Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Results – Ferrari
Abu Dhabi GP – Alonso on the podium in Abu Dhabi
Yas Marina, 13 November – Fernando Alonso did not have a trophy from this event prior to the weekend, but now he does, having finished second in the third Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the Formula 1 World Championship, which took place tonight at the Yas Marina circuit. Victory went to Lewis Hamilton for McLaren, with his team-mate Jenson Button coming home third, behind Scuderia Ferrari’s Spanish driver. In the other 150º Italia, Felipe Massa was fifth.
In two weeks time, the final round of this year’s season takes place at the Interlagos circuit, on the outskirts of Sao Paolo, Brazil on 27 November.
Abu Dhabi – Alonso gets the missing trophy
Yas Marina, 13 November – Ferrari secured its tenth podium finish of the season thanks to a fantastic second place finish in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from Fernando Alonso. His team-mate Felipe Massa added to the points total, by coming home fifth in the other 150º Italia. Next to Fernando on the podium were the two McLaren drivers, Lewis Hamilton taking his third win of the season, with Jenson Button third. Before the weekend, Fernando revealed he had a podium trophy from all the races on the calendar with the exception of this one, so in what has been a tough season, at least one personal goal has been achieved!
Shortly after the start, pole man Vettel picked up a puncture on his right rear, sending him spinning over a kerb, which damaged his Red Bull to the extent he had to retire in the pits, leaving Hamilton leading from Button and Fernando, the Ferrari man having got ahead of Webber at the start, then, still on the opening lap the Spaniard had moved up to second muscling past Button at the end of the back straight, with Webber fourth and Felipe fifth. Perez pitted the Sauber for a new nose on lap 2 and the order on lap 3 was Hamilton, 2.8 ahead of Fernando, who had Button 2.3 behind him, then came Webber in the remaining Red Bull, 0.6 ahead of Felipe in fifth. Next came the Mercedes duo of Rosberg and Schumacher.
The gaps at the front gradually extended, so that on lap 8, Hamilton was 2.7 in front of Alonso, who led Button by 3.3, while the Englishman was now 1.4 ahead of Webber, who had 2.0 in hand over Felipe. The Brazilian was having a solitary race as sixth placed Rosberg was 3.6 down. One lap later, the Button-Webber battle hotted up as twice they traded places, with the Englishman getting the better of the Australian after a couple of corners.
Felipe was the first of the front runners to change tyres on lap 15. Then on 16, the two leaders came in together, with no change to the order as Hamilton led Fernando back out onto the track. McLaren did a double pit stop bringing Button in immediately behind his team-mate. Sutil and Schumacher also pitted on this lap. Temporary leader Webber had a slow stop on lap 17, with Rosberg also changing tyres on this lap. With all the leaders having stopped once, the order was Hamilton, 3.6 ahead of Fernando, who now had Button 13 behind him, with Felipe fourth, thanks to the Red Bull’s slow tyre change, 1.4 behind the McLaren and 5.0 ahead of Webber.
The sun set as the race reached half distance and on lap 27, the lead positions remained unchanged, with Fernando 3.3 behind leader Hamilton, while Button had drifted to 15 seconds off the Spaniard. In fourth, Massa was now slightly closer to the McLaren, 1.2 behind, but the Brazilian now had Webber just 0.9 behind him. The two men continued to battle it out, with some hot moments as they fought their way past backmarkers. Webber then made his second stop on lap 35, followed one lap later by third placed Button, so that Felipe was now third, albeit 26 seconds behind his team-mate, while Rosberg was now fourth ahead of Button and Webber. On lap 40 of 55, Hamilton made his final tyre change, with Felipe also coming in at this point, slowed on his way out of the underground pit lane exit by a Lotus. Fernando now led but needed to make one more pit stop, with Hamilton, running to the finish, almost 20 seconds down. After his final stop, Felipe was struggling slightly on the harder tyres and was now sixth behind the duel of the race between Button and Webber, which saw the Red Bull again get ahead of the McLaren on lap 42. Rosberg at this point was third. Alonso came in on lap 43, unfortunately behind a slower car and emerged in second spot, 4.4 behind Hamilton. Lap 45 and Webber took Rosberg for third, the Mercedes driver still showing no signs of making a second stop.
In the final ten laps, Webber was the fastest man on track and he was reducing the gap to Fernando in big chunks. On lap 47 it was down to 14.3, while behind him, Rosberg finally made his second stop, which meant Felipe, who had just survived a giant slide, moved up to fifth. However, the Australian was no real threat to Fernando, because Red Bull had switched him to a three stopper to give him more pace for longer on the softer tyres, which meant he had to come in on the very last of the 55 laps to conform to the rules, by running both types of tyre so that he ended the race fourth behind the podium trio and ahead of Felipe. The remaining points went to the Mercedes duo of Rosberg and Schumacher, sixth and seventh and then came Sutil and Di Resta for Force India with the final point going to Kobayashi in the Sauber. The season ends in two weeks time in Felipe’s home town of Sao Paolo at the Brazilian GP. He will want to finish on a high while Fernando will have one last chance to take second in the Drivers’ classification: he is currently third, ten points behind second placed Button.
Abu Dhabi GP – Alonso completes his collection
Twenty eight points for Scuderia Ferrari at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, thanks to a second place for Fernando Alonso and a fifth for Felipe Massa. This is the team’s tenth podium of the season, all courtesy of Fernando and it is also the first for both the Scuderia and the Spaniard in this race. Both drivers ran a similar strategy, based on two stops, with the Soft tyres used in the first two stints and the Medium in the third. After the penultimate round of the 2011 Championship, Fernando is still in the fight for second place in the Drivers’ championship (+12 on Webber, -10 off Button) while Felipe needs a single point to be sure of sixth place.
Stefano Domenicali: “We knew a podium was possible and that was confirmed this evening when, thanks to yet another extraordinary drive from Fernando, we were in the fight for the win right up until the final part of the race. The Spaniard’s first lap was exceptional, as was his race pace after that. Felipe also got off to a very good start, in contention for a podium place, but then, on the Medium tyres, he struggled and was unable to run at a pace good enough to stay ahead of Webber. Finally getting a driver onto the podium in this race is indeed cause for satisfaction. Now there’s one race to go, in two weeks time in Brazil. Second place in the Drivers’ championship is still up for grabs. That will be hard to achieve but it is definitely not impossible and we will do all we can to give Fernando the tools to achieve this. Interlagos is also an important weekend for Felipe, whom I am sure will want to give his always enthusiastic fans something to cheer about.”
Fernando Alonso: “I am pleased with this result: finally my podium trophy collection is complete! I have seventy three top three finishes and I have managed to stand on the podium of all the circuits that have been on the Formula 1 calendar over the past ten years. Next year, we go to Austin and the year after to Russia, so there will always be new challenges to tackle and objectives to reach even if, obviously, the main one is always to win the title. It’s clear what will be the objective for me and all the team next year: winning the title. Today we were fighting for the win all the way to the end. We got a good start and could match Hamilton’s pace. The first pit stop went well, while I lost a couple of seconds at the second one, what with traffic on my in-lap and a problem changing the front left wheel, but I don’t think that’s where we lost the race, because I am convinced that, in the end, it’s the quickest car that wins and so it was. The opening lap was exciting: at the start I squeezed round the outside of Webber at the first corner because I knew there was more grip there then, once I saw Vettel was off, I got into Button’s slipstream, taking a bit of a risk but, in the end, I managed to pass him too. After that I expected to struggle more, but today was one of those where the car went much better than expected and you are kept busier fighting with those ahead of you than in looking in your mirrors. I hoped right to the end I could do it, because maybe Hamilton might also have had some problems with KERS like Button did. Even if we have not fought for the title it has still been a good season: we have improved a lot as a team and learned a lot.”
Felipe Massa: “I cannot be happy with this fifth place. Things were going reasonably well while I was on the Softs, but with the Mediums I was really struggling to keep the car on track because of the lack of grip. That’s why I ended up spinning on lap 49, losing any remaining hope of staying ahead of Webber. In the first stint I could fight with Button and the Australian, but I always had the thought in my mind that, in the final stint, I’d be in trouble. The fact I could not use the new front wing was more of a penalty when running the Medium tyres than the Softs, because with the harder compound you could feel the lack of downforce more. Now we go to Brazil where I will have the support of my home crowd: I am sure that will help me try and finish well this season that has definitely not been a positive one for me. Even if it’s obvious, I want to state clearly that, despite everything, I am absolutely motivated for next year. Along with the team, I will work to have a more competitive car and then you will see everything will be different.”
Pat Fry: “A nice result thanks to Fernando driving an attacking race from start to finish, after producing a fantastic first lap. The pace on the Soft tyres was what it should have been, so we were always close to Hamilton. In the second stint of the race, Fernando got a bit caught up in backmarker traffic and lost at least a couple of precious seconds, but then, even if we had made a perfect pit stop (we lost around a second and a half at the second one) we would not have managed to get him out on track ahead of the McLaren man. Right from Friday, we realised our pace on the Mediums was not as good as that of our closest competitors, so after that we could not attack. From a strategic point of view, we tried to exploit our better tyre degradation but, unlike what happened in India in our duel with Webber, here, the move did not work out. Felipe drove a good first part of the race, but then he struggled more than his team-mate with our difficulty on the harder compound. In any case it would have been hard to stay ahead of Webber, but his spin robbed him of any remaining opportunity. Now we have three days of very important testing, the only ones we have between now and February: it presents a great opportunity to try out new ideas, to resolve some problems we still have and above all, to give a talented youngster like Jules Bianchi some more experience.”
Driver Pos. Time Gap Laps FL L
Alonso 2nd 1:37.20.343 + 8.457 55 1.43.914 41
Massa 5th 1:38.02.464 + 50.578 55 1.44.288 51
Weather: air 28/26°C, track 35/30 °C. Clear skies. Chassis: Alonso 291, Massa 290