'Ferrari gambled on rain'
Alonso and Webber ran opposite tyre strategies at Silverstone
Last Updated: July 8, 2012 6:19pm
Sky Sports F1 reporter Ted Kravitz believes a 'gamble on rain' prompted Ferrari to deploy Fernando Alonso on hard tyres in the first stint at Silverstone - to ultimately race-costing effect.
Unlike the other runners in the top seven on the grid, pole-sitter Alonso started Sunday's 52-lap race on the silver-banded 'prime' compound and only made the mandatory change to the soft tyres for the final 14 laps of the race and a third-and-final stint which saw him overtaken by Red Bull's Mark Webber - who, having started out on the soft tyres, finished the race on the hards.
Asked to account for the strategy decision in the post-race press conference, Alonso suggested that Ferrari's performance in the dry running on the hard compound in Saturday's morning's final practice session, and the fact that the onset of any rain in the race would have deactivated the usual two-slick compound rule, had heavily influenced the team's thinking.
"I think tyre choice was a little bit determined by the pace we saw in FP3, the little dry running that we had we felt more confident with the hard so it was our preferred choice today," Alonso said.
Start: Hard tyre
First stop (lap 15): Hard tyre
Second stop (lap 37): Soft tyre
Start: Soft tyre
First stop (lap 14): Hard tyre
Second stop (lap 33): Hard tyre
"And then if at any point of the race it rained and you put intermediate you don't need to use the soft anymore, so it was a better combination of possibilities that the hard gave us today."
Speaking in his post-race notebook video blog, Ted suspected what ahead of the race had appeared an understandable expectation of rain had indeed been the key factor Ferrari had based their strategy call upon.
"I take that to mean that Ferrari were gambling on it raining, and it didn't do," Kravitz explained.
"So gambling on the rain, that's a very dangerous thing to do, and if they were doing that then it really went and bit them in the behind because of course it didn't rain and what that meant was that Ferrari still had to use the soft tyre in the last stint and that's what made them vulnerable to Mark Webber at the end. Very interesting."
But, as Ted also confirmed, Alonso's failure to build up a formidable lead over Webber during the first stint of the race also played a critical factor in his eventual defeat.
"Alonso blamed losing the race - and that's really how Ferrari saw it, they're very disappointed here - on the fact that he couldn't open enough of a gap in the first stint on the hard tyres. He says if he had a few more seconds gap in the first stint then that would have translated all the way into the last stint.
"So that's extremely interesting. A bit for Ferrari to think about, although they're still leading the championship."