Italy GP: Mercedes dominates in Ferrari territory!
A painful home race for the Scuderia, several issues all weekend and Vettel losing the championship lead to Hamilton.
Monza was exceptionally wet, Free Practice 3 was delayed and eventually shortened to just 16 minutes of green flag because of the heavy rain. Qualifying was an even bigger mess, a few minutes into Q1 Grosjean spun out and brought out the red flag. A full 2 hours and 35 minutes of waiting ensued.
The first problem was for Kimi, when his left front brake caught fire in the pits. Meanwhile on the wet track the drivers pushed as hard as they could. Mercedes was clearly the fastest car, but Red Bull showed great speed as well. Ferrari however was not even close to the top 5, in the end both Seb and Kimi had to start behind the two Mercedes cars, a Force India and a Williams.
It was sunny on sunday! The Ferrari team and fans were all hoping for a good race pace to challenge for victory in Italy.
The start was a success, Kimi moved Bottas on the edge and took P4. the two Finns had another intense battle, they were inches apart in the famous Parabolica. But the Mercedes engine proved faster once again and the race went downhill from here on. Räikkönen dropped back and reported damage on the rear of his car, no solution could be found.
Vettel got himself into P3 but not near the pace of the Silver Arrows in front. He missed the first chicane and from that moment he experienced a steering issue, the car felt unstable under braking. This caused Vettel to drive more careful and thus slower. He finished in third, a shameful 36 seconds behind championship leader Hamilton.
A big round of applause to Ricciardo who started from P16 and managed fourth place 53 laps later, earning him “Driver of the day”. Räikkönen followed in fifth. Special mention to Max Verstappen who suffered a puncture because of contact with Massa on lap 1 and still finished in the top 10.
Let’s stay positive for a moment, Ferrari celebrated the 70th anniversary with a nice display in the paddock. The fans were fantastic to see! So much support and enthousiasm. And the race was entertaining with lots of overtakes.
Vettel is now 3 points behind Hamilton who leads the championship for the first time this year. Will he take it back in Singapore? Stay tuned to find out!