Ferrari’s practice pace disappears on Sunday (Ferrari race review)

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Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010

Fernando Alonso was tipped for victory after topping both practice sessions on Friday.

But Ferrari’s pace seemed to desert them on Saturday morning. And, as far as the drivers’ championship is concerned, it was the ‘wrong’ driver who brought home points.

Felipe MassaFernando Alonso
Qualifying position610
Qualifying time comparison (Q3)1’46.314 (-1.127)1’47.441
Race position4
Average race lap2’01.648 (+3.268)1’58.381
Pit stops23

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Felipe Massa

Looked slower than his team mate in practice but beat him in Q3 for the first time since Bahrain. That was despite a mistake at Malmedy on his final timed lap.

He passed the slow-starting Mark Webber as the race began but the Red Bull driver went around the outside of him at Rivage on the second lap.

From there on Massa’s race was largely uneventful. His biggest drama came when he lost 2.6 seconds when he was unable to lap Heikki Kovalainen because of a yellow flag.

He gradually slipped back from Webber – particularly after stopping to change to hard tyres – and came home fourth with Adrian Sutil less than a second behind.

Despite Ferrari’s form on Friday, Massa believed they were only the third-quickest team in Spa:

This weekend, Red Bull and McLaren were stronger than us, but we worked well as a team, making the right choices before and during the race. Our set-up was a bit more efficient in the dry, while we suffered a bit in the wet, especially in the middle sector, while in the first two we were reasonably competitive.
Felipe Massa

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

Fernando Alonso

Topped both Friday sessions but on Saturday morning the Ferraris had slipped behind the Red Bulls and McLarens. It got worse in qualifying, where Alonso could only manage tenth.

There were rumours he’d gambled on a set-up for wet weather. If so, that would have put him at risk if not enough rain fell during the race and his compromised grid position left him vulnerable to a first-lap crash. In the event, both things happened.

He made a good start and passed both Williams drivers. But he probably wished he hadn’t when Rubens Barrichello lost control and hit him at the chicane. Although the impact was great enough to tear a wheel off the Williams, Alonso’s F10 was, remarkably, able to keep going.

He took the opportunity to try intermediate tyres but quickly discarded them as it became clear the track was drying. After picking off the new teams’ cars it took him a few laps longer to get past the Force India of Vitantonio Liuzzi.

Alonso made it as far as eighth when the final rain shower caught him out and he spun into the barriers between Malmedy and Rivage. Afterwards he rued the late arrival of the rain, without which he stood a chance of inheriting places from the Mercedes drivers:

Yesterday we were hoping for rain, but when it came it was already too late to be of much use to me; on the contrary it prevented me from getting the chance to overtake the cars which would have had to stop to fit the soft tyres.
Fernando Alonso

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

2010 Belgian Grand Prix

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Image (C) Ferrari spa

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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80 comments on “Ferrari’s practice pace disappears on Sunday (Ferrari race review)”

  1. So, with teammates handing him wins, Alonso is still 41 points off the lead, behind both drivers of two different teams and is realistically falling out of contention. Wasn’t the whingeing over the radio and further damage to his reputation completely worth it?

    1. Maybe karma is starting to have its way over Alonso and Ferrari…

      1. I think it has more to do with wanting it so bad, he’s letting mistakes slip in (a bit like Vettel cracking under the pressure).

    2. Hey this champ has been great but we have to admit that some drivers are just lucky lewis has had some retirements but not has many, and didnt had the number of unlucky weekends like Vettel or Alonso lewis was very lucky to win to be honest red bull should have won the champ already and we have to say that neither lewis or alonso have more skill than vettel and web to compensate the lack of performance from mclaren and ferrari and judging by the pace also ferrari should be firmly on 2nd place but redbull and ferrari are losing opportunitys and there are only more 6 races to go it would be a shame not to see the red bull wining cause they deserve

      1. lewis has 2 retirements because of problems with the car… alonso has just 1 retirement (spa) because of a driver error.

      2. If redbull and ferrari should be leading based on pace, as you say… then you have to admit the skill of Lewis, with the 3rd fastest car he’s leading the championship now ;)

        that’s no luck

    3. Alonso was the only of the top 10 to make that corner at the first lap. All the others ran wide there. The reward he got was the veteran hitting him from behind, practically destroying his race. Despite of that and three pit-stop he was heading towards a 5-6 place finish. Yes it was a shame he made a mistake later on, but it is very easy to do that in this circumstances. LH took a journey in the sand, I do not see you talk about that so much. Of course he was lucky and got out, so luck makes the difference for some between being a hero or not. Some just do not have the ability to be objective and see the facts before opening their mouth … quite entertaining actually.

    4. Wins?, that,I think, means more than one.

  2. I thought they would have the best compromise between Mclaren’s top speed in S1 and S3, and the Redbulls in S2, but evidently that didn’t prove to be the case. They’ll be back in Singapre though.

  3. HAS anyone noticed that Massa is the only driver who has finished every race this season so far.?

    1. yeah, but he is still last.

      1. 6th, last- big difference.

        1. last of the leading teams… (redbull, mclaren, ferrari)

          1. Well, only 32 points (13 under the old system) behind Alonso (despite Hockenheim), so pointing out that he’s “last”, as if he’s completely awful is far from appropriate.

    2. hes lucky but hes clearly slow and the fast ones alonso and vettel are the cursed ones

      1. Massa’s had bad luck as well – just look at Valencia, Silverstone, Montreal, Hungary for examples.

        Alonso’s had good luck as well as bad luck. If it wasn’t for safety cars at China, Australia and Monaco, he would have scored much fewer points.

        1. I cannot see how he was lucky in Monaco as he could not paritcipate in qualy and had to start from the pits. In Aus. he gained one position due to other bad luck. China, he had 5 pit stops and a drive through… Yea, very lucky circumstances.

  4. omg guys, bad luck… hamilton had it with his last lap puncture in spain etc…
    hamilton got lucky, he also made a mistake, still he won, alonso made a mistake in one corner, he is out of the race.
    wait, hamilton got a penalty, he didn’t lose any positions, alonso got THE SAME penalty, he lose 10+ positions. If it hadn’t for the 2 races, that were TAKEN AWAY from fernando (valencia, and silverstone) he would be FIRST. ferrari had clearly the fastest car this weekend, they will be obviously faster than RB in Monza. Ferrari has the best car, and there are 6 races left, hamilton hasn’t got any chance, he was just lucky, he will not see much podium, on the other hand, webber has quite a big lead, but they had their fair share of technical problems. Ferrari has the most reliable car, you can see that, they completed the most lap, by far. They were unlucky, they can’t be UNLUCKY FOREVER…, but webber has some lead, so i don’t know, but my money is still on ALO

    1. You’re right that amongst the mistakes he’s been extroadinarily unlucky at times such as Australia, Malaysia, Canada, Valencia and Silverstone. But ultimately despite being the fastest driver on the grid and putting in a performance worthy of a title in itself in Malaysia he’s yet put a run together worthy of winning the title. But there’s still time for that to change and for him to win the title if he puts in a run of form we all know he’s capable of.

      1. yes, he has made MANY mistakes (Monaco is the biggest in my opinion), but this year, everybody made plenty. so it’s not a “dealbreaker” :D

        1. Actually it is a dealbreaker. I’m a Ferrari fan, but let’s face it, Alonso’s season has been massively disappointing so far. He has made way to many mistakes:

          1)Malaysia – Decided to stay in the garage during qualifying even though the rain was coming. Qualified 19th

          2)China – Jump Start, was handed a drive-through penalty by the stewards.

          3)Monaco – Crashed during Free Practice. Couldn’t take part in the Qualifyng Session. Started from last position on the grid.

          4)Turkey – Failed to reach Q3 after making consecutive mistakes in both flying laps.

          5)Canada – Lost too much time while overtaking the backmarkers, throwing away what could have been an easy win.

          6)Silversone – Cut the chicane to overtook Kubica and didn’t give the position back. Finished out of points.

          7) Belgium – Performed poorly in Q3, started with the wrong set-up and crashed like a rookie.

          It is true that he’s been very unlucky at times(Valencia, Australia and Silverstone among others), but still, he has made far too many mistakes for a 2 times WC. To be honest I’m amazed he is still in contention for the title.

          1. I agree with the most of those apart from Canada, if you see the way Truli balked him there was really nothing he could have done. He drove a brilliant tactical race only to be blocked at critical moments.

            Also Silverstone, for me Kubica gave him no room and Alonso had no choice to take to the grass. Even if Alonso was deemed to have gained an advantage it was discraceful that it took the stewards so long to order Alonso to give the place back and was typical of the way the stewards take far too long over key decisions resulting in grossly disproportionate punishments.

          2. I’d cut him some slack for Malaysia (he’s not a weather forecaster, the team would have made that call) and Canada. But what’s we haven’t seen this year is the seemingly bulletproof ’06-spec Alonso.

          3. True. I’m thinking the same thing. To further add to this, Ferrari’s strategies seem to be falling apart every other time. They don’t seem to be a 60-year old F1 team, and neither does Alonso seem to be a double World Champion.

            Alonso has had great drives this season, and his battle with the determined Vitantonio Liuzzi at Spa was spectacular too, but he isn’t showing the composure of Lewis Hamilton, who nearly clouted the barriers in a hugely slippery track and still managed to win!

            Something is missing in the Alonso armour it seems, and I wonder whether his best days are behind him.

            Could Alonso be a star fading away? I hope not. Let’s hope Monza proves me wrong.

          4. ya correct manu….you are very correct…thats what iam talking about…but guys tell those things as unluck…

          5. I am a big fan of Alonso..just in case those of you on here havent noticed.

            This season has been poor for him and he doesnt deserve to be champion. The list of mistakes are quite glaring really.

            The way I look at it, its been a case of pushing too hard and bad luck for Fernando. He badly wants to win the WDC, and being as competitive as he is, he’s put a lot of pressure on himself to deliever the WDC to Ferari. He’s pushing a fairly ordinary Ferari real hard to fight at the front of the grid, but he’s been stepping over the car’s limit far too many times.

            I think Stefano needs to sit down with him and have a chat…tell him to take it easy…easier said than done eh?

          6. It is obvious which team/driver you are a fan of and which you do not like. 90% of the occasions you mention are not misstakes, but circumstances affected by team/weather/car performance. I agree with you though that it is amazing that he, in spite of these circumstances in addition to engine/gearbox failures and FIA discreminating punishments, is still a championship contender. It is an indicator of how brilliant that driver is.

        2. well, Alonso had made mistakes but he was unlucky aswell. In monaco, he made a mistake, but he was very unlucky broking his car with a beat so soft. For example, yesterday he sliped and he crashed and Hamilton almost repeat china 2007, but he didn’t at least. On the other hand Alonso was lucky after the Barrichello’s beat but he could go on.

          Alonso is unlucky this year and maybe the championship is going away if it doesn’t change. Of course, avoiding mistakes he won’t depend on luck.

      2. hey guys….hope you guys are fans of alonso..trying to cover think only alonso is unlucky…what about vettel…how many failures for him…what about his own teammate massa,,,,unlucky in china,silverstone,valencia and many places where he had to watch alonso pitting before him,,finally germany where he gave his victory….if all was there he will be also near alonso in the points…. also he is just 30 points behind him..he will soon equalise,,,even if ferrari pushes alonso..

        1. There is a difference in being unlucky and making a mistake.

          UNLUCKY ::
          1. He was unlucky in Valencia due to safety car arrival.

          2. He was unlucky in Canada due to short track and too many backmarkers.

          3. Caught in Malaysia rain.

          1. Jump start in China.
          2. Crash in Monaco.
          3. Silverstone pass on Kubica (He should have given the place back immediately).
          4. Unable to get the most out of the car in Turkey.
          5. Wrong setup for Belgiam.

          What I am thinking is , he is trying too hard this year and he has spent 2 years in a crap car and he wants to make the most of it in this year. IN 2006, the only driver he was competing with was Schumi. This year, we have as many as 5-6 very good drivers. He is feeling the heat of being in Scuderia.

          My advice would be to take it easy and take it one race at a time. Do not risk with the car setup according to the weather forecast. Try to win each and every remaining races and see where he ends up.

          1. maestroninthesky
            31st August 2010, 17:36

            It would have been interesting to see how he’d be performing now in the revitalised Renault. He might be rueing the fact he’s in a twitchy Ferrari now!

        2. lol do you want to read what was actually said by the Alonso fans there? No one is saying he hasn’t made far too many mistakes, but even as Keith (no Alonso fan) says he’s had some torrid luck at times as well

          1. I am a die hard alonso fan but I can see where he is making mistakes.
            Luck isnt ini anybody’s hands but we can surely cut down on mistakes.
            If ALonso cuts down on his mistakes then I dont think anybody apart from Hamilton can challenge him

            PS: Ham has performed very well this year by being a bit conservative at times. It augurs well for Mclaren.
            Alonso should fight back now. :)

    2. Hamilton went off on slicks on a wet track.
      Alonso went off on inters on a wet track.
      There is a difference.

      1. Well to be fair the track was getting very wet and you would have seen quite a few people diving in for extreme wets had the SC not come out and covered them during the really heavy rain

        1. Also Keith do you know if Alonso had been using worn inters? I was thinking since he’d already used one set of inters in quali, one set in the race and possibly two in practice would that have meant he had no fresh inters to go onto at the end of the race. It wouldn’t excuse the mistake but it would explain his relative lack of pace on the inters in that final stint

          1. I suspect so, but it might just have been the same set he used earlier in the race that only had two laps on them. And I very much doubt he was the only person in that situation.

      2. Yes, but the real diference is Alonso was pushing hard at these moment and hami dont

    3. I agree that Ferrari does seem to have the best all around car now (outside of the Red Bull), so if anyone can take the championship from Webber at this point I’d put my money on Alonso over Hamilton at this stage. There’s still time for McLaren to make big upgrades though, so it’s not over by a long shot.

    4. Safety cars wrecked two of Alonso’s races this year. It’s not like a safety car has ever ben organised to help him or anything…

      1. No, because after his own mistake in practice, the Monoco SC didn’t help him get into the race again at all. Oh, it did. And I think in China both he and Hamilton, used the SC to get back near the leaders (but maybe I have the race mixed up – can’t re-watch it right now).

        1. At least Hallard saw what I was doing :P

      2. Oh….I see what you did there :)

    5. All of the leading drivers have had some bad luck this year. After this past weekend you probably need to up your bet.

      1. Alonso may have some more bad luck heading his way as well due to Ferrari having used 6 engines already.

        most of the rest have only used 5 so far.

        1. Tell that to Sauber…

    6. What season have you been watching, perhaps you’ve been visiting some alternate reality on grand prix weekends? Alonslow has made monumental error after monumental error all season and this has been compounded by his team’s laughable operational errors. Ferrari are in the descendancy nowadays, they are clearly missing the Brawn/Byrne partnership and the reactionary latin temperament is reappearing in the team to their detriment. Alonslow clearly can’t keep his head at Ferrari either. He wants it so much that he is over doing it behind the wheel, until he gets his head sorted out he has no chance and this year is over for him already regarding the WDC and Ferrari have no hope of getting within spitting distance of the WCC with that old nail of an F10. A fundamentally flawed car built by a fundamentally flawed team and driven by 2 fundamentally flawed drivers. How that stacks up to a credible championship challenge is beyond me, still, I tend to occupy this reality as opposed to an imaginary one!!

      1. lol.I agree with everything apart from the car part David. Tghe F10 seems a better all-rounder compared to the mclaren. With that car either of their drivers could be leading the championship!
        But i totally agree that Ferrari has had its day. Ferrari has won enough championships, they would fail even with an equal to the RB6. Every team, like every driver(schumacher! cough, cough), has its time and at some point runs out of its afforded success. Just look at williams!

  5. when i mean best car, i mean race pace. obviously, RB has an edge in Q, but they never that fast on the race day

    1. I dunno, they might have been quick in Hungary.

  6. If we hadn’t had that farce at Hockenheim, Massa would only be one second place behind Alonso with six races to go.

  7. how the hell the Ferrari stayed in one piece after Rubens’ ram?


    1. Alonso has had bad luck this year,but so has Mercedes GP drivers,although I feel the latters luck is about to return.

  8. Why don’t we hear anything about Massa missing his startingbox by about two metres?

    Alonso got a penalty for a false start this season, so why didn’t Massa get a penalty for gaining two extra metres?

    Is it okay for any driver now to just grab a bit extra advantage?


    1. How do you know it was two metres? I haven’t seen a good picture of it. Can’t help but think if it had been that much someone who started near him on the grid would have had their team protest.

      1. Hi Keith,
        I found a video, you can see it more or less clear:

        1. hmmmm. Pretty damning evidence. Bit of a mistake by the stewards there you have to say.

        2. Not even close. How did he not get a drive-through for that?

          The speed of the backmarkers before they get to the start line is really frightening. Holy cow.

        3. Well that does look pretty damning. Surprised no-one’s protested that.

          1. If you are standing in the grid, I think that the only driver that could have seen it is Rubens Barrichello starting from 7th in the Williams. Only guessing, but maybe a bit of brazilian friendship there ;)

        4. Wow, that’s certainly proof positive. Looks like Sutil was a tad over the mark as well, but nowhere near as far over as Massa.

        5. That’s funny, i thought there is some software to make sure that this and the Jump starts does not happen.

          Maybe I was thinking too advanced. I think F1 being so advanced should not leave it to human. Very difficult to check everyone. Some system similar to the finish line timer can catch this thing instantly and maybe even inform the team/driver that the car is above line.

          1. The fact is that behind all that technology there is an incompetent human: Charlie Withing.

            When Alonso made his jump start Withing saw it with his eyes and he laugthed. He’s allways looking at Alonso.

            I don’t know if Alonso is going down but everybody looks at him. Remember Vettel at Hockenheim looking at Alonso and not at Massa.

        6. Oh the thrill of watching F1 face-to-face! Living in India, I’ve never been a spectator at any motor racing event. The Indian Grand Prix should change all that.

    2. I heard that on BBC commentary but didn’t ever see it visually, and it’s the kind of thing you’d a) expect stewards to be able to see REALLY easily and b) other teams to complain about.

      Be interesting if anyone did have some further info on it…

      1. ok, I need to refresh before I post next time!

        1. How on earth does they missed that? The other team or FIA should have taken action against that.

  9. As long as Felipe has issues adapting to the harder tyre, I don’t think he can challenge for the title in 2010 or in 2011 for that matter. A bit like Kimi in 2008, just plain inability to get the tyres warmed up for qualifying in his case and in the race in Massa’s case.

    1. “or in 2011 ” Well luckily he won’t have to worry about Bridgestone’s hard tyres next year…
      The Pirelli’s could be an entirely different ball game.

      1. let’s hope they are. I get the feeling tyres are not really the best this year for quite a lot of drivers (and cars).

        1. I agree – I bet a lot of teams would love to have those “too grippy, forward biased” 2009 tires back now, since they anyway weren’t using KERS …

          1. Massa should have a grid penalty for Italy

  10. Their pace didn’t desert them,…. they never had it all weekend.
    ALonso’s FP1 and FP2 times although fastest weren’t contested at all by Mclaren or RBR, he did them in favourable conditions. If fact Hamilton hardly did any laps and was very comfortable with his pace. RBR just seemed to run their normal (barring rain) steady program, but which I mean they didn’t show their cards.

    That’s why I didn’t pick Alonso for pole or the race win.

  11. I’m starting to think Alonso’s past it. He hasn’t won a race in a straight fight since 2007. At Singapore, he won because the race was rigged. At Bahrain, he won because Vettel’s car quit on him. And in Germany, he won because Massa moved over for him. Alonso’s exit at Spa was embarrassing and worse, lazy. He made a very uncharacteristic rookie mistake, spun the car at low speed and crashed out. I know he was hoping for a red flag when he got out, but the way he did it just made it look like he’d given up for the weekend the moment the car started to spin on him.

    1. Yes indeed, but Alonso did win Fuji 08, albeit after Hamilton outbraked himself and Kimi out of contention.
      Alonso should start walking the talk, or become more humble off the track

  12. That’s some pretty serious evidence against Massa. I think the stewards simply didn’t see it yet, and a 20-second penalty will do it when they do, I’m afraid. In the case no one did it yet, there are any formal means of denouncing his start?

    1. I think it got overlooked after almost everybody slipped out of the track…
      But i would like to see some FIA standingpoint obver this.
      If they don’t, they just keep on looking (even) more incompetent!

      1. every one is lucky that Hamilton have puncture in Spain and Hungary …and MW hit him in the back in Australia or even luckier McLaren take him in the pits for extra pit witch cost him second place …. if non of this happens…. bay bay to the world championship battle Hamilton will leading by big and i mean really massive 40 or more points and non of you even mention crying Alonso

  13. Fearlessferddy
    31st August 2010, 19:38

    In all honesty, winning an F1 championship isn’t all about having the fastest car, there’s a certain composure and mindset that goes with it, I’m not saying this because Webber and Lewis are currently the main protagonists, but you can tell by the way both drivers have performed this season they seem to be in the zone, something Alonso currently lacks. Webber has turned the opinions of many within Redbull by exceeding everyone’s expectations within the team,He does his talking on the track, Lewis by far the most entertaining driver for me this season so far, barring mechanical failures he’s been driving beyond the limit of the car check the stats for number of over takes this season so far, and both of them even when in damage limitation mode some how they both manage to come away with decent points. 9 out of the last 13 races have been won by cars not on pole position thats 70%. So having the fastest car is no guarantee of winning the championship.I personally feel Alonso just isn’t consistent enough, he seems to be trying too hard, he currently lacks the consistency and momentum needed to win the championship. Perhaps the result of such high expectations after joining ferrari.

    1. The curious thing about the wins from pole stat and the competitiveness it suggests is that it’s one team that has won all but one pole position. The stronger interpretation is that the team with the fastest car tends to fall to pieces come Sunday. It’s like if Usain Bolt managed to stumble halfway through most of his races, or slip badly at the starts, and often came in 3rd, or occaisionally last. He would be a laughing stock of his sport. People would be waving banana peels in the stands in mockery.

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