Vettel vs Webber and Alonso vs Massa, 2009-2013

2013 F1 season review

Felipe Massa, Mark Webber, Istanbul, 2011Two of F1’s longest-running driver partnerships of recent seasons have come to an end.

Mark Webber has left F1 of his own choosing after five years alongside Sebastian Vettel. And Ferrari dropped Felipe Massa at the end of his eighth season at the team, the last four of which were spent alongside Fernando Alonso.

In both cases the most recent arrivals to the team – Vettel and Alonso – were never beaten over a full season by the drivers they joined.

But as the statistics show it was a much closer contest at one team than the other.

Qualifying

Average grid positions

Grid average 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Average
Sebastian Vettel 4.4 2.0 1.2 5.0 2.0 2.92
Mark Webber 6.7 2.5 3.7 5.8 5.4 4.82
Fernando Alonso 5.8 4.5 6.1 6.0 5.60
Felipe Massa 7.8 5.7 9.8 7.95 7.81

Pole positions

Pole Positions 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Total
Sebastian Vettel 4 10 15 6 9 44
Mark Webber 1 5 3 2 2 13
Fernando Alonso 2 0 2 0 4
Felipe Massa 0 0 0 0 0

Alonso and Vettel had a similar edge over their team mates in both seasons, though Webber had a particularly strong year against his team mate in 2010.

Strikingly, after 14 races that year the qualifying score between Vettel and Webber was 7-7. But over the final five races, following the team’s introduction of an exhaust-blown diffuser and during which time Webber sustained a shoulder injury, Vettel was ahead every time and clinched the world championship.

Races

Average race positions

Race average 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Average
Sebastian Vettel 3.8 3.6 1.5 4.4 1.6 2.98
Mark Webber 5.2 4.0 3.3 6.1 4.5 4.62
Fernando Alonso 4.5 3.4 3.2 4.0 3.78
Felipe Massa 7.1 6.3 8.0 7.1 7.13

Race wins

Wins 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Total
Sebastian Vettel 4 5 11 5 13 38
Mark Webber 2 4 1 2 0 9
Fernando Alonso 5 1 3 2 11
Felipe Massa 0 0 0 0 0

Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Hockenheimring, 2010The gap between Vettel and Webber’s finishing positions was fairly consistent in their first few years together but rose to almost three places this year.

Massa’s unfortunate record of failing to win in four seasons, all of which Alonso won at least one race in, would of course look very different had Ferrari not ordered Massa to hand a victory to his team at Hockenheim in 2010. But the fact remains he has usually been much further behind Alonso than Webber has behind Vettel.

Despite his clear underperformance Massa’s Ferrari contract was extended in 2011 and again in 2012.

His last extension, coming after a season where he finished 4.8 places behind Alonso on average, did not pass without comment from Ferrari’s rival team. Christian Horner said he wouldn’t have kept Massa based on how his results compared with Alonso’s.

Points

2009* 2010 2011 2012 2013 Total % of team’s total
Sebastian Vettel 84 256 392 281 397 1410 59.81
Mark Webber 69.5 242 258 179 199 947.5 40.19
Fernando Alonso 252 257 278 242 1029 67.48
Felipe Massa 144 118 122 112 496 32.52

*Previous points system

The view that Webber was closer to Vettel’s pace before the switch to Pirelli tyres is backed up by their points hauls. Webber was much closer to Vettel on Bridgestones in 2009 and 2010 than he was in the following three years.

However even in his final year alongside Vettel Webber managed to score more than half his team mate’s points tally – though he only just managed it this season. Massa, meanwhile, scored less than half Alonso’s points haul for the last three years in a row.

The graph below shows what percentage of their team’s points total the drivers scored in each season.

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2013drivercolours.csv

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Sebastian Vettel 54.72 51.41 60.31 61.09 66.61
Mark Webber 45.28 48.59 39.69 38.91 33.39
Fernando Alonso 63.64 68.53 69.50 68.36
Felipe Massa 36.36 31.47 30.50 31.64

Retirements

This graph shows how many non-classified retirements each driver had during the same time period, and whether those were caused by technical faults or another problem, e.g. a collision.

Over to you

Share your thoughts on the intra-team rivalries between the Red Bull and Ferrari drivers in the comments.

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90 comments on Vettel vs Webber and Alonso vs Massa, 2009-2013

  1. jh1806 (@jh1806) said on 4th December 2013, 12:16

    Zero technical failures on Alonso’s car in 4 years…now that is impressive.

    The Vettel/Webber one should put any silly “RBR sabotages MW’s car” theories to bed!

  2. Guccio (@concalvez00) said on 4th December 2013, 12:22

    Both Alonso and Vettel are not good without No1 status.

  3. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 4th December 2013, 12:25

    I predict that Massa will again be outscored in 2014 by Bottas.

  4. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 4th December 2013, 12:34

    I remember Alonso having an engine failure in the 2010 Malaysian GP

  5. svarun (@svarun) said on 4th December 2013, 12:37

    Wow..no technical retirements for Alonso in 4 years, these stats just show how the tables would have turned had Ferrari given him a fast car.
    Alonso surely would have been WDC in 2010 and 2012, if not in 2011 and 2013 where RBR was step above the others.

  6. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 4th December 2013, 12:48

    But the fact remains he has usually been much further behind Alonso than Webber has behind Vettel.

    Considering how big the gap has been, I’m amazed Massa didn’t get dropped sooner. 2011 and the start of 2012 were particularly appalling. I really like the guy, I still consider him something of a personal hero due to his character and also his performances before his accident. I hope he can recapture his form from 2006-’08, but on the evidence above I’m starting to think that sadly this might be nothing more than wishful thinking…

    • bull mello (@bullmello) said on 4th December 2013, 15:00

      Agree about Massa and it is inspiring that he was able to come back at all after his accident.

      His consistency in race craft seems like his biggest downfall. Some drivers bring their A game to every moment of every race. Sometimes Massa is as fast as anyone else on the track and other times he just disappears. His infamous spins at inopportune times come to mind also. This isn’t a knock on Massa, just an observation. Every driver is different and this may be his weak point. I wish him well for next season, but performance compared to Bottas will be telling.

  7. Len (@lunara) said on 4th December 2013, 12:52

    That last stat shows how Alonso enjoyed incredible reliability in his years at Ferrari. In that regard, Vettel is very unlucky compared to him, and if I remember correctly, he almost always DNF’ed when he was leading.

    • Not in Monza 2012, but he was generally leading, having most poles in 10,11 and 13 and having plenty in 12 and 09 too.

      • Sam (@) said on 4th December 2013, 13:45

        @lunara

        2010 Korea
        2012 Valencia
        2013 Silversone

        Are the ones I remember.

        • Juzh (@juzh) said on 4th December 2013, 13:52

          He also had a spark plug failure in bahrain 2010 which dropped him from 1st to 4th place. Then he had braking failure in australia also from 1st place. Brazil 2011 gearbox issue (debatable if actually true)

        • 2010 Bahrain – Finished P4 but Had a Spark plug failure
          2010 Australia – Brakes DNF from P1
          2010 Korea – Engine DNF from P1
          2011 Yas – Tire Blow DNF from P1
          2011 Brazil – Gear box Finished P2
          2012 Valencia – Alternator DNF from P1
          2012 Italy – Alternator DNF from P6
          2013 Silverstone – Gearbox DNF from P1

    • bull mello (@bullmello) said on 4th December 2013, 14:48

      @lunara

      That last stat shows how Alonso enjoyed incredible reliability in his years at Ferrari. In that regard, Vettel is very unlucky compared to him, and if I remember correctly, he almost always DNF’ed when he was leading.

      Of course, it proves that Red Bull favor Alonso over Vettel. (Just kidding. Thought the conspiracy theorists might need fresh fodder since the Vettel/Webber RBR theory has been debunked again.)

  8. Scott said on 4th December 2013, 13:06

    That retirement graph is inaccurate. As was discussed during the Sky coverage, with Webber’s last retirement he’d had one more mechanical failure than Vettel during their time as team mates. I suggest you check your stats again.

  9. Very interesting article.
    Massa had some awful seasons, but I thought that this year he was driving well, especially in qualifying. But the gap to Alonso is too big. It’s incredible that Ferrari kept him for so long, honestly.

    Another thing I noticed: Vettel has only two retirements if we don’t count technical faults. Less than Alonso, Webber and Massa. Not bad, considering that in 2010 people used to call him “crash kid”.

    • d3v0 (@d3v0) said on 5th December 2013, 17:27

      @yobo01 “crash kid” was a fair statement seeing as he bumbled into two serious accidents for big positions in the race, twice in the same year. A bit like Grosjean, except Romain had more solo accidents :)

  10. Sam (@) said on 4th December 2013, 13:42

    I’ve said it quite a of times. Webber will be more appreciated when people start to realise how good Vettel really is. It would be no surprise to me that Ricciardo, whom I rate high, will be obliterated by Vettel in what is now ‘his Red Bull team’.

    • d3v0 (@d3v0) said on 5th December 2013, 17:25

      @ardenflo absolutely this is right. Daniel, who is a decent enough driver, is probably, at his best, about as fast as MW is after MW has passed his prime. Lacking experience, I expect him to look like Massa did compared to Alonso.

  11. magon4 (@magon4) said on 4th December 2013, 13:43

    The 2010 figures which look very close between Vettel and Webber don’t tell the whole story. Vettel had quite a lot of bad luck that year and was better than Webber for most of the season, maybe excluding three or four weekends. So it was less close than it actually looks.
    It would have been nice to have the actual qualifying tallies per year – who beat whom how many times each season.

  12. Juzh (@juzh) said on 4th December 2013, 13:50

    Much more in-depth analysis has already been posted on this forums:
    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/groups/f1/forum/topic/vettel-webber-and-reliability-at-red-bull/?topic_page=1&num=15

    Alonso did have an engine blow-out in malaysia 2010, 2 laps before the end. He was heading to 9th place, so it didn’t cost him too much.

  13. TMF (@tmf42) said on 4th December 2013, 14:00

    that’s why I think the title will be decided between ALO and VET in the next few seasons unless Mercedes / McLaren build a rocket. Lewis and Nico are fast but ALO and VET are just phenomenally consistent.

  14. If I read it correctly, to me the most telling comparison is that between the Average Grid Positions and the Average Race Positions. Tells us something about the relative strength of the car and the driver. Clearly Alonso has been the stand out and consistent race performer over the past 4 seasons – his 2012 jump is just spectacular, no surprise there I guess.

    By comparison, Vettel actually went backwards in 2010 and 2011. To his credit, he rectified it in 2012 and 2013.

    • Well i think its experience. Alonso of Ferrari years is much more experienced than SV of RBR years But SV is learning it at every possible time which is good for him to evolve

      • Obviously.

        No doubt Seb is immensely talented, but I think the position moves between grid and race probably also shows how powerful the Red Bull car has been these past 4 yrs. Keeping aside 2013 where they have clearly been operating on a different plane altogether, 2010-12 position shift for RB shows that the car was forgiving enough to compensate for this somewhat backward move during races (less so in 2012 I guess).

        • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 4th December 2013, 21:20

          @visi I think that you are simply using the data to try and prove what you already believe. The data itself tells us no such thing. If I believed that Alonso was simply a rubbish qualifier in a car which was actually faster than a Red Bull then the data would also back that theory up just as much.

          To be critical of Vettel going “backwards” in 2011 based on an average grid position of 1.2 is nonsense. If you almost always qualify in pole position then you can’t expect to go forward on average and get almost no benefit from unreliability ofothers. If you always qualify last then you can always expect to go forward on average (due to unreliability and crashes of others). In this case Alonso’s lower average grid position means that he would be expected to gain more places than Vettel even if they are of exactly the same ability.

          The data tells us nothing useful about the comparison between Alonso and Vettel, it can only really give us a comparison between team-mates’ relative strength.

      • Corrado (@corrado-dub) said on 4th December 2013, 22:49

        Ferrari’s experience is more like a myth than reality today ! When you say they have experience, every people will think at the experience they gathered in all their racing history. But, thing is, their experience that is older than 20years let’s say…. it’s useless these days. So many things changed in the last decades, so many (experienced) people are not even alive anymore, so basically every moment is a learning/new moment too. Then, RBR is a new team just on paper. Their (key) people weren’t new to F1 at all. So, personally, I find pretty unrealistic to call some teams more experienced and others not that experienced just because they’re not as old.

    • davidwhite (@davidwhite) said on 5th December 2013, 8:24

      Yes. Alonso is consistently poor at qualifying.

  15. Fixy (@fixy) said on 4th December 2013, 14:16

    While race positions average are pretty straightforward, the qualifying one shows how Webber didn’t fare better against Vettel than Massa against Webber. Considering the advantage the Red Bull had, especially in qualifying, it was easier for rivals to beat Massa than Webber, yet their deficit to their team mates is pretty much the same.
    And whilst it’s disappointing Massa hasn’t won a race in four seasons, Webber has scored less than Alonso who has less than a third of Vettel’s, and the Spaniard with an inferior car. And Webber’s total of 9 wins spread out over 4 seasons is still less than Massa’s total of 11 in 3 years, with cars which did not have the same advantage over their rivals. There was less compeition up front but Massa had to beat his team mates and World Champions Schumacher and Raikkonen, Alonso and Hamilton to win races in 2006-08, whereas Webber still battles with the same drivers but his real obstacle preventing him from winning is only Vettel, with Hamilton and Alonso occasionally taking the fight when Vettel can’t – it’s in those situations that Webber should take the opportunity.
    I still think Mark is a great driver, but I don’t get why Massa was blamed for being slower than Alonso much more than Webber, and by people who think Alonso is better than Vettel. This year, Vettel beat Webber 17 times, Alonso beat Massa 10. How’s Massa suddenly so slow whereas Webber is a phenomenon?

    • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 4th December 2013, 16:31

      @fixy Don’t agree in the slightest. First, qualy stats are skewed since they don’t take into account the huge amount of tech problems Webber had in qualy. Everyone could see how Webber was very close to Vettel both in 2010 and 2012 and was actually ahead in both seasons until late pro-Vettel tweaks gave him the advantage. Also you forget that qualifying was always considered the weakest link in Alonso’s armor, especially compared to Vettel(and Lewis).

      Also what has 2006-08 to do with this?! That was a different team and a different Massa. Actually only 2008 season compares favorably against Webber since in the previous two he won 5 races combined. I don’t dispute that 2008-spec Massa is a match for Webber but post injury Massa is nowhere near the same level as Webber, especially if you remember that both 2009 and 2010 Webber’s seasons were hampered by injuries

      Your mention of this season is completely misleading. The 17-2 Vs 10-7 that you mention is completlely circumstantial and everyone could see that Webber was much closer to Vettel on pace than the stat shows, apart from a few races at the end of the season when Alonso understood he’d lost the championship and Massa had to prove himself to other teams. Note, that after his move to Williams was confirmed his performance Vs Alonso dropped again.

      In summary, with all my sympathies regarding his injury, the post 2009 Massa is a waste of a seat, not only in a top team but in F1 in general and no misleading stats by his fans will change that. Take care

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 4th December 2013, 16:59

        @montreal95

        Everyone could see how Webber was very close to Vettel both in 2010 and 2012 and was actually ahead in both seasons until late pro-Vettel tweaks gave him the advantage.

        Webber wasn’t ahead in either season. It was 7-7 going into Singapore in 2010, and 7-6 going into Singapore 2012. Further, “pro-Vettel tweaks”, should read “pro-car tweaks”. It’s up to the driver to maximise the car, and one was better at doing that, hence why at best, Webber was able to get near twice, before losing 11-9 and 12-7. At worst, you have 2009, 2011 and 2013, in terms of qualifying form.

        • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 4th December 2013, 17:39

          @david-a Yes he was. Earlier in the season than that but yes he was. Wasn’t the score 4-2 to MW after Monaco in 2012 for example? And one of those two was by default since Webber had a tech failure in Spain qualy despite being quicker all weekend up to that. Also it was 5-4 to Webber after race 9(Silverstone) in 2012 as well.

          Am not disputing that Webber got beaten by Vettel in qualy sometimes badly. I was replying to the above post which somehow was geared to diminish Webber compared to Massa using stats tweaking and irrelevant 2006-08 comparison of apples and oranges

          You can’t dismiss the car tweaks were also pro-Vettel tweaks since they weren’t just ti improve the car’s speed. No, their purpose was to make the car more 2011-like and we both know whom that suited perfectly. They could’ve gone in a different direction to improve the speed but they didn’t. i don’t blame them for it at all but it should be mentioned. The same concept enabled Vettel to gain the upper hand on Webber in qualy in the tail end of 2010 as well since it’s then that it was first brought in. It’s quite normal that a certain concept plays to the strengths of a certain driver and not the other(prime example: Patrese had the beating of Mansell quite often before active suspension was introduced but since then it was game over). I don’t blame RBR for it at all, as I’d said already but it should be mentioned

          • Juzh (@juzh) said on 5th December 2013, 9:45

            @montreal95 Newey stated like a thousand times already how they design the fastest car they can with no driver preferences in mind. Not just during his RB days, but also earlier when he was in williams and then mclaren. You have ZERO factual evidence they purposely decided to make a car “more suited to vettel” instead of webber.
            so please tell me, what other direction they could have taken to make the car faster?
            Gain the upper hand on webber in 2010? He had webber in his pocket in the opening races and only reliability problems prevented him from running away with it. Webber only gained upper hand on vettel when his chassis cracked and it took RB 3 races to figure it out. Once it got fixed vettel was again owning webber.
            Start of 2012 was the only time web held a slight advantage over vet in quali, but his race pace compared to him was again nowhere, thus proving vettel will take any car and drive wheels of it. Funny thing, when alonso comes trough the field it’s always his skill, but when vettel does it, no one notices it. Double standards all the way.

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 4th December 2013, 22:24

        @montreal95

        was actually ahead in both seasons until late pro-Vettel tweaks gave him the advantage.

        Not like that’s the situation at Ferrari either. They’ve never favoured Alonso.
        And it’s pretty useless to look at what the situation was after only a couple of races. If that’s what you go by, I’ll tell you Massa led the championship after Malaysia 2010.

        • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 4th December 2013, 23:21

          @fixy Half a season and even two thirds of a season, which is what we’re talking about here, is not just a few races. If anything that’s the best Massa ever did Vs Alonso, one race there a couple here

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 4th December 2013, 21:35

      @fixy, there is a failure of logic in one of your arguments, when Vettel was beaten to pole by another team it was because the Red Bull was not the fastest car at that track/time so expecting Webber in the same car to achieve what Vettel could not is not realistic.

      • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 4th December 2013, 22:29

        @montreal95

        Also what has 2006-08 to do with this?! That was a different team and a different Massa. Actually only 2008 season compares favorably against Webber since in the previous two he won 5 races combined. I don’t dispute that 2008-spec Massa is a match for Webber but post injury Massa is nowhere near the same level as Webber, especially if you remember that both 2009 and 2010 Webber’s seasons were hampered by injuries

        – In 2010, Webber couldn’t win the championship with a reliable RB6.
        – In 2011, Webber finished behind Button in an RB7 and only beat Alonso by one point, who drove an F150.
        – He finished 6th in 2012 despite having overall the best car.
        – In 2013, he lost to Alonso in the championship despite driving an RB9, the same car in which his teammate won 13 races with, including 9 in a row.

        I do not believe that Webber would have done any better than Massa had he driven a Ferrari over the past few years, especially considering how much he spoiled the obvious potential of the Red Bull during those seasons.

        Oh, and 2008 Massa was a much better driver than Webber was at any point of his career. Massa in his prime melted the iceman and challenged Lewis for the championship in roughly equal cars. Webber has done nothing remotely close to that in his career.

        • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 4th December 2013, 23:44

          @kingshark In 2010 RBR was reliable. Relative to what? Yes Vettel had more reliability issues but Webber had had his share, especially in qualyfing which compromised him. Massa drove the most bullet proof car the last 4 seasons so what?

          Yeah Webber finished behind Button. Also Hamilton finished behind Button his unfancied team-mate. 2011 wasn’t a good year for Webber, still light years better than Massa’s was. Your point?

          Him finishing 6th in 2012 is the prime example in how you can twist the stats to not represent the reality at all. He was ahead of Vettel halfway thru the season. Only bad reliability and team mistakes as well as idiots like Perez and Grosjean made it look like it was a bad season for him which it really wasn’t. Waaaay better than Massa’s surely

          Same as 2011,2013 wasn’t a great season for Webber even though he was close to Vettel on pace many times, not to mention things like Malaysia. And again he was waaay better comparative to Vettel than Massa was vs Alonso

          It’s your choice what to believe or not, clearly the Ferrari chiefs think otherwise since Massa would’ve been jettisoned from Ferrari a year earlier if only Webber had agreed to sign the contract which was ready for him

          You have no proof that Massa was a better driver in 2008 than Webber was at any point in his career. They were never team-mates and Webber’s best years were spent in noncompetitive machinery dragging it to places it had no right being in and destroying his team-mates prior to Vettel. The rest is pure speculation, where your guess is as good as mine though obviously my guess is far different than yours

          • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 5th December 2013, 21:08

            @montreal95

            In 2010 RBR was reliable. Relative to what? Yes Vettel had more reliability issues but Webber had had his share, especially in qualyfing which compromised him. Massa drove the most bullet proof car the last 4 seasons so what?

            Webber had what issues?

            In Bahrain he was dead slow.
            In Australia he drove like a maniac.
            In Malaysia he lost to Vettel.
            In China he was dead slow again.
            In Turkey, a crash which wasn’t his fault, I admit.
            In Valencia he crashed.
            In Germany he was dead slow yet again.
            In every race from Monza to the season finale, he was out-performed by Vettel. This includes races such as Singapore and Abu Dhabi, where his pace compared to Vettel was embarrassing, and Korea, where he crashed.

            Webber’s history of mistakes and lack of speed cost him the championship in 2010, not bad luck.

            All that despite the fact that the RB6 was the fastest car on the grid by a hefty margin, and he did not have all the reliability woes his teammate did.

            You have no proof that Massa was a better driver in 2008 than Webber was at any point in his career. They were never team-mates and Webber’s best years were spent in noncompetitive machinery dragging it to places it had no right being in and destroying his team-mates prior to Vettel. The rest is pure speculation, where your guess is as good as mine though obviously my guess is far different than yours

            Fair enough if you believe that, but in 2008 Massa beat Raikkonen by 6 wins to 2, and 97 points to 75. Do you really believe that Webber could have beaten Kimi by such margins in equal cars? Do you really believe that Webber could take the WDC fight to Lewis Hamilton in almost equal machinery?

            I doubt it, highly doubt it.

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