Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Korea, 2011

Ferrari: Alonso “gives up” on pursuit of Button

2011 Korean GP team reviewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

2011 Korean Grand Prix

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Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo