If ever there was a way to sum up Ferrari’s 2016 season, Kimi Raikkonen’s US Grand Prix was it.
Raikkonen had moved from fifth to fourth having passed Max Verstappen’s Red Bull and was looking like threatening Daniel Ricciardo’s third place, when, as usual this season, errors meant the end of his challenge.
During his second pit stop, Ferrari left the wheel gun on his front right tyre and as a result, it wasn’t fixed properly. The Iceman would get no further than the end of the pitlane before he retired.
Teammate Sebastian Vettel collided with Nico Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas at turn one – not his first lap one wheel-banging this season, but was unscathed and until both Raikkonen and Verstappen retired was running sixth, unable to do anything about crowd-favourite Ricciardo in third.
The German said that fourth was the maximum that Ferrari were capable of at Texas and he wasn’t far wrong, as strategic mishap was the main reason behind Raikkonen’s pre-retirement assault on Ricciardo.
Ferrari are almost 60 points behind Red Bull and will now not finish second in a season in which they had promised to fight for first with Mercedes, and Mexico promises much of the same as Austin in view of the similar layout of both circuits.
The Prancing Horse will have long turned their attentions towards 2017 with the radical technical changes providing an opportunity to leapfrog incumbent champions Mercedes.
But they will keen to take any opportunities for a victory this season given that the top brass have already labelled this tumultuous season a failure after not building on the successes of 2015, where Vettel took three victories.
The Scuderia will be less than buoyed by their performance in Mexico City last season, as Vettel spun multiple times and collided with Ricciardo at turn one, while Raikkonen clashed with fellow countryman Bottas and retired.
Last year’s Mexican Grand Prix was a sign of things to come for Ferrari this season. Will this season’s edition prove the same?