most impressive drivers this year. Unlike the “hottest driver of the year” they dont require their saturdays to make their sundays.

  6. Hello. I am a Brazilian financial researcher and I’ve done a Blog of sports forecasting. The first forecasting model running is F1 championship.
    The model is based on time series forecasting model and it has 5 perspectives: 1. If the race is on Europe or not. 2. If the circuit is low, medium or high speed. 3. If the race is with or without rain. 4. The temperature (to separate races on hot or cold weather). 5. The previous results.
    With 6 races, the forecasting of championship would be:
    1st Place Mark Webber
    2nd Place Sebastian Vettel
    3th Place Jenson Button
    4th Place Fernando Alonso
    5th Place Felipe Massa
    6th Place Robert Kubica
    7th Place Nico Rosberg
    8th Place Lewis Hamilton
    9th Place Michael Schumacher
    10th Place Adrian Sutil
    The model shows the forecasting of each race too. To Turkish race, the forecasting is:
    1st Place Sebastian Vettel
    2nd Place Mark Webber
    3th Place Jenson Button
    4th Place Robert Kubica
    5th Place Nico Rosberg
    6th Place Felipe Massa
    7th Place Lewis Hamilton
    8th Place Michael Schumacher
    9th Place Adrian Sutil
    10th Place Vitaly Petrov
    If you want to read the full post, the address is: http://sportsforecasting.blogspot.com/2010/05/f1-forecasting-championship-and-turkish.html

    • Ed said on 18th May 2010, 3:28

      you forgot that massa always wins in turkey (with a competitive car) ;)

    • Patrickl said on 18th May 2010, 12:03

      I’m afraid that you are extrapolating the “freak results” of the first few races and that gives you a meaningless prediction.

  7. Sam said on 18th May 2010, 4:14

    One sentence for all of you who are hating on alonso and saying its just luck. id like to see webber come back from dead last on more than one occasion, in an inferior car. just my two cents.

    • Ben Curly said on 18th May 2010, 11:27

      With a strong car, the right strategy and few safety cars during the race, why not? So I agree, it was not luck, it was a good strategy. Fernando deserves to be praised if he came up with it, otherwise credit goes to the team.

  8. Toncho said on 18th May 2010, 7:17

    I will give this one to Massa. He wasn’t very impressive but made not mistakes and brought home more points :-)
    To those saying ALO was very lucky I would say that is quite the opposite if you look at the full weekend. Yes, he made a mistake, but in any other GP that accident would be just a scratch and even in Monaco the chances of breaking the chasis are very low, so for me he was rather unlucky.

  9. Todfod said on 18th May 2010, 8:10

    So far Fernando looks like the only driver who can challenge the Red Bulls. The Ferrari is not as strong a package as Red Bull, or even as strong as Mclaren, but Fernando seems more determined than ever to win the WDC this year. As long as he doesn’t make anymore mistakes, i think he can take the crown.

  10. xabregas said on 18th May 2010, 10:49

    It wasn´t luck what alonso did in monaco because had it happened with some of the others front runners , they would have done the same strategy.
    Actualy mclaren was smart enouph not to be caught by alonso. 2 more laps and hamilton would be beyind alonso, look what happened to mercedes.
    As for massa, he just brought his F1 home like the others did.
    You can expect Ferrari fighting with red bulls and most of the times it´ll be alonso their main competitor.

  11. MacLeod said on 18th May 2010, 11:22

    i was thinking at the start of the season HRT had to drive quali to enter the race so why was Alonso allowed to enter the race? Or is this covered in the rules?

    • steph said on 18th May 2010, 11:33

      I think it was because Alonso had taken part in all practice sessions whereas HRT would be just skipping to the race.
      @Keith and all live bloggers- On the live blog we forgot why Kobayashi couldn’t stand in for Timo last year at Japan (I think Japan was just too early for us Europeans to take anything in) and I’ve remembered that Kobayashi substitued for Timo in Japan in pactice but couldn’t race for him as Timo was hurt during qualifying not free practice and like Massa in Hungary both had taken part in quali so the teams weren’t alowed to stick in a replacement for the races.

    • OEL said on 18th May 2010, 12:18

      I think you need to drive on Saturday to start the race.

  12. Eric said on 18th May 2010, 12:31

    To be honest I don’t think you can compare the two drivers this weekend. You had one driver who ran a normal race and another driver who had an outlandish race after pitting on the first lap. To maintain the pace that he did over a race distance shows that Alonso did a superb job, however if he didn’t bin the car in final practice he would have been in with a good chance of a podium. I give this to Massa because he didn’t crash his car but I think the momentum is well and truly still with Alonso at the moment.

    • Ral said on 18th May 2010, 14:03

      Agreed. Massa had a decent weekend, no misstakes, but also (seemingly) no risks taken.

      Alonso showed real grit and pace though. To be only -0.047/lap down on Massa while having done 76 laps on the same set of tyres is impressive. And saying Massa was at some point “second only after Webber” on the track, only makes that performance even more impressive, especially given the fact that he was stuck behind all 6 slow cars at the beginning of the race.

  13. daykind said on 19th May 2010, 11:24

    Yes, Massa had an overall O.k weekend, but I don’t think he can realistically have any hope of winning his dream – the world champonship. As for Alonso, I thought he did an outstanding job, one of the best drives of the season from anybody.

    • Soumya Banerjee said on 19th May 2010, 12:03

      Well this was what people were saying about Webber before Spain. Lets not be like that idiot of a financial researcher. Lets see what happens.

  14. Kabir said on 19th May 2010, 13:36

    Alonso and Massa have two distinct driving styles. I admit Alonso is a more complete driver in the sense of what Schumacher used to be. This car I feel suits Alonso more to a certain extent. He got into the car and immediately from the first race, showed good form to win.

    However, we must remember that Massa has never done well at the start of the season. He takes more time to get accustomed to the car. Now he is starting to show better form and looking at the two, I would say that Massa is actually showing like he is the more matured driver today as opposed to his earlier years with Ferrari.

    He is less of a risk taker now I noticed compared to before for reasons we probably dont know about. However, what is a fact is that he appreciates having points in every race. He compared to others would understand the importance of this.

    Lets see what he does in Turkey. It will be interesting to see what he does on his favourite track.

  15. flatbeat said on 21st May 2010, 7:56

    How many engines has alonso used thus far? Did they replace an engine after the crash at monaco?

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