Vettel not pressuring Ferraris ahead of switch (German Grand Prix analysis)

Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Hockenheimring, 2010

After the German Grand Prix Ferrari claimed they had ordered Felipe Massa to let Fernando Alonso by because they were concerned Sebastian Vettel could pass the pair of them.

But it’s clear from the lap times that Vettel was hardly catching either of them at the time – indeed he wasn’t even close enough to see the switch take place.

Read on for the post-race analysis.

Lap 1

Lap 1 position change

Lap 1 position change (click to enlarge)

Another bad start from pole position for Vettel saw him lose two places which he never regained. Jenson Button had got away cleanly but as Vettel slowed down Button had to do likewise, and lost two places as a result.

Both Williams drivers made poor starts which ultimately led to them finishing out of the points having started in the top ten.

Pit stops

Pit stops

Pit stops (click to enlarge)

Red Bull took advantage of the rapidly-growing gap between Jenson Button and Robert Kubica to bring Sebastian Vettel in for an early pit stop, triggering stops from the other front running drivers in reaction.

Pedro de la Rosa tried to gain places by starting on the hard tyres and delaying his pit stops until lap 51. But he ended the race where he started, in 14th.

Race progress

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Tick/untick drivers? names to show their laps, click and drag to zoom

After the race Ferrari said they wanted Alonso to go in front of Massa because they were concerned Vettel might pass them.

But looking at these times it seems their fears were unfounded. In the ten laps leading up to the change of position remained static at 5.1 seconds.

It’s clear that Vettel caught Massa after the change of positions – but how much was Massa pushing after being ordered give up the lead of the race?

Lap chart

Lap chart

Lap chart (click to enlarge)

A long first stint for Nico H???lkenberg didn’t pay off but he at least managed to pass Pedro de la Rosa to finish behind his team mate.

2010 German Grand Prix

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103 comments on Vettel not pressuring Ferraris ahead of switch (German Grand Prix analysis)

  1. Hairpin said on 26th July 2010, 16:20

    Keith, I know this is asking a lot, and maybe not possible but it would be interesting to see the comparative lap times through the race of say the top ten if not all cars, in a similar way as your other charts it would then enable all on here to evaluate/validate that FA was/wasn’t faster over any given period in the race, the basis of Ferraris argument of which we only have their word.
    The race progress and lap chart give similar information, and to be honest I find the race progress chart a little jumbled and confusing especially where they merge, a bar chart may be an improvment? This is not a complaint, as your charts are very informative, just a suggestion.
    I’ve just done a comparison using your race progress and though Alonso was catching Massa very slowly, from around lap 33 Vettle remained around 5secs a lap from Alonso’s to the finish and although Massa was loosing time to vettle (which is not surprising given the circumstances) Thats what rear gunners do, just ask Barrichello or Irvine
    On another point, I think it was David Coulthards comments on what happens at one of these enquires was rather disturbing. He said that the telemetry printouts taken to the inquiry had to be explained to the stewards by the relevant engineer as in his experience the inquirer’s hadn’t a clue what they meant. Now if thats true, something needs to be done about that, as they could be told anything that fits with the prevailing scenario at the time, and would be none the wiser.
    What say you?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th July 2010, 16:37

      Assuming I’ve understood you correctly, if you use the interactive chart here you can turn off lap times for all but the top ten cars:

      German Grand Prix fastest laps

      • Hairpin said on 26th July 2010, 17:15

        Thanks Keith, I just find the visual rather confusing and thought a bar chart may be easier to follow, but as I say your information is very good.

        No thoughts on DCs comments, from the BBC F1 forum on the red button that I mentioned earlier about the telemetry, maybe you didn’t get to see it, but your views would be appreciated.
        Thanks, keep up the good work.

  2. Lee said on 26th July 2010, 22:59


    Once again a great article. However I wanted to point out that Vettel really did not get a bad start but just like silverstone where he also got as good a start as Webber he decided to pull straight across the track in an attempt to squeeze alonso against the wall (just like he did to Webber at silverstone) Therefore he traveled further to the first corner and ultimately lost out. You would think he would have learned his mistake but I guess he is not that clever. I really do think he needs to be given a talking to by the stewards (not punished but just warned as he has developed a habit of pulling into people this season, Hamilton a couple of notable times, Webber at least twice with one leading to a crash (and seeing what can happen when cars come together at speed this is worrying) and now Alonso. At some point he is going to end up hurting someone, If he caused a crash that close to the start and at the front of the grid it could lead to disaster!

  3. What an all ’round amazingly written piece!!!

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