Ferrari: Slow pit stop costs Alonso shot at victory

2011 Abu Dhabi GP team review

Ferrari believed they had done enough to get Alonso into the lead but he came out in second.

Fernando Alonso Felipe Massa
Qualifying position 5 6
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’39.058 (-0.637) 1’39.695
Race position 2 5
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 113.56 107.861 107.287 106.782 106.625 106.497 106.432 106.059 106.169 106.125 105.999 105.944 106.044 106.366 106.022 107.723 124.295 105.648 105.455 105.469 105.245 105.27 105.789 105.244 105.811 105.134 104.762 105.618 105.138 104.935 105.045 104.956 104.27 104.644 104.866 104.515 104.982 104.302 104.521 104.179 103.914 104.106 106.53 125.939 105.301 104.562 104.188 104.038 104.132 104.144 104.345 104.125 104.39 104.112 104.929
Felipe Massa 115.291 108.96 108.362 107.346 107.627 107.202 107.054 106.772 106.793 106.824 107.34 106.832 106.663 106.833 108.62 124.787 106.086 106.016 105.982 106.015 105.717 105.856 105.615 105.616 105.477 105.352 105.299 105.351 105.642 106.967 105.675 107.054 105.158 105.282 105.187 105.433 105.172 105.671 105.589 107.847 125.521 105.39 105.328 105.085 105.015 104.769 104.373 104.896 111.786 104.476 104.288 105.545 104.407 104.587 104.633

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Start tyre Soft
Pit stop 1 Soft 20.211s
Pit stop 2 Medium 21.314s

Like Vettel, Alonso found his way into the turn one barrier in the first practice session, only he did slightly more damage to his Ferrari.

After qualifying Fernando Alonso reflected that starting fifth for the eighth time this year was an accurate reflection of his Ferrari’s potential. He originally considering doing a single run in Q3 to save tyres but decided his first effort was not good enough.

He moved around the outside of Mark Webber to take fourth at the start, then passed Jenson Button for second at turn eight.

Alonso ran three laps later than Lewis Hamilton in his second stint, delaying his switch to medium tyres in an attempt to get ahead of the race leader. As Alonso explained, the team thought they’d done enough to do it:

“We did two extra laps to overtake Lewis at the stop. The team told me we should be OK, clear to overtake him now so we’re stopping this lap.

“When we arrived to the pits we have the HRT [of Daniel Ricciardo] in front of us so we lost maybe one second there. So maybe the possibility of being in front of Lewis we lost there.”

From comparing his in-lap with Hamilton’s it seems he lost around one-and-a-half seconds due to Ricciardo.

But Alonso also lost time with a slow left-front tyre change. His total pit stop duration, timed from the moment he entered the pits with the speed limiter on (and therefore no longer losing time because of the HRT) was 1.9s slower than the quickest of the race.

Did this cost him a chance of coming out ahead of Hamilton? At the end of his first lap out of the pits he was 4.4 seconds behind the McLaren. As the Ferrari would have been slower on its out-lap than the McLaren it’s clear it would have been very close.

If Alonso had got out ahead we might have had a thrilling end to the race as the Ferrari was clearly slower than the McLaren on the harder tyres. The gap between the pair increased to 8.4 seconds by the end of the race while Alonso kept on pushing:

“I hoped right to the end I could do it, because maybe Hamilton might also have had some problems with KERS like Button did.”

Fernando Alonso 2011 form guide

Felipe Massa

Start tyre Soft
Pit stop 1 Soft 20.471s
Pit stop 2 Medium 20.035s

Massa abandoned Ferrari’s new-specification front wing after the flexing phenomenon seen in India recurred during practice.

Webber’s slow pit stop briefly promoted him to fourth, but although he caught Button he was unable to pass the temporarily KERS-less McLaren.

In the final stint Massa was trying to stay within range of Webber’s times to hold on to fourth place when he spun at turn one. That left him in fifth, and he spent the final laps of the race being caught by Nico Rosberg.

“I cannot be happy with this fifth place,” said Massa. “Things were going reasonably well while I was on the softs, but with the mediums I was really struggling to keep the car on track because of the lack of grip.

“That?s why I ended up spinning on lap 49, losing any remaining hope of staying ahead of Webber.”

He added: “The fact I could not use the new front wing was more of a penalty when running the medium tyres than the softs, because with the harder compound you could feel the lack of downforce more.”

Felipe Massa 2011 form guide

2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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19 comments on Ferrari: Slow pit stop costs Alonso shot at victory

  1. Massa was actually having a good race up until that spin, I hope in Brazil he can give his fans something to cheer about.

    Also, considering that Ferrari have all this money and history, you’d think they would have a slightly more competent pit crew. It would have been great to see Hamilton have to defend from Alonso on the track.

    • Wallbreaker said on 14th November 2011, 15:42

      I´m a bit surprised about their lack of efficiency during pit stops, I think at the Nurburgring they had developed a really good system which gave them the second fastest pit stops behind Red Bull. What´s wrong with it?

    • Massa theoretically is the best driver in Interlagos. Ferrari is the third best car, although it has always done well (apart from 2010, and 2009 obviously) there. If Massa can perform as well as he did often lately, like in India, he can equal/beat Alonso in qualifying, and if he continues to do well in the race he can beat him and maybe finish on the podium. It’d be amazing, as he will start his 100th GP for Ferrari (I won’t even consider a win/pole, a podium would be enough for me :P )

  2. JCost (@jcost) said on 14th November 2011, 15:43

    Fernando Alonso is on fire. However, I think Lewis had some “pace reserve” to deliver whenever Alonso was too close, but that doesn’t take any credit from Alonso’s impressive race.

    After the race Alonso was very kind to Lewis, saying he’s the one he feared the most for being capable winning championships not driving the fastest car (I think he was trying to annoy Vettel)

    Massa had a great chance to land a podium, but Jenson was much quicker on white-marked tyres.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 15th November 2011, 14:30

      And Hamilton was saying how he was having some pace in reserve, but that it was still tense holding back the toughest racer in the field in Alonso. A bit of a bromance there.

  3. UKFan (@) said on 14th November 2011, 15:48

    Ferrari like any team needs to believe that they had a chance.

    From what Ive seen Mclaren and Lewis had more in their car, they were able to manage Alonsos gap ensuring to be more than a 1 apart, even if Ferrari had made good pitstops and avoided Ricciardo (only saw the Pit part) they were short in performance, but a good end of the race would have been nice.

  4. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 14th November 2011, 17:07

    It’s just unbelievable Alonso still has a shot at Button with the car he’s driving.

    • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 14th November 2011, 17:55

      He’s got a shot but I’d say Button has second place in the bag, unless he retires in Brazil. For a car that on pure pace should only be 5th in the drivers standings it’s miraculous to see Fernando 3rd.

      Here’s hoping that Alonso gets a good car next year so he can truly fight at the front again. Vettel-Alonso-Button-Hamilton in a fight for the championship in 2012!

  5. Tho the slow stop was frustrating. they have in general been better lately.

    was annoying was pitting alonso the same lap as lewis. Fernando was flying and his tyres looked good. If he had done 2 extra laps then he would of been able to have even fresher tyres when he stayed out longer for the 2nd stop.

    Pitting the same time as lewis for the first stop gained nothing.

  6. sid_prasher (@) said on 14th November 2011, 19:38

    Hoping for a strong race from Felipe in Brazil…

  7. Jacob Larsson (@) said on 14th November 2011, 20:09

    “Like Vettel, Alonso found his way into the turn one barrier in the first second practice session, only he did slightly more damage to his Ferrari.”

  8. James (@jamesf1) said on 14th November 2011, 21:06

    It was nice and refreshing to see both Mclaren and Ferrari coming into the race with higher spirits than of late. Furthermore, I’m really liking the mutual respect between Hamilton and Alonso. They’ve always said they respect each other, but they havent been so public about it as they have in the last month.

    It’s probably a small attempt at knocking Red Bull, but I think it also shows the maturity of both these men. I hope it continues and hope they can battle each other next year.

    Ferrari did pretty well this weekend, Alonso more so (as per usual). I hope they can get a podium next time out, but who knows.

    • Klaas (@klaas) said on 15th November 2011, 9:10

      I don’t buy this “respect thing” between Alonso and Lewis. They act like men who have a common enemy (Vettel) and nothing to lose anymore this season so why not put a little gentlemen’s show. The minute they clash on the circuit (or have something like Valencia 2010) they’ll become the same spoilt immature drivers they used to be in 2007. Remeber how much respect was between Massa and Hamilton? Where is it now?

  9. brum55 said on 14th November 2011, 21:47

    Even if Fernando came out in front of Lewis I think it would have been a matter of time before Hamilton got passed him on track, due to Ferrari’s poor pace on the harder compound.

  10. more kidology from ferrari

    their car overall was as fast as the McLaren at equal option tyre wear speed , but after the change to primes it was game over for them

    even if alonso had been able to pass hamilton at the last pit stop , hamilton would have just been able to DRS past

    most impressed by the new ferrari front wing though , when they stop making it from jelly it should be even better

  11. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 15th November 2011, 21:57

    Like everyone else, I was all ready to watch Alonso and Hamilton slog it out on their final stint. However, I was keeping an eye on the live timing and could just see, almost immediately, that Alonso had no chance. He was dropping time so easily. Such a shame. What could have been!

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