Alonso drove a brilliant final stint before telling his team he’d “given up” trying to pass Button.
|Fernando Alonso||Felipe Massa|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’36.980 (+0.149)||1’36.831|
Ferrari drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
|Start tyre||Super soft|
|Pit stop 1||Soft 20.978s|
|Pit stop 2||Soft 20.639s|
Two laps from the end of the race Alonso was heard telling his team “I give up” – a remark that invited various interpretations.
Had he literally given up? Doubtful. Was he trying to lull Jenson Button ahead into a false sense of security? That seems even less likely.
Was he sending a message to his team about how much time he’d lost behind Massa earlier in the race? That sounds more credible, particularly given his words after the race:
“I did 20 laps, qualifying laps, to catch the group in front. When I arrived there I had a little moment close to the wall in the last corner.
“I asked the team how many laps were left, they said two. And I said, ‘with two, I cannot do it guys’ so we arrived a little bit too late into the battle.”
Alonso had been in pursuit of the leading quartet after being released from behind Massa on lap 34. He set three quick laps on worn tyres to come out comfortably ahead of his team mate.
From then on he drove a classic Alonso stint of mesmerising consistency – just look at his run from lap 39 to 51 in the graph above.
Had he not spent the first half of the race behind his team mate a better result might have been in the offing. But he qualified behind Massa – for the fourth time in the last six races – after failing to improve on his last run in Q3:
“We were losing too much time in the first sector, where we lacked top speed. On my last run, I immediately lost a few tenths at the first corner and after that, I could not make up the time, so I decided not to complete the lap.”
He passed Button at the start but lost a lot of ground at his first pit stop. He came out just as Michael Schumacher was passing by and had to slow to avoid the Mercedes.
Things could have been even worse for Alonso as Vitaly Petrov was shaping up to pass him on the next lap. Fortunately for the Ferrari driver, Petrov braked too late and slammed into Schumacher, removing the pair of them from the race.
Alonso, who had also braked too late as he and the Renault headed in to turn three side-by-side, narrowly avoided being hit by Petrov himself.
|Start tyre||Super soft|
|Pit stop 1||Soft 23.642s|
|Pit stop 2||Soft 21.08s|
An impressive piece of late-braking by Massa at turn three briefly got him into third place on the first lap.
Mark Webber muscled past him two corners later, leaving the Ferrari driver in fourth.
Like his team mate, the first pit stop did not go according to plan for Massa. Several other drivers made for the pits at the same time and Massa had to be held in his pit box as they came by, dropping him behind Button and Rosberg.
Massa took Rosberg on lap 27 but but slipped back to fifth when Alonso stayed out longer than him in their second stint.
2011 Korean Grand Prix
- Hamilton wins close vote for Korean GP Driver of the Weekend
- Unhappy Hamilton and muted crowd in fans’ Korean GP videos
- 2011 Korean Grand Prix: complete race weekend review
- Vote for the Korean GP driver of the weekend
- Red Bull: Team clinch title despite missed one-two
- McLaren: The old Hamilton reappears
- Ferrari: Alonso “gives up” on pursuit of Button
- Mercedes: Unlucky weekend for Schumacher
- Renault: No points for third time in six races
- Toro Rosso: Alguersuari shines in team’s best result for 50 races
Image ?é?® Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo