Ferrari’s practice pace disappears on Sunday (Ferrari race review)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010

Fernando Alonso was tipped for victory after topping both practice sessions on Friday.

But Ferrari’s pace seemed to desert them on Saturday morning. And, as far as the drivers’ championship is concerned, it was the ‘wrong’ driver who brought home points.

Felipe Massa Fernando Alonso
Qualifying position 6 10
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’46.314 (-1.127) 1’47.441
Race position 4
Average race lap 2’01.648 (+3.268) 1’58.381
Laps 44/44 37/44
Pit stops 2 3

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Felipe Massa

Looked slower than his team mate in practice but beat him in Q3 for the first time since Bahrain. That was despite a mistake at Malmedy on his final timed lap.

He passed the slow-starting Mark Webber as the race began but the Red Bull driver went around the outside of him at Rivage on the second lap.

From there on Massa’s race was largely uneventful. His biggest drama came when he lost 2.6 seconds when he was unable to lap Heikki Kovalainen because of a yellow flag.

He gradually slipped back from Webber – particularly after stopping to change to hard tyres – and came home fourth with Adrian Sutil less than a second behind.

Despite Ferrari’s form on Friday, Massa believed they were only the third-quickest team in Spa:

This weekend, Red Bull and McLaren were stronger than us, but we worked well as a team, making the right choices before and during the race. Our set-up was a bit more efficient in the dry, while we suffered a bit in the wet, especially in the middle sector, while in the first two we were reasonably competitive.
Felipe Massa

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

Fernando Alonso

Topped both Friday sessions but on Saturday morning the Ferraris had slipped behind the Red Bulls and McLarens. It got worse in qualifying, where Alonso could only manage tenth.

There were rumours he’d gambled on a set-up for wet weather. If so, that would have put him at risk if not enough rain fell during the race and his compromised grid position left him vulnerable to a first-lap crash. In the event, both things happened.

He made a good start and passed both Williams drivers. But he probably wished he hadn’t when Rubens Barrichello lost control and hit him at the chicane. Although the impact was great enough to tear a wheel off the Williams, Alonso’s F10 was, remarkably, able to keep going.

He took the opportunity to try intermediate tyres but quickly discarded them as it became clear the track was drying. After picking off the new teams’ cars it took him a few laps longer to get past the Force India of Vitantonio Liuzzi.

Alonso made it as far as eighth when the final rain shower caught him out and he spun into the barriers between Malmedy and Rivage. Afterwards he rued the late arrival of the rain, without which he stood a chance of inheriting places from the Mercedes drivers:

Yesterday we were hoping for rain, but when it came it was already too late to be of much use to me; on the contrary it prevented me from getting the chance to overtake the cars which would have had to stop to fit the soft tyres.
Fernando Alonso

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

2010 Belgian Grand Prix

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Image (C) Ferrari spa