2011 Belgian GP team review
Alonso led the race early on but fell back after switching to the medium tyres.
|Fernando Alonso||Felipe Massa|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’51.251 (+0.995)||1’50.256|
Ferrari drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
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.”
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 – the final chicane and La Source – 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.
2011 Belgian Grand Prix
- Rate the race result: 2011 Belgian Grand Prix
- In the Paddock Club and in the stands at Spa
- Leimer’s crash and in the pits at McLaren – fans’ videos from Spa
- 2011 Belgian Grand Prix: complete race review
- Vote for your Belgian GP driver of the weekend
- Red Bull: Newey relieved after “scariest race ever”
- McLaren: Button hit by debris in first-lap scare
- Ferrari: Harder tyres still the car’s weakness
- Mercedes: Schumacher climbs 19 places to fifth
- Renault: Petrov buoyed by R31 upgrades
Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo