F1 »

Alonso undone at the last

Fernando Alonso missed out on a top three championship spot with just a handful of laps left in the 2011 F1 season.
Despite claiming that his Ferrari team had done everything it could at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso twice had to watch third place become fourth before the chequered flag fell.

Despite the adverse weather forecast, the race was run entirely in the dry, and Alonso made the ideal start by passing Lewis Hamilton off the line to move from fifth to fourth. After pressuring the second McLaren of Jenson Button for several laps, the Spaniard then pulled off an opportunist move around the outside of turn five and, pulling away from the Briton, looked good for a podium finish, even if he could not keep pace with the fleeing Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.

However, as the race wore on, and Alonso struggled with a malfunctioning DRS system, the Ferrari fell back into Button's clutches and, having been briefly baulked by one of the Toro Rossos, the Spaniard was powerless to prevent his rival from reclaiming third spot. Ironically, with Webber having been handed the lead by a gearbox problem on Vettel's car, Button's move was also enough to demote Alonso behind the Australian in the overall championship standings - but the double world champion remained positive as he reflected on a trying year for the Scuderia.

“[It was] yet another race in which we did everything to perfection, from the start to the strategy and the work of the team," he announced, "The final result is more down to the performance of the others than our own, because we could not have done more.

"Once again today, we got a very good start, putting a nice passing move on Button, but then, on the medium tyres, we no longer had the speed to fend him off. I also had a problem with the DRS which would not activate - I was not fighting closely with other drivers, but it would certainly have helped me gain a few tenths while overtaking.

"This grand prix produced an accurate reflection of the season, where we have almost always done our maximum, fighting for a podium finish in a car that was not as good as the top two. In terms of teamwork, we grew a lot in 2011 and must absolutely make this the starting point for a very different 2012. If I had to score our performance, I can but repeat what president [Luca di] Montezemolo said, giving us something between a five and six but, all the same, I am proud of what the team was able to do."

Team principal Stefano Domenicali admitted that the team had hoped to end the season with at least one more podium finish, but conceded that it was a tall order without the top two teams running into problems. Although Lewis Hamilton retired from the Brazilian race, he was running behind Alonso at the time, and Button's improvement on the harder Pirelli eventually spelt the end of Ferrari's dream.

"We knew it would be very difficult given the quality of opponent we had ahead of us after qualifying," Domenicali acknowledged, "Fernando came close to achieving our wish, fighting to the bitter end, but he had to settle for looking up at the podium, which along with Webber's win, means he won't be off to India to take part in the FIA Gala for the top three finishers in the drivers' championship: it's a shame because given how he performed this year, [and that] he even scored more points than in 2010. He definitely deserved better."

With changes to the rulebook eliminating straight-forward evolutions of 2011 cars, Alonso knows that Ferrari has a chance to close the gap on Red Bull and McLaren, even if it means a lot of effort over the off-season.

"We need a car that is about five- or six-tenths quicker - achieving that won't be a walk in the park, but I have every confidence in our engineers, in a team that dominated the last decade in F1 and holds every possible record in this sport," he insisted, "Let us not forget that I managed to get on the podium ten times and to score more points than last year. Losing out on third in the drivers' championship is definitely not a big problem. First place is the only one that really counts...”



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
27.11.2011- Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 overtakes Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
27.11.2011- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
27.11.2011- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia and Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Team Lotus, TL11
27.11.2011- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
26.11.2011- Qualifying, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race,Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H  leads Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 leads Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


R 25 - Unregistered

November 28, 2011 11:33 AM

Yeh good call Fernando you did your self and the team proud through out the season. You certainly had a little miss hap with the stupid DRS thing but at least you new when to use it and when you needed it, and seem content with your efforts. Also interesting that you gave the medium Pirellis a try. Respect, Forza !

Bystander - Unregistered

November 28, 2011 12:53 PM

Solid drive from Fernando, not quite the awesome display from Abu Dhabi but it didn't look like 3rd was on from the moment Button put on the first set of mediums and kept pace. What he's said about teamwork also rings true, I can't recall any strategy/pitstop bodges (except possibly Canada) which is progress for Ferrari.



© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.