2011 Malaysian GP race review
There was gloom at Ferrari after qualifying but their race pace was much better.
|Fernando Alonso||Felipe Massa|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’35.802 (-0.449)||1’36.251|
Ferrari drivers’ lap times throughout the race:
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.
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.
2011 Malaysian Grand Prix
- Hamilton says Sepang driving “didn’t put anyone in danger”
- Domenicali praises Massa’s “return to form” in Malaysia
- 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix: complete race weekend review
- Who was the best driver of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend?
- Red Bull stay ahead but KERS is still a weakness
- Ferrari on form in race after poor qualifying
- Hamilton called for his extra tyre stop at McLaren
- Renault recover from Friday drama for podium
- Schumacher scores for struggling Mercedes
- Two more retirements “not acceptable” at Williams
Browse all 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix articles
Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo