Abu Dhabi GP: A gritty drive from Ferrari duo

In the constructors’ championship , Scuderia Ferrari is still third, on 323 points, 11 down on Mercedes and 26 ahead of Lotus.

Yas Marina – Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa finished the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in fifth and eighth places respectively. The Spaniard thus strengthened his hold on second place in the Drivers’ table with 217 points, while Felipe now has 106. In the Constructors’, Scuderia Ferrari is still third, on 323 points, 11 down on Mercedes and 26 ahead of Lotus.

Felipe Massa, Ferrari F138 leads team mate Fernando Alonso, Ferrari F138
Felipe Massa, Ferrari F138 leads team mate Fernando Alonso, Ferrari F138

Photo by: XPB Images

At the start the F138s ran seventh and eight, with Massa ahead of Alonso. On lap 16, Alonso pitted to switch from Softs to Mediums and two laps later Massa did the same. At this point, Felipe made up a place on Hulkenberg while Alonso was twelfth. The Spaniard passed Perez in the McLaren and Bottas in the Williams, thus going ninth on lap 22.

In the middle part of the race both Scuderia drivers caused some excitement. Massa passed Hamilton and Sutil to go fifth and was then joined by Alonso behind him, who also ran a very quick stint. Felipe pitted for a final time on lap 38, still for Mediums, while Alonso stayed out until lap 44.

The Spaniard went for Softs, rejoining seventh ahead of Massa and behind Hamilton’s Mercedes. In the final ten laps, Fernando pushed hard to pass Hamilton and then Di Resta, crossing the line fifth and setting the fastest race lap on the very last lap. Sebastian Vettel won the race for Red Bull.

Stefano Domenicali: “Considering our start positions, the outcome of this race is positive and we leave Abu Dhabi aware we have limited the damage. We knew we had a difficult weekend ahead of us and we paid the price for our results in yesterday’s qualifying. Despite that, I am pleased with the performances from Felipe and Fernando, because both of them managed to give it their all on a track that was hostile to us.

Given the situation, today we could have ended up further away from Mercedes in the Constructors’ classification and yet we managed to pull out a bit on Lotus and limit the points lost in the battle for second place. Now we must tackle the two final rounds of the season, the two of them in very different conditions and track types. Our motivation is still very high and, along with that, we will try and run the car as it stands, as well as we can”.

Fernando Alonso: “I am happy to have brought home points for the team in a race that was always going to be tough, on what has been a very difficult weekend for us. Given the gap to the top four, I certainly couldn’t have done more. Starting from further back, we knew we would find ourselves in traffic, therefore having done well at the start, I tried to overtake as much as possible.

When we saw that we were always behind another car, it became impossible to think in terms of a single stop and it was clearly better to switch to two and attack. As the Mediums were holding up quite well, we thought we’d use the Softs for a short stint to try and do a series of quick laps. As for what happened with Vergne after the second pit stop, I don’t know what the stewards will say, but the rule states that if you have an equal amount of car to the other one on the track then you can use all the space.

But this was only one incident in a race which, for me, was fantastic. Now, if we don’t want to give up our fight in the Constructors’ Championship, we absolutely must do better and finish the last two races on the podium”.

Felipe Massa: “Today I was competitive from start to finish and pulled off a lot of passing moves with a car that handled well. It was a great race. Our strategy was based on a single stop, but when we realised that the pace was too quick for the rear tyres and the wear was greater than expected, we decided to make a second stop so as not to take any risks.

Fitting the Mediums rather than the Softs was not the best decision, because the softer compound was quicker by at least a second per lap: I’d managed to do 19 laps on them in the first stint and it would not have been a problem to do the same in the final part of the race.

It’s a real shame, because we could have finished at least fifth, but even if this is not the result we deserved, I am still pleased with my performance. Now we head for Texas and Brazil, two tracks that on paper should suit our car better and where I hope I can continue to be competitive”.

Pat Fry: “Today’s race was intense and action packed and our drivers were in the thick of it right to the end, despite the fact that the top places were out of our reach. Initially, we had thought of running just a one stop race, but when we realised that that the wear rate of the Mediums in the second stint would not have allowed us to go all the way to the end, while doing competitive times, backed up by our simulation systems, we told Fernando and Felipe to go flat out, as they would need to make a second stop.

With Fernando, we managed to get to lap 44 which meant he was able to run the Softs to the end of the race. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do the same with Felipe and with him we chose not to risk it, keeping him on the Mediums.

It was a real shame. The two F138s proved they had a good pace, definitely better in the lower temperatures and both drivers were involved in close fights and made spectacular passing moves. In the last two races, we must improve, especially in qualifying, because only by starting further forward can we put ourselves in a position to fight for second place in the Constructors’ Championship”.

Scuderia Ferrari

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Series F1
Article type Race reports
Tags abu dhabi, alonso, f1, ferrari, massa

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