Arrivabene: It’s been a difficult weekend

Ferrari fans, Monza

As always much was expected from Ferrari at their home Italian Grand Prix, but the legion of tifosi who ‘painted’ Monza red went home disappointed as they witnessed their beloved team being thoroughly beaten by their arch-rivals Mercedes on the day.

The agony was made worse as Ferrari big boss Sergio Marchionne and other bigwigs watched expectantly, only to see their team drubbed by over half a minute when the chequered flag waved to end the race.

Adding insult to injury was the fact that Sebastian Vettel, who has led the championship standings since day one in Australia, dropped to second place.

Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene lamented in a team statement, “It’s been a difficult weekend at a track that definitely didn’t suit the technical characteristics of the SF70H. The great crowd of our fans here at Monza supported us all the way and the entire team thanks them for that.”

The rot started on Saturday during the marathon, rain affected, qualifying in which the Reds could not find the sweet spot in the slippery conditions, while Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton put the hammer down to claim a record 69th pole position.

His best time in Q3 was a whopping 2.5 seconds quicker than the best Ferrari. Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were only good for seventh and eighth respectively – a couple of Mercedes customer teams and the Red Bulls were above them on the timing screens.

Arrivabene acknowledged, “After a far from ideal qualifying in the wet, Sebastian managed to get the better of the drivers directly ahead of him on the grid and thus make it to the podium.”

Nevertheless, Vettel managed to exert some damage control as he turned sixth on the grid (promoted from eighth thanks to Red Bull duo serving engine penalties) to keep Hamilton within three points in the title battle, but Raikkonen was out of sorts in a car that was not behaving the way the Finn expected. He finished fifth, albeit a minute off the winner.

Arrivabene added, “As for Kimi, he had a more difficult time due to the balance on his car being inconsistent. Despite the fact that everyone in the team did their utmost, we cannot be satisfied with this result.”

Ferrari and Formula 1 fans (let’s face it we want Mercedes to be challenged all the way to the final round) will hope that Monza was a mere anomaly, a blip in their campaign and that a resurgence will occur at Singapore next time out, a venue where Mercedes may struggle with their car this year.

Arrivabene concluded with a typical PR soundbite, “We will tackle the next race in Singapore with our feet on the ground and with our usual determination.”

Truth is that Ferrari can ill afford another trouncing between now and the end of the season, because as was witnessed Mercedes are relentless and will have no qualms about putting the boot in, as they did at Monza, whenever the opportunity presents itself.