Formula 1 2013 Head-to-Head: Fernando Alonso vs. Felipe Massa at Ferrari

By (Featured Columnist) on January 23, 2014

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Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished the 2013 Formula One season in second place overall, making up for mediocre qualifying performances with relentless consistency on race days.

Teammate Felipe Massa finished eighth, a massive 130 points down.

It was the latest in a string of poor seasons, and the Italian team finally lost patience with Massa. After eight years at Ferrari, his seat will be taken by Kimi Raikkonen in 2014. Alonso will stay.

So how far apart were they really? Here, we see how the two compared in three key areas: qualifying, races and temperament.

Qualifying: Alonso Wins 11-8

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Fernando is more fashionable than you.
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Ferrari was no match for the Red Bulls and Mercedes in qualifying. The Italian team haven't scored a dry weather pole since Singapore 2010, and both drivers struggled to qualify well last season.

For both drivers, qualifying was a season-long damage-limitation exercise.

Massa started the season brightly, and his second place in Malaysia was Ferrari's only front-row start of the year. But Alonso fought back with six consecutive "wins" and at the halfway mark the score stood at 7-3.

Alonso's average at this stage was 5.4, while Massa's was 8.7but that includes 22nd in Monaco, where he failed to set a time after damaging his car in practice.

The second half of the season began with Alonso ahead at Spa, then it was announced that Massa would be leaving Ferrari at the end of the season.

Whether it was the freedom of knowing he was no longer fighting for his Ferrari career, a greater liking of the new tyres or Alonso's head dropping as the title slipped away, Massa went on a roll.

Much to the surprise of just about everyone, he outqualified Alonso five times in six races.

Once Massa was assured of a seat at Williams for 2014, his performance dipped again and Alonso rounded out the season with two wins.

In the final nine races, Alonso's average grid slot was 7.0, for a season total of 6.16; Massa's was 7.66, giving him an overall average of 8.21. In terms of time difference, Alonso was on average 0.224 seconds quicker (thanks to F1Fanatic for those stats).

So a win for Fernando, but it was far closer than he might have expected.

Races: Alonso Wins 15-1

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Fernando is taller than you.
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

What the Ferrari lacked in qualifying performance, it partially made up for in the races. Both drivers tended to finish in a higher place than they started.

But this one wasn't even a battleit was a massacre. Unfortunately for Massa, all the points are awarded on Sundays, and once the lights went out, he was simply no match for Alonso.

Massa's single "victory" came at the Indian Grand Prix, the 16th race of the season. He qualified in fifth and made a great start to lie second after the first lap.

Behind him, Alonsowho elected to qualify on the harder compound tyre and started eighthwas involved in two incidents and had to pit for a new nose, dropping to second from last.

Felipe drove a good race and finished fourth, just two seconds behind Romain Grosjean's third-placed Lotus. But though he was actually quicker than his teammate when in clear air, Fernando never really recovered, struggling to pass slower cars and coming home in 11th.

Over the course of the season, Alonso spent 799 laps ahead, while Massa was in front for 169. In the championship, Alonso was second with more than double the points of his eighth-placed teammate.

Only Sebastian Vettel (15-0) achieved a more crushing domination of his opposite number.

But if you're a Massa fan looking for positives, it was 17-0 in 2012.

 

Alonso suffered one retirement and Massa two. These races are not counted in the final figure.

Temperament: Draw

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Fernando is higher than you.
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

It was business as usual for the opening half of the year, with Alonso in his role as the team's dominant leader and Massa relegated to less-than-happy helper.

But then a few things changed, and Alonso became more obviously displeased and frustrated after years of uncompetitive Ferraris.

After the Hungarian Grand Prix, Alonso was asked by Italian media what he'd like for his birthday.

In a refreshing (if ill-advised) departure from the usual PR-speak F1 drivers converse in, he told them he'd like "la macchina degli altri"translated by BBC Sport and others as "someone else's car."

A robust telling-off from Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo followed, the details of which were published for the world to see in the form of a press release on the team's website.

It was a deliberate airing of dirty laundry in public, and while the reasons Ferrari did it this way aren't clear, it won't have gone down well with Alonso.

He never displays emotion the way Lewis Hamilton does, but as the season wore on, Alonso didn't seem as happy and settled as he once was. Rumours he's looking for a move refuse to go away.

On the other side of the garage, Massa was told in September that his Ferrari contract was not being renewed. The Brazilian seemed to emerge from under the weight of the world, suddenly talking about racing for himself and no one else.

This was a Felipe Massa we hadn't seen since before his terrible accident in 2009.

He notably refused to yield in Japan and ended the season appearing and sounding happier than he had for years, looking forward to his move to Williams with renewed confidence and vigour.

So a draw seems a fair assessment here.

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