We are actually in agreement about a lot of points. There is a real danger that we're actually not debating anything after all here ;)
Anyways, my point about Kimi is that how a reputation can be so very wrong. Pundits, commentators, even team bosses IIRC gave Kimi the tag, but it was proven not to be after pairing with Massa. I think we both agree that Massa's deficit to Alonso at Interlagos could be attributed to a host of factors. The only thing I do not agree with is that because the deficit is so huge, it must be because there is something wrong with Massa. Well, in a sense there is - he isn't as well-suited to the F10 as he was in the previous Ferraris where his reputation was made. It doesn't matter if a search on Google comes up with Massa or that Wiki lists Massa as The Interlagos specialist. As the example I have given re Kimi, it means nothing really.
By the way, I'm not suggesting that the gap to Alonso is solely due to raw speed. Just what is raw speed anyway? A driver tends to be quicker if the car suits him and not so much when the car doesn't. What I'm suggesting is that the combination of factors - be it adaptability or raw speed or whatever it is - created that deficit. And the only thing that I really do not agree with you is that Massa is somehow an Interlagos specialist just because he has done well against one driver - Kimi - at that circuit. I refer you to the Kimi example one more time.
I do see what you're saying, and of course, I have no evidence other than anecdotal so I don't claim to be "right". But I don't agree that Kimi's reputation was so very wrong. It was never "proven not to be", because with that statement you are automatically assuming that it is proven fact that Massa is a poor driver. Kimi's reputation hasn't actually been tarnished all that much just due to his pairing and performance against Massa. Teams still want him, it's a question of price and also which team he is happy to drive for. If anything, prior to his accident, Massa's reputation had indeed gone up. Of course most still believed that Kimi was down on motivation, but most still acknowledged that Massa had also developed as a driver.
I agree that a driver tends to be quicker when the car suits him and so on. My point simply being that Massa being down 1.1 sec, with no errors, on a track that other drivers, the press, most fans etc acknowledge as one that he is a specialist at and indeed one that is his home track, indicates that Felipe may actually be telling the truth when he talks about the tyres. My post is basically a refute of other posts claiming that Felipe is using tyres as an excuse. I'm simply saying that had the gap between him and Alonso been smaller at Interlagos, relative to other tracks, I would say yes Massa could be making excuses. But since it is opposite, I don't think it's fair claiming Massa is making up excuses.
As an analogy, consider Nadal before his current amazing performances and when he used to excel mainly on clay courts. If suddenly he starts to perform poorly on most courts and says it's because he's got an injury, but still wins everything on clay, one could be forgiven thinking that the injury could be an excuse. However if he performs poorly on clay as well, there just might be some truth to his claim.
I don't think that in 2010 we saw the same Massa we've seen before. Aside from the rude way LdM said it was as if Massa's brother had turned up to drive, he's getting clear hints from the Ferrari camp that his seat is at risk if he doesn't improve his performance. Ferrari have no reason to expect him to improve his performance unless they know that he underperformed relative to himself this year.
Anyway this thread is about Alonso and I'm at severe risk of being told off by the mods as all I've talked about is Massa with only an indirect link to Alonso. This really belongs in the Alonso vs Massa thread and I'm happy to continue discussing there. Thank you for a civil and enjoyable discussion by the way! :-)
Edited by ArtShelley, 03 January 2011 - 11:06.