F1 World Champion 2014
Lewis Hamilton
Alonso admits Ferrari is “slow”, as McLaren and Red Bull set pace
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Photo: Red Bull
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Sep 2011   |  5:52 pm GMT  |  37 comments

As if the tifosi (Ferrari fans) didn’t have enough to worry about, with F1 ticket prices ranging between €170 and €520 each and serious traffic problems getting in, due to labyrinthine road works, Fernando Alonso’s body language after practice will have made their hearts sink further.

“It seems that Red Bull and McLaren and also Mercedes are quite competitive,” he said.”Tomorrow we will need to find something more in the car to be fighting with them. In Belgium we were not as good as we expected. You cannot create a miracle in two weeks. Here so far we struggle with the pace and are not as quick as we wanted. If tomorrow is still slow, then maybe we need to wait until the high downforce circuits.”

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time this afternoon in free practice, just shading Lewis Hamilton, who had been faster in the morning when the track temperatures were significantly lower. Michael Schumacher was third fastest for Mercedes. The seven times champion brushed off suggestions that his storming drive at Spa had given him a confidence boost, saying that he’s been driving at that level all along, even if the results don’t show it. While he has yet to match Nico Rosberg in qualifying, his race pace has been as strong and sometimes stronger in recent races, particularly Spa.

But it’s hard to read the exact order between the top teams as the long runs showed different fuel levels. The devil is always in the last tenth or two of a second. Interestingly Hamilton set his fastest afternoon time on the first flying lap on the soft tyre, while Vettel needed a second lap to get it up to speed. Pirelli say that they don’t believe this has anything to do with the conservative camber angles that they have enforced on the teams this weekend. Vettel’s second lap was a tenth faster than the first.

Hamilton’s time on softs was 1.2 seconds faster than his best on the medium tyre, which is in line with pre-weekend expectations. However Vettel’s time was only 0.8s faster. This could be worth watching out for and if it carries through may have a bearing on the strategy on Sunday, with Red Bull quick on the medium tyre.

In fact, with the tyres behaving as they are, with the gap between soft and medium not so great for some teams, there could be quite a variety of different strategies on Sunday, with a few attractive options available to teams who are not too hard on their tyres. In Spa the first four cars had four different strategies.

There appears to be no repeat of the blistering problems encountered on the long straights at Spa, “We’re analysing the data throughout the afternoon, but there appears to be no blistering outside the usual parameters for this circuit,” said Pirelli’s Paul Hembery. He added that he thinks it likely that Pirelli will stick to its conservative recommendation on camber.

Both Sauber cars were in the top ten, although Kobayashi stopped on track with a transmission problem. Sauber is a team which is very gentle on its tyres and this could be an occasion where they could score useful points provided they qualify reasonably strongly. Peter Sauber revealed that they have lost ground to others due to holding back on development of the blown diffuser, believing that it would be banned from Silverstone onwards, something which didn’t materialise.

Bruno Senna was ahead of team mate Vitaly Petrov for Renault, which also set the fastest time through the speed trap at 347km/h, the fastest speed an F1 car has been clocked at this season.

Sebastien Buemi had a nasty accident as he got offline on the exit of Parabolica, “I made a mistake and hit the wall, so I am sorry for giving the team a lot of work now to repair the damage” he said.

ITALIAN GRAND PRIX, Monza, Free Practice 2
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m24.010s 37 Laps
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m24.046s + 0.036 21
3. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m24.347s + 0.337 39
4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m24.366s + 0.356 33
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m24.433s + 0.423 31
6. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m24.468s + 0.458 32
7. Jenson Button McLaren 1m24.508s + 0.498 30
8. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m25.097s + 1.087 39
9. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m25.182s + 1.172 37
10. Bruno Senna Renault 1m25.325s + 1.315 38
11. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m25.450s + 1.440 31
12. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m25.496s + 1.486 39
13. Paul di Resta Force India 1m25.683s + 1.673 37
14. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1m25.758s + 1.748 29
15. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1m26.202s + 2.192 36
16. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m26.353s + 2.343 40
17. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m28.347s + 4.337 5
18. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m28.559s + 4.549 32
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1m28.605s + 4.595 32
20. Timo Glock Virgin 1m28.804s + 4.794 25
21. Tonio Liuzzi HRT 1m29.162s + 5.152 34
22. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m29.184s + 5.174 29
23. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 1m29.622s + 5.612 34
24. Daniel Ricciardo HRT 1m29.841s + 5.831 7

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37 Comments
  1. sammy says:

    James, as for the traffic problems: how serious are they? I will be in Monza tomorrow morning and will be traveling from Bergamo airport to the circuit.
    Thanks.

    1. James Allen says:

      Really bad. Lots of contraflows. I’d leave very early

      1. Tom says:

        Sid Watkins mentions the traffic problems at Monza in his autobiography; as I recall, he thought it would make getting an ambulance out of Monza practically impossible if the race was red flagged due to a bad accident and people started rushing out.

        Surprising that nothing has been to improve the situation in the decades since.

      2. Galapago555 says:

        If the race is red flagged due to an accident and someone has to be taken urgently to a hospital, I guess that a helicopter will be the first choice, wont it?

      3. Tom in adelaide says:

        Helicopters are available fortunately.

    2. Sebee says:

      Granted it was ’05, but I had no problems at all getting in or out. James needs to take the car, but fans can take the train. They do a great job getting people in and out. If I remember right it’s by lesmos. Go to Milan, take the train in, have a beer at the race without worry, walk the track for fun after the race.

      1. James Allen says:

        Just came in this morning from North Milan in a normal 30 mins. But I left at 7am. Traffic was building

      2. Al says:

        North Milan means Milan Malpenso, Milan Bergamo is to the West, so the route will be different.

      3. James Allen says:

        Sesto san Giovanni in fact

  2. Rob Newman says:

    I am sure there will be a change in pole this Saturday. McLaren is strong with heavy fuel and they were not using DRS all the time and still their times were compatible. Ferrari can recover on race day with DRS. But my bet is on McLaren for pole and race win.

  3. JohnBt says:

    At 41 degrees and Ferrari’s pace is at this rate it, not good news.

    1. Roddy says:

      Don’t believe it! Ferrari are sandbagging. This is Monza and they’ve got something up their sleeve to show fans and sponsors. If not they and Alo are in trouble.
      Alonso will finish up 2nd in quali, Vettel first.

      1. Peter C says:

        Well,anyway, you are partly correct.

  4. jake says:

    James, you appear to have missed the fact that Lewis was going 0.5 seconds quicker on his second lap before he got held up by ALG through parabolica

  5. AlexD says:

    When, finally, Stefano Domenicali’s “head will roll?” Not that I am panicking after another poor showing, but there must be an end to this.
    Will Ferrari be happy to scrap the current design mid season, announce that this is the last bad season and start the new season with a so-so car?I do not know….:-) But I guess LDM doesn’t have anybody to replace SD, as simple as that.

    1. Brandon says:

      It is a curious attitude to think that heads must roll because Ferrari is not at the top. I’ve got news for you, any team is unlikely to be at the top for long in a sport this competitive but you don’t see Macca fans calling for anyone’s resignation. Maybe you ought to deal with it much like the teams are instead of giving in right away as it’s unlikely to show any benefit

      1. AlexD says:

        Look, it is not my statement – it is Domenicali is saying that this year is the last bad year for Ferrari and he said it many times. He is setting expectations himself that he has to deliver.

      2. Baktru says:

        I would hardly call being 3rd out of 12 teams bad. Now Williams, THEY are having a bad year.

      3. Rodger says:

        Maybe not on this site, but I see plenty of people calling for Whitmarsh’s head elsewhere.

      4. Peter C says:

        ‘Heads must roll’ is the first response on many internet blogs. Football & cricket too.

        It’s a way of blowing off steam & terrible disappointment. Let’s hope Ferrari improve for next year, or the tifosi wil be up to their knees in rolling heads.

      5. AlexD says:

        Baktru, I think I need to quote Ferrari people – Ferrari themselves believe that being a number 2 is a bad season – not me.

        “We are convinced this is the last disappointing season,” Domenicali told Repubblica newspaper in an interview.

        He added: “Ferrari is condemned to win: in our history we’ll never be allowed to smile for a second place.”

        http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/94304

    2. Peter says:

      Kind of agree. Nowadays Its the driver who needs to “lead” the team thinking of recent Ferrari, Lotus Renault statements.

  6. AlexD says:

    Really wonder why Ferrari is so slow with a hot weather….puzzled.

  7. magwaza says:

    I must say im really disappoint with Ferrari’s performance this year and Credit must be given to Alonso for trying his best but its obvious that Redbull have walked away with both Championships as they are dominante. I hope next year Ferrari will come with a better car and return to the top.

  8. goferet says:

    If Red Bull aren’t dominant in qualifying from here on out or don’t grab pole at the remaining Grand Prix this season then this can only mean they have been bad boys because they have been playing around with their camber all season long.

    So it was the hot/cold blowing of the diffuser that gave them the advantage but rather adjusting the camber. Lets wait and see for this looks like Mclaren’s best chance to grab pole.

    Hmm on Sunday, won’t the Tifosi won’t get up & leave the circuit before the race is done more so if Ferrari have a worse the expected race. I believe they’re the only F1 fans that do that besides they need to beat the traffic.

    It’s crazy for Alonso has been asking for hot weather all summer long & now we got it, he’s asking for high down force tracks & next am pretty sure he will be asking for some Fernando International Assistance like at Silverstone for that appears the only way Ferrari will win another race seeing as Domencalli said they will be concentrating on their 2012 car from this month.

  9. F1Fan4Life says:

    [mod] I have no doubt they have a great driver pairing, Massa is probably solid, but the car is just not great. On occasions we can see that he is fairly competitive, but my thought is that the Ferrari is the hardest of the top 3 teams to handle.

    I for one am tired of hearing Domenicali & co talk about how they have to be the best. They haven’t been the best since Brawn, Byrne, Todt and Schumacher. If testing were what it used to be, I’d have no doubt Alonso would help them catch up, but with limited testing a fast car has to be available or there is no shot at a championship. This year they have simply never had a fast car. I hope the Monza fans give them a hiding for this year’s performance, because the only thing Ferrari are tops at is talking, in recent years.

  10. Peter Freeman says:

    It is strange that people take so much out of P1+2, there is always a change by qualifying and another on race day. I like it that way as it makes for more intrigue throughout the weekend! (Of course this has not been the case with the front of the grid in qualifying)

  11. Peter Freeman says:

    Or should Ferrari should have fired everyone at the end of ’99, or Redbull have fired everyone at the end of ’09?

    Ferrari made a change this year with Fry coming in, perhaps he can do something for the team next year and get similar results to those Allen brought in 2008…

  12. Glenn says:

    We’ll see how slow Ferrari really is Saturday afternoon ;)

  13. Nick Hipkin says:

    James,

    It seems a lot has been made this weekend of the ticket prices for Monza and other venues alike, are some within the paddock finally acknowledging that a different strategy towards ticket pricing may be required when the new concorde agreement is eventually signed?

    1. James Allen says:

      There was some talk of grants at the Fans Forum in Milan on Wednesday. I’m not sure -the economics are what they are when a licence to host a race has a market value. I’m told that tickets for the Indian GP are in the 100s of euros too.

      1. AK says:

        Indian GP prices :
        http://in.bookmyshow.com/sport/airtel-grand-prix-fone/tickets/

        Way too expensive – the cheapest ones at Rs. 2500 have all been sold out.
        1 Euro = 64 rupees and 1 Pound = 74 rupees.

  14. Quercus says:

    From the BBC website (re: camber): “Any cars that do not adhere to the recommendations made by Pirelli – which is 3.25 degrees – will be deemed to be of “dangerous construction” and that means they could face expulsion from the race.”

    About time!

  15. John says:

    Hi James. This is of course not part of this subject, but I have noticed on the net( news)that former racing driver Gerhard Berger making some negative comments on Mark Webber.Especially that move on Alonso at Spa was ‘stupid’ when the rest of the world thought it was brave. Could you tell me where this sudden venom is coming from?

    1. James Allen says:

      Gerhard likes to stick the boot in from time to time

      1. terryshep says:

        I agree with Berger and I’m glad that someone like him has stood up and said that. I posted on this after the race and I hold that a move like that, at Eau Rouge of all places, is not an acceptable risk. If Fernando had been similarly pig-headed, there could have been a horrendous accident.

        It’s pretty significant that Webber said afterwards that he looked in his mirror ‘to see if Fernando was still in’ Did he think he might see a smoking wreck?

        Lewis has been accused of doing what Senna and Schumacher allegedly did to opponents, placing them in a position where they could decide whether to have an accident or not. What did Webber ask Alonso? Lift, or kill us both? People who haven’t raced think they are watching a video game.

      2. Kristiane says:

        Agree.

        I gotta say Alonso done the right thing in lifting and lose a position rather than stay on the throttle and lose a life (or two)

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