© FOTO ERCOLE COLOMBO
Spanish Grand Prix Results – Ferrari
Spanish GP – A bitter fifth place for Alonso the lion
Montmelo, 22 May – Fifth place for Fernando Alonso at the end of the Spanish Grand Prix, while Felipe Massa had to retire on lap 58 with an apparent gearbox problem. Fernando fought like a lion in the early stages, when after a fantastic start, he managed to lead the first 18 laps of the race. Then Fernando fought off Webber, but when the Australian passed him in the pit stops, there was a clear performance difference on the hard tyres. Fifth was the best he could do today.
Felipe defended his position on the soft, but he struggled even more than his team-mate with the hard tyres and was sliding out of the points places when he had to retire.
Spanish GP – Alonso battles brilliantly in Barcelona, Felipe has to retire
Montmelo, 22 May – Fernando Alonso thrilled the Spanish crowd with a fantastic demonstration of driving skill today at the Catalunya circuit, but in the end, the superior car performance of our two closest rivals meant he had to settle for fifth place. Felipe Massa had a difficult afternoon which came to a premature end, when he retired with a gearbox problem a few laps from the flag. Sebastian Vettel took his fourth win of the season and was joined on the podium by the two McLaren drivers; Lewis Hamilton second and Jenson Button third.
As the lights went out second placed Vettel was all over his pole starting team-mate and with the two Red Bulls fighting and thanks to a great getaway off the line, Fernando was able to rush into the lead, to huge cheers from the partisan crowd and the Ferrari 150º Italia led the first two stints of the race, that saw all the front runners, with the exception of Button, making four stops to change tyres.
As expected, the DRS was not so effective here as in Turkey, which helped Fernando keep the others behind him. Vettel then tried to get ahead by pitting one lap earlier, but it was not enough to get past the Ferrari, while Fernando and Webber came in at the same time, maintaining that order as they left. It was not until the second stops, on lap 18 for Vettel and 19 for Webber and Fernando, that the German took the lead. Hamilton had a long second stint coming in on lap 23 and that proved a key moment as it got him ahead of the duel between the Spaniard and the Australian and into second place. From then on, the Englishman put the reigning world champion under huge pressure all race long.
The two leaders pulled away from Fernando who was doing all he could to keep Webber behind him but this duo was passed by Button, who had the advantage of being on the soft tyres at this point, while the hards, with which Fernando ended up doing almost half the race, clearly did not suit the Ferrari. When it came to the final stops, Webber got ahead of Fernando by staying out a few laps longer and that is how it ended at the flag. As for Felipe, he seemed to suffer even more than his team-mate on the hard tyres, survived a spin, but gradually slid out of the points zone, before having to park the car at the side of the track with six laps to go. At the end of the 66 laps, only completed by the top four, with the rest of the field being lapped, the two Mercedes came home behind Fernando with Schumacher sixth and Rosberg seventh, with Heidfeld, Perez and Kobayashi taking the remaining points.
If one has a bad race, the best thing to do is go racing again as soon as possible to try and do better. Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and the other teams will not have long to wait, as everyone will be back on track this coming Thursday for the first day of practice for the sixth round of the championship, the famous Monaco Grand Prix.
Spanish GP – Without downforce, you can’t go forward. In Barcelona, Fernando’s talent was not enough
The Spanish Grand Prix ended with just a fifth place for Fernando Alonso. Unfortunately, this race also featured the team’s first retirement of the season, when Felipe Massa stopped on track with a gearbox problem. After five races Fernando is still fifth in the Drivers’ classification on 51 points, while Felipe stays on 24 and drops down to eighth. The Scuderia is third in the Constructors’ classification.
Stefano Domenicali:“There is no denying that being lapped hurts. It’s even more painful after seeing a driver of Fernando’s calibre putting on such a breathtaking display at the start and then fighting like a lion to keep drivers with clearly faster cars behind him for almost twenty laps. We need to provide him and Felipe with a car with which they can fight all the way to the end of a race and not just in the first part. On a track that favours cars that have a lot of aerodynamic downforce, ours are lacking in this area and that was glaringly obvious, especially on the new hard tyres brought here by Pirelli. We never managed to get this type of tyre to work and our pace was at least two seconds off that of the first four. What to do now? Continue to work on improving the car and finding the aerodynamic downforce that is lacking. We now go into a run of three races which will see the use of the soft and supersoft tyres: we will see what happens and assess the situation at that point.”
Fernando Alonso: “The best bit of the race was obviously the start. We have worked so much on this area and you could see the outcome. It was fantastic to see the crowd cheering in the grandstands! I tried to do the maximum, keeping the quickest ones behind me for around twenty laps, but after that, there was nothing I could do. It was very stressful having them filling my mirrors all the time and we tried as much as possible to copy or anticipate their moves. That meant doing over the half the race on the hards, which penalised us heavily and made the gap bigger than it is in reality. We lack aerodynamic downforce: here we did not have a wing that suited this track. We must analyse carefully the behaviour of all the modifications we brought to this Grand Prix and understand why, in the space of two weeks, we have lost ground to Red Bull and McLaren. Now we head off to Monaco immediately for what is a special race on the calendar. Anything could happen there. Sure, we know the amount of downforce required at this track is the highest of the year, but that was also the case last year and we were competitive. I am definitely not thinking of giving up on the championship after just five races: the gap in the classification is very big, but everything can still happen, I’m sure of it.”
Felipe Massa: “Towards the end of the race I could not select the gears and I had to stop at the side of the track: it was a fitting end to a terrible weekend. Luckily, we can start again immediately, with the Monaco race, which is something of a second home race for me, given that I live in the Principality. Also luckily, we will not have the hard tyres we had today that really did not work for us. When we went from the option to the prime we began to suffer more and more: there was no grip and I was struggling to keep the car on track. Thanks to the strategy, we had managed to pass the Mercedes and Petrov’s Renault, but it all came to nothing in the end. We did not have enough aerodynamic downforce to get the hard tyres to work properly, as indeed we have already seen at other races, but here it was even more of a problem.”
Pat Fry: “Yesterday, a fantastic lap from Fernando had seen us for the first time get a place on the two front rows of the grid. Today, the Spaniard did it again with an incredible start, which took him into the lead, putting him into a position that was clearly superior to the objective worth of our package. On the soft tyres we could keep the best cars behind us, but then on the hard we did not stand a chance and we could only think of defending our position. Here, Red Bull and McLaren were clearly quicker than us and it was only down to Fernando’s talent that we managed to hold them off in the first part of the race. We did not have enough aerodynamic downforce for this circuit and we could see that right from the start of the weekend, but clearly we did not expect to be this far off in terms of race pace. There is a lot to do to make this car more competitive: we have made a step forward but it has not been enough to let us fight all the way to the end for the top places. From a strategy point of view I think we made the right choices, trying to cover our main rivals throughout the whole race. Sure, it put the pit stop guys under a lot of pressure, pushing it to the limit, usually with a rival car in the pit lane at the same time: all in all, they did a good job.”
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Wearher: air 28 °C, track 38 °C; sunny. Chassis: Alonso 288, Massa 289