2011 Italian GP team review
Fernando Alonso admits Sebastian Vettel won’t be beaten to this year’s title.
|Fernando Alonso||Felipe Massa|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’22.841 (-0.347)||1’23.188|
Ferrari drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
|Pit stop 1||Soft 22.539s|
|Pit stop 2||Medium 21.989s|
Alonso was surprised by his car’s improvement in qualifying: “We made a lot of changes to the set-up after each session and again this morning we were not satisfied.
“Then unexpectedly, in qualifying, the car improved and was more stable under braking and easier to drive, to the extent that we were always in the top four or five positions in each session.”
Alonso made a phenomenal start, a replay of his effort from Spain, where he also shot from fourth on the grid into the lead at the first corner.
But unlike in Spain he couldn’t keep the lead for any length of time. After the restart it took Sebastian Vettel little more than a lap to find a way by.
Alonso made it hard for Vettel: coming down the start/finish line at the beginning of lap five Alonso clearly changed his line twice trying to keep the Red Bull behind, a move that might have incurred a penalty had Vettel not made it by shortly afterwards.
Vettel drew along the Ferrari on the outside of Curva Grande, Alonso squeezing him onto the grass as they nudged 320kph (200mph), but unable to keep Vettel from the lead.
Alonso defended a brief challenge from Michael Schumacher shortly afterwards, but was protected from attack by the Mercedes who kept the McLarens at bay.
Jenson Button finally broke through and caught Alonso after the final round of pit stops.
As usual the Ferrari struggled for traction shortly after switching to the harder tyres and Button squeezed past at the inside of Curva Grande on lap 36. Alonso appeared to surrender to the inevitable, not using his KERS to defend the position.
Lewis Hamilton eroded Alonso’s eight second lead over the final 15 laps. He arrived on the Ferrari’s tail as the final tour began, but Alonso held on to give Ferrari a podium finish at their home race.
Alonso remains Vettel’s closest challenger in the championship but does not think the Red Bull can be beaten: “It’s true the title has gone now, but there is still great motivation: we want to win races and try to defend the position I have just reached in the drivers championship.”
|Pit stop 1||Soft 21.821s|
|Pit stop 2||Medium 22.148s|
Having out-qualified Alonso in the last two races, Massa resumed his usual place behind his team mate at Monza: “In Q3, on my final run, I had got a good tow behind Michael, but then, I pushed a bit too much and lost precious time at the second chicane and the Lesmo corner.
“Maybe I could have been one or two places further up, but definitely nothing more than that.”
Massa moved up to fifth at the start but collided with Mark Webber when the Red Bull driver tried to pass him on lap five.
Webber had been fractionally ahead of Massa on the outside as they entered the Rettifilio. Massa took a wider line through the first part of the chicane, forcing Webber onto the kerbs, and from there the Red Bull driver could do little to avoid hitting the Ferrari.
Massa tried to lay the blame for the collision at Webber’s feet. But he also admitted he had braked late for the corner while off-line: “I braked slightly late, taking the inside line and, going round the outside, he would never have got past.”
While recovering, Massa then got involved in a collision with Jarno Trulli that was unseen by the TV cameras.
According to Trulli, Massa lost control of his car under braking at the della Roggia, pushing the Lotus in Sebastien Buemi. Massa does not appear to have offered his own version of events.
He quickly recovered several places, taking Heikki Kovalainen later on that lap, then Jaime Alguersuari, Paul di Resta, Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado.
He was back up to sixth by lap ten, but made little progress catching the cars in front of him, and finished there.
2011 Italian Grand Prix
- Sebastian Vettel named Driver of the Weekend for Monza
- Rate the race result: 2011 Italian Grand Prix
- FIA steward Daly says Schumacher should have had penalty
- 2011 Italian Grand Prix: complete race weekend review
- Vote for your Italian GP driver of the weekend
- Red Bull: Vettel poised to clinch second title
- McLaren: Button leads Hamilton home again
- Ferrari: Alonso admits “the title is gone”
- Mercedes: Schumacher fifth after Hamilton battle
- Renault: Senna claims first points finish
Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo