It may turn out to be the moment the championship was lost for Ferrari, their cars starting the Italian Grand Prix from the front row with pole starter Kimi Raikkonen and teammate Sebastian Vettel dragging into Turn 1 while keeping Lewis Hamilton at bay.
The key moment was when Raikkonen raced for the corner giving Vettel no chance to take the lead, and that was that. For some reason, team orders went AWOL twice in 24-hours as in qualifying the Reds opted to advantage the Finn not the German despite the fact that the latter is their only real title hope.
Thereafter Vettel tripped up and spent the day playing catch-up but, after the race, he made it clear that he was not happy how things panned out with his team, famed for favouring one driver over the other with the four times world champion often benefitting from pit wall calls.
Some believe that Raikkonen could have played ball into Turn 1 at Monza and allowed his teammate through at the start, but for some reason did not. The team’s post-race debrief on Sunday would have been an interesting place to be…
But Ferrari team chief Maurizio Arrivabene does not believe Raikkonen was at fault for what transpired on a disappointing afternoon in front of the expectant Tifosi, and told reporters what he said to his drivers before the race, “I just asked them to do nothing stupid.
Of Raikkonen’s stubborn T1 defence, Arrivabene explained, “It was said that Kimi did something wrong with Sebastian, but what did he do? What he did is exactly the same as what Sebastian Vettel or Lewis Hamilton would have done. ”
“What happened with Vettel and Hamilton (first lap incident) has absolutely nothing to do with team orders.”
“It would be completely wrong for [Vettel] to point fingers while there are still many races to be run. I answer for the whole team, no matter who made a mistake – the driver or the team – someone has to answer and that person is me,” declared Arrivabene.
Big Question: What happened at Monza with Ferrari and team orders?