Ferrari were very unlucky with the timing of the safety car in the European Grand Prix.
Seeing one of their principal rivals avoid the same misfortune by illegally overtaking the safety car prompted howls of criticism from the team, calling the result “a scandal” and claiming Formula 1 “could lose some credibility”.
Four points for eight place was a meagre result from a weekend where much had been expected as the team introduced its exhaust-driven diffuser upgrade.
|Felipe Massa||Fernando Alonso|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’38.127 (+0.052)||1’38.075|
|Average race lap||1’46.600 (+0.242)||1’46.358|
Very close to Alonso in qualifying, Massa made it up to fourth on the first lap by passing Webber around the outside of turn three.
But his race suffered even more from the safety car appearance than Alonso’s did, as he had to wait behind his team mate in the pit lane.
Alonso and Massa were the only cars who had to wait behind the safety car before pitting. Robert Kubica, 1.8 seconds behind Massa, got the message early enough to get in the pits.
After the safety car came in Massa was 17th. He moved ahead of the Virgin duo with little difficulty but couldn’t pass Vitantonio Liuzzi’s Force India. Penalties promoted him to a point-less 11th after the race.
Alonso was fastest in front of his home crowd in second practice but both F10 drivers struggled to find the same performance improvement on the super-soft tyres that their rivals enjoyed.
Fourth place on the grid behind the Red Bulls and Lewis Hamilton was a minor disappointment. But the team looked in good shape for the race and Alonso was able to keep pace with Hamilton in the opening stages.
Then came the safety car deployment which clearly ruined his race. In front of Alonso, Vettel was far enough ahead not to get stuck behind the safety car, and Hamilton overtook it.
Alonso was tenth when the safety car came in and quickly passed Nico Hülkenberg for ninth, all the while urging his team on the radio to press ahead with complaints against Hamilton.
While Adrian Sutil ahead of him was able to find a way past Sebastien Buemi, Alonso could not do the same, which hurt the Ferrari driver when penalties were handed out to ten drivers at the end of the race.
By the end of the race Alonso, on worn medium tyres, could to little to hold back Kamui Kobayashi when the Sauber driver appeared behind him on a fresh set of super-softs. Alonso crossed the line in ninth place and inherited one place thanks to Buemi’s penalty.
Sutil also got a penalty, but kept his place ahead of Alonso having pulled more than five seconds ahead of the Ferrari after passing Buemi.
Ferrari continued to criticise the race today, issuing further statements such as this:
“Scandal Hamilton, Ferrari deceived,” titles the Gazzetta dello Sport. “It’s Formula Chaos” claims La Repubblica, while the Spanish daily Marca underlines in an article titled “Formula 1 drivers have to oppose Hamilton’s favourable treatment” pointing out how the whole race was distorted.
2010 European Grand Prix
- The physics of Webber’s Valencia crash
- Technical review: European Grand Prix
- Sauber “thrilled” by Kobayashi’s passes
- 2010 European Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
- Alonso retracts Valencia criticism
- FIA must learn from Valencia shambles
- Best finish of 2010 (Williams race review)
- Di Grassi shines (Virgin race review)
- Double finish at home (HRT race review)
- Buemi slips to ninth (STR race review)