If Fernando Alonso was really faster than Felipe Massa, why didn’t he just pass him instead of complaining, “This is ridiculous” to his team?
At first blush, I think the answer sounds straight-forward. It’s that he wasn’t enough faster and couldn’t get pass. But then it gets more complicated. One just has to look back to the Turkish Grand Prix and Red Bull’s two drivers bumping together to see what happens when two drivers for the same team battle for the race lead.
Bad, bad things can happen. And so rather than risk that, Alonso said, essentially: “Either you do something, or I’m going to have to risk both Ferraris not finishing.”
So, was Alonso doing the smart thing for the team, for himself and for Massa?
That’s where it gets tricky. As we’ve all talked about here, in many — if not most — ways, Formula 1 ultimately is a team sport. As the U.S. broadcasters said several times, Ferrari will argue the two drivers drive for Ferrari first, for themselves second. From that point of view, Alonso did the right thing for the team.
But we have the no team orders rule. And it is nearly impossible not to see this as a team order issue.
And so — on first blush, and having just finished the race — I have to come down to this conclusion: Alonso should have fought a little harder to get past that driver in front of him, even if it was the other Ferrari.
We’ll see what the World Motor Sport Council thinks.