Fer­rari can make the ‘im­pos­si­ble pos­si­ble’

CityPress - - Sport - MICHELLE FOSTER sports@city­press.co.za – TEAMtalk Media

For 18 months, Fer­rari and Red Bull have thrown money and man­power into their ef­forts to swing the pen­du­lum that seemed to per­pet­u­ally point in Mercedes’ favour.

Last Sun­day it fi­nally moved – marginally – but it was enough to give a glim­mer of hope.

Though the Hun­gar­ian Grand Prix week­end be­gan as a typ­i­cal Mercedes rout­ing, with Lewis Hamil­ton quick­est in all three prac­tice ses­sions and top­ping the times in qual­i­fy­ing, it ended in the team’s worst re­sult since the 2013 Ja­panese Grand Prix.

In a wretched day at the of­fice, Hamil­ton was swamped by the Fer­raris off the line, ran off the track on the first lap and con­nected with Daniel Ric­cia­rdo with enough force to break his front wing.

Deemed re­spon­si­ble for the crash, the world cham­pion was given a drive-through penalty.

His home coun­try’s na­tional news­pa­pers un­leashed a bar­rage of crit­i­cism against him.

Lewis’ team-mate Nico Ros­berg did not fare much bet­ter. He was also un­able to keep the Fer­raris at bay at the start and, more sur­pris­ingly, wasn’t able to keep them in his sights.

Ros­berg fell to al­most 15 sec­onds be­hind the race leader af­ter the Mercedes pit opted to put him on medium Pirellis in the mid­dle stint, which cost him time.

Like Hamil­ton, he was also in­volved in a late in­ci­dent with Ric­cia­rdo. In Ros­berg’s case, it ne­ces­si­tated a pit stop – his W06’s rear right was punc­tured.

Sixth and eighth on the day, Mercedes were left to be­moan back-to-back race week­ends marred by poor starts.

For­mula 1 was able to celebrate as the team’s woes all but gave Se­bas­tian Vet­tel a free pass to vic­tory, his sec­ond with Fer­rari.

But the Ger­man ac­tu­ally did put in a flaw­less race on the fastest tyre strat­egy – soft-soft­medium – while all Fer­rari’s stops on the day were per­fect.

Vet­tel’s de­sire to win en­dured from the start. And he did it all over again when the safety car re­turned to the pits.

It was a Fer­rari show rem­i­nis­cent of days gone by as the Scud­e­ria ran 1-2 for over half the race with Kimi Raikko­nen play­ing rear gun­ner to his team­mate’s chal­lenge. It left one won­der­ing whether fans would have been treated to the first Fer­rari 1-2 since the 2010 Ger­man GP if it had not been for the Finn’s MGU-K is­sue.

It also left fans spec­u­lat­ing – and teams other than Mercedes hop­ing – that the winds of change had fi­nally swept through the pad­dock.

While Fer­rari walked away from the Hun­garor­ing dream­ing of mak­ing the “im­pos­si­ble pos­si­ble”, other teams, like Wil­liams, now feel it is “pos­si­ble to beat” the Brack­ley duo. And that is what F1 needs. While any team get­ting the bet­ter of Mercedes is good for the sport, the fact that it was Fer­rari is even sweeter.

The pas­sion and history be­hind the Scud­e­ria mean they have some of the most avid fans, and even those with­out fire in their blood un­der­stand who and what Fer­rari is.

At a time when the sport is be­ing crit­i­cised from all quar­ters, last Sun­day’s re­sult – and the race that went on be­hind it – could not have been more re­ward­ing for For­mula 1.

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