• Jul 25th 2010 at 2:04PM
  • 35
2010 German Grand Prix – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Formula One World Championship passed the halfway point with the British Grand Prix two weeks ago, and while Red Bull and McLaren have been the teams to beat of late, several others are showing signs of marked improvement, Ferrari being but one of them. Heading into qualifying for the German Grand Prix, the Maranello squad was telling anyone who would listen that they were in it to the very end. After all, the Scuderia had taken the top step of the podium in the first round of the season and Fernando Alonso was fifth in the drivers' standings.

Of course, there were still two Red Bull drivers and two McLaren drivers ahead of him, none of whom are mailing it in for the remaining nine races. Vettel, Hamilton and Button have each racked up two wins in 2010, and last week's victor, Mark Webber, has posted three. If Ferrari, and Alonso in particular, were going to get back into the hunt, they needed a great showing in Hockenheim. There was good news for the tifosi: Fernando was quickest through much of practice heading into the Sunday feature. Would his speed hold through qualifying? And would Ferrari truly take that big step everyone has been anticipating? Follow the jump to read how things went down.


  • Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany leads the pack at the start to the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
  • Race cars build the pack that waits for the start to the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
  • Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, right, leads the pack at the start to the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
  • Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany drives on the pole position during the Qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday, July 24, 2010. Sebastian Vettel of Germany has edged Fernando Alonso to take pole position for the Formula One German Grand Prix. Vettel's Red Bull was .002 seconds faster than Alonso's Ferrari on Saturday to give the German his sixth pole of the season. Felipe Massa of Brazil in the second Ferrari, who was third, and Mark Webber in the second Red Bull complete the two front rows for Sunday's race. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Red Bull Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car to win the Qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, July 24, 2010. The race will take place on Sunday(AP Photo/Michael Probst)
  • Ferrari Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa of Brazil steers his car to finish third the Qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, July 24, 2010. The race will take place on Sunday(AP Photo/Michael Probst)
  • McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton of England steers his car during the Qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, July 24, 2010. The race will take place on Sunday(AP Photo/Michael Probst)
  • The car of Force-India Formula One driver Vitantonio Liuzzi of Italy stands at the track after crashing during the qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday, July 24, 2010. The German Grand Prix will take place on Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer/)
  • Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain steers his car to finish second in the Qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, July 24, 2010. The race will take place on Sunday.(AP Photo/Michael Probst)
  • Mercedes Formula One driver Michael Schumacher drives during the qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday, July 24, 2010. Schumacher placed 11th. Sebastian Vettel of Germany has edged Fernando Alonso to take pole position for the Formula One German Grand Prix. Vettel's Red Bull was .002 seconds faster than Alonso's Ferrari on Saturday to give the German his sixth pole of the season. Felipe Massa of Brazil in the second Ferrari, who was third, and Mark Webber in the second Red Bull complete the two front rows for Sunday's race. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Ferrari Formula One driver Felipe Massa of Brazil finishes third palce during the Qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday, July 24, 2010. Sebastian Vettel of Germany has edged Fernando Alonso to take pole position for the Formula One German Grand Prix. Vettel's Red Bull was .002 seconds faster than Alonso's Ferrari on Saturday to give the German his sixth pole of the season. Felipe Massa of Brazil in the second Ferrari, who was third, and Mark Webber in the second Red Bull complete the two front rows for Sunday's race. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain drives on the second place during the Qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday, July 24, 2010. Sebastian Vettel of Germany has edged Fernando Alonso to take pole position for the Formula One German Grand Prix. Vettel's Red Bull was .002 seconds faster than Alonso's Ferrari on Saturday to give the German his sixth pole of the season. Felipe Massa of Brazil in the second Ferrari, who was third, and Mark Webber in the second Red Bull complete the two front rows for Sunday's race. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Ferrari's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa leads at the Hockenheimring circuit on July 25, 2010 in Hockenheim, during the Formula One German Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Ferrari driver Felipe Massa of Brazil leads the pack at the start to the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
  • Ferrari Formula One driver Felipe Massa of Brazil leads the pack right after the start the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
  • Ferrari's Fernando Felipe Massa, in front of Fernando Alonso, left, overtakes Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, right, at the first curve of the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. Alonso won the race in front of Massa and third placed Vettel. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Ferrari's Spanish Fernando Alonso drives ahead of Red Bull's German Sebastian Vettel and McLaren Mercedes' British Lewis Hamilton at the Hockenheimring circuit on July 25, 2010 in Hockenheim, during the Formula One German Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Toro Rosso's Spanish driver Jaime Alguersuari (R) crashes into his Swiss team mate Sebastien Buemi at the Hockenheimring circuit on July 25, 2010 in Hockenheim, during the Formula One German Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Toro Rosso's Spanish driver Jaime Alguersuari (R) crashes into his Swiss team mate Sebastien Buemi at the Hockenheimring circuit on July 25, 2010 in Hockenheim, during the Formula One German Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa drives ahead of Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso at the Hockenheimring circuit on July 25, 2010 in Hockenheim, during the Formula One German Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa drives ahead of Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's German driver Sebastian Vettel at the Hockenheimring circuit on July 25, 2010 in Hockenheim, during the Formula One German Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Ferrari's Felipe Massa of Brazil leads in front of teammate Fernando Alonso of Spain at the first turn of the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Ferrari's Felipe Massa of Brazil leads in front of Fernando Alonso of Spain , and Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, from Germany during the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alsonso from Spain leads team mate Felipe Massa from Brazil to win the German F1 race at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
  • Winner Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain stops with his car in the pit lane during the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
  • Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain celebrates with his team after passing the finish line as winner of the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain, center, closes his eyes during the national anthem after winning the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. Ferrari driver Felipe Massa of Brazil, left, finished second, German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, right, finished third. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain celebrates after winning the German F1 Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
  • Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain, right, lifts the trophy next to second placed Felipe Massa of Brazil after winning the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
  • Ferrari's Fernando Alonso of Spain, right, sprays champagne to second placed teammate Felipe Massa of Brazil, left, on the podium after winning the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

[Images: Matthias Schrader, Martin Meissner, Michael Probst, Jens Meyer, /AP | Guillaume Baptiste/AFP/Getty Images]

Qualifying was a nail-biter, with patchy rain leaving puddles in spots around the track. Poor Tonio Liuzi found one of them, which sent his car into the wall. The usual suspects were out in Q1 and Q2 looked much like previous races this year as well. Michael Schumacher found himself less than a tenth of a second out of the running for the pole after being bumped by Nico Hulkenberg. The German crowd would have loved to see Michael regain his championship form, but it was going to be up to one of the other German drivers to make a run for P1.


Q3 turned out to be one of the more exciting qualifying sessions of the year, with the possibility of rain forcing everyone out early to bank a good lap time while the surface was still dry. After Mark Webber put up the early time to beat, Alonso eclipsed it by several tenths to take it away. Nobody else caught him right away, but after a short respite, the pole contestants emerged on the super-soft Bridgestones.

Vettel headed out first followed by Hamilton, Button, Webber, Massa and Alonso. Vettel cranked out a 1:13.791, which Lewis and Jenson couldn't match. Neither could Webber, who seemed to have a bit of a problem on his hot lap. That left the two Ferraris.When Felipe Massa sailed across the stripe, the board flashed P2, but getting a tow behind him, Alonso's time read 1:13.793! So close. Ferrari had to settle for second and third positions, with Alonso just two-one-thousandths of a second behind Vettel. That's a difference of five inches separating the two cars after a 2.84 mile lap around the Hockenheimring.

Liuzzi was back on the grid with his rebuilt Force India racer following his qualifying crash. Vettel was surrounded by red at the front, with Alonso to his right and Massa behind him. Webber was in fourth, looking at the backside of that Ferrari sandwich, and right behind them were the McLarens, waiting for their chance should the front four get too frisky going into Turn 1.

At the start, it was Massa who came out in first. Vettel was a little too aggressive trying to block Alonso and Felipe just sailed around the outside of them. Alonso tucked in behind him for second with Vettel chasing in third. Hamilton got a good launch as well, and sailed into fourth before Buemi, Alguersuari and Sutil collided to bring out the first yellow of the day. A lap later it was Liuzzi and Alguersuari who were making contact. Both pitted and nearly collided again.

While Massa was out front, Schumacher made a great start and was up to eighth, the local hero soon challenging Kubica for seventh. It would be interesting to see if Alonso could challenge Massa for the lead, or if Ferrari would tell its number two driver to step aside. Alonso had been much faster than his teammate all season and still had a better chance at the drivers championship, so it wouldn't be surprising to see that call made, even though team orders had been banned some time ago. But every time Alonso looked to be closing the gap, Massa would put in another fast lap to extend it again. Massa looked as if he were trying prove a point, readying himself for the inevitable by showing he could still lead and win an F1 race in 2010.

Behind the leading Ferraris, it was Vettel, Hamilton and Webber. On Lap 13, Vettel was the first to pit for the switch to the hard tires. He rejoined ahead of Kubica in sixth. A lap later, Alonso came in along with Webber, the latter of whom came back out sandwiched between Rosberg and Kobayashi in ninth. Massa pitted the next time around and stayed ahead of Alonso and Vettel.


If team orders were indeed in effect, Alonso would have to make the pass on track. Massa's cold tires could easily mask any deliberate swapping of positions by the teammates, but he held Alonso off a little longer. Behind them, Vettel was closing the gap. After Kubica pitted from fifth, he came out just ahead of Schumacher, who tried entertainingly but unsuccessfully to make a move going into the hairpin.

Button was the last of the frontrunners to stop, giving up the lead and returning in fifth, just ahead of Webber and behind Hamilton. Alonso, meanwhile, was having a tough time passing his sidekick, prompting him to utter into the radio, "this is ridiculous." How long would Ferrari let this stand? Massa set the new fastest lap to shut his teammate up, but Alonso was now being reeled in by Vettel. Or was he? It looked like Alonso was just trying to give himself some clean air behind Massa as the Spaniard took back the fast-lap honors.

Further back, a pair of battles erupted between the Mercedes-Benzes and Renaults, with Rosberg closing on Kubica and Petrov fighting with Schumacher. Just ahead of them was the surprising Pedro de la Rosa, who was battling Hulkenberg for seventh (neither had pitted yet). Even though he was on the hard tires and Hulkenberg was on the softs, de la Rosa
got past at the hairpin with a great move.



The Ferraris traded fast laps as the pair worked through backmarkers, but on Lap 48 Rob Smedley was finally telling Massa very clearly, "Fernando is faster than you. Did you understand that message?" On Lap 49, Alonso finally passed Massa far too easily and Smedley was back on the squawk box, saying, "Okay. Good lad. Just stick with him now."

As Alonso pulled away, Vettel started to close the gap with Massa. Was the Red Bull driver that much quicker? Was Massa just dejected? Or was he slowing to help assure a comfortable safety margin for his teammate?

De La Rosa and Hulkenberg were putting on a good show for thirteenth and soon reeled in Barrichello as well. On Lap 59, however, De la Rosa lost a sizable part of his front wing trying to lap Kovalainen and had to pit for a new nose. Back up front, Alonso was almost four seconds up on Massa while Vettel now had the gap down to just a second behind Felipe. Vettel was much quicker through the circuit's first sector, but Massa made it up through sectors two and three. Vettel pushed until the penultimate lap, when he apparently resigned himself to third and backed off a notch for the final lap.


Alonso took the win, his second of the season, as Massa made it Ferrari's second one-two. Vettel finished third, followed by Hamilton, Button and Webber. Massa barely gave Alonso a hug as they got out their cars, the young Brazilian clearly stung by Alonso's "pass." The win moves Alonso closer to Hamilton in the drivers' race, but the gap remains huge at 34 points and Button, Webber and Vettel still stand between them. The one-two finish also moves Ferrari closer to McLaren and Red Bull Racing in the constructors' championship, but the gaps are still sizable at 92 and 64 points respectively. The circus next heads to Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix on August 1.


  • Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany leads the pack at the start to the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
  • Race cars build the pack that waits for the start to the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
  • Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, right, leads the pack at the start to the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
  • Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany drives on the pole position during the Qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday, July 24, 2010. Sebastian Vettel of Germany has edged Fernando Alonso to take pole position for the Formula One German Grand Prix. Vettel's Red Bull was .002 seconds faster than Alonso's Ferrari on Saturday to give the German his sixth pole of the season. Felipe Massa of Brazil in the second Ferrari, who was third, and Mark Webber in the second Red Bull complete the two front rows for Sunday's race. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Red Bull Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car to win the Qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, July 24, 2010. The race will take place on Sunday(AP Photo/Michael Probst)
  • Ferrari Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa of Brazil steers his car to finish third the Qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, July 24, 2010. The race will take place on Sunday(AP Photo/Michael Probst)
  • McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton of England steers his car during the Qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, July 24, 2010. The race will take place on Sunday(AP Photo/Michael Probst)
  • The car of Force-India Formula One driver Vitantonio Liuzzi of Italy stands at the track after crashing during the qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday, July 24, 2010. The German Grand Prix will take place on Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer/)
  • Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain steers his car to finish second in the Qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, July 24, 2010. The race will take place on Sunday.(AP Photo/Michael Probst)
  • Mercedes Formula One driver Michael Schumacher drives during the qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday, July 24, 2010. Schumacher placed 11th. Sebastian Vettel of Germany has edged Fernando Alonso to take pole position for the Formula One German Grand Prix. Vettel's Red Bull was .002 seconds faster than Alonso's Ferrari on Saturday to give the German his sixth pole of the season. Felipe Massa of Brazil in the second Ferrari, who was third, and Mark Webber in the second Red Bull complete the two front rows for Sunday's race. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Ferrari Formula One driver Felipe Massa of Brazil finishes third palce during the Qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday, July 24, 2010. Sebastian Vettel of Germany has edged Fernando Alonso to take pole position for the Formula One German Grand Prix. Vettel's Red Bull was .002 seconds faster than Alonso's Ferrari on Saturday to give the German his sixth pole of the season. Felipe Massa of Brazil in the second Ferrari, who was third, and Mark Webber in the second Red Bull complete the two front rows for Sunday's race. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain drives on the second place during the Qualifying at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday, July 24, 2010. Sebastian Vettel of Germany has edged Fernando Alonso to take pole position for the Formula One German Grand Prix. Vettel's Red Bull was .002 seconds faster than Alonso's Ferrari on Saturday to give the German his sixth pole of the season. Felipe Massa of Brazil in the second Ferrari, who was third, and Mark Webber in the second Red Bull complete the two front rows for Sunday's race. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Ferrari's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa leads at the Hockenheimring circuit on July 25, 2010 in Hockenheim, during the Formula One German Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Ferrari driver Felipe Massa of Brazil leads the pack at the start to the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
  • Ferrari Formula One driver Felipe Massa of Brazil leads the pack right after the start the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
  • Ferrari's Fernando Felipe Massa, in front of Fernando Alonso, left, overtakes Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, right, at the first curve of the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. Alonso won the race in front of Massa and third placed Vettel. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Ferrari's Spanish Fernando Alonso drives ahead of Red Bull's German Sebastian Vettel and McLaren Mercedes' British Lewis Hamilton at the Hockenheimring circuit on July 25, 2010 in Hockenheim, during the Formula One German Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Toro Rosso's Spanish driver Jaime Alguersuari (R) crashes into his Swiss team mate Sebastien Buemi at the Hockenheimring circuit on July 25, 2010 in Hockenheim, during the Formula One German Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Toro Rosso's Spanish driver Jaime Alguersuari (R) crashes into his Swiss team mate Sebastien Buemi at the Hockenheimring circuit on July 25, 2010 in Hockenheim, during the Formula One German Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa drives ahead of Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso at the Hockenheimring circuit on July 25, 2010 in Hockenheim, during the Formula One German Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa drives ahead of Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's German driver Sebastian Vettel at the Hockenheimring circuit on July 25, 2010 in Hockenheim, during the Formula One German Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME BAPTISTE (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Ferrari's Felipe Massa of Brazil leads in front of teammate Fernando Alonso of Spain at the first turn of the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Ferrari's Felipe Massa of Brazil leads in front of Fernando Alonso of Spain , and Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, from Germany during the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alsonso from Spain leads team mate Felipe Massa from Brazil to win the German F1 race at the race track in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
  • Winner Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain stops with his car in the pit lane during the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
  • Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain celebrates with his team after passing the finish line as winner of the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain, center, closes his eyes during the national anthem after winning the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. Ferrari driver Felipe Massa of Brazil, left, finished second, German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, right, finished third. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
  • Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain celebrates after winning the German F1 Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
  • Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain, right, lifts the trophy next to second placed Felipe Massa of Brazil after winning the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
  • Ferrari's Fernando Alonso of Spain, right, sprays champagne to second placed teammate Felipe Massa of Brazil, left, on the podium after winning the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 35 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Terrible, terrible behavior by Ferrari as a team. I'm getting sick of Alonso & his whining... he was on the radio as early as lap 20 or so whining. He instigated the whole team order debacle. The $100k fine should be paid by him IMO.

      Ferrari are trying to say it wasn't a team order, but Smedley's tone when relaying Alonso's supposed speed advantage says it all. Massa then foolishly short shifted all the way up to fifth gear, making the surrender apparent. Then Smedley apologized to him after the race for it, then tried to cover that up, calling him magnanimous ... but in interviews he said Massa made "a mistake" and accidentally shifted up through the gears. Massa then said he gave up the position of his own free will, contradicting that statement. They shot themselves in the foot... especially after accusing the FIA of manipulating the results in Valencia.

      Let me just say however, that the FIA needs to sort this team orders thing out once & for all. Ferrari isn't the 1st team to do it. Those of us who watch F1 regularly know it. We've all seen it. Ferrari certainly aren't the only team to do it. They've just done it more blatantly today than I've seen it done since '02. Heikki did it for Lewis in '08. Kimi did it for Massa that same year to help keep his title hopes alive. Kimi wouldn't have stolen the championship from the feuding McLarens in '07 either if it wasn't for Massa letting him by in Brazil. They just made it very obvious today, that's all. I understand team orders, & in a team sport like this I actually support them when necessary, but only when the other guy is clearly ahead 7 championship points are at stake. As long as the rule book says it's illegal though, then the teams need to do a better job of disguising it, or face the consequences... & the FIA need to make their minds up. It's either it's legal, or it's not.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm a huge Ferrari fan (look at my avatar), but Ferrari's action today is hard to defend. F1 is suppose to be a sport and a spectacle, today's actions were detrimental to both those principles.

        $100k fine to Alonso or Ferrari is nothing. A win is worth far more points monetarily to both them. Considering the heat Ferrari has gotten with team orders in the past (e.g Barrichello in Brazil), and the fact is that its against the rules now, team orders is cheating. Period.

        The problem for the FIA is enforcement. As you say its prevalent in F1. But its hard to prove, there is nothing on the radio that would concretely prove team orders were given, however today's display was hugely blatant.

        The FIA need to make it so that the stakes of getting caught for team orders outweighs the risk of using it. $100k isn't enough. Cheating is cheating, teams caught using team orders should be stripped of points for the race, second offense the team should be stripped of points for the season. Third, 1-year ban for the team. Harsh, but no team would risk it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        . . . you see, I told you.
        • 5 Years Ago
        * that 7 should be an &... sometimes I type too fast...
        • 5 Years Ago
        They used to muff a pit stop on purpose to carry out orders. This has an added advantage (to the team) of being beyond the drivers' control.

        But then FIA removed most of the pit stops. How many cars stopped after the halfway point for any reason other than to exit the race?
        • 5 Years Ago
        All the critics and the whiners come out when Ferrari gives team orders. Where are they when the others teams give team orders?. . . the hypocricy is nauseating.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Franz
        ... all the condemnation about team orders especially with Ferrari is coming from the anti-Ferrari fans it seems here. Team orders are in all motorsports and just because the other teams do it more seamlessly or better orchestrated compared to Ferrari they can get away it and avoid all the slam and bad press.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If Alonso hadn't passed Massa, Massa would've won 100%. I find it very hard to believe Alonso was the faster Ferrari to begin with. Something's definetely fishy there.

      On the other hand, you can't blame Ferrari for wanting to avoid what happened to Red Bull 2(?) races ago. A potential 1-2 finish ruined by teammates taking each other out. As sad as it is, that's tue racing.

      Ferrari can go suck one, and I think it's time Massa started looking for another team. Maybe Schumi will retire again and a spot will open up in Mercedes?
      • 5 Years Ago
      If NASCAR is ever going to modernize, advance itself, and win over the extended-pinkie, tea-sipping TRUE lovers of motorsports, it's going to have to adopt this sort of manipulation.

      I never liked how hard their drivers would fight for a victory. So uncivilized!

      And I prefer knowing the outcome of a contest well in advance of the end of the race's term. F1 gives me that and frees up much time for other interests, such as topiary. I tried watching NASCAR, but having to pay attention every single lap left me SO exhausted! Oh my.

      To the person with intelligence, this proves that everything sucks or is great; we just like some of it and dislike the rest. get over yourselves. Who here is smart enough to 'get' that?
      • 5 Years Ago
      You missed off the most telling part of Smedley's conversation with Massa

      "Okay. Good lad. Just stick with him now. Sorry."

      And the problem today wasn't passing, it was Alonso. Vettel made a storming charge back up through the pack at Silverstone, it can be done. Alonso prefers to sit behind someone and seethe and cry down the radio to his team.

      Felipe should have been on top of the podium today, a year after his accident, he takes the chances, he does his best to win and then his team says to him "not today."

        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, it can be done. No one is saying passing is completely impossible. We've seen passes, haven't we?

        But the question is what is the performance advantage needed by the following car over the leading car? Vettel had enough advantage at Silverstone to get up to 7th. Alonso didn't have enough advantage at Hockenheim to get to 1st. So Alonso couldn't pass the 1st place car, it's not like Vettel did. Vettel didn't pass the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th place car either.

        The idea that Alonso "prefers" to whine over the radio instead of pass is ridiculous. If he could pass Massa, he would. Any race driver would.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is disgusting. I watched the race shortly after my near Fiance and I broke up. Wanting to feel better I was treated to seeing my favorite driver used like a pawn and his team embarrass the entire sport. Damn you Fernando Alonso you selfish @#*!

      What happened to sportsmanship?
      What happened to the nice guy finishing first?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Man, those orders were really silly. There are at least 9 races left this season. Massa should have been allowed to win this one.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ferrari should be disqualified from the German race and banned from the next race. A $100K fine is nothing to the team.
      • 5 Years Ago
      FIA needs to figure out how to make it possible for cars to actually pass, thus avoiding this whole problem.

      Most passing was already in the pits, then they removed most of the pit stops. What did they expect to happen?

      It's one thing to say that if you can't pass, you don't deserve the position. But the problem is in practice this can easily turn into a parade (see Monte Carlo), where little but qualification and a good launch matters. The situation can be improved. It can be possible where the advantage the following car must hold on the leading car in order to complete a pass is smaller than the difference currently needed. This will allow the cars/drivers to sort themselves out in order without need for whining on the radio.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Autoblog, your headline has ruined another race for me. I knew what the team orders would be when Alonso got behind Massa at the start.
      • 5 Years Ago
      While I don't like team orders either, I kinda see why they did let Alonso get by. Vettel was closing in slowly, Massa was slower than Alonso, remember it's easy to get close to the car in front of you but it's very hard once you get to a certain point to get close enough to overtake, unless the car in front is considerably slower.

      If Vettel were to get close enough to Alonso they could've lost second place and even first, Alonso did and does have more points than Massa and he was faster (maybe not fast enough to just blow by Massa)

      I think in away Ferrari was trying to protect at least a first place finish.
      • 5 Years Ago
      In my opinion Alonso DID need to get by. I like Massa as a driver and as a person, he seems like a genuine guy.

      However, Red Bull and McLaren both have a fair amount of points for the WDC and WCC so what was Ferrari suppose to do? Let Massa win and celebrate this victory or put as many points toward what matters most? They both race for Ferrari and Alonso had quite a few more points going into this race than did Massa. It's racing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They need to strip Ferrari of every single point they earned in this race (WDC & WCC) because that is the only way to stop this BS. That is just typical Ferrari insulting F1 again.

      If Fernando was so much faster he should be a man and overtake Felipe like a man, racing, like it is meant to be. This year he has been really a whiny, lazy, crybaby, on the radio. If he is gaining time on a driver in front of him he basically expects them to move over because he is faster. Some racer, huh?

      Giving Ferrari a fine won't do crap because they have so much money anyways. It's like how the Yankees (other teams as well in MLB) exceed the salary cap for the team and then are punished by having to pay a fine, but it doesn't really matter or do any good because they had so much money to exceed the cap and overpay their players originally.
        • 5 Years Ago
        i was watching the BBC broadcast and they provided a replay with telemetry. Coming out of that corner, Massa only applied half throttle on the exit. The same corner showed Alonso taking it flat out. How does that not make it obvious?
        • 5 Years Ago
        razer:
        'Rob Smedley after Massa let Alonso pass'

        AFTER Massa let Alonso pass.

        You're saying they wanted Massa to let Alonso pass. You're saying they were glad he let Alonso pass. Neither of these are illegal.

        Did they order Massa to let Alonso pass? That would be illegal. You can't prove that with words they uttered after the pass happened.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Krystian:
        You're just arguing that Massa let Alonso pass. This is not illegal. Ferrari telling Massa to let Alonso pass is illegal. This doesn't show on telemetry.
        • 5 Years Ago
        just to clarify - i mean Alonso, upon exiting the corner, was giving it full throttle - Massa only half.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Do you have no idea what this means at all?!?!

        "Okay. Good lad. Just stick with him now. Sorry."

        - Rob Smedley after Massa let Alonso pass
        • 5 Years Ago
        I actually rather suspect Ferrari will actually not be penalized and get their $100,000 back on appeal.

        How will F1 prove team orders? Ferrari never asked Massa to slow down. Yes, it was implied but order means an order, not an implication.
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