Ferrari: Alonso salvages podium after Webber delay

2011 Hungarian GP team review

Once again the Ferraris found the cooler conditions not to their liking.

Alonso had an eventful race with a few off-track moments but survived to claim third. Team mate Massa had a brush with the barriers which left him sixth.

Fernando Alonso Felipe Massa
Qualifying position 5 4
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’20.365 (+0.015) 1’20.350
Race position 3 6
Laps 70/70 70/70
Pit stops 4 4

Ferrari drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):

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 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70
Fernando Alonso 118.904 109.175 106.88 108.134 104.978 105.006 101.825 102.638 100.334 99.906 99.518 101.533 120.137 93.422 91.126 89.699 88.622 88.814 90.593 87.866 88.043 87.944 88.123 88.066 90.74 108.847 85.969 86.15 86.838 86.425 86.684 86.916 87.084 88.117 87.973 88.83 101.288 84.718 85.058 85.488 85.043 85.602 86.346 86.706 87.892 87.839 93.36 107.142 86.666 93.726 96.501 95.391 89.183 87.425 85.239 86.031 86.428 89.566 85.34 84.698 84.101 83.711 84.135 84.046 84.034 83.979 84.129 83.991 86.153 89.342
Felipe Massa 119.783 110.8 106.409 107.275 104.727 103.838 103.361 113.304 101.946 105.735 125.401 99.751 95.361 92.664 90.96 89.749 89.291 88.633 89.561 90.403 90.262 90.143 90.553 90.957 91.912 106.56 86.841 87.059 86.251 87.062 88.585 89.07 89.444 87.391 87.253 87.373 87.752 87.666 89.388 91.389 104.8 87.781 85.165 84.782 85.42 88.976 89.249 87.316 91.036 98.291 97.588 92.243 88.844 88.01 86.478 86.149 86.534 90.378 104.596 83.655 83.415 83.986 83.938 84.558 85.218 84.373 84.689 84.58 88.067 93.535
Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Hungaroring, 2011

Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Hungaroring, 2011

Fernando Alonso

Topped Q1 and Q2 but slumped to fifth in Q3, unable to better or even match his Q2 time.

But he felt that even with a perfect lap he could have done no better than third. He said: “It seems that when it?s time for Q3, Red Bull has a magic button that suddenly makes them go faster, but then it seems the button switches off in the race!”

Starting on the drier side of the grid, Alonso pulled away from Massa straight away at the start. But they both struggled for traction at the exit of turn one and the two Mercedes drove straight past them.

Alonso fended off Mark Webber and set off after Schumacher. He very nearly took his 2006 championship rival on the outside of turn 11, but eventually settled for a more conventional pass on the inside of the last corner.

Alonso made a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes in the opening phase of the race which delayed his pursuit of the Mercedes. He briefly fell behind Massa at one point, but his team mate made no effort to keep Alonso behind. By lap nine he was up to fourth place having passed Nico Rosberg twice.

Three laps later he was in for slicks. But the team had to hold him in his pit box as a Mercedes came past, and as he returned to the track he had Webber on his tail.

Webber had pitted two laps before Alonso used the advantage of his warmer tyres to out-accelerate the Ferrari from turn one and take the place.

They pitted together on lap 25, leaving Alonso stuck behind the Red Bull for another stint. “I think I lost half a minute behind Webber at the beginning of the race,” he said afterwards.

The team used an aggressive strategy to try to get Alonso ahead, bringing him in again after just 11 laps.

He switched to super-soft tyres, which he later accepted might have been a mistake: “Maybe the soft tyre was better than the supersoft,, especially for second or third stint, looking at the very high degradation.”

“But we found ourselves behind Mark for two stints and we had to anticipate the stops a lot so we came to overtake him.”

It got Alonso in front – but it left him needing another pit stop. It’s hard to judge how well it would have worked out for him had the track stayed dry as both Webber and Lewis Hamilton lost time pitting for intermediates when the rain arrived.

Alonso had just pitted for soft tyres when the rain came so he was inclined to stick with the tyres he’d got – which proved to be the right decision.

He closed on Vettel during the final stint but a spin at turn 12 cost him more time, leaving him third.

Alonso said he was happy with the result: “Again, we recovered two positions in the race and we were able to jump on the podium for the fourth consecutive race, I think. This is good again for us.

“The weekend was maybe not as expected: we maybe expected hotter temperature and more problems with degradation for our main competitors, but in the end it didn?t go like that.

“I think we have another ?ǣ for the third consecutive time ?ǣ difficult conditions for us, cold conditions and I think we reached another podium which is a good target for us every weekend. ”

Fernando Alonso 2011 form guide

Felipe Massa

Massa looked ragged on his first laps on the super-soft tyres in practice. But he got on top of it on Saturday afternoon, out-qualifying Alonso for the first time in 17 races to line up fourth.

Alonso and the Mercedes duo out-dragged him at the start, but he took a place back from Schumacher on lap four.

Four laps later he spun at turn two, nudging the barrier, and was fortunate to get away with only minor damage to his rear wing endplate. “I was scared the car might be too damaged to continue,” he said, “but my engineer told me I could keep going.”

Having slipped to ninth, and with the track drying out, Rob Smedley told Massa they could afford to gamble: “Just think about the fact that from where we are now we can probably take a bit of a risk.”

He was one of the first drivers into the pits for slick tyres, joining Webber, Vitaly Petrov and Rubens Barrichello on lap ten.

Massa’s stop was 1.4s slower than Webber’s and he lost a further 3.4s on his out-lap, which cancelled out any benefit from changing tyres early. It dropped him back behind Schumacher – despite the Mercedes driver staying out very long on his intermediates.

Massa made his next pit stop on lap 25 to jump Schumacher. It didn’t quite work – Schumacher came out ahead – but Massa was on him as they went into turn two. The Ferrari swept around the outside and Schumacher spun in avoidance.

That pit stop also jumped him in front of the other Mercedes of Rosberg and Massa rose to sixth after Kamui Kobayashi pitted.

Like Alonso, he did a third stint on super-soft tyres before switching to softs at the final stint. The recovering Webber and Hamilton passed him quite easily, leaving him sixth.

Felipe Massa 2011 form guide

2011 Hungarian Grand Prix

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32 comments on Ferrari: Alonso salvages podium after Webber delay

  1. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 1st August 2011, 17:04

    With all those mistakes I’m not quite sure how Alonso managed to finish third. I suppose Webber and Hamilton pitting for inters (and Lewis’ penalty) helped matters, but it was a scrappy weekend all round for Alonso. It’s a shame, because he looked to have great pace throughout the race and could have been battling closer to the front if he’d managed to keep it on track.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 1st August 2011, 17:12

      The mistakes themselves weren’t that costly – three or four seconds in his first stint, maybe, and four or five with his spin in the last stint.

      But when you consider that without the mistakes in his first stint he wouldn’t have fallen behind Webber, and that cost him a load of time, then it was quite costly.

      • Rob2 said on 1st August 2011, 17:25

        That Ferrari did look like the harder of the 3 cars to drive in the wet. It was sliding everywhere.

        • Gill said on 1st August 2011, 17:31

          With the exception of last year (where we did not have many wet races apart from Korea, China and Australia), Ferrari has generally been a bad car in wet. It again boils down to heating up their tyres which is even more difficult when the track is wet and temperature is lower. But disappointingly, Ferrari was not fast on Super Soft even. I remember when Button (on Softs)came ahead of Alonso (On super softs, his 3rd stop), Alonso should have passed him with ease but he lost a place to Vettel shortly which proves that Ferrari ate the Super Softs faster. I think there development has gone haywire and they lost their slower corner edge and their traction ability which was so good in MOnaco.

          • Rob2 said on 1st August 2011, 18:15

            Yeah but keep in mind that the drop off on the SS are much quicker than the S. So while Alonso had been flying on those SS, by the time he needed to pass Button, the tires had worn to the point where they were slower than buttons softs. Hamilton also saw the same drop off while on the SS, and he had the luxury of looking after them while maintaining the lead (while Alonso pushed hard to try gain time).

          • Jay said on 2nd August 2011, 1:53

            Ferrari havent had a car capable in the wet for quit ea few years now.

            Remember Raikkonen at Spa in 08? Was leading Lewis and when the rain came the car had absolutely no mechanical grip against the Mclaren.

      • brum55 said on 2nd August 2011, 22:17

        Alonso was pushing too hard in my opinion. Had he driven smoothly and calmly like Vettel and Button he would probably finished in the same place anyway. It was the best he could have done.

  2. bananarama said on 1st August 2011, 17:34

    I’d like to ask again here because I guess nobody will see it elsewhere:

    Whats the longest streak for a driver to outqualify his teammate(s) and whats the highest percentage of a driver beating his teammate(s)? Anyone have an idea?

    I guess Alonso is up there .. Schumacher, Stewart, Senna, Clark. I suppose those are the names to expect but well, maybe someone has an idea, otherwise I’ll give it a try after my exams are over.

  3. Enigma (@enigma) said on 1st August 2011, 18:04

    That’s 6th race in a row Alonso finished 2 places higher than he qualified. That’s since Monaco.

    Including the Canadian GP: 2-2=0.

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 2nd August 2011, 0:23

      Hmm, his consistency is always impressive. But this year Vettel could be a little bit less consistent but usually higher place. Well, that’t the problem.

  4. Daniel said on 1st August 2011, 19:24

    I guess Alonso isn’t quite the amazing driver his fans make him out to be afterall with these spins.

    • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 1st August 2011, 22:07

      The best word to describe his recent errors is the one Keith used: uncharacteristic.

      Aside from Vettel, I think he is the one who makes the least bad calls from race to race when negotiating corner after corner.

      He did seems a little bit out of shape with his errors on the Nurburgring and on the Hungaroring.

      While he had his fair share of luck on Sunday (had Hamilton and Webber made the right strategic calls, he would only had finished 5th), he is more consistent then everybody bar Vettel.

      It’s one of the hardest thing to decide in today’s Formula 1, but if I would have to choose two out of Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton, as Crofty & Co. discussed during an FP, I would exclude the latter one.

      But I’m an avid Alonso fan, so maybe I’m not 100% objective.

      • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 2nd August 2011, 0:14

        Props on admitting any possible lack in objectivity :) you are a credit to Alonso fans everywhere. I mean that in the best way possible!

        Props on the name too! A To Kill a Mockingbird reference?

      • ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 3rd August 2011, 19:24

        Ever since he joined Ferrari, he’s made plenty of mistakes, so I don’t know if we can call it ‘uncharacteristic’ for much longer.

        I guess this just shows that he has to drive on the absolute edge to get the performance out of the Ferrari, which he didn’t quite need to do in his Renault championship years.

    • Jay said on 2nd August 2011, 1:50

      @ Daniel

      I think if you watch the race again, everyone of the front runners had at least one off track moment. The conditions were really poor and these guys were running slicks!!

      Have you ever been on a wet track with slicks on? Its like skating man, there is no grip whatsoever!!…and these guys were doing 200 mile an hour!

      I think everyone can be excused for their off track moments last weekend..

      • Absolutely right, Jay. One only needs to look at Alonso’s team-mate to see if he is flattering that Ferrari or not.

  5. DASMAN said on 1st August 2011, 21:11

    I guess Hamilton ain’t that hot either using that logic…

    • Todfod said on 1st August 2011, 22:47

      LOL. Hamilton has actually had more patchy performances than Alonso, so I guess even Hamilton isn’t as amazing as his fans make him out to be.

      Vettel also had a scrappy weekend at the Nurburgring, so maybe even Vettel isn’t as amazing as his fans make him out to be.

      Button hasn’t won a dry race in one a half years, so I guess that makes him less amazing as well.

      I see a recurring theme here…

  6. on Brazilian TV they said that after some people laughed at Bernie’s idea of wetting artificially the track, he found out the switch button to make it rain on all races.
    This is not being good for Ferrari. lol

  7. UKfanatic (@) said on 1st August 2011, 23:25

    Ferraris form is well below expected, Alonsos face says it all. The car setup was never good, wich is strange on a Ferrari usually a very balanced car, Alonso missed all corners possible on the racetrack and all were downhill, first sector was a mess then turn 12 he spun under brakes, to sum up, not enough all round downforce, very physical grand prix and Vettel managed to finish second.

    • I don’t thing that strange… it’s widely known that Ferrari’s best form is when they can get the proper temperature on the tyres. And that was not the case on this weekend due the weather.

  8. Eggry (@eggry) said on 2nd August 2011, 0:27

    Many slips were disappointing. But race pace itself is promising. With more improvement, they will be ahead of Red Bull even though it would be late for the championship.

  9. gideon said on 2nd August 2011, 8:59

    if rain did not fall on sunday race hungaroring will be slow race with vettel win.

  10. Alex said on 2nd August 2011, 9:45

    I don’t understand how Alonso was held up 30 seconds by Webber when Webber was never 30 seconds behind the leaders at that stage of the race

  11. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 2nd August 2011, 13:50

    Another good result for Alonso.

    It was pretty disappointing to see Massa let Alonso by so easily…lacking confidence perhaps? He also got held up quite a long time Rosberg if I recall correctly.

  12. Did Star Sports have its commercials at the odd time? I missed the final Alonso spin.

  13. Luis said on 7th August 2011, 15:41

    Kubica, Perez, Alguersuari, di Resta, anyone can do a better job than Massa.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Ferrari fan, Massa fan, half Italian and Brazilian. But the pace is not there. This year he has always been the worst from the 6 drivers with a good machinery. The seat must be given to someone that can deliver a bit more.

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