Alonso blames traffic for losing first and second places (Ferrari race review)

Button caught and passed Alonso in traffic late in the race

Button caught and passed Alonso in traffic late in the race

Ferrari’s criticism of the new teams took a twist at the Canadian Grand Prix when Fernando Alonso blamed backmarkers for losing him the race.

But Felipe Massa took advantage of the lapped cars to pull off one of the best passes of the race. It proved one of few highlights in a frustrating race for Massa.

Felipe Massa Fernando Alonso
Qualifying position 6 3
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’15.688 (+0.253) 1’15.435
Race position 15 3
Average race lap 1’22.550 (+1.941) 1’20.610
Laps 69/70 70/70
Pit stops 4 2

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Felipe Massa

The collision between Massa and Vitantonio Liuzzi on the first lap was ultimately a racing incident which both of them could have done more to avoid.

Massa had to pit with a broken front wing but was at least spared having to use the super-soft tyres again having started on them.

The highlight of his comeback drive was a gutsy dive past the other Force India of Adrian Sutil, who took his time passing Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus.

But a potential eighth-placed finish was lost when he collided with Michael Schumacher late in the race, knocking his front wing off a second time. “This was a horrible race,” was his verdict afterwards.

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

Fernando Alonso

With the F10 looking far stronger this weekend than it had two weeks ago Alonso lined up third on the grid, promoted one place by Webber’s demotion.

He mirrored Lewis Hamilton’s opening stint on the super-soft tyres, pitting on the same lap as the McLaren driver and coming out ahead thanks to some speedy Ferrari pit-work.

But an attempt to pass new leader Sebastien Buemi around the outside of L’Epingle left Alonso vulnerable to a Hamilton counter-attack and a chance to take the lead was lost.

At the second round of pit stops Alonso was poised to get back ahead of Hamilton but he lost time behind Trulli’s Lotus and came out behind the McLaren once again.

He caught Hamilton and put him under pressure but when Hamilton got past Mark Webber at the start of lap 49, Alonso spent the rest of that lap stuck behind the Red Bull until Webber pitted. He never got that close to Hamilton again.

His concern now was an advancing Jenson Button in third place. Alonso was 1.2 seconds clear as he began lap 55 but caught Chandhok at turns six and seven, allowing Button a clean run at him and through into second place.

Afterwards Alonso counted the points lost:

We overtook [Hamilton] thanks to a fantastic pit stop from our guys in the pit lane and then we lost the position with some traffic and then we lost the position with traffic again with a Hispania in front in the last laps of the race with Jenson. In both of those cases we lost 10 points from 25 to 15 but we are still there in the championship.
Fernando Alonso

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

2010 Canadian Grand Prix

Browse all 2010 Canadian Grand Prix articles

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85 comments on Alonso blames traffic for losing first and second places (Ferrari race review)

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  1. pSynrg said on 15th June 2010, 0:12

    Hmmm, is this different traffic to what the other drivers came across? Can’t say I saw it at the time. Poor little Alonso…

    • rok said on 15th June 2010, 0:22

      It deppends where you catch up the slower cars. Alonso obvioulsey lapped them at the worst possible place… Cant say what happend with Button but when Lewis got in on second pitstop Alonso would’ve maid 2 great laps and came out infront of Lewis if it wasnt for the Truli i think who didnt yield at the best place… that eventualy worsent Fernandos lap time by 2.5 seconds on his pit in lap.

      • Nitpicker said on 16th June 2010, 12:22

        [quote]It deppends where you catch up the slower cars. Alonso obvioulsey lapped them at the worst possible place…[/quote]
        Or maybe he just made a complete hash of passing the backmarkers at the worst possible place.

    • Ace said on 15th June 2010, 0:57

      I definitely think Alonso has the right to bemoan the traffic. He DID lose 2 places as a result.

      Gotta admire that he acknowledged that it’s a luck issue and it either works for or against you. I don’t think he was complaining – rather, he was stating facts.

      I’m not a Alonso or Hamilton fan.

      • Joey-Poey said on 15th June 2010, 2:13

        Funny, in other forms of racing there’s none of those convenient blue flags to push lapped cars aside and you have to deal with traffic through your own merit. If a driver can’t deal with traffic when they’ve already got the cars being told to move aside, then I have no pity for thm.

        • Horacio said on 15th June 2010, 17:27

          I agree 100%.
          In this particular case, the driver BEHIND Alonso was able to handle the slower cars AND the Ferrari, so please no excuses.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 15th June 2010, 6:21

        I also think, he has a right to bemoan traffic. He was pretty unlucky to get behind them at the points of the track where he did. Those were desicive moments for his race turning from great to not bad.

        But it is not right to blame any of those cars and not even right to say it is something unfair. It is the same as having technical problems, those are unfortunate and can screw a race, but thats part of the race.

        Everybody had the possibility of traffic and had to deal with it. Some were lucky, some made great choices how to go throug, and some had bad luck or made mistakes (see Sutil passed by Massa)

      • Achilles said on 15th June 2010, 7:55

        What is not to be admired is naming a particular driver for his problem to overtake, unless it becomes the norm for drivers to name drivers who assist the pass….Webber lost a lot of time to backmarkers, but he just gets on with it…

      • Nitpicker said on 16th June 2010, 12:23

        Of course he was complaining — he blamed losing 2 places on the backmarkers.

    • f1omda said on 15th June 2010, 2:03

      LOL,That’s a good on.what did u expect,he’s a crying baby.

      • tombo said on 16th June 2010, 23:38

        these comments are so stupid; he was very composed after the race. he could have whinged a great deal: he was unlucky in that he got held up at the wrong moments.
        i think on balance he deserved 2nd place on the basis that hamilton made more ‘moves’ and was more assertive generally. losing 2nd to Button was absolutely bad luck.

        • John H said on 16th June 2010, 23:46

          Totally correct. Alonso was unlucky, but losing 2nd place to Hamilton when they were behind Buemi was not ‘unlucky,’ so I think second overall would have been a fair result – not behind Button.

    • Alex 3 said on 17th June 2010, 14:16

      I agree but poor Luca seems to think Ferrari is once again special and these back markers are not respectful of that.
      LH and JB had the same issues and LH had more pit stops. That would suggest that McLaren is better tactically and Alonzo did after all come out of 2 behind the slower car so JB had a shot on the outside. Maybe Luca should review the tapes. Driver error cost them 2nd for sure although he may never have gotten by Lewis. Whinning from a bunch who cannot stand to be sucking the hind mammary gland these days.

  2. rok said on 15th June 2010, 0:14

    Like he said. In Australia the trafic helped him, here it made him loose 2 places… it evens out on the long run.

    • Its always a distraction when you have Hamilton pushing you and slow cars infront of you stopping to get your proper exit out of the corner

    • Nitpicker said on 16th June 2010, 12:24

      In Australia he wasn’t giving credit to backmarkers though.

  3. Scribe (@scribe) said on 15th June 2010, 0:16

    Smeh, in China his jump start and resulting penalty was neutralised by a quirk of fate. Like he says, it goes both ways.

  4. TimmyA said on 15th June 2010, 0:22

    Wow such whining from a world champion race driver, hence racing equals passing not cars pulling out of your way.

  5. Meander said on 15th June 2010, 0:22

    Uhm, the “traffic” that “caused” you to lose a place to Hamilton was then race leader Buemi who had every right to be a pain in the backside. You simply should have been smarter.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th June 2010, 0:26

      I think his press conference comments quoted were about the HRT, don’t think he said anything about Buemi.

      • “At the second round of pit stops Alonso was poised to get back ahead of Hamilton but he lost time behind Chandhok’s HRT and came out behind the McLaren once again.”

        I’m certain it was a Lotus, and GP update reports it was Jarno Trulli.

        As for the incidents themselves I am absolutely certain they cost Alonso the race. He had done everything right before the second round of pit stops as he’d preserved his tyres, and when Hamilton pitted he set two purple laps. But then he came across the above mentioned Lotus costing him an enormous amount of time and the lead of the race.

        Hamilton was also blocked quite badly in the race only a couple of laps before when I think it was Virgin, nearly allowed Alonso to pass untill Lewis dived into the pits. To pretend that Alonso is somehow especially bad at lapping cars as some have suggested is utter nonsense when the same thing happened to Hamilton. If a backmarker is blocking you there’s not much you can do.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th June 2010, 8:52

          Yep it was the Lotus – have changed that in the article.

        • bosyber said on 15th June 2010, 9:39

          I think he was disappointed because he knew he could have won with a bit more good fortune. It is important to note, for Ferrari and him, that this time he did have the pace to do it.

          However, because they cannot be sure to have this pace at many other races, it makes it even more frustrating for them to not be able to make it stick.

          I do still think the top teams/drivers need to take those backmarkers more seriously, and consider them a part of the race, not just an obstacle (as said in the article, they are also an opportunity). I think they have become a bit too reliant on those blue flags. Without them, they would have to think of them more.

    • rok said on 15th June 2010, 0:28

      Thats simply wasnt the problem… thats because later Fernando cought and practicly overtook Lewis when Lewis pited for the 2nd time… at that time Fernando stayed 2 more fast laps which would put him probably back in the 1st place infront of Lewis if it wasnt for the slower car which Fernando cought in turn 6 and 7 where is imposible to overtake and then you loose all the momentum for the relativly long straight. In the same spot he lost place to Button later on..

      • pSynrg said on 15th June 2010, 9:07

        So you are basically saying if Alonso had been in a different race at a different time he most definitely would have won!

        Maybe, but he wasn’t. The traffic was there for all and throughout the whole race. I’m not denying it could have fallen better/worse for HAM/ALO/BUT/WEB/VET (etc.) It was just there and dealt with better by some/not by others.

        The race winning move was Lewis getting by Webber at the decisive moment. Where was Alonso for the rest of that lap?

        • rok said on 15th June 2010, 14:25

          Again… Lewis got lucky to overtake Mark on the straight, whereas Fernando had to wait till the end long straigt… your not being objectiv on this… sorry…

  6. Slim said on 15th June 2010, 0:27

    Alonso’s times in each of the three sectors were significantly slower than the mclarens’… and Button out raced him in the Chandok situation. GREAT MOVE JENSON

  7. maestrointhesky said on 15th June 2010, 0:33

    I think that dealing with traffic is part of a drivers ability i.e. if you’re seeing a back marker, then it’s up to the approaching driver to control the race pace in such a way that he arrives at a passing point in which enables a clean pass without losing a position to the following car. I noticed when Hamilton came out after the second pit stop there was a lot of traffic he had to negotiate before he reached Webber and you could see he put a gap between himself and Alonso before he arrived at the first car to diminish the threat of getting passed. To be fair to Alonso though, I think he was on the limit of the car’s pace so he perhaps didn’t have that option.

    Did anyone else notice the embrace between Alonso and Hamilton just before the podium parade? I think they’ve now developed a genuine respect for each other now they are in separate teams. Shame they couldn’t do it within McLaren as I think that they are ultimately the best two drivers in the grid!

    • bosyber said on 15th June 2010, 9:43

      Well put, also about Alonso/Hamilton respect. Maybe the won’t say it out loud, but they both have probably realized by now that “giving your team mate space” also applies to letting them shine if they can, and getting them the next time, if you want to stay in the race for WDC AND WCC.

    • rob said on 15th June 2010, 10:40

      Canada is the type of race track where its almost impossible to overtake a lapped car at certain parts of the track. If his ability was great enough, maybe he could have used his mind to lift his car into the air and then fly ahead of the lapped car.

      Other than that, its simply bad luck to have to have come up to back markers on that lap and in that spot.

      • rok said on 15th June 2010, 14:29

        Well said.

        Probably everyone is talking about first bad move of Fernando when he tryed to overtake Buemi… but that wasnt the decisive moment in the race. Trafic right before his second pitstop and slow HRT when Button passed him in the same spot on the other hand was. Bad luck…

  8. Ace said on 15th June 2010, 0:59

    Keith, looks like you have ‘qualifying position = 6′ for both drivers in the table above. :(

  9. Dan N said on 15th June 2010, 1:01

    The chart say’s both Massa and Alonso qualified in sixth place. Surely thats not right? Or am I missing something? (like, say, a brain that actually works)

  10. Jake said on 15th June 2010, 1:23

    Yes Alonso lost out to traffic, but I think too many people are dismissing the error completely of his own that in my opinion lost him the race. He put himself on the outside into the hairpin which was a position he should never have been in. It was this that lost hime the place to Hamilton and without being stuck behind Lewis he could have built up a gap and we may have seen a completely different story.

    • maestrointhesky said on 15th June 2010, 1:40

      Totally agree! Alonso showed no respect for Buemi when he arrived at the hairpin arriving in such a way that implied he could just drive around the outside. Hamilton actually got into the position Alonso should have occupied which meant he had the tow from both Alonso and then Buemi which allowed him to make the pass. Ironically, had Alonso followed Buemi down the pit straight, he would have had his tow all the way down the pit straight and gained the lead from Buemi when he pitted.

      • Paddy said on 15th June 2010, 9:47

        Agree with that too. Running into Jarno after Hamilton pitted was bad luck but diving around the outside of the hairpin with a fast Mclaren behinnd you was a mistake. Although as was said before though Alonso only complained about Jarno and Chandhok. Think he kknew it was his fault he lost out to Hamilton. Great to see them both taking chunks out of each other again. Both such good drivers.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th June 2010, 9:57

          Great to see them both taking chunks out of each other again. Both such good drivers.

          Hear, hear.

        • rok said on 15th June 2010, 14:32

          Yes, because Buemis error wasnt in the end decisive error, it was not compliting perfect scond pitin lap and Button overtaking in the same spot at turn 6 and 7… so i still dont get it why are you saying he lost a race on his own fault which looking the whole race objectivly isnt nearly the case

  11. Slim said on 15th June 2010, 1:37

    Hamilton had the quickest car for sure in each sector so there would have been no gap between him and alonso.

    In the chandok situation alonso was in the middle of the track and button got a better line to the side allowing for a quick pass through the turn

  12. DaveW said on 15th June 2010, 1:58

    No, he meant Buemi in the first line when talking of “traffic.” Buemi should be aggrieved at this terrible slight. Anyway, his move on Buemi was kind of amateur. Did he really think he was going to around the outside of the STR at the hairpin without letting Hamilton gobble them both up on the next straight? He’s a brilliant racer but he is a little scruffy this year at times.

    • Patrickl said on 15th June 2010, 2:15

      How so? He was once impeded when setting fast laps after Hamilton pitted. The other time he was held up and Button went past him.

      Those two incidents were with backmarkers.

      • maestrointhesky said on 15th June 2010, 12:45

        I reckon the McLaren team saw that coming, hence the earlier than expected 2nd pit stop. They left Alonso out knowing he would reach traffic that would prevent him setting purple sectors, hence Hamilton would regain the lead with ease!

    • Todfod said on 15th June 2010, 6:37

      I agree. When it came to overtaking Buemi, Alonso tried to overtake him on a very difficult part of the track, and he would have been better off just following a defensive line against Hamilton. However, Chandok and Trulli did make him lose a lot of time, and there was nothing much he could have done about them.

      As an Alonso fan, its hard to see him lose his mental composure and make mistakes. Its amazing how in 2005-2006 he was driving incredibly composed races no matter how much pressure he was under, however, this year it seems like he is not handling the pressure all that well.

      • Roger Carballo AKA Archtrion said on 15th June 2010, 9:07

        That’s what happens when you need to overdrive above the limits of the car, just to be on the edge of the competition. The nearer you are to the edge, the more prone to error you are. As simple as that.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th June 2010, 9:31

        Its amazing how in 2005-2006 he was driving incredibly composed races no matter how much pressure he was under, however, this year it seems like he is not handling the pressure all that well.

        That’s what I was expecting from him this year – a return to the old Alonso.

        • bosyber said on 15th June 2010, 9:47

          Maybe this is one reason he hugged Hamilton. He might now be really sorry that he has not stayed at McLaren. He could have won 2007, and possibly 2008. And this year he can see that Ferrari is struggling in keeping up development, so maybe he secretly envies Button for going to McLaren.

          Even though being part of Ferrari feels good, a clearly winning car is better.

          • sato113 (@sato113) said on 15th June 2010, 12:37

            with ron dennis gone i think Alonso could of had a good couple of years at mclaren after 2007. he would have accepted that Hamilton is just as fast as he is and carried on.
            don’t forget he had no problem with HAM as a person but with how the team handled him. that tension would have gone after 2007.

          • Dianna said on 15th June 2010, 19:22

            Alonso is the equivalent of a social climber in F1.He is an aggressive but good driver,and it is a shame he did not stay with McClaren,but I suppose he thought the Ferrari clothes would look better!!:)

      • rok said on 15th June 2010, 14:37

        And how could Fernando possibly follow a defensive line behinde much much slower Buemi, in that case Lewis would overtake Fernando even sooner… so in the end he had to try to attack, the only shame for him was that Buemi took the inner side, and Fernando was still to slow to completly ovetake Buemi… so in the end he had to go round the outside.

        • Todfod said on 16th June 2010, 7:42

          By not leaving the inside open. There is better traction off the corner if you keep to the inside. He should have forced Hamilton to take to the outside to overtake him.

    • I think the Buemi move was almost as costly, but it was for position even I’m not going to blame him for trying to hold onto the lead! I do think though it was always going to be pretty difficult for Alonso to get that made him vulnerable to Hamilton. In hindsight maybe he could have tried a different line into that hairpin, but thats racing.

  13. Rabi said on 15th June 2010, 2:30

    Shame that he got caught twice in traffic as it would have been a fantastic spectacle for the end of the race to see him fight off both the faster McLarens

  14. “But Felipe Massa took advantage of the lapped cars to pull off one of the best passes of the race.”

    Really? A highlight for us, or a highlight for him? I supposed when you’ve been trying and failing to pass anything all season, and similarly trying and failing to pass anything for most of 70 laps of this race, to finally take advantage of another cars problem with a back marker could just about be considered “one of the best passes of the race” when judged subjectively only on Massa’s own form to date.

    • Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 15th June 2010, 9:03

      I thought it was a brilliant, opportunistic pass, the best of the race and one of the best of the season.

    • Horacio said on 16th June 2010, 18:45

      It was a fantastic move, and one of the best moments of the race. In any case, Massa went from last to 8º (until the mess with Schumacher) so it is not true that he failed to pass anything for most of 70 laps.

  15. Long.Beach.wants.F1 said on 15th June 2010, 5:53

    Backmarkers or not, it’s your responsibility to stay ahead of the guy behind you. Wasn’t that the same exact spot that Alonso ran into trouble getting past Trulli earlier? Why not defend better instead of whining?!

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