Ferrari has 'a cursed Sunday' in Bahrain

By Michael Casey, AP, 22 April 2013
© Foto Studio Colombo/Ferrari

Coming off a victory in China, Fernando Alonso's hopes of a repeat in Bahrain were quickly stifled by problems with his Ferrari.

The Spaniard started third Sunday with good chances of a spot on the podium and beating his main rival Sebastian Vettel. Instead, problems with Alonso's DRS system -- which can be used to give the car extra pace at certain times - forced him to pit twice in the first eight laps and he fell out of contention. He fell to 17th after the second pit stop and managed to claw his way up to eighth.

"We definitely didn't have much luck today and that's a real shame, at the end of what had been such a positive weekend for me and Felipe up until this afternoon," Alonso said. "We had been competitive in free practice and qualifying and we were both expecting to have a good race."

Alonso said he initially thought he was having problems with his rear tyres, before being informed by the team that the DRS was stuck.

"It wasn't fixed properly at the first stop and so I had to come in for another one," he said. "From then on, the clear instruction from the pit wall not to use it affected my race."

Massa had even worse race, damaging his front wing in a collision with Force India's Adrian Sutil in the opening lap and then having tire troubles after that. He finished 15th - his worst showing of the season.

"I was really unlucky in this race and even if it's true that many things can happen in this sport, I can't find an explanation for why so many of them have to be negative," Massa said. "At the start, I lost ground after the collision with Sutil and then I lost even more time coming back to the pits to change tyres and that wiped out any chance of having a good race.

With Vettel winning the race, the performance dealt a blow to Alonso's bid for a third drivers' champion title. Alonso is now third in the title chase, 27 points behind Red Bull's Vettel.

The race was summed up by the team in its post-race release in which it called Bahrain "a cursed Sunday."

Team principal Stefano Domenicali also bemoaned the disappointing performance but insisted the team had to look ahead as the season heads to Europe. It suffered a similar result in Malaysia when Alonso damaged his front wing in a collision with Vettel that forced him out of the race.

"This is definitely not the outcome we expected after showing all weekend long that we were capable of fighting for the top places," Domenicali said. "In just over three weeks, we will be back on track in Europe and it will be important to turn this trend around immediately. Until then, we will knuckle down and continue with the development of a car that still has plenty of potential to offer."

 

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