Ferrari: Alonso “gives up” on pursuit of Button

2011 Korean GP team review

Alonso drove a brilliant final stint before telling his team he’d “given up” trying to pass Button.

Fernando Alonso Felipe Massa
Qualifying position 6 5
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’36.980 (+0.149) 1’36.831
Race position 5 6
Laps 55/55 55/55
Pit stops 2 2

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
Fernando Alonso 111.557 106.117 105.771 105.566 106.272 105.902 105.513 105.439 105.542 105.716 105.712 106.161 106.643 108.627 113.428 127.159 130.42 127.017 166.579 153.045 104.687 104.158 103.836 103.765 104.015 104.135 103.783 103.166 102.802 102.723 102.807 102.274 102.205 102.345 101.894 101.644 107.079 118.716 100.912 100.623 100.547 100.622 100.635 100.689 101.005 100.955 100.664 100.6 100.947 100.788 100.674 101.009 101.193 100.764 100.836
Felipe Massa 110.795 106.166 105.707 105.553 106.094 105.868 105.657 105.666 105.263 105.754 105.741 106.267 106.474 111.397 124.957 107.478 135.296 127.659 166.61 153.348 104.58 104.108 103.67 103.977 104.042 104.038 103.39 102.739 102.461 102.714 102.533 102.526 102.468 106.31 121.973 102.662 101.501 101.867 101.631 101.554 101.338 101.464 101.161 101.128 101.327 101.414 101.166 100.984 100.672 100.731 100.541 101.109 101.382 102.286 101.93

Fernando Alonso

Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Korea, 2011

Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Korea, 2011

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.

Fernando Alonso 2011 form guide

Felipe Massa

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.

Felipe Massa 2011 form guide

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51 comments on Ferrari: Alonso “gives up” on pursuit of Button

  1. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 17th October 2011, 18:38

    I don’t think he meant that, but it was a very good showing from Alonso again. To think he was behind Rosberg halfway through the Grand Prix.

    Massa seemed a lot more competitive too. His last bit of the race was also very consistent.

    • mighty_mouse said on 18th October 2011, 10:34

      I think he dont meant it too. He might trying to send messagge to mclaren team, since they can hear each team radio(i think so. correct me if im wrong) so that mclaren will tell button not to push too hard, and alonso will try to take advantage on that to overtake button. He’s one of the best f1 driver, best driver dont give up easily. Well, ok maybe the last 2 laps sounds quite hard to do overtaking, so alonso doesnt want to be too confident, so maybe because of that he simply say he “gives up”, but he still pushing hard to get closer to button.

  2. ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 17th October 2011, 18:43

    It was certainly a pity that the Ferrari drivers got delayed at the end of their first stints (Massa got held up in the pits and Alonso had a few slow laps on cooked tyres), as otherwise we could’ve had a 5-way battle for 2nd.

  3. BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th October 2011, 18:44

    I haven’t seen Massa as racey as he was here for a long time. Now the title’s over he is unleashed?

  4. F1_WI (@f1_wi) said on 17th October 2011, 18:45

    Watching the race and seeing the gap Alonso pulled on Massa after Massa pitted followed by Alonso’s subsequent chase down of Button with that consistency, shows why he is one of the best on the grid. And I am far from an Alonso fan.

  5. antizyklon (@antizyklon) said on 17th October 2011, 19:39

    I think Alonso told his team he gave up after some scary “almost spins” on last laps. He was pushing way over the limit that F150.

    • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 17th October 2011, 22:39

      Yep. Agreed.
      It was probably just Ă  remark after such Ă  near spin.
      We don’t know what was before and what came after.

      And then you have pressconference and at that moment Alonso is smart enough to direct some comments to his team, in Ă  subtle matter

      • davidwhite (@davidwhite) said on 18th October 2011, 11:51

        He’s a smart cookie, Alonso. Love him or hate him, he’s hugely talented.

        His consistency was astounding – class (and I’m really not a fan of Alonso and his histrionics).

        Ferrari better give him a car to compete next year or i fear the love affair with the team may come to a nasty end….

  6. Antranik (@antranik) said on 17th October 2011, 19:50

    I doubt he meant that at all… its much more likely he gave up because his car was simply not capable.

  7. Trenthamfolk (@trenthamfolk) said on 17th October 2011, 20:11

    I don’t like Alonso, and would love to think he actually’ gave up’, but I can’t see it… I think his message got lost in translation, and his explanation in the paddock was honest and more than sufficient.

  8. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 17th October 2011, 20:29

    In the past two years, I don’t remember many good races from Massa (only Bahrain and Hockenheim 2010 spring to mind), but I think this weekend he was pretty decent. Unfortunately for him, the fight for the podium is extremely competitive this year, so he may still have to wait a bit for his first podium since Korea last year (right?).

  9. My view is his “give up” comment had to with fuel. Just before, the team had told him to go to “full rich.” I speculuate that they told him the fuel risk and let him decide whether to go after Button in the end. He decided to call off the attack. Note that Alonso parked his car on the in-lap to perserve his test-liter (a new fad FIA needs to crack down on.)

    I don’t buy his explanation. It would be unacceptable for a driver to say with two laps I cannot do it. What if Button said that in Canada? What if Hamilton gave up in China? In this case, it seemed very valid scenario that Hamilton, Webber, and Button would get tangled up, or run wide in their battle enough to get a pass on one of them. After all, the man right ahead of him he is fighting for second in the WDC.

  10. Eggry (@eggry) said on 17th October 2011, 21:14

    I’m pleasant to see Massa doing well. I think FOM used ‘I give up’ radio with wrong edit…or intentionally? like ‘Destroy Ham’s race’ in Singapore. If Andrea said “Sorry, we’re out of fuel” prior to it, it is just confirmation not giving up.

  11. jpowell (@jpowell) said on 17th October 2011, 21:22

    I think the ‘I give up’ just was on any full blown attack on Button ,Fernando had judged only a mistake by one of the three ahead would give him a chance to pass. We viewers might find it easier than the driver to make this particular judgement.

  12. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 17th October 2011, 23:00

    It must be so frustrating for Alonso.

    He’s driving better than ever and literally has no chance against the Red Bulls and McLarens, because of the realtive lack of competitiveness from Ferrari.

    I mean look at Massa. He is pretty much where Ferrari stand at the moment. I think in those 212 points gathered so far, there is a pretty big ‘Alonso factor’…

    It’s so sad to see him waste his best years in these kind of cars like the F150 and the 2008 Renault model of the past.

    But indeed Renault and the unreliability of the Mercedes have had a big part the his championships. I think he drives better now than he did back then, and still…

    Life is life. :D

    • Nobody forced him to leave McLaren. It got nasty in the end with Dennis, but he wasn’t practicing pacifism there. Even so, he could have walked into Coulthard’s seat in 2008, or at least in 2009 after punching the clock at Renault for a year, if he really had to run. Instead he decides to hang out with Flavio Briatore and drive his crummy car for two years. He could be a 4 time WDC easy with two different obvious paths–2008 and 2010 staying at McLaren, or 2010 and 2011 having moved to RBR.

      • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 18th October 2011, 7:16

        While a valid viewpoint, I think this is one too reliant on hindsight.

        From what I remember at the end of 2007, there were strong (and I believe valid) rumors that McLaren told Alonso his services were no longer required, i.e. he was forced to leave. Looking at Alonso’s available options at the time, Renault had indeed regressed in pace, but they were still the works team, significantly ahead of Red Bull. Renault also won 2 races in 2008 (albeit with one under some controversy), while Red Bull could only score a single podium. It’s easy to say Alonso could’ve stayed at McLaren or gone to Red Bull, but really, Renault seemed to be the best option at the time.

        • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 18th October 2011, 7:22

          If I remember correctly both parted on mutual consent.

          @DaveW to be fair; Alonso’s contract if I remember correctly was a 3 year deal until the end of 2009; so 2010 wouldn’t have been part of his McLaren deal

          • GameR_K (@gamer_k) said on 18th October 2011, 8:14

            Alonso also got a offer for 2009 from Honda, which he duly declined. Rest is history

          • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 18th October 2011, 8:32

            Raymond, ‘mutual consent’ would be the PR release talking. Whether or not it was truly ‘mutual’, we will probably never know.

            Good point on Honda – but I wonder if he would’ve been as patient as Button through the pre-Brawn offseason. Somehow, I’m not so sure.

      • Erm, as others pointed out, McLaren did ask him to sort it out towards the last third of the season. Ron made it clear who was being backed in the team, and if you’re a WDC and then asked to be a second driver, that’s a bit much to take.

        Those who may jump to Ron’s defense, let us all remember, he’s the same guy who swore (amusingly all this happened in ’07) that McLaren never had anything to do with Ferrari’s data. Who can forget Montoya speak out about Alonso’s move to McLaren… “No…….”

        Ron has achieved much, but means are not exactly squeaky clean by any measure.

        Alonso is rated as one of the best drivers… by the drivers. That speaks volumes about his abilities than we could wax eloquent.

  13. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 18th October 2011, 3:12

    Good run by both Ferrari drivers.It was nice to see the battle between Alonso & Massa.But I have to say he raced well 20 qualifying laps isn’t easy with his car which isn’t a sharp tool.

  14. GameR_K (@gamer_k) said on 18th October 2011, 9:37

    I can understand the hard times Massa is going with the podium drought. One of the podium slots is always reserved for Vettel(except for Germany), of the remaining 2 slots there is a fight between 5 drivers which is a 40% chance. Except for British GP Ferrari never looked competitive. Which places the onus of how to overdrive a car by Alonso. His only good chancwe was at Canada when two podium contenders crashed, but that is when the other drivers in top teams took the remaining slots.

  15. Oliver said on 18th October 2011, 10:15

    I hope Ferrari can give Alonso a competitive car next year. True he over reacted while at Mclaren because there was no, “Alonso is faster than you”, to Hamilton’s radio. But his problems were only made worse by the press.
    He still is a fantastic driver, superior to Vettel, and deserves to be in a competitive car.

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