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GP Week : Issue 117
30 Hard tyre performance hampers Alonso at home IT was most definitely a race of two halves for Fernando Alonso and Ferrari in his home grand prix, as he went from leading the race on lap 18 to being lapped by race winner Sebastian Vettel on lap 63. While the performance of the 150° Italia was a match to the Red Bulls and McLarens on the soft tyre, he was not able to get the hard tyre to work as well, and rapidly fell through the pack in the final half of the race. “ The best bit of the race was obviously the start. We have worked so much on this area and you could see the outcome. It was fantastic to see the crowd cheering in the grandstands!” said Alonso. “It was very stressful having them filling my mirrors all the time and we tried as much as possible to copy or anticipate their moves. That meant doing over the half the race on the hards, which penalised us heavily and made the gap bigger than it is in reality.” Alonso said the lack of downforce on the car hurt him badly, a sentiment echoed by team principal Stefano Domenicali. “On a track that favours cars that have a lot of aerodynamic downforce, ours are lacking in this area and that was glaringly obvious, especially on the new hard tyres brought here by Pirelli,” said the Italian. “ We never managed to get this type of tyre to work and our pace was at least two seconds off that of the first four.” Deputy technical director Pat Fry admitted that there was a lot of work to be done having lost ground to Red Bull and McLaren despite bringing many updates for the Spanish Grand Prix. “ We did not have enough aerodynamic downforce for this circuit and we could see that right from the start of the weekend, but clearly we did not expect to be this far off in terms of race pace,” added Fry. “There is alot to do to make this car more competitive: we have made a step forward but it has not been enough to let us fight all the way to the end for the top places.” Kobayashi storms through from last to 10th SAUBER’s Kamui Kobayashi scored his fourth consecutive points finish on Sunday in Spain and his third consecutive tenth place finish, after coming from last place on the first lap to help his team to their first double points score of the year. The Japanese driver pulled off ten overtaking manoeuvres in his fight from the back, having suffered a puncture on the first lap, requiring a unscheduled pitstop and putting him almost 30 seconds behind his nearest rival. He pitted just twice more though, completing the race on an effective two-stop strategy, and took the flag just five seconds behind team-mate Sergio Perez, who enjoyed a trouble-free three- stop race from 12th on the grid. “I lost a lot of time on lap one today. After the start I was pushed into the gravel and then another car touched me, which resulted in a left rear puncture,” Kobayashi revealed. “I had to pit and was relegated to last, which of course cost us a very good set of the soft tyres. “I had to do quite a long stint on the harder tyres, which was not easy, but overall the race pace was okay. I’m happy to have scored for the fourth time in a row, and think we are going in the right direction.” Perez said it had been a hard fight for his first points of the year, having been disqualified from seventh at the season-opener for a technical infringement. “It was a tough race today and a hard fight for points. I’m really happy we made it,” said Perez. “My first points in Formula One are obviously something special for me, and it is good for the team that Kamui also scored. The team had a very good race strategy and did a perfect job at the pit stops. I feel that for me today is a turning point in this season. We will continue well and score more points.”