Massa struggles despite Ferrari upgrades (Spanish Grand Prix team-by-team)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Felipe Massa had a frustrating run to sixth in Spain
Felipe Massa had a frustrating run to sixth in Spain

Second place for Fernando Alonso in his home race helped him cut the gap to championship leader Jenson Button.

But Felipe Massa struggled for pace in the Spanish Grand Prix and said afterwards he issn’t able to get the most out of the car on combination of soft and hard tyres used since Melbourne.

Felipe Massa Fernando Alonso
Qualifying position 9 4
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’21.585 (+0.648) 1’20.937
Race position 6 2
Average race lap 1’28.028 (+0.632) 1’27.396
Laps 66/66 66/66
Pit stops 1 1
Spanish Grand Prix team-by-team: Ferrari
Spanish Grand Prix team-by-team: Ferrari (click to enlarge)

Felipe Massa

Beaten on Saturday for the fourth time in a row, Massa has been 0.47s slower than Alonso on average in qualifying over the last four races.

Luckily for Massa Robert Kubica and Nico Rosberg took themselves out of his way at the start, elevating him to seventh.

But despite having the fastest car in a straight line – hitting 312.2kph on the straight thanks to the team’s new F-duct and revised engine – Massa couldn’t get past Button.

Afterwards he described his frustration at spending the rest or the race behind Button and the damage he incurred hitting Karun Chandhok while trying to lap the HRT driver:

Once again today, the main difficulty was a lack of grip, especially in the third sector: every time it looked as though I might close on Button, he managed to get away from me over some sections of the track.

We must work to improve the car?s performance and there is no doubt about it. Even though we brought home a good number of points, I can?t be happy with the way things went this weekend.

When I touched a backmarker, the left front wing end plate got broken, but the handling of the car was not affected much. If I?d returned to the pits to change the nose, I would have lost at least three places, so the decision to stay out on track was the right one.
Felipe Massa

Compare Felipe Massa’s form against his team mate in 2010

Fernando Alonso

Alonso was comfortably quicker than Massa throughout the weekend. He ended the race 40 seconds ahead of his team mate, who was stuck behind Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button.

Alonso could have made a pit stop in the late stages of the race without losing track position, to switch to the soft tyres. But he revealed afterwards the Ferrari’s ability to keep life in its tyres over a stint meant it didn’t offer that great a benefit:

We knew we could expect a difficult Grand Prix, because on tracks like this we still don?t have enough aerodynamic downforce to fight for pole position and the win, even if the races are very long and that was confirmed yet again today.

In circumstances like this we have to try and attack and exploit every opportunity. Our strong point seems to be tyre management as ours seemed to be in better condition than those of our rivals in the final stages of the race.

We have to up our performance level, but we do have the potential to win the championship. The management system for the blown rear wing worked well but it is still at the experimental stage. Maybe in Turkey we will have an updated version.
Fernando Alonso

Compare Fernando Alonso’s form against his team mate in 2010

2010 Spanish Grand Prix

Browse all 2010 Spanish Grand Prix articles

39 comments on “Massa struggles despite Ferrari upgrades (Spanish Grand Prix team-by-team)”

  1. Quote from Massa, not Karun chandhok?

    1. Fixed, thanks.

  2. Nice articles Keith, really enjoy reading them. Gives a good view of how the team mates are performing instead of just seeing it on tv on a sunday and form your opinion without seeing the data.

    I think I spotted a small mistake, under Felipe’s quote it says ‘Karun Chandhok’.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks – check out the ‘compare team mates’ links for the full picture as it develops throughout the season. Doesn’t make great reading for Massa right now, but let’s see how he does at Monaco and Montreal with the softer tyres.

      1. Unfortunetely, Felipe’s never been great in Canada, but if he’ll drive as he did in 2008 in Monaco, and the supersofts will work for him, think he can finally outpace Alonso. I really hope he will.

        1. Really dont see him matching Alonso in Monaco. Alonso loves that circuit too, I think Massa might wil give him a good fight in Turkey, Jerez and Brazil… other than that.. I think Alonso will murder him race in race out.

          1. he doesn’t love monaco, he actually said he doesn’t like it, but he performes very well there. I think massa will have a big problem matching alonso, until they get to the turquish gp. He owns that place, if he can’t match alonso there… houston we have a problem.

        2. Actually OEL in damp conditions in 05 at Canada he dragged his Sauber up to an impressive 4th -he got some luck as some top guys crashed out but he kept his head together well. In 08, he had set back with the fuel rig but he recovered very well I think and pulled a good ovvertake at the hairpin so Canada isn’t as much of an issue. Alonso has typically struggled to get a good result there until 06 where he jumped right to the win but the year after he had a pretty bad time and 08 span/crashed out when he had managed a good position.

          1. Ok, Steph, I don’t really remember Canada 05, but in 08, Felipe struggled in qualifying, and even if his fightback was very impressive, Hamilton and Raikkönen were out and they had been very quick. But now you’re actually reminding me that Alonso has not really been good there (apart from 2006) He crashed in 05 if I’m correct and was overtaken by Sato in 2007 after many mistakes.

            You’re right Massa did a great job in 2005 in the slow Sauber, so let’s hope he can drive as well again (you’re a Felipe-fan too, aren’t you)!

          2. BasCB yeah that must be a worry for him. Turkey will be a true test for him and if he doesn’t do well there he’ll get some grief.
            Yeah you’re right OEL about Massa’s quali in 08. It wasn’t good. Massa’s charge did happen after Kimi and Hamilton were out so perhaps he wouldn’t have got as many points but it was still good.
            Alonso hit the wall I think in 05 and broke his suspension if I recall correctly.
            PS yes I am a fellow Felipe fan! :)

      2. The tyres for Turkey must be a bit of a worry for him, otherwise he should be having a go at good points there (winning only if Red Bull flukes)

      3. I get the feeling he’s in some real trouble, and can’t see him catching Alonso in terms of pace for the rest of the season.

        And by the way, Ferrari would be absolutely correct to start putting all their chips on the Spaniard, unless some miracle happens in Massa’s car until Canada. Half a second in this day and age in F1, particularly this season, is just too much of a gap between competitive teammates.

  3. Sush Meerkat
    10th May 2010, 10:37

    Smedley and Massa are once again a comedy tour the force in race, I always look forward to seeing Massa’s radio pop up and hearing the banter between those two.

    I was laughing hard so I may have mis heard but i’m sure Smedley said the timings improved after the damaged wing so maybe they should break it off completely.

    “Come on Felepe Baby, what a beauty!”

    1. Yeah Smedley said (I think) “half a second quicker with a broken front wing, I think we’ve found the solution.” That was brilliant. It’s quite something than Rob is one of the most popular guys in F1 right now and he isn’t even a driver (I think I;ve just set myself up for some cracks abotu how Smedley pretty much does drive the car there :P )

      1. Actually someone found the actual radio clip on youtube so here it is for anyone who didn’t hear or just wants a laugh!

    2. FelipeBabyStayCool
      10th May 2010, 15:05

      Haha, in fact maybe the damaged wing was performing better because it was acting as a flexiwing which is of curse banned. The anti-Ferrari league out there may have a field day with that =)

      Maybe the teams should try to creatively break down pieces of their wings so they could circumvent the flexiwing ban ;)

      1. FelipeBabyStayCool
        10th May 2010, 15:06

        sorry, course, not curse

  4. Fear not Ferrari Fans… Kubica will be quicker!!!!!!!!

  5. Alonso has once again proven that he can wraggle a car that isnt exactly working well to the front.

    The speed at which Massa was lapping was probably the real pace of the Ferrari, but once again, Fernando managed to get the extra 0.6 seconds of out it. This is why he is the best!

    If you look at the rest of the front runners, Red Bull and Mclaren namely, both team mates weren’t exactly too far way in qualifying, which shows that the performance of their respective cars were in and around there. Alonso and Massa however, we’re clearly quite far apart, which shows the difference in class in my opinion.

    I am very sure that Ferrari will come good as the season goes by, Fernando will win more races and he has a really good shot at winning the championship again if he keeps picking up these crucial points although his car isn’t at its best. I say this because, Alonso brings the complete package, as we know, he can work with engineers and help develop the car, he showed this in 08 when Renault transformed a dog of a car into a winning car (ok Singapore discounted) by the end of the season. You have to admit, in Fuji that year, he just blew everyone away

    1. I agree entirely that Fernando is the best on the grid.
      “You have to admit, in Fuji that year, he just blew everyone away”
      Yes and no, Fernando and Renault (Robert has this quality to a lesser degree too I think) were esp good at putting themselves in situations where they could benefit when the top lot faltered such as Sing 08, Fuji and now Alonso has done it in Spain. It’s not the most exciting but it shows he’s pretty much always there or there abouts. So he does blow everyone away at times but by not just having pace but when he isn’t quick enough he gets himself into good positions.
      As for Massa, I’m at a loss. He’s having car issues but so is Fernando. Massa drove very well with the F60 last year and overshadowed Kimi so maybe Fernando is just that much better or maybe it is suiting Felipe just a little bit less. I expected Felipe probabloy would be behind but not this far behind, whatever it is he has to do better.

      1. Massa’s problems seem to be similar to Kimi’s back in 2008. It took Kimi a long time to get back, but he did towards the end of the season, and even before that got a new contract! I fear Felipe must solve the issue quickly to renew his contract with Ferrari. I just wonder what went wrong, he was so quick in Bahrain and I expected him to be back in Spain after 3 circuits he dislikes. Alonso is quick unfortunately and that makes Massa looking even slower when he’s struggeling as he is now.

      2. FelipeBabyStayCool
        10th May 2010, 15:14

        Yup, I hate to accept that but Fernando is probably a better all-around contender than MY Felipe. Anyway Ferrari is keeping quite even-handed about it and I hope this will not change.

    2. “The speed at which Massa was lapping was probably the real pace of the Ferrari, but once again, Fernando managed to get the extra 0.6 seconds of out it. This is why he is the best!”

      Massa says that he cannot get the car to drive properly. So, if anything, Alonso is driving the car at the “real” pace and Massa is slow.

  6. alonso like all the great drivers, can drive a car that’s not perfect, and extract the best out of it. Massa can be as fast, or even faster, but to do that he needs the car to be perfect, and now the ferrari isn’t.
    He is being outperformed by alonso, and is behind him on points, but it could have been even worse, if alonso didn’t make those mistakes at australia, and china.

  7. australia wasnt his fault, china totally was.

    when the start at melbourne is clearly looked at objectively its clear michael squeezed fernando and then jenson run into him. jenson had no where to go, but neither did fernando. alonso certainly didnt turn in on jense, when fernando took the corner button was no where near overtaking him in any respect.

    i dont blame button it was a racing incident, but it certainly wasnt alonso fault.

  8. Is it Massa, or the car? I hope it’s the latter really, that Massa is having Schumacher-like issues with the car. of course, I rate Alonso more highly than Massa, and if it’s the car then you’d expect him to be able to drive around the problems more – but it may be that it’s something about the car that Massa himself doesn’t like, but Alonso can live with.

    I hope Massa gets back up to the top soon, it would be good to have another contender at the top.

    Interestingly though, before the start of the season many were predicting Alonso would hold off a challenging Massa and Hamilton would blow Button away. The reverse seems to have come true so far!

    1. Oh, just read about Massa having issues with the harder tyres. Looks like it’s that then, and not the car!

      1. Well, you know he might not have been struggeling in a Red Bull, even with the same tyres. I think it’s how the car is working the tyres, and how that works for the driver. Felipe is struggeling with the harder tyres on the F10.

    2. I’m fairly sure it’s Massa. I’ve never really rated him, and maybe I’ve carried some bias forward as a result, but has he ever beaten a team-mate comprehensively? He beat Raikkonen of course, but only in one year, and Raikkenon is known to swing in terms of his performance. I’m not an Alonso fan either, but I think he is in a different class along with Hamilton and Vettel. I’d probably rate Massa below Button, Kubica, Rosberg (3 drivers I highly rate and love) and maybe Webber now too.

  9. Alonso will always be 0.6 secs faster than his team mate. Unless that team mate is called Hamilton ……. or Vettel! Then he may be 0.1 Secs slower!!

    1. FelipeBabyStayCool
      10th May 2010, 15:32

      Give Fernando his Michelin tyres again and he will outpace Lewis and Seb

      1. Michelin tyres AND tuned damper system …

  10. or DDD, unless everyone has it,… just like in 2006 when everybody copyed Mass damper from Renualt… sounds familiar?!? Well, the same goes with this years F-duct

    So, you cant realy judge ones performens by one inovation, or last years Buttons championship doesnt count for nothing.

  11. I really like Felipe, he was superb 2 yrs back…but I would have liked Kimi to stay

  12. I really hope Felipe stay positive and do his best in every races.
    I think one of the problem is Felipe is not confident enough… I can see his doing some mistakes that he should not do…

  13. Yeah… like not knowing how to drive trough last corner in Australia, so his racing engeneer has to tell him… sorry, but even I know how to take that one to be in the best position for the long streight (and not to get overtaken, which was Massas problem)…

    I would expect that kind of mistake from guys like Jaime Alguersuari or other new boys, not from the “WDC potential” driver

  14. Amazing and I really like Felipe, he was superb 2 yrs back…but I would have liked Kimi to stay

  15. I like Felipe, speed driving and control. Excellent performance, awesome man

  16. I agree about them having nice invoices. good recommendation, i like to use it.

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