Ferrari believed they had done enough to get Alonso into the lead but he came out in second.
|Fernando Alonso||Felipe Massa|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’39.058 (-0.637)||1’39.695|
Ferrari drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
|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.”
|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?óÔé¼Ôäós 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.”
2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
- Hamilton voted Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend
- Rate the race result: 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
- Pirelli say tyre failure did not cause Vettel retirement
- Vote for your Abu Dhabi GP driver of the weekend
- McLaren: Relief for Hamilton after return to winning ways
- Ferrari: Slow pit stop costs Alonso shot at victory
- Red Bull: Mystery puncture halts the Vettel steamroller
- Mercedes: Rosberg comes out ahead after first-lap scrap
- Force India: Team tightens grasp on sixth in championship
- Sauber: Kobayashi ends seven-race drought
Image ?é?® Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo