Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Ferrari: Harder tyres still the car’s weakness

2011 Belgian GP team reviewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Alonso led the race early on but fell back after switching to the medium tyres.

Fernando Alonso Felipe Massa
Qualifying position 8 4
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’51.251 (+0.995) 1’50.256
Race position 4 8
Laps 44/44 44/44
Pit stops 2 3

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
Fernando Alonso 122.347 116.493 116.84 116.562 116.574 116.752 115.151 118.283 128.668 115.238 113.747 113.399 124.146 172.367 173.602 170.287 115.264 114.302 112.968 113.134 112.9 113.082 112.91 113.09 113.216 113.196 113.256 113.439 117.306 124.663 111.844 111.956 111.556 112.036 112.115 111.914 112.293 111.364 111.251 111.183 111.107 112.041 111.485 112.588
Felipe Massa 120.901 117.067 117.273 116.521 118.828 116.516 116.984 117.354 120.222 130.014 117.7 116.319 130.768 153.117 172.721 169.835 115.995 114.464 114.061 114.441 114.29 114.997 114.538 114.988 114.804 114.87 114.764 115.014 115.133 119.313 128.784 117.37 127.394 112.153 113.253 111.942 112.616 111.81 111.785 111.765 111.944 111.564 111.661 113.116
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Fernando Alonso

Ferrari kept their running to a minimum on Saturday morning, and Alonso had his worst qualifying result of the year. He lined up eighth, struggling to get heat into his tyres on a cool day.

He was knocked wide at the first corner as a result of the Bruno Senna/Jaime Alguersuari collision, but still had enough momentum to take fifth place.

On the next lap he took Lewis Hamilton for fourth. Three laps later he dived down the inside of Massa at Rivage for third, and took the place despite running wide.

After Vettel pitted, Alonso passed Nico Rosberg to take the lead, which he held until he pitted on lap eight.

Needing to spend as little time on the medium tyre as possible, Alonso didn’t pit under the safety car, hoping Vettel would not be able to run long enough on his soft tyres to make only three stops.

But Vettel did, and Alonso had to come in for mediums on lap 29. In the final stint he was up to a second off Vettel’s pace and was passed by Mark Webber and Jenson Button.

“It would have been difficult to do better than this fourth place today, especially given how much we suffered on the medium tyres,” said Alonso. “In these conditions, we are a second and a half slower than the best.”

Stefano Domenicali said: “We saw our car perform in two different ways, depending on what tyres it was running: very good on the soft, especially with Fernando, but definitely lacking with the medium.

“This explains how Fernando, who delivered an extraordinary performance, taking the lead and fighting for the win in the first stint, then gradually saw what would have been a very well deserved podium place slip from his grasp.”

Fernando Alonso 2011 form guide

Felipe Massa

Massa out-qualified his team mate for the second race in a row. He gained a place from Hamilton at the start, but when Alonso passed him on lap five it allowed Hamilton to re-take the place off Massa.

Massa was passed by Rosberg after the restart and then couldn’t re-pass the Mercedes:

“When I found myself behind Rosberg, I could not pass him, despite the DRS, because their top speed is very good. Furthermore, I was struggling especially in the slowest corners ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ the final chicane and La Source ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ and that stopped me from getting as good a tow as possible.”

A puncture forced him to make an extra pit stop on lap 32 which dropped him out of the points. He passed Paul di Resta and Pastor Maldonado, then took eighth off Vitaly Petrov who spun at the final corner.

Felipe Massa 2011 form guide

2011 Belgian Grand Prix

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Image ?ι?® Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo