F1 2011: Race 4, Turkey
5 4 was exactly what was expected following the thriller in China last time out and more importantly it was finally a clear weekend for Ferrari to show what they actually have without being bogged down with other cars and issues.
But on a weekend where Red Bull were so dominant in Qualifying it was inevitable that they were set up perfectly for a victory. What wasn’t quite so clear was second place.
With Felipe Massa failing to post a time in Q3 and starting 10th, Alonso didn’t have the issues of his team mate getting the jump on him at the start of the race which gave him the perfect opportunity to get on with racing the other cars rather than being cautious around his team mate.
Rosberg, who’d qualified third, found himself in second in front of Weber who was busy fighting with Lewis Hamilton (fourth), into the first corner. Lewis losing out by over cooking it into the braking zone, leaving Alonso and Webber free to chase Rosberg, who faded badly with tyre degradation.
Nico’s team mate, Schumacher, found himself battling with everyone again throughout the course of the race and always seeming to end up coming off second best. Meanwhile Felipe Massa followed Lewis and Jenson who were in close proximity throughout the opening stint.
Massa then seemed to fade again throughout a frustrating race for him; two bad pit stops left him trailing in 11th at the end. The star of the race however was Alonso.
Before the race Ferrari admitted to having gone in the wrong direction with the car this season thanks to a calibration error in their wind tunnel back at Maranello. Now using the old Toyota tunnel, a re-fit of the Italian one is now under way – but despite all of this and being 8 tenths off the pace of the Red Bull’s in Qualifying, Fernando battled on.
Holding onto third in the opening stints Fernando was able to nail Mark Webber and take second in the middle stint of the race. Only in the final part of the race was Webber able to use his superior Red Bull to take that place back.
Unlucky for Ferrari over all not to hold onto second, but the time on the clock showing being only 10 seconds off the lead Red Bull is extremely encouraging and shows that Ferrari aren’t all that far away from the ultimate pace – can they catch and challenge this season? It’s still too early to say and with Sebastian Vettel so dominant in the opening part of the season and the Red Bull looking bullet proof, it may just be too much of a challenge, but I’ll keep watching for that turning point and who knows.
If anything is true of F1; things will always change and quickly.
Race four: The F1 thrill continues…the races are extremely exciting and with one eye on the tyres at every race, its set to continue all season long.
Alonso – 3rd: Battled continuously without ever giving up in the race, despite taking his traditional 5th place in Qualifying this year. Finally able to deliver the result that Ferrari have been threatening all season – certainly a result to build on.
Massa - 11th: Seemed absolutely up for racing today, opening stints he seemed to be overtaking Button and Hamilton and Rosberg, but then following two bad pit stops Felipe suddenly appeared to be scrappy and battling just to keep himself in front of some of the others around him. A little disappointing.
Man of the Race: For me, it can only be Fernando Alonso today. Battled from 5th to 2nd and eventually ending up 3rd with only 10 seconds behind the winning car today. Demonstrations of exactly what is expected from Alonso by Ferrari.