2011 German GP team review
Falling temperatures at the Nurburgring did not help Ferrari – but even so Fernando Alonso was able to beat the Red Bulls.
|Fernando Alonso||Felipe Massa|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’30.442 (-0.468)||1’30.910|
Ferrari drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
Alonso looked strong throughout practice but he ended up fourth on the grid, extending his unbeaten streak against Massa this year.
He dived down the inside of Sebastian Vettel at the first corner for third, but understeered wide at turn two on the following lap and lost the place.
Alonso quickly got back on Vettel’s tail and on lap eight he was back down the inside of Vettel at turn one again to claim the place back.
Now he could set about chasing the leaders, and hacked half a second per lap out of them so that by lap 12 he, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber were covered by less than a second.
Alonso’s second pit-stop was the third-fastest of any driver during the race – and it briefly propelled him into the lead. But Hamilton pounced and drove around the outside of the Ferrari to claimed second place. Even so, this was still a net gain for Alonso of one place gained from Webber.
His final pit stop was even quicker – the second best of the race – but it wasn’t enough to get him into the lead. He emerged back in second, ahead of Webber, for his third podium finish in a row.
After the chequered flag Alonso was told to stop as he was on the point of running out of fuel. He had enough for the FIA to test a sample and he was not penalised – nor, happily, for accepting a lift back to the pits on Webber’s sidepod.
Stefano Domenicali said the cool conditions compromised the car’s performance: “We have confirmed that we are also competitive in weather conditions that are not favourable and this is important.
“Certainly if we had had temperatures that aren’t even like summer – but at least like spring – I think that we could have had more chance!
“What we can do instead is to improve the way in which the car gets temperature into the tyres: it’s an aspect that is increasingly important, as we clearly saw yesterday at the second pit stop.
“We had managed to get Fernando out onto the track ahead of both Webber and Hamilton but he couldn’t defend as he would have liked from the Englishman’s attack – simply because the tyres were too cold.”
Massa spent the opening laps trying to find a way past Nico Rosberg for fifth place, while being urged on by Rob Smedley on the radio.
The Mercedes was the quickest car in a straight line all weekend and it took Massa until lap 12 to get by. He finally got the job done on the way into turn one.
He then began catching Sebastian Vettel and four laps later Massa passed the Red Bull at the chicane – just before Vettel headed for the pits.
Massa held the position after he pitted on the next lap and spent the rest of the race keeping Vettel at arm’s length. He was successful – until the very last lap.
With both drivers needing to make the mandatory change to medium tyres on the last lap it came down to a battle of the pit crews. But a problem with the front-left wheel nut on Massa’s car cost him the place, leaving him fifth.
2011 German Grand Prix
- Rate the race result: 2011 German Grand Prix
- 2011 German Grand Prix: complete race weekend review
- Vote for your German GP driver of the weekend
- McLaren: Surprise win in Germany for Hamilton
- Red Bull: McLaren and Ferrari ahead in Germany
- Ferrari: Alonso beats Red Bulls despite cool weather
- Mercedes: Three-stopper costs Rosberg a place
- Force India: Sutil helps team overtake Toro Rosso
- Renault: Petrov dissatisfied with strategy
- Sauber: Kobayashi out in Q1 but claims points
Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo