Monaco Grand Prix, a race which most of us want to forget and delete it from our hard disk, a race which only one team and one driver wants to remember it. The team, as you can guess, is Ferrari and the driver is the four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Ferrari celebrated their first victory in Monaco since 2001, Sebastian Vettel overtook Kimi Raikkonen took the lead of the race after his first pit-stop and secured an easy victory and Ferrari’s first 1-2 in 2017.
A bad weekend for Mercedes, they lost the lead in the constructors’ championship, they didn’t finish on the podium, but at least both drivers finished in the points.
By now I guess most of you, you will know what happened in Monaco, the winners and the losers of the previous weekend, but there are several trends in social media, about “team orders”, the unfair way that Ferrari gave the lead and the victory to Vettel and that Kimi had to win.
The facts indicate that when Kimi pitted, Vettel made some flying laps, remained on track, pitted a couple of laps later and passed Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn, couldn’t follow Vettel’s pace, and I assume that he preferred to protect his engine than to push in a difficult and risky track for overtakes, which would be very difficult for him to pass Vettel.
Who can blame Ferrari for choosing different strategies for Raikkonen and Vettel? Who can say that Ferrari is not fair with the way that they are treating their drivers?
Even if I accept that Ferrari decided to help Vettel to win, I don’t think that it was a bad move. First of all Vettel is leading into the drivers’ championship, he is more competitive than his team-mate, he has a bigger contract and finally he is a four-time world champion.
Another difference is that Kimi Raikkonen will, probably, retire after the end of this or the next season, he is 37 years old, compared to Vettel, who is 29 and if he wins the title this year he will remain at Ferrari and will his chances to win more trophies will be increased.
And don’t forget that Vettel is from Germany, he was born in the same country with Michael Schumacher, Ferrari’s legend and Vettel’s hero. For me that plays the biggest role in team’s decisions.
Ferrari wants to return to the top and win the championship after almost 10 years, and they are not willing to risk it for any reason. I am sure that if they secure the title before the final race they will let Raikkonen to win a race. It won’t be the same, but remember that the team is above the drivers.
At least we have to recognise that Ferrari have improved their “team orders” skills, no team radio this time and no “Kimi, Vettel is faster than you!”
Victor Archakis F1 Editor – @FP_Passion