Alonso: We’ll see how good Vettel is later in his career – and Raikkonen’s no faster than Massa

2013 Japanese Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013Fernando Alonso explained his view on the abilities of his closest championship rivals in the run-up to the Japanese Grand Prix.

Alonso said Sebastian Vettel, who is on the cusp of winning the world title for the fourth consecutive season, has been “very good, close to perfection all these years”.

However Alonso says the jury is still out on how good Vettel ultimately is: “It’s true that he had an advantage in car performance all these years so we see how good he is later in the career.”

“At the moment he is better than anyone and winning all the championships. But we saw also [Lewis] Hamilton starting in the first year nearly win the championship, in the second year winning the championship, but then he didn’t win any more because sometimes you have the car to do it, sometimes not. And at the moment Red Bull [and] Vettel are a very good combination and too good for us.”

Next year Alonso will be partnered at Ferrari by Kimi Raikkonen, who will take Felipe Massa’s place in the team. Alonso doesn’t expect a difference in performance between the two.

“For next year with Kimi I think we can do a very good championship for Ferrari, try to do again score as many points as possible,” he said.

“But I think in terms of speed Felipe’s not any slower. I mean when they were racing together Felipe was as quick as Kimi in a way so if we have a competitive car we will enjoy the season and we will do very good things.

“If we are not competitive car it will be very similar to this season, I think.”

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170 comments on Alonso: We’ll see how good Vettel is later in his career – and Raikkonen’s no faster than Massa

  1. Fixy (@fixy) said on 10th October 2013, 20:01

    I mean when they were racing together Felipe was as quick as Kimi in a way

    In a way? Felipe and Kimi were the most balanced Ferrari pairing since decades. Of course the cars have changed, the tyres have changed, and both drivers have changed. But although I remember Scheckter beating Villeneuve I don’t remember anyone bashing the Canadian. As Keith recently reminded us, Alonso and Massa are 9-5 in qualifying, just like Hamilton and Rosberg. And people say Alonso is clearly the best driver on the grid. In that case, wouldn’t Massa be clearly better than Rosberg? There are situations which go beyond our understanding, but I’m pretty confident if Massa or Alonso changed team Felipe’s performances would benefit from that – unless he became Vettel’s team mate, as if he’s Alonso’s second fiddle he would most definitely be assigned to the same role with the German.

    • @fixy qualifying is only half the story though. Rosberg has maintained that form over Hamilton in the races, whereas Massa has dropped like a stone in most cases. That is absolutely crucial.

      Also, I’d argue Rosberg were a better qualifier than Alonso, which again casts doubt over quite how meaningful the qualifying teammate battle statistics actually are. Would I reason that Massa would have a chance of trumping Rosberg in qualifying? Absolutely not.

      On the number two role concept also, I see no reason why he’d be assigned a number two role alongside Vettel if he could be competitive against him, a la Webber 2010. I am highly skeptical that would happen though, so perhaps you have a point: it’s never good to be demoralised by not being able to keep pace with someone in the same car as you.

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 10th October 2013, 20:32

        @vettel1 What I’m trying to say about the qualifying scores is that people use them in their favour, to defend the drivers they like and criticise those they don’t. It’s easy to remember the times Massa had been behind Alonso in the races because when he’s been ahead he’s been quickly asked to give the position to Alonso, and we tend to notice what we want to notice. I’m nto saying Massa is as good or better than Alonso, not even Rosberg in my opinion, but people who name him the worst driver on the grid when he’s losing out to, apparently, the best one, is rather hypocritical. This year Webber hasn’t been doing a particularly nice job, of course he’s beaten Massa but that’s because the Red Bull is better than the Ferrari, indeed Vettel has beaten Alonso as often as their team mates have respectively done.

  2. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 10th October 2013, 20:02

    People who defend Massa: Remember that everything changed on him AFTER the accident. So If you start bringing 2008 or pre-Hungary 2009 stats now, it’s like asking Kubica to drive a F1 right now and still say “he’s one of the most promising drivers in F1″
    @kingshark think about it. And Kimi may not be the best, but nowadays he is showing the same qualities (excellent starts after an average quali, “smelling blood” and grabbing the chances, scoring as much as he can) as Alonso,so it’s too early to say one of them will crush the other next year. And that’s to defend Alonso a little from heavy attacks too, but he should be more honest about that Massa vs Kimi comment. (probably PR to protect an already fallen Massa,I know)

  3. Hotbottoms (@hotbottoms) said on 10th October 2013, 20:19

    Alonso’s comments about Räikkönen seem very strange to me. Everyone knows that the idea of current-Massa being as fast as current-Räikkönen is ludicrous. Obviously Alonso wants everyone to think that Massa – whom he has beaten overwhelmingly every season they’ve been team mates – is better than someone who is 3rd in the championship standings at the moment and regarded one of the best drivers this season. But in this case boasting seems very silly, because everyone will know the truth next season when they’ll be team mates… – or will they? Alonso’s comments would make a lot more sense, if he was leaving the team and trying to prove he isn’t doing that because he’s afraid of Räikkönen…

  4. HedmarkViking said on 10th October 2013, 21:08

    Alonso is unfortunately displaying all the behaviours of series past – which is a shame because when he isn’t looking over his shoulder he is one of the finest racing drivers the World has ever seen.

    Unfortunately he now finds himself partnered with a driver that is as close to James Hunt as a modern driver can be in terms of attitude….Kimi doesn’t generally give a **** what people think of him and prefers to leave it all on the track. In terms of raw talent he again is right up there but he doesn’t always deliver he is a bit Matt Le Tissier in that respect.
    That said I remember watching the telementry when he was testing one year at Silverstone. It was a little damp, misty and someones engine blew sending smoke out across the track. Being cold it hung there. Kimi was the only driver to accelerate through the cloud. He has heat resistant ice for balls…

    So if Alonso lets his head get to him or Kimi has a few great mind moments early doors and Ferrari have the car then next year could just be the best F1 season for a very very long time.

  5. Jason (@jason12) said on 10th October 2013, 21:24

    The jury is definitely still out on Vettel’s skills.

    I have him tied with Kimi on the 3rd spot, so far (that’s with him getting the 4th WDC).

    • @jason12 it’s still out, absolutely. But it’s evidence is becoming increasingly weaker.

    • TheBass (@) said on 10th October 2013, 23:19

      @jason12 I’m a bit curious about this. What exactly have Alonso, Hamilton or Raikkonen do that Vettel hasn’t, to make them amazing drivers for sure, but Vettel still questionable?

      • alexx_88 (@alexx_88) said on 10th October 2013, 23:52

        Win more than one race in inferior or equal machinery by overtaking through the field and fighting their way to the top.

        • TheBass (@) said on 11th October 2013, 0:33

          @alexx_88 Any particular examples of Alonso, Raikkonen and Hamilton doing that?

          • TheBass (@) said on 11th October 2013, 0:34

            More than once, of course.

          • Nathan (@il-ferrarista) said on 11th October 2013, 1:55

            Much much much more than just once, of course :). It is psychologically a lot easier to start with a top car from position 1 at the race start and from there build up a good lead/gap, compared to the challenge og fighting through the field.

            Also one more thing: Raikkonen certainly has lost some speed compared to his first F1 stint (he was regarded as _the_ fastest driver in F1 before LH came, and Alonso as the most reliable..). BUT; their aren’t bad qualifyer, not even Alonso. Every time Alonso has had proper good cars he’s been top notch in Q. And you have to agree, other than 05/06 and 07, his cars were always designed towards a good race-performance instead of being good on one single lap.

          • TheBass (@) said on 11th October 2013, 2:00

            @il-ferrarista Any examples?

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 11th October 2013, 5:47

            @il-ferrarista – Not that psychologically easy to actually qualify in position 1 though, to prepare for the race is it?

          • alexx_88 (@alexx_88) said on 11th October 2013, 7:35

            @silence: Sorry, I am bit on the run, but Alonso’s wins last year are all in an inferior machinery and a result of him coming through the field. Hamilton also had some races last year that he should’ve won, but didn’t becaue of technical failures.

            Anyway, what did it for me, what convinced me of RB’s crushing superiority is the side-by-side onboard footage from Singapore Q3 of Vettel vs Rosberg. The fact that Vettel was entering the corner with less speed, but able to accelerate way earlier (as Hamilton and Minardi pointed out) and reach the same point at turn exit carrying a lot more speed, can’t be down just to driver skill. Simply because in the first part of last year this wasn’t happening, not surprisingly when RB didn’t yet figure how to make their EBD work as it did. So either Vettel’s talents are on/off, or the car produces crazy amount of rear downforce.

            I’ve read a lot of technical discussions where the difference between Webber and Vettel is explained through this concept and the fact that it requires the driver to rely more on knowledge of the car than on instinct. A lot of you have probably driven a RWD car and know that, when the rear end steps out, the driver instinct is to stop accelerating and counter-steer. Well, given how the RB is supposed to work, the driver must do the counter-intuitive thing and accelerate harder out of the corner, simply because this produces more exhaust gases which feed the diffuser and produce downforce for better traction. Coming back to last year, when Webber was leading Vettel, it’s exactly the same period of time when their EBD was not working properly.

            So yes, you can either think that the 1s difference is solely down to the driver and continue to consider Vettel the best because of this, or realize that these are incredibly complicated machines and we’ll never know how much is Vettel’s contribution in that gap. For 4 years RB have been using the EBD to gain a big advantage over the field, since this won’t be the case next year and hopefully the Renault and Ferrari engine will have similar characteristics, I think that 2014 will give us a lot of answers.

          • TheBass (@) said on 11th October 2013, 8:19

            @alexx_88

            Sorry, I am bit on the run, but Alonso’s wins last year are all in an inferior machinery and a result of him coming through the field. Hamilton also had some races last year that he should’ve won, but didn’t becaue of technical failures.

            Alonso won twice in 2012, and one of them was from pole. So that’s two races. Cool. And even then, while the Ferrari was inferior, was still a frontrunner car.

            So was the McLaren, which was actually faster than the RB most of the time.

          • TheBass (@) said on 11th October 2013, 8:19

            *meant to say three times. One from pole.

          • alexx_88 (@alexx_88) said on 11th October 2013, 9:13

            @silence: Indeed it was a frontrunner car, but not the best car by any margin. Moreover, that pole position was achieved on a wet track which is said to equalize cars.

            What we, or at least I, am trying to say is that people want to see Vettel win a championship in a car that’s more or less level in terms of performance to the ones of his competitors. That is obviously by no fault of his own, but it also means that we haven’t actually seen him race the others in equal or nearly equal machinery.

            I don’t know why people keep trying to change opinions. I, and everyone else, have the right to rank the drivers and I’ve provided technical explanations and arguments for what is, in the end, a personal opinion. And now I am not referring to you, @silence, but to others, being condescending as if any of us share any of the merits of these drivers’ victories is laughable. Let’s keep it relaxed, everyone is entitled to an opinion.

          • TheBass (@) said on 11th October 2013, 9:25

            @alexx_88

            that pole position was achieved on a wet track which is said to equalize cars.

            Interesting you mention that, considering that Vettel has a few brilliant performances on a wet track. One in a Toro Rosso, no the less. Another won him the 2012 title. Funny how it works.

            What we, or at least I, am trying to say is that people want to see Vettel win a championship in a car that’s more or less level in terms of performance to the ones of his competitors.

            Alonso won his championships with the best car on the grid, so did Hamilton (plus a vastly more efficient team on that season). What makes Vettel that much different?

            it also means that we haven’t actually seen him race the others in equal or nearly equal machinery.

            So the Red Bull has been dominantly superior in every single race for the past 5 years? That’s an interesting view.

            Also a not very accurate one.

          • Jason (@jason12) said on 11th October 2013, 9:28

            @alexx_88
            Very well said Sir.

            Also the teaming up of either Lewis or Alonso with Vettel (which should happen at some point), will give us a lot of answers.

          • alexx_88 (@alexx_88) said on 11th October 2013, 9:59

            @silence: Sorry, but you are picking pieces of what I said and trying to put them in your favor. You are missing the bigger picture here and it’s obvious to me that I am not going to change your opinion.

            Interesting you mention that, considering that Vettel has a few brilliant performances on a wet track. One in a Toro Rosso, no the less. Another won him the 2012 title. Funny how it works.

            Yes, your argument comes from 5 years ago. :-) The performance from 2012 was still in the best car on the grid and it has been proven, even by Webber, that the RB can easily pick his way to the top from behind up to the first 5-10 places.

            Alonso won his championships with the best car on the grid, so did Hamilton (plus a vastly more efficient team on that season). What makes Vettel that much different?

            The fact that the RB is technically much more capable than its rivals. It means that the driver has a bigger cushion to work with.

            So the Red Bull has been dominantly superior in every single race for the past 5 years? That’s an interesting view.

            What I meant to say is that he didn’t have a championship season where he battled on with a car that’s not vastly dominant and come out on top. Just look at the first half of last year.

            I think @prisoner-monkeys said it very well in a previous post and it pretty sums up my opinion. I gave the technical arguments as to why this is happening (in my opinion).

          • TheBass (@) said on 11th October 2013, 10:17

            @alexx_88

            The performance from 2012 was still in the best car on the grid and it has been proven, even by Webber, that the RB can easily pick his way to the top from behind up to the first 5-10 places.

            And the Ferrari couldn’t? Because the three frontrunners cars last year were the McLaren, the RedBull and the Ferrari. What exactly makes Alonso’s comebacks that much more impressive than Vettel’s?

            What I meant to say is that he didn’t have a championship season where he battled on with a car that’s not vastly dominant and come out on top. Just look at the first half of last year.

            Other than 2011 and 2013 after Silverstone, it hasn’t been “much more capable”. Certainly not in 2012, nor at the beginning of this season (and he was still leading). Certainly not that much different from the Renault of 2005 or early 2006.

            Sure, he hasn’t come on top without having the best car. Neither have Alonso, Raikkonen or Hamilton, though.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 13th October 2013, 4:19

            @alexx_88

            What I meant to say is that he didn’t have a championship season where he battled on with a car that’s not vastly dominant and come out on top. Just look at the first half of last year.

            His car wasn’t dominant in 2012, and he came out on top.

          • alexx_88 (@alexx_88) said on 13th October 2013, 10:24

            @david-a: His car was much better than the Ferrari in the second part of the year and only then he came on top. The only car in the same league as the RB in terms of speed, in the second part of the season, was the Mclaren, unfortunately usually only good for half of the race.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 13th October 2013, 10:29

            @alexx_88 – Not really. Spain onwards, when Ferrari found their feet, Massa only scored 11 points less than Webber. RBR were the best of 2012, that’s why they won the constructor’s, but not by the sort of margin you imply, given that Mclaren were faster, and Ferrari lost less points to reliability than Mclaren and RBR (and underrated in terms of speed, round 5 onwards).

          • alexx_88 (@alexx_88) said on 13th October 2013, 10:41

            Well, it’s enough to look at the results after the summer-break, the moment when supposedly RB figured out how to make their EBD work again. Alonso could only fight to get near or on the podium, nowhere near the first place, as opposed to RB who were always there, battling for victories.

            The only period when Ferrari were really competitive was between Spain and Germany and from there on they were probably third in terms of speed, but got second because of Mclaren’s reliability problems.

            Just to be sure that we are talking about the same thing, are you saying that, from Singapore onwards, the RB and Ferrari were closely matched?

      • Jono (@me262) said on 11th October 2013, 0:34

        @silence not quite sure its about what he hasnt done, on paper he’s just won 4 world titles in a row which you could make a brash conclusion that he is head and shoulders above anyone else. On the other hand if you dont think statitistics and wdc’s are the be all end all to question of who is the best current F1 driver and have the time to watch the last four or five seasons, then maybe you will appreciate what exactly it is with people’s rating Alonso and Hamilton better than Vettel

        • TheBass (@) said on 11th October 2013, 0:42

          @silence That was a non-answer. “Just watch the last four seasons” (which by, the way, I’ve done. And many, many more) it’s not an answer.

          I ask because in the last 6 seasons I’ve seen him do everything Hamilton and Alonso have. Amazing qualifying laps, flawless races, great races under rain, great recoveries from the back, absoulte dominance from the pole, great fights with other champions, and yes, mistakes and weak races, just like Hamilton and Alonso.

          I’m not saying he’s better than them, I’m asking why is he so far behind that he’s talent is questionable in your eyes.

          • TheBass (@) said on 11th October 2013, 0:43

            ^That was directed at @me262 of course.

          • Jono (@me262) said on 11th October 2013, 0:52

            put it this way: if vettel was as dominant as he has been in a controlled series, I dont think anyone could argue about who is best. You have every reason to feel Vettel is best, you have the statistics to back you up. Other people have a different opinion because Alonso and Hamilton

            were not in a red bull

            . You can either accept the notion or get hung up on it

          • Jason (@jason12) said on 11th October 2013, 9:33

            @silence
            He needs to team with either Lewis or Alonso to put this matter to bed.

          • TheBass (@) said on 11th October 2013, 9:38

            @jason12 So that one year together 5 ago is what makes Alonso and Hamilton great, but not Vettel? Not very reasonable.

        • TheBass (@) said on 11th October 2013, 4:23

          @me262 Where have I said Vettel is the best? Or that I don’t accept the notion that other people think Alonso and Hamilton are better?

          I’m just curious, as I said, what are those specific things that put Hamilton and Alonso so far above him in some people’s eyes. That’s all. A simple question out of curiousity.

          And so far everybody has evaded the question, given non-answers or replies that are vague to the point of meaningless.

          • Jono (@me262) said on 11th October 2013, 4:56

            @silencewell i think ive reached my limit on specifics without preparing a 1200 page dossier on the specifics of why alonso, hamilton and Kimi are rated higher than Vettel. Until then and until someone has replied to your question in a satisfactory manner, you have justified your opinion

          • TheBass (@) said on 11th October 2013, 5:09

            @me262 what a surprise ;-)

          • Jono (@me262) said on 11th October 2013, 5:23

            @silence dude your question has been answered: vettel>P1>leads form start to finish>boring>boos = not amazing
            vet rai ham>P5-P8>finish 2nd behind Vettel = amazing
            you do the math

          • TheBass (@) said on 11th October 2013, 5:29

            @me262 That‘s what you come up with? Really?

          • Jono (@me262) said on 11th October 2013, 5:35

            @silence what were you hoping for?

          • TheBass (@) said on 11th October 2013, 5:38

            @me262 Reason.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 11th October 2013, 5:40

            @silence – Why bother, @me262 doesn’t understand the fundamentals of sport or is WUMing, to come up with such a laughable comment

          • TheBass (@) said on 11th October 2013, 5:47

            @david-a – You may be right.

            You know, considering the amount of times this argument has been raised, I would have expected people to have a more concise answer.

          • Jono (@me262) said on 11th October 2013, 5:53

            what has vettel done to be on equal footing with alonso ham & kimi? reason your brain off man

          • TheBass (@) said on 11th October 2013, 5:57

            @me262 I already said it. Couple of posts above.

          • Jono (@me262) said on 11th October 2013, 6:17

            @silence

            Amazing qualifying laps, flawless races, great races under rain, great recoveries from the back, absoulte dominance from the pole, great fights with other champions, and yes, mistakes and weak races, just like Hamilton and Alonso

            and your far from wrong, your not wrong at all, its just that your placing vettel far behind kimi alonso and ham. Personally i place vettel at a tentative 4th…I just cant be convinced by his constant index finger lifts, he’s still 4th at best till he wakes from best car dreamland and proves himself

          • TheBass (@) said on 11th October 2013, 10:27

            @me262 Another post, another non-answer. Come on.

  6. TheBass (@) said on 10th October 2013, 23:17

    After reading the declarations in Spanish, I’m amazed by how manipulated they feel in the English press.

    • DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 10th October 2013, 23:25

      Very true. Seems like after all these years English press are still out to get Alonso even though he’s now seemingly best buddies with their golden boy Lewis.

      Maybe some of the English speaking reporters should hire better translators…

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 11th October 2013, 4:08

      @silence @davef1 None of the quotes from Alonso above are translations, they are verbatim quotes he gave in English yesterday.

      Maybe some people should get their facts right before jumping to conclusions.

  7. iAltair (@ialtair) said on 11th October 2013, 0:01

    With all the verbal going on with Alonso, Raikkonen and Massa, why do I feel that Vettel is going to be a 5x consecutive Word Champion next year? He just probably going to let his drives do the talking.

  8. mark b (@mark-b) said on 11th October 2013, 0:18

    Alonso was being nice to Massa. Get over it. VET drives the best car. He seems to have better luck than WEB. He makes no mistakes. It would be awesome to see him teamed with one of the other champs – ALO, HAM, BUT or RAI. Same car, equal treatment.

  9. Dane (@n0b0dy100) said on 11th October 2013, 3:53

    Massa beats Kimi one season and he’s forever Kimi’s equal? I don’t hear people saying the same about Jensen and Lewis after 2011. I’d be willing to bet Kimi’s picked up more silverware than Massa in the last 5 years even with Iceman being out of the sport.

    I think Nando’s got a surprise coming next year.

  10. Jono (@me262) said on 11th October 2013, 5:58

    @david-a can you be more specific on these fundamentals of sport you speak of?

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 11th October 2013, 6:41

      @me262 – Oh, I dunno, maybe the way you seem to miss that these guys are out to win, not finish second.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 11th October 2013, 6:43

        what has vettel done to be on equal footing with alonso ham & kimi?

        Beaten them. Oh wait, that even puts him above them.

        • Jono (@me262) said on 11th October 2013, 6:51

          @david-a thats right sherlock, thats what the history books will say. tell me, how many championships do you think master schumacher would have/could have/should have won had he stayed at benneton in 96? 12? do you think vettel has learned from that and will milk redbull for as long as he can muster so he can top schumacher? and one more question: if vettel beats schumachers records, does that automatically make him better than schumacher? o_O

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 11th October 2013, 7:18

            @me262

            how many championships do you think master schumacher would have/could have/should have won had he stayed at benneton in 96?

            Too many variables (“ifs and buts”) to consider. He “could’ve” have won more if Benetton remained strong post 1995 (with both him and the staff behind him that went to Ferrari), and if Ferrari had been somehow strong straight from when he joined them, rather than needing a few years to become formidable.

            do you think vettel has learned from that and will milk redbull for as long as he can muster so he can top schumacher?

            Considering that it’s impossible to tell exactly how many Schumi “should’ve” won, I see no reason for Vettel to be put off by Schumacher not winning the title from 1996-1999. It paid off well enough for MS, didn’t it?

            if vettel beats schumachers records, does that automatically make him better than schumacher?

            The biggest variable is that they are from different eras (barring Schumacher’s 2010-12 return), so the competition from both other drivers and teams being so different muddies up whether that can be determined. As it is, Vettel is this generation’s standout, like Schumi was, having been undefeated so long. It’s less “what has vettel done to be on equal footing with alonso ham & kimi?” and more “what has alonso ham and kimi done to be on equal footing with vettel?”.

      • Jono (@me262) said on 11th October 2013, 6:47

        something tells me your a schumacher fan

  11. Deana (@sammy) said on 11th October 2013, 9:26

    Pathetic comments from Alonso. Vettel is already far greater than him, and Kimi is definitely better than Massa.

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