Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Sepang, 2011

Ferrari on form in race after poor qualifying

2011 Malaysian GP race reviewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

There was gloom at Ferrari after qualifying but their race pace was much better.

Fernando Alonso Felipe Massa
Qualifying position 5 7
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’35.802 (-0.449) 1’36.251
Race position 6 5
Laps 56/56 56/56
Pit stops 4 3

Ferrari drivers’ lap times throughout the race:

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2011drivercolours.csv
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56
Fernando Alonso 115.143 105.931 105.505 105.57 105.898 105.085 104.948 104.912 105.18 105.325 105.775 106.296 107.215 108.8 123.818 104.128 104.478 103.511 102.602 102.739 103.121 103.012 103.042 103.36 103.496 106.769 122.365 102.633 102.406 102.572 103.273 102.868 102.726 102.184 102.384 103.566 103.147 102.993 103.017 103.399 106.315 121.352 101.81 102.04 103.721 110.259 123.135 100.737 100.717 100.933 101.406 101.207 101.374 101.999 102.094 102.789
Felipe Massa 114.814 105.731 105.408 105.534 105.293 104.973 104.963 104.688 105.248 105.148 105.783 107.451 110.942 131.733 106.332 104.098 103.63 103.689 103.271 103.176 103.215 103.791 103.762 103.858 104.445 104.603 107.718 121.044 102.109 102.246 102.617 102.357 102.57 102.831 103.143 103.091 103.302 105.772 121.506 102.353 101.999 102.563 102.909 103.402 102.407 102.971 102.105 102.305 103.6 105.008 102.733 103.321 103.582 102.882 103.147 103.618
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Sepang, 2011
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Sepang, 2011

Fernando Alonso

After finding themselves well off the pace in Melbourne, Ferrari devoted part of practice to running the kind of constant-speed aerodynamic work usually seen in testing.

This attempt to better understand what was going on with their car, at the expense of fine-tuning their Sepang set-up, underlined their concerns about their competitiveness.

Alonso was almost a second slower than Sebastian Vettel in qualifying. But in race trim the 150??? Italia looked much more competitive.

He lost two places at the start, falling to seventh, but gained a position when Vitaly Petrov went off. He was handed another place when team mate Felipe Massa had a slow pit stop.

After his first pit stop Alonso launched an attack on Jenson Button and took third. He then began to close on Lewis Hamilton and led for one lap after Vettel and Hamilton pitted.

Alonso’s attempts to pass Hamilton were frustrated by a faulty Drag Reduction System. While trying to get by Alonso clipped the rear of the McLaren, damaging his front wing. He had to pit for a replacement, dropping him back behind Massa in sixth.

After the race the stewards gave him a 20-second penalty for hitting Hamilton. Given that Alonso was the only driver that suffered in the exchange, this is out of kilter with many past instances of drivers making similar contact and not being punished.

It’s possible the stewards have decided to clamp down on drivers making contact in this fashion. But if they have it’s not been announced, and without that knowledge Alonso’s penalty seems harsh even if it was entirely ineffectual.

Fernando Alonso 2011 form guide

Felipe Massa

For the second race in a row Massa started behind Alonso but ended the first lap of the race in front of him.

Massa started well and picked off Vitaly Petrov for fifth before losing time with a slow pit stop.

He recovered to finish fifth, just a few tenths in front of his team mate, before Alonso took his penalty.

Felipe Massa 2011 form guide

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix


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Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo