Italian Media: Talk of poison and warfare at Ferrari

Ferrari have the fastest car on the grid since they won three out of three races since after the summer break last month and should have secured one-two at the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday.

But, for well-documented reasons, they departed Sochi with one third-place and a DNF, while blatantly revealing that there is a serious problem with their current driver hierarchy.

According to most Italian scribes, Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel are at war, a power struggle between the mercurial 21-year-old young gun and the stubborn old guard ten years his senior is underway at Maranello.

Unfortunately, the top step of the podium is made for one driver. now that they finally have a regular winning package team boss Mattia Binotto has another headache to contend with – namely, his feuding drivers.

Needless to say, the Italian media gave their wicked post-mortems on a weekend that promised so much for their team but at the end delivered familiar disappointment for them and their tifosi.

Here is what select Italian media had to say after the race:

La Stampa: “Mercedes dominated the Russian Grand Prix as in all previous editions, but this time the Ferraris seemed unbeatable for the first half of the race. A problem with the hybrid system on the 28th of 53 laps forced Sebastian Vettel to retire. What’s more, his stop at the edge of the track triggered a virtual safety car that paved the way for the Silver Arrows victory.”

Gazzetta dello Sport: “The double, the delusion, high-tension in Ferrari.”

“It is not only the defeat that makes Ferrari’s Sunday in Sochi so bitter, but the main problem that they urgently need to resolve is the fiery relationship between its two drivers.

“Ferrari had a one-two in the hand and Vettel’s [MGU-K] problem changed everything and Mercedes were able to take a one-two instead. But the tension is high now at Ferrari, the two drivers are fighting, at war.”

Corriere dello Sport: “Open warfare at Ferrari between Vettel and Leclerc!”

“Ferrari had hoped for another double victory in Sochi, but Mercedes celebrates. The ‘old’ Vettel reacts with proud perfectionism to the growing arrogance of the young Leclerc.

“Leclerc has every right to fight for victory – just as Vettel has the right to hunt for the fifth world title. Less understandable is that Maranello cannot enforce rules of engagement and prevent the growing dispute between their drivers.”

“Leclerc didn’t like the fact that Vettel passed him. Vettel didn’t want to give back the position and Ferrari didn’t manage the situation well. Mercedes were able to take advantage and won a race that the Reds were dominating.”

Tuttosport: “Poisonous mood at Ferrari. The car is fast, but Maranello are paying a high price for the feud between the two drivers. Team Principal Mattia Binotto has to set a clear strategy.

“Leclerc didn’t understand why Vettel passed him and didn’t give back the position, and the German didn’t understand why the team stopped him so late and allow his teammate to pass him. Ferrari had controlled the race but somehow were able to lose it because of the internal battle.”

Corriere della Sera: “After the argument, Vettel’s engine expires.”

“Thus Ferrari gave away the victory. On the day they had problems with the reliability of the car, with the strategy and in managing their two drivers. If the relationship between Vettel and Leclerc is already so strained, and it’s not even about the world title right now.

“What’s going to happen next year?”

La Repubblica: “Vettel made a great start and used an internal team deal to his favour for as long as he can. He proves to have the pace and aggressiveness of a true champion. For Binotto, having two fierce drivers is a luxury, but sometimes this situation does not lead to the desired results.”