Ferrari: from Spa to Monza


For Ferrari, the Belgian Grand Prix was yet another missed opportunity to mount the podium following Lewis Hamilton’s mammoth grid penalties this weekend.

They will take solace from the fact that this time it wasn’t a strategic call, or technical problems, but instead more run-ins with a Red Bull second driver.

After an excellent start both Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were clear of Max Verstappen, who had bogged down from second on the gird.

The Dutchman then tried an optimistic move to regain his positions at turn one, where Vettel had only left room for teammate Raikkonen.

The resulting collision left Vettel spun around, Raikkonen with front wing damage as well as a puncture while Verstappen had a damaged floor and front – and some red mist.

The 18-year-old was firm on Vettel, Raikkonen and Sergio Perez when they tried to overtake at the Les Combes chicane, although there was contact with the Finn before he made his trip to the run off.

That might have annoyed Raikkonen, but what happened a lap later angered the Iceman.

The 2007 World Champion had made his move to the inside along the fast Kemmel Straight, only to be forced to stamp on the brakes as the hot-headed Verstappen swerved in front to cover Raikkonen’s line, something he politely described as “ridiculous”.

Raikkonen was able to race to ninth following that wretched start, while Vettel climbed to sixth when a podium was more than on the cards.

For all the mishaps and spills that have dogged their season, Ferrari will be hoping to put all of that behind as they head into their home round as the Italian Grand Prix graces Monza for what could be the final time.

Contractual wrangling mean the Italian Grand Prix could move to Imola – former host of the San Marino Grand Prix, – next year.

Ferrari should be marginally quicker at the ultimate power track, with the TagHeuer-badged Renault engines in the back of the Red Bull still slightly behind the Ferrari and Mercedes Power Units.

For Vettel, the race has fond memories as he took his first ever win in Monza back in 2008 while driving a Toro Rosso, while Raikkonen has never won in Italy.

Ferrari will need a strong showing at Monza for a number of reasons and not only to keep their famous Tifosi onside.

They are now 22 points behind Red Bull and fast losing touch with second in the Constructors’ Championship in a season when their car ought to have delivered more.

If there is to be a revival for the Prancing Horse, Monza is the place to do it as time runs out in the 2016 World Championship.

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