M sometimes world championship titles depend on little things. Sebastian Vettel did everything he could in Abu Dhabi. He kept his title chances with a convincing win. But it would not have worked without the help of his competitors. Ferrari, of all people, provided the greatest support. Fernando Alonso was abandoned by the Reds' command post.
Race director Stefano Domenicali didn’t miss the bushes in the team’s press release: 'We made three strategic mistakes. We focused on the wrong of the two drivers with our rivals, we were unnecessarily closed worried about the soft tire degradation and we underestimated how difficult it is to overtake on this track. '
That's a rough summary of a race where pretty much everything went wrong for Ferrari could go wrong. But what really happened in rounds 11 to 15? We have precisely dissected the crucial phase.
Webber involuntarily lures Ferrari into the trap
Mark Webber had to pit to change tires. It wasn't a tactical move to lure Ferrari into the trap, it was a necessity. 'Mark's rear tires were at the end. He hit the guardrail once and hit the right rear rim badly. Allowing him to continue driving would have been too big a risk,' admits team advisor Helmut Marko.
In Webber pits on lap 11 and drops from fifth to 16th place. With a bit of air for Jaime Alguersuari, who got rid of his soft tires in lap 2 and uses the same tactics as Vitaly Petrov and Nico Rosberg to finish the race with the hard set of tires.
Webber indirectly already starts Alonso over
The last two sectors of Webber's first lap with hard tires suggest that a fresh set of tires has advantages over used soft soles. The extrapolation results in 0.3 seconds per lap. Pitting Alonso at this point would have been suicide. The Spaniard would have fallen behind Webber after a lap of 1,46.105 even at the best pit stop in the world.
Since Ferrari was exclusively fixated on the Australian, the fast counterattack was out of the question. That's why you let Felipe Massa change tires first. But the Brazilian comes back on the track behind Webber, so he can't help Alonso anymore.
Alguersuari brings Webber behind Alonso again
As auto motor und sport analyzes in its current issue (issue 25/2010, in stores since November 18), Jaime Alguarsuari is now the match winner for Vettel. At the start of round 13, Webber runs into the Spaniard's Toro Rosso. Presumably, Ferrari also thinks that the man in the Red Bull B-Team will immediately move aside. Not at all. Even at the end of the 13th round, Alguarsuari is still ahead of Webber. He forced the World Cup favorite to complete a lap of 1.46.675 minutes. Alonso has a time of 1.45.955 minutes on the same lap.
That opens a window for him to stay ahead of his supposedly direct competitor during a pit stop. And only this loss of time in the almost two laps behind Alguersuari allows the Ferrari strategists Chris Dyer and Andrea Stella to try to stop early, taking into account the feared high tire degradation.
Newey thanks Alguersuari for unwanted help
Although it was clear that Alonso would definitely fall behind the early stopers Petrov and Rosberg and although they knew from last year how difficult it is to overtake on this track, they want to call Alonso to the pits . Red Bull designer Adrian Newey admits: 'We have to be grateful to Alguersuari for involuntarily luring Ferrari on the wrong track.
As soon as Webber has passed the roadblock, he takes Alonso eight tenths on lap 14 Now panic is spreading. Alonso has to pit immediately if the number is to work.
Alonso warns his team about the mistake
When Alonso hears about the plan, he advises his engineers against radio communication. Listeners of radio traffic report that the Spaniard had a complete overview despite the stress of racing. 'What's that supposed to mean? We're making a mistake, 'Alonso is reported to have warned.
In the past three laps, he had practically set the same lap times as his front man Jenson Button, and the duo were behind Vettel within three laps of 7, 3 shortened to 6.5 seconds. For him it was more logical to ride in the express train of the leading group. He had long since recognized that the much more dangerous opponent was called Vettel.
Command overrides Alonso
Understandable that Alonso was angry with his strategists immediately after crossing the finish line. The vice world champion is said to have become quite vocal. Only in the press release did he adopt a more moderate tone again: 'Im Nac inside it would have been better not to stop so early. But it's always easy to say something like that when you have all the facts in hand. '
Vettel's World Cup secretPart 2: Tomorrow you will read how an unplanned engine change almost cost Vettel the title ...