Turkish Grand Prix Results – Ferrari
Turkish GP – A Ferrari on the podium in Istanbul
Istanbul, 8 May – Fernando Alonso stood on the third step of the podium at the end of the Turkish Grand Prix, the fourth round of the Formula 1 World Championship, which took place today at the Istanbul Speed Park track. Starting from fifth, the Spaniard went on to claim Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s first podium of the season. Felipe Massa in the other 150º Italia was less fortunate, finishing eleventh at the end of a race in which he featured in several thrilling duels. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel took his third win of the year, ahead of team-mate Mark Webber.
This result is a reward for all the hard work the team has carried out, which gives hope for the next round, which takes place at the Barcelona circuit over the weekend of 22 May.
Turkish GP – A podium at last!
Istanbul, 8 May – At the fourth attempt, Fernando Alonso secured his and Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s first podium of the year, after the Spaniard finished third in the Turkish Grand Prix behind the Red Bull Racing one-two of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Felipe Massa had a more complicated day and after looking as though he might have challenged the fourth placed McLaren of Lewis Hamilton, problems with pit stops and traffic saw him end up just outside the points in eleventh place.
After another difficult Saturday qualifying, Fernando found himself as usual in fifth place on the clean side of the grid on row 3, while Felipe was two rows further back in tenth spot. When the lights went out, Vettel shot into the lead from pole, while Rosberg got the jump on Webber to go second and Fernando had moved up to fourth. Then came Button, Hamilton, Schumacher and Petrov and on lap 2, Felipe got past Heidfeld to go ninth. Schumacher pitted after a collision with Petrov and so the Brazilian was now running seventh having also passed Petrov.
On lap 5, Webber got by Rosberg to go second, 4.4 behind his team-mate Vetel and Fernando was right on the Mercedes’ gearbox, occasionally running alongside him and getting past to take third place on lap 7, two seconds behind Webber. Meanwhile as the two McLarens fought among themselves, it allowed Felipe to close right up to Button who had been passed by Hamilton.
Petrov pitted for tyres on lap 8 in what was clearly going to be a busy day for everyone in pit lane. Lap 9 saw the Brazilian’s Ferrari get ahead of Hamilton and then both men followed one another down pit lane for a tyre change, with the Englishman just managing to get away from his garage ahead of the Ferrari.
Lap 11 saw Fernando move up to third, but he, Rosberg, Webber, Heidfeld, Barrichello and Sutil all pitted at the same time. Next time round the race leader pitted, as did Di Resta and Maldonaldo. Button was the last of the leaders to pit on lap 13, so that the two Red Bulls led again from Fernando, while Felipe was sixth, behind Hamilton and Rosberg. Fernando seemed unable to close the gap to second placed Webber, but Felipe was getting closer and closer to Rosberg in the Mercedes. On lap 20, Felipe got past but the German got past him again later in the lap in what was the most intriguing duel at this point. Hamilton made his second tyre change, as did Webber and Felipe again passed Rosberg, this time making it stick so he was now fourth behind Webber, while Fernando had moved to second. Rosberg and Heidfeld then pitted together on lap 22. On lap 23 Felipe could not hold off Button’s McLaren, dropping a place and pitting for new tyres almost behind his team-mate. While Fernando maintained third, Felipe now dropped back to seventh, as Vettel came in for his second stop from the lead on lap 25.
When Button changed tyres on lap 26, the stop did not go smoothly, dropping him to seventh, promoting Felipe to sixth, as the Brazilian set about chasing Petrov in the Renault. Then, on lap 30, Webber’s lap times slowed and Fernando was able to get past to go second, while Felipe was having a tough time fighting off seventh placed Button. The Spaniard was now 8.8 seconds behind Vettel and 1.6 ahead of Webber. Felipe was the meat in a sandwich behind Petrov and ahead of Button.
Hamilton in fourth was the first of the leaders to make his third stop but it did not go well as there was a problem with a front wheel. Petrov and Felipe also came in on this lap, with Webber changing tyres on lap 35. One lap later, Fernando took on another set of tyres, while his team-mate had dropped to 13th in the run of pit stops. Heidfeld pitted from fifth on lap 37, promoting Felipe to twelfth.
Button made his third stop from fourth on lap 39 with the race leader coming in on lap 40, as did Buemi in the Toro Rosso from sixth place. Vettel’s stop meant that Fernando was just 7.1 seconds behind the Red Bull, with a 3 second advantage over Webber, while Felipe was now back up to ninth, 1.4 behind Heidfeld in the Renault. Rosberg was the first driver to make a fourth stop, coming in from fifth place on lap 45, followed in by Webber who was another driver to suffer a slow tyre change. Petrov and Schumacher also pitted and obviously covering Webber, Ferrari brought Fernando in for fresh tyres on lap 46 followed in by Hamilton and Felipe and this time the Brazilian’s right rear wheel would not go on properly costing him precious seconds. One lap later and the race leader made his fourth stop and although he kept the lead, it was only 6.2 seconds ahead of Fernando. The Turkish GP had effectively now come down to a ten lap sprint to the flag on fresh tyres. On lap 49, the Red Bull to Ferrari gap was just 5.9. Hamilton was flying and passed team-mate Button to go fourth at this point and Webber was 1.1 behind the Spanish Ferrari driver and lapping faster so that with eight laps to go the gap was now 0.8. Felipe’s pit stop problem meant he was back down in thirteenth spot.
At the end of lap 51, Webber caught and passed Fernando, with Alonso fighting back so that the two men were running side by side for a while. On lap 53, Felipe moved up to 12th when he passed Schumacher in the Mercedes, but the German fought back to retake the position and then both men got past Alguersuari. Then the Toro Rosso man fought back and retook the German who then passed him again. Overtaking is definitely easier this year!
From then to the flag at the end of lap 58, the order among the front runners did not change much. Behind the podium trio, Hamilton was fourth for McLaren ahead of Rosberg in the Mercedes, Button sixth in the other McLaren and the Renault duo of Heidfeld and Petrov seventh and eighth having both relegated Buemi in the Toro Rosso to ninth. In tenth, ahead of Felipe, Kobayashi took the final point for Sauber. Fernando and Felipe are fifth and sixth respectively in the Drivers’ classification, while the Scuderia is still third in the Constructors’ Championship.
Turkish GP – A confidence boosting podium
First podium of the season for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, thanks to Fernando Alonso finishing third, ten seconds off the winner. Unfortunately, today was also the first no-score on the board, as Felipe Massa finished just outside the points in eleventh place at the end of a race that was compromised by various problems. The drivers’ positions in the championship remain unchanged – Fernando fifth and Felipe sixth – as does the Scuderia’s third place in the corresponding championship for Constructors.
Stefano Domenicali: “It’s been a very long time since we last saw one of our drivers on the podium and today, finally, we were able to. Fernando drove a very nice race, to crown a great weekend on his part: he did not put a foot wrong and was aggressive when he needed to be and prudent when he had to manage the situation. I am very sorry for Felipe, who had every possibility of also getting a good result. We had already seen in the three previous races that, in the race, the 150º Italia seemed to be the more beautiful sister of the one seen on Saturday afternoon in qualifying, but for one reason or another, in the first three Grands Prix, we never managed to make the most of all its potential. Today we were competitive for long periods and if Fernando had not been stuck behind Rosberg for a few laps after the start, he could have even put Vettel under more pressure. We must definitely not get carried away with this third place: the road is still very long and there is still a very long way to go to where we want to be. At least we have shown that we have started off down the right road.”
Fernando Alonso: “I am pleased with this result, which is down to three weeks of hard work from the entire team at Maranello and at the track this weekend. We had not started this Grand Prix on the right foot, after having quite a few problems on Friday, but then we moved forward and today it was great to be back fighting for the top places. We had come so close to the podium already in Malaysia and in China and today we managed to jump onto it, but this is only a first step: we must continue in this direction. Given the shape we were in at the start of this season, this is a great finish. The next three or four races will be crucial. At 99% I could not have fought with Vettel, but the remaining 1% went when I was stuck behind Rosberg for too long: maybe I could have put him in difficulty, forcing him to push even more. In the end, Webber passed me because he had the benefit of a new set of tyres, while I had none left. I know it seems strange having to stop eleven laps from the finish, but it was getting hard to keep the car on track and there was a risk of ruining everything. There is more overtaking, but I think that has more to do with the different behaviour of the tyres rather than the moveable rear wing. It’s true that the gap in the classification is very wide, but there are still so many points up for grabs: there is certainly no need to give up.”
Felipe Massa: “Everything happened to me today and I was not able to get the result that was within my grasp. It’s a shame, because the car was competitive and the pace was very good. We did the first stop at the right time, but already at that moment, I lost the place I had just taken off Hamilton. Then I also had problems at the third and fourth pit stops: we have to all work together to improve this element of the race, which is becoming really very important. I was always fighting with other drivers, which meant I was unable to get the most out of the tyres, as Fernando was indeed able to do and he definitely had a cleaner race than mine. The positive thing about this weekend is the improvement in performance of the car: we had a bit more aerodynamic downforce and also greater speed on the straights. It’s an encouraging sign, but we have to continue moving in this direction, introducing new parts already in Barcelona.”
Pat Fry: “Mixed emotions and feelings at the end of a very intense race, which featured a large number of pit stops. On the one hand there is the satisfaction of having a driver on the podium again and on the other, there is disappointment at not getting the result that was also within our grasp with Felipe, whose race was ruined by a series of problems during the pit stops. From a performance point of view, I would say we were competitive in some parts of the race, especially on the softer tyres. In the final duel with Webber, we paid the price for him having a new set of hard tyres while we only had ones that had already been used. Felipe was nearly always in traffic and was penalised through losing time in his pit stops: this operation is becoming ever more crucial and everyone involved has to be perfect in order to do it well. We will have to work on it, as well as continuing to push on the development of the car, because the gap to make up is very big, especially in qualifying.”
Weather: air 20/17 °C, track 30/31 °C; partially cloudy.
Chassis: Alonso 288, Massa 289.