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Fernando Alonso – His recent wins, his luck?

This topic contains 20 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of mnmracer mnmracer 1 year, 9 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
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  • #131654
    Avatar of Younger Hamii
    Younger Hamii
    Participant

    If I were to ask the majority of the F1 Fanatics on here who is the best driver on the grid currently… the most probable answer would be Fernando Alonso almost unquestionably; being mostly renowned for his completion as a driver.

    Several occasions I’ve got caught up thinking about his previous race wins & they have had one thing in common: Alonso benefiting from others’ being unfortunate, slow pit-stops & mechanical failures in particular, let’s have an insight into how Alonso has claimed his last four victories:

    Korea 2010 – Started P3, Webber & Rosberg collide after Webber went wide onto the astroturf & collected Rosberg on the 2nd RACING LAP of the race which promoted Alonso & Hamilton to 2nd & 3rd respectively, a poor pit-stop from Ferrari saw Alonso demoted to 3rd before taking it back after the safety car period when Hamilton ran wide at T1. Vettel, Alonso & Hamilton would remain 1st, 2nd & 3rd until the final 10 laps when Vettel reported of an engine problem, which saw Alonso overtake Vettel down to T1 & then the Renault engine, spectacularly blowing. Alonso would go on to win the race a good 15 seconds from Hamilton.

    Silverstone 2011 – Started P3, remained a distant 3rd in mixed conditions to say the least, got the undercut on Webber as the track dried out for the 2nd stint but fell behind Hamilton & remained behind him for a few laps due to the McLaren having it’s tyres up to the optimum temperature before re-passing Hamilton & pulling away.

    As the 2nd round of pit-stops came, Vettel had a sluggy pit-stop with problems with the jack (I believe), Alonso & Hamilton get in front, dropping Vettel to P3 (Webber P4). After a brief attack from Hamilton, Alonso began to extend his lead from Hamilton as the McLaren began to hold up Vettel, ultimately the gap would be 14-16 seconds, with Alonso matching If not bettering the Red Bull’s pace once Vettel cleared Hamilton in the 3rd round of pit-stops, Alonso would go on to win the race.

    Malaysia 2012 – Started P9 in a F2012 head and shoulders below where Ferrari wanted it to be at the time. All teams anticipated heavy rain so drivers would start on inters on a short-lived dry track, think he was around P5 or P4 either splitting the Red Bulls or just behind them, Perez, his challenger for the race win eventually, came in for extreme-wets much earlier than the front-runners & gained significantly as the rain came down, moving himself up to P3 with Alonso behind in P4, the track dried out & the track was ready for inters again, McLaren as usual this season had a slow pit-stop in the form of Hamilton therefore Perez & Alonso gained as a result; moving up to P1 & P2 respectively with Hamilton in P4, Button on the other hand suffered (he would later lose likely valuable points in a mis-judgement with a backmarker). Perez’s lead would only be for two corners after a mistake in the exit of T2, gifting Alonso the race lead & this lead would be extended until the end of the penultimate stint which saw Perez reduce his lead by a reasonable to relatively high amount every lap. The track was ready for slicks, Alonso stuck on the ‘faster’ medium compound whilst Perez stuck on the ‘slower’ hard compound, Sauber turned out to make the right call on the choice of dry tyres as the primes were more suited to the relatively green circuit now that all the rubber had been washed away by the torrential, persistent rain it must be said. Perez would arguably gain even more time on Alonso per lap until he made a mistake 6 laps before the end by running wide at the precarious penultimate corner when right behind Alonso’s gearbox. Alonso would go on to win the race from Perez, who brought the gap back down to under 3 seconds with Hamilton a distant 3rd just in front of Webber.

    Valencia 2012 – The most recent race, I don’t think I need to elaborate further.

    The last win Alonso had ‘on merit’ was on the back of an impressive victory in front of the Tifosi (Monza 2010), in Singapore 2010, starting from an immaculate pole position, winning from start to finish, leading every lap & fastest lap, in other words, a grand-chelem. All of that whilst flawlessly fending off a faster Vettel in the 2nd stint however you could even argue that Alonso gained from a mistake from rivals during the race weekend: in the form of Vettel touching the barriers on his final qualifying effort however I don’t think we should take anything away from Alonso on that one.

    @mnmracer‘s ‘Alternative History’ posts got me thinking more about it & I thought about posting one of my own regarding Alonso. Perhaps him being gifted is partly the story of his long, brilliant career take a look at some of the histories in @mnmracer‘s alternative world:
    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/groups/f1/forum/topic/alternative-history-the-2010-championship-without-misfortune/

    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/groups/f1/forum/topic/alternative-history-the-2007-championship-without-misfortune/

    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/groups/f1/forum/topic/alternative-history-the-2005-championship-without-misfortune/

    I truly respect his efforts but you’ve got to take into the account that anything else could have happened had those particular ‘misfortunes’ not occur, Alonso might have had all the misfortune or some other driver & being unfortunate is not only part of sport but also part of being human however what I find quite plausible is the ‘gain’ Alonso had in all of those articles, which is honestly something I agree with. In addition, the statistics in the articles suggest Hamilton & Raikkonen are better drivers than what their REAL results illustrate & closer to Alonso If not better drivers than HIM. Interestingly, Webber, Raikkonen & Hamilton, who have been Alonso’s title rivals before have all been given the title ‘the unluckiest driver on the grid’ at some point in their careers, whilst Alonso himself hasn’t.

    From my perspective, I am mystified why no other person had even realised this or at least thought to point out: no other fanatic (perhaps albeit @mnmracer), no pundit or commentator at either BBC or Sky, perhaps they are not trying to take anything away from Alonso & giving the credit he deserves in all of the race wins by just keeping quiet. In conclusion, the past is the past & you make your own luck, I don’t think all of this should take away Alonso’s other achievements (2011 season for example) & him being able to take full advantage of others’ mistakes/misfortunes although results can be very deceptive & questions remains. Had the alternative world of no misfortune DID exist, will Fernando Alonso be the driver he is slated as been today? Would either Raikkonen or Hamilton be three time world champions?

    Anyway as for being in reality, an amusing warning to Hamilton & Vettel this season, If Alonso is in an inferior car & happens to be right behind you on the track or pits, make sure your equipment is very reliable & reduce the possbility of human error. It’s all controversial but Formula 1 is all of controversy!

    #205181
    Avatar of Kingshark
    Kingshark
    Participant

    His win in Malaysia was certainly not luck, but was an example of a world class drive. And no, Alonso would’ve passed Hamilton on the circuit if it wasn’t for his slow stop anyway, and he was much quicker in the rain. Yes, he was lucky to an extend in Europe but still would’ve finished second regardless of whether Vettel had a mechanical failure or not. That itself is an incredible accomplishment after starting eleventh on a street circuit where overtaking is supposedly super-difficult; well, he passed both Lotus’s on track with an inferior car.

    As the 2nd round of pit-stops came, Vettel had a sluggy pit-stop with problems with the jack (I believe), Alonso & Hamilton get in front, dropping Vettel to P3 (Webber P4). After a brief attack from Hamilton, Alonso began to extend his lead from Hamilton as the McLaren began to hold up Vettel, ultimately the gap would be 14-16 seconds, with Alonso matching If not bettering the Red Bull’s pace once Vettel cleared Hamilton in the 3rd round of pit-stops, Alonso would go on to win the race.

    Alonso won that race by a 16 second margin over the Red Bulls, and Vettel’s pace near the end of the race was very poor (when compared to Webber). So no, Alonso would’ve won either way regardless of Vettel’s slow stop or not.

    #205182
    Avatar of raymondu999
    raymondu999
    Member

    I don’t think it’s fair to say they were all out of luck – but some of the result was down to luck, really. I think Alonso gained 2 places with Grosjean (who I believe would’ve taken Alonso towards the end) and Vettel retiring in Valencia.

    Silverstone 2011, the downforce of the Red Bull was just overheating the tyres they put on the car. However Vettel at least had a chance of keeping the lead through defensive maneuvers, given that Vettel fended off a 1.5s quicker McLaren in Barcelona 2011, whereas Fernando’s advantage lap on lap in Silverstone was “only” 0.8 (small, relative to the difference in Barcelona)

    His Malaysia drive was good – very good, but I would give a good deal (not all) of credit to setup. Clearly there was something in the suspension geometries, or the setup, of the Ferrari that was not working that weekend. The Ferrari and Sauber were consistently burning up fronts over long runs on Friday (dry). Obviously, this worked in their favor as they could get better heat into their fronts in the cold rain. Mind you it was a race that, on pace, Perez could have and should have won, but Alonso fended him off, and the credit in that department of racecraft falls entirely onto Alonso.

    I disagree that slow pitstops are bad luck. The drivers are also capable of taking measures to help their team with such things. Not directly, but indirectly, for example pressuring the team to take more attention to the pitstop practices and rehearsals. Ferrari has become operationally fantastic since Alonso entered – and I don’t think that’s just good timing on Alonso’s part. Red Bull has also never really made the same mistake twice since Vettel entered them in 2009 – and I don’t think that’s good luck either. Point is – drivers can do things to help the team somehow in these areas.

    #205183
    Avatar of Polishboy808
    Polishboy808
    Participant

    @Younger Hamii Not sure if you actually think that, or this is just bait….

    I don’t think that its just luck that lets Alonso win. Not making a mistake is not luck, its a skill that he has mastered. Sure, the Ferrari may be reliable, but that again doesn’t mean he’s lucky. Alonso is fast, aggresive but smart, easy on the tires (usually), and easy to work with. He also doesn’t make mistakes, which makes him reliable. Is that luck? No, and the fact that he uses these traits to capitalize on the shortcomings of other drivers is a skill, and as I said earlier, its a skill he has mastered.

    #205184
    Avatar of Kingshark
    Kingshark
    Participant

    Silverstone 2011, the downforce of the Red Bull was just overheating the tyres they put on the car. However Vettel at least had a chance of keeping the lead through defensive maneuvers, given that Vettel fended off a 1.5s quicker McLaren in Barcelona 2011,

    Are you serious? Hamilton was 6-7 tenths faster than Vettel at Barcelona at best. And that might not be a case of Mclaren being quicker, but rather Hamilton having better race-craft than Vettel does. Vettel never really had to defend at all as Hamilton never got the chance to pull of a move to begin with, as he never came closer than .4 seconds. That Red Bull had way better acceleration than any other team thanks to EBD, so Vettel simply pulled away out of the final chicane and never had anything to worry about on the straight. This however, wasn’t the case in Silverstone.

    whereas Fernando’s advantage lap on lap in Silverstone was “only” 0.8 (small, relative to the difference in Barcelona)

    The pace difference between Vettel and Alonso in Britain was definitely bigger than the pace difference between Hamilton and Vettel in Spain. Likewise, it’s quite a bit easier to overtake at Silverstone than it is at Barcelona. And unlike Schumacher or Massa, Vettel isn’t exactly known for his defensive driving either, is he? Even Webber got alongside him (Vettel) out of woodcote easily and would’ve passed him if it weren’t for team orders on the penultimate lap.

    #205185
    Avatar of raymondu999
    raymondu999
    Member

    @Kingshark yes I’m serious. Check the laptime charts again as I just have. Lewis was catching him at 1-1.5s a lap in the laps building up to the last 13. Don’t forget Vettel only had KERS for 2 of those 13 laps when Hamilton was nose to tail to him, and Hamilton pulled alongside twice. Perhaps you’d like me to type out the exact laptimes for your benefit?

    Vettel never (before 2011) had a chance to show defensive driving skills, and I’m convinced he’s a fantastic defender now. Don’t forget that Webber said he paid no attention to the team orders, so they didn’t affect his driving at all. Getting alongside is one thing – getting past, another completely.Vettel had the presence of mind to cover the kink leading onto the old pit straight, which ultimately put paid to Webber’s hope of overtaking him at that point.

    #205186
    Avatar of Kingshark
    Kingshark
    Participant

    Alonso was quite unlucky in Canada a couple of weeks ago. He had everything in him to win, but the team cocked up his strategy. He was 14.8 seconds ahead of Hamilton after his second stop, but the team decided to keep him out when he could’ve came out in front. The average Canadian pitstop is 14 seconds, and knowing the Ferrari pit crew you can easily take another second off that time. Also, he had a brand-new set of options left over for his last stint, while Hamilton was on primes. The win should’ve been his, but instead a strategic decision mistake dropped him down to 5th. I wouldn’t call that very lucky, would you?

    Vettel never (before 2011) had a chance to show defensive driving skills, and I’m convinced he’s a fantastic defender now. Don’t forget that Webber said he paid no attention to the team orders, so they didn’t affect his driving at all. Getting alongside is one thing – getting past, another completely.Vettel had the presence of mind to cover the kink leading onto the old pit straight, which ultimately put paid to Webber’s hope of overtaking him at that point.

    Button cruzed past Vettel in China this year after out-braking him by a mile and sticking it up an open inside door which was left there. Webber drove around the outside of a hairpin around him in the same race a few laps later. Alonso easily overtook him without DRS in Germany last season, with a equal or inferior car at that time. He made a mistake and allowed Hamilton passed easily in Hungary. In most recent memory, he left the door wide open for Raikkonen in Bahrain, but Kimi wasn’t brave enough to pull it off. If Hamilton or Kobayashi were given that opportunity, I guarantee you Vettel would’ve lost that place.

    I really haven’t seen anything of Vettel suggesting he is good at defending his position unlike you claim him to be. I have no idea where you get that from?

    #205187
    Avatar of mnmracer
    mnmracer
    Participant

    I’m actually researching to write an article about this (not Fernando specifically), but yes, certainly in comparison to for instance Schumacher, Räikkönen and Vettel, a large number of Alonso’s wins seem to come from being there when others fail, rather than being the fastest driver of the day.

    Kingshark, there is no defending when your tires are shot to hell (China); if he had and Button had crashed into him, he would have gotten hell for defending the undefendable.

    Anyone having seriously followed the races (i.e. not focus only on your favorite driver) will know that along with Schumacher and Alonso, Vettel is one of the best defending drivers in the field. Good defending is not about not letting the driver behind you get to your side (and burning up your tires in the process), it’s about making sure that at the other end of the corner, you’re still ahead. That’s what Vettel is extremely good at; he did it similarly in Spain ’11 and Bahrain ’12: using precisely enough KERS to stay ahead. No more, no less. The most efficient way to defend possible, as it only slightly affects your laptime.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDkK8a4jHZ8

    #205188
    Avatar of Lin1876
    Lin1876
    Participant

    I think Alonso is the living embodiment of making one’s own luck. Sure, you need others to hit problems, but you also need to be in a position to take advantage of these occasions. Your list proves that Alonso is constantly in such a position, and that’s one of the reasons I believe he is the most complete driver in F1 today.

    #205189
    Avatar of Kingshark
    Kingshark
    Participant

    About Alonso supposedly being the luckiest driver on the grid;

    To finish first, first you have to finish. Yes he’s been lucky to get wins, but him being in the rght place at the right time to exploit that luck has been down to his own efforts. Alonso might have had a handfull of lucky wins, but overall I actually believe his career has taken an unlucky route. He wasted two prime years at a dying Renault after his dream move to McLaren didn’t work out. Then he joined Ferrari just as they stopped building world-beating cars.

    Sure, he was lucky with three of Raikkonen’s and Vettel’s misfortunes in 2005 and 2010 respectively. But let’s not ignore the fact that, both the Mclaren and Red Bull were definitely the faster cars that year, much faster than the cars Alonso was driving. In 2006, the Ferrari and Renault were evenly matched throughout the season, and Alonso beat Schumacher fair and square; with both having a fair share of bad luck. Alonso is to this day the only driver to defeat Michael Schumacher throughout a season’s course in give or take equal machinery.

    Am I suppose to believe that Alonso earning a handfull of wins through others misfortunes is lucky, but Vettel being gifted a dominant Newey car for 2 seasons in succesion isn’t lucky?

    There are several things that make a car dominant. And one thing is for sure, Alonso hasn’t had one. Fernando has never had a dominant car, and I fear the day he does. He is incredible.

    #205190
    Avatar of raymondu999
    raymondu999
    Member

    The 2007 McLaren was dominant. Problem is Fernando then wasn’t the driver he is now (he’s better now, imo)

    #205191
    Avatar of Slr
    Slr
    Participant

    2007 McLaren was dominant

    The 2007 McLaren was only dominant at a few races. When Ferrari could compete with McLaren that year, they usually beat them.

    #205192
    Avatar of Kingshark
    Kingshark
    Participant

    The 2007 McLaren was dominant. Problem is Fernando then wasn’t the driver he is now (he’s better now, imo)

    No it wasn’t, not even close. I actually believe that Ferrari had a slightly better car that season, but Mclaren’s superior drivers made up that deficiency.

    #205193
    Avatar of realracer
    realracer
    Member

    You have to remember when other drivers have made mistakes, Alonso did not make them,when he got into the lead he would manage to make up a massive gap, confirming genuine pace, if you want to look at lucky wins then the two McLaren drivers have had a fare share between them.

    #205194
    Avatar of DavidS
    DavidS
    Participant

    Luck is part of motor racing, that’s why we still have Grands Prix, and not a time trial in identical cars in controlled conditions.

    It’s possible to argue for most world champions that they were lucky because of this or that. Hamilton was certainly lucky to pass Glock in Brazil 2008. The same can also be said of drivers who lucked into having a dominant car and winning a season decisively.

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