Alonso Fastest in Germany Chase
The 2010 DHL Fastest Lap Trophy winner had a chance for the podium toward the end of the FORMULA 1 GROSSER PREIS VON DEUTSCHLAND 2013 – and he did everything in his power to snatch the third spot from the Lotus driver running just seconds ahead of him.
“His target was Romain Grosjean, who was lying third,” said Danner, adding: “which is probably why he pushed as hard as he did.”
After starting P8 off the grid, Alonso quickly worked his way up to P2, only to fall back to P9 after his first pit. But the veteran Spaniard driver quickly moved back up through the pack in his Ferrari, settling in at P4, where he remained for most of the second stint in his three-pit strategy.
Running in second place on lap 49, Alonso pitted for softer tires, gambling that the faster compound would secure a trip to the podium. With fresh rubber, Ferrari’s number one driver came out hard and scored the fastest lap of the day right out of the pit on lap 51, completing the 5.148-km tour in 1min 33.468 sec. He held a strong pace in the final nine laps, but the two Lotus drivers ahead were able to hold him off. Alonso ultimately crossed the finish line just 1.9 seconds behind Grosjean.
Though disappointed he missed the podium, the two-time World Champion said that his team’s strategy was what gave him the opportunity to fight for the podium in the first place. After going with the medium compound in qualifying and ending up in P8, he was able to run longer than most of his main competitors at the beginning of the race.
“The strategy gave us the possibility to fight for the podium,” said Alonso during Ferrari's press briefing. “We were not quick enough today, we didn’t have the pace, but even with that we fought for the podium with the leading group.”
The strategy certainly paid off in one respect: As Danner put it: “The fastest lap was his reward.”
After multiple blowouts at the British Grand Prix raised safety concerns, Pirelli brought an alternate to the historic Nürburgring. The rear tires had inner belts made of Kevlar rather than the steel belts used at Silverstone. Kevlar is more resistant to punctures.
The move appeared to be a success as most drivers indicated satisfaction with the change. “The tires were good, no problems with safety,” said Alonso.
Going forward, Pirelli will switch back to the 2012 design combined with the current compounds from this season.
Red Bull Racing-Renault driver Sebastian Vettel secured his first victory on home soil at the German Grand Prix and extended his lead in the Drivers’ Championship. Both Kimi Riäkkönen in the Lotus and Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari fought hard but came up short, allowing the German to extend his lead. With 157 points, Vettel is 34 points ahead of the iceman and 41 in front of the Spaniard.
In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull is also far in front of its rivals with 250 points. Though Mercedes failed to shine at home, they remain in second place with 183 points.
Rounding of the leaderboards, the race for the DHL Fastest Lap Trophy is also dominated by Red Bull. Vettel leads here as well with three fastest laps followed closely by teammate Mark Webber with two. In the ninth race of the season, Fernando Alonso enters the fastest lap standings.
It certainly looks to be a race to catch Red Bull as we near the halfway point in the 2013 Formula One Championship.
F1 News Briefs:
Pirelli goes soft: The BBC reports that Pirelli will send softer, more aggressive tires to Hungary. “The change to the 2012 construction means that Hungary doesn't require such a hard compound now,” said a Pirelli spokesperson.
Pit lane safety: FIA is planning to introduce new tightened pit lane rules originally intended for 2014 following the incident involving a cameraman at the German Grand Prix. Designed to increase safety, the new rules will limit pit lane access and require head protection for all team personnel. FIA wants to implement the new rules in time for the next race but the move is still subject to approval from the World Motor Sport Council.