Korean Grand Prix Results – Ferrari
Korean GP – No satisfaction from fifth and sixth places
Yeongam, 16 October – Sunday delivered the same result as Saturday. Yesterday, the two Ferraris qualified in fifth and sixth places on the grid and today they delivered an identical result. The only change is in the order, as today it was Fernando who finished ahead of Felipe. However, the final result does not show the whole picture. Their race pace with a clear track ahead of them, especially in the case of the Spaniard, was right up there with the best. Finding themselves behind Rosberg after the first run of pit stops is what built the gap between the two Ferrari men and the Hamilton-Webber-Button trio, which made it impossible to fight for a podium finish. Once they got past the German’s Mercedes one could see the car’s true potential, but by then it was too late.
Korean GP – Sunday in Korea much the same as Saturday, but a different flavour
Eighteen points for Scuderia Ferrari in the Korean Grand Prix, thanks to a fifth place finish for Fernando Alonso and a sixth for Felipe Massa. Both Ferrari men made two pit stops, running identical strategies in terms of their use of the Pirelli tyres: Supersoft for the first stint, Soft in the second and third. After the sixteenth round of the Championship, the team and driver positions remain unchanged in their respective classifications: Fernando is still third in the Drivers’ with Felipe sixth, while the Scuderia occupies the lowest rung of the podium in the Constructors’ table.
Stefano Domenicali: “Having congratulated Sebastian Vettel last weekend in Suzuka, now it is right and proper that I do the same to Red Bull for taking the Constructors’ title: they have the best car in the pack and this result is the logical consequence of that. Logic also dictates our result in this race: we have the third best car in terms of its potential and we finished the race in fifth and sixth places. Our race pace is definitely better than our outright performance in qualifying and that means we end up almost always fighting for a place on the podium, but if one does not start from the two front rows it becomes difficult to target the top places. Now we must try and bring our season to a close in the best possible way, because we firmly believe we should still be able to take at least one more race win. It will be extremely difficult, given how our rivals are doing, but we will definitely be trying.”
Fernando Alonso: “It was a very close fought race, as indeed has been the case for much of this segment of the season. As usual this year, Red Bull and McLaren are clearly stronger in qualifying, but then on Sunday we are all much closer. All in all, it was an interesting race, with plenty of action. At the start, I was struggling a bit to match the pace of the leaders, because, after just a few laps, the Supersofts were already producing a lot of understeer. On top of that, being in traffic all the time compromised still further the tyre performance, because there was less aerodynamic downforce. When we switched to the Softs, the situation improved significantly and, with a clear track, I was able to push as hard as I could, but by then it was difficult to reach the small group that was fighting for the podium: hence what I said on the radio, having given my all for twenty laps, but there was no way I could do more with just two laps to go. We must try and improve our Saturday performance, but we will not give up trying to secure a win in the remaining races of this season. Furthermore, we will continue to work towards next year, trying new things and maybe, taking a few risks with our strategy.”
Felipe Massa: “I’m not pleased because small problems prevented me from getting a better result. I got a good start and, on the opening lap, I managed to make up some places, then at the first pit stop, I rejoined the track behind Rosberg and Button. This was mainly because the team had to keep me on my spot because Michael was coming and also because the other two had pitted before me. In the first part of the race, on the Supersofts, I was struggling a bit to match the pace of the guys in front, but then, once on the Softs, we managed to go very quickly. Then, after the second stop, I found myself behind a Toro Rosso and a Force India who were fighting amongst themselves and I lost valuable time which allowed Fernando to get ahead of me. Today, our performance level was better than it had been in qualifying, which has been a constant factor this year. Now we are off to the Indian Grand Prix, a new venue for Formula 1. I don’t know the country and I am very curious to see what it’s like, because I think it has a lot in common with Brazil, given that both are going through a period of strong growth.”
Pat Fry: “This Sunday is a mirror image of Saturday, with an identical result. We certainly can’t be surprised by it: we are well aware that if we qualify on the third row, it becomes difficult to fight for the very top places, unless something happens to those who start ahead of you and everything goes perfectly. Today, these two situations did not arise because we found ourselves in traffic at the first run of pit stops. Everyone was trying to run the tyres right to the limit in the first stint to avoid ending up behind slower cars, but if we had brought our drivers in one lap early, maybe it would have been a different scenario, instead of finding ourselves behind Rosberg in the Mercedes, which is always one of the hardest cars to pass. On top of that, traffic in the pit lane itself cost Felipe two very important seconds. In the second stint, Fernando was very quick and so we left him out on track for a few laps longer, which meant he got ahead of Felipe. With a clear track ahead of him, the Spaniard showed what the car could do, but by then it was pretty much too late to attack the cars ahead. We tried a new front wing here and we made the most of that to gather as much data as possible to use on the 2012 car and the very earliest indications are positive. However, we now need to study all the information very attentively. We have to improve our qualifying performance, we are well aware of that, if we want to be at the level of the best.”
Driver Pos. Time Gap Laps FL L
Alonso 5th 1:38.17.683 +15.689 55 1.40.547 41
Massa 6th 1:38.27.127 +25.133 55 1.40.541 51
Weather: air 22 °C, track 28 °C. Overcast then clear skies. Chassis: Alonso 291, Massa 290
Korean GP – Sunday confirms Saturday with a twist
Yeongam, 16 October- When you look in a mirror, you actually see things reversed and that was the story of today’s sixteenth round of the World Championship as far as Scuderia Ferrari was concerned. Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso started the Korean Grand Prix from fifth and sixth on the grid respectively and they finished it in the reverse order, the Spaniard ahead of the Brazilian, for whom this was the 150th race of his Formula 1 career. At the flag, Sebastian Vettel took the win and along with Mark Webber’s third place, it was enough to give Red Bull Racing this year’s Constructors’ title. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton joined them on the podium in second place. At the start, pole man Hamilton in the McLaren was immediately under pressure from Vettel’s Red Bull and the German forced his way through into the lead after the hairpin. Felipe got a great start to move up to third ahead of Button and Webber, but the Brazilian lost out to the Australian before passing the stripe for the first time, to run fourth with team-mate Fernando Alonso behind him in fifth as the Spaniard got ahead of Button.
The gaps were already growing and by lap 6, Vettel led Hamilton by 1.6, with Webber a further 3.1 behind. One second later came Felipe with an identical gap to his team-mate Fernando who had a cushion of 1.5 over Button. Completing the top ten at this stage were Rosberg and Schumacher in the Mercedes and Alguersuari in the Toro Rosso. By lap 8 the battle for third was hotting up as Felipe and Alonso both closed in on Webber. One lap later and Button had tagged on to the back of this group, producing some exciting nose to tail action.
Di Resta started the first run of pit stops for Force India on lap 11. On the next lap, Alonso had a first look at going past his team-mate, but Felipe defended his position. Lap 13 saw Button and Rosberg come in from sixth and seventh and drive side by side out of the pit lane, with the Mercedes at first getting the advantage until the McLaren edged ahead, only to lose position again out on track, with the two men now running 11th and 12th. Webber, Massa Petrov and Schumacher all pitted on lap 14 followed by Buemi. Felipe lost time here as he had to be held on the spot, as Schumacher was driving by. Hamilton pitted from second on lap 15 as did Fernando. Vettel changed tyres on lap 16, which meant Hamilton led from Alguersuari yet to pit, but then a collision between Petrov and Schumacher brought out the Safety Car, so the Toro Rosso man came in on 17 the last driver to change tyres.
Behind the SC, the order on lap 18 was now Vettel, Hamilton, Webber, Button, Rosberg, with Felipe and Fernando now sixth and seventh, followed by Alguersuari, Di Resta and Sutil tenth. At the end of lap 20, the debris was cleared, the Safety Car came in and the race was on once again. Button tried to immediately pass Webber, but the move did not work, so the order was as before, although Alguersuari was now eighth behind Fernando having dealt with the Force Indias. Rosberg in fifth was lapping slower than the 150º Italias and so Felipe was right on the tail of the Mercedes with Fernando in line astern. Both Ferrari men were now losing valuable time they would not make up later. The gaps at the front were smaller too and although Vettel still led, Hamilton was only 1.1 behind. On lap 27, Felipe was close enough for the DRS to help and he dived inside the Mercedes as Rosberg lit up his tyres. This slowed the two men so that Fernando also passed the German and almost took his team-mate too. Rosberg pitted, promoting Alguersuari to seventh, with Sutil, Di Resta and Buemi in the remaining top ten places. The battle for second was hotting up as Webber was closing right up on Hamilton, while the two Ferrari were separated by 1.7. With Webber all over the back of the McLaren, both men came in to start the second run of stops on lap 33 and emerged from pit lane in the same order as before. The two men ran practically side by side for an entire thrilling lap, while Vettel changed tyres on lap 34, followed down pit lane by Felipe, having made his second stop also, who then lost time again, behind a Force India. Fernando now led on lap 35, not having made his second stop, with Vettel second ahead of the yet to pit Alguersuari and then Hamilton in fourth. Fernando came down pit lane on lap 37 followed by Alguersuari and the Spaniard’s stop brought him out just ahead of his team-mate and from this point on they occupied the positions they would keep to the chequered flag. Vettel had a comfortable 10 second lead over the battle between Hamilton and Webber, while Button was fourth ahead of the Ferrari duo. Lap 39 and, with a clear track ahead, Fernando set the fastest lap of the race so far. The Spaniard kept up the pressure as the gap to fourth placed Button came down to 4.9 with 14 laps remaining.
With ten laps remaining, Fernando was 3 seconds behind Button, with Felipe a further 5.6 off his team-mate. But the most excitement was still the battle for second with Webber occasionally pulling alongside Hamilton but never quite managing to do it early enough in the DRS zone to make the move stick. Lap 49 and the Red Bull did get ahead of the McLaren but on the next straight, Hamilton managed to retake second. While Vettel was way out in front, only 2.3 seconds separated second placed Hamilton from Fernando in fifth, so closely matched were the front runners. Jenson Button was fourth ahead of the two Ferrari 150º Italias. The remaining points went to Alguersuari seventh, then Rosberg, Buemi and Di Resta.
In two weeks time, the eagerly awaited Indian Grand Prix makes its debut on the Formula 1 stage, where Scuderia Ferrari will yet again be hoping to secure one more win before the season comes to a close.