Fer­rari bosses are now full of op­ti­mism af­ter Cana­dian show­ing

Motor Sport News - - Front Page - By Rob Lad­brook

Se­bas­tian Vet­tel has hit out at Fer­rari’s crit­ics, in­sist­ing the team showed in Canada that it is closer than ever to un­seat­ing Mercedes in the F1 peck­ing or­der.

Vet­tel could have won the Cana­dian Grand Prix, hav­ing led the early stages af­ter vault­ing past both Mercedes off the start, but dropped back when the team opted to move him on to a two-stop strat­egy as op­posed to Lewis Hamil­ton’s one-stop.

That call cost Vet­tel track po­si­tion and the chance of vic­tory, but the four-time world cham­pion re­fused to crit­i­cise his team af­ter the race and in­stead in­sisted the race proves how far the Scud­e­ria has come in its quest to eat into Mercedes’ pace ad­van­tage.

Vet­tel told re­porters in Mon­treal: “I hope you write ex­actly this to­mor­row; that we are closer than ever [to Mercedes]. I think some­times it’s a bit sur­real. We are an Ital­ian team. I think Fer­rari stands for great pas­sion and a lot of val­ues in Italy and some­times it seems like the Ital­ian press is our big­gest op­po­nent.

“Per­haps you could write some­thing nice, which would be a nice mes­sage for all the peo­ple in Maranello that are re­ally work­ing their ar­ses off day in, day out to make the Fer­rari a strong car.

“I’ve never had a doubt. I know this car is a big step up and I think we had a mixed-up start to the sea­son which was dif­fi­cult be­cause we were never re­ally in the po­si­tion to show what the car can de­liver. Es­pe­cially be­cause Satur­days [qual­i­fy­ing] here and there weren’t great, so I think this week­end was ac­tu­ally nor­mal as we had a good Satur­day and great pace to­day. Just look at the open­ing laps, I was pulling away and the car has felt great all week­end.

“I’m re­ally happy with the progress this team is mak­ing. I just ask you to be pa­tient, a bit more pa­tient. This team is on a great path, things are im­prov­ing and I think we’re see­ing re­sults quicker than any­one else so far in the his­tory of F1. We are on the right track, it’s a great team and we’re en­joy­ing this a lot.”

No crit­i­cism

Vet­tel flatly re­fused to point the fin­ger at the pit wall for the loss of a shot at vic­tory in Canada, adding that he stood by the strat­egy call.

Dur­ing the race, teams ex­pe­ri­enced less tyre degra­da­tion than ex­pected, open­ing the door for al­ter­nate strate­gies. With Vet­tel lead­ing, Fer­rari opted to pit him and swap from ul­tra soft to su­per soft tyres when the race was neu­tralised af­ter Jen­son But­ton’s Mclaren failed. It con­signed Vet­tel to a two-stop race as each car had to run the man­dated soft com­pound in the race.

The chas­ing Hamil­ton changed di­rectly to the soft at his stop, vault­ing ahead of Vet­tel when he made his sec­ond stop.

Fer­rari team head Mau­r­izio Ar­riv­abene ac­cepted the strat­egy was wrong, say­ing: “We over­es­ti­mated the degra­da­tion of the tyres, that’s why we called Se­bas­tian in. We tried to take ad­van­tage of the vir­tual safety car pe­riod, which lasted way less than ex­pected.

“It was the wrong de­ci­sion. We don’t have to make the story big­ger

than it is, to­day we made a mis­take, but ev­ery­body makes mis­takes. But to­day Se­bas­tian showed that this car has mus­cles.”

Vet­tel added: “We com­mit­ted early to the strat­egy and I think it was prob­a­bly the right thing to do in terms of get­ting to the che­quered flag the quick­est way. But ob­vi­ously we lost track po­si­tion and didn’t ex­pect the soft tyre to last as long.

“We maybe lost the race be­cause the degra­da­tion wasn’t as high as ex­pected. But I’m not a big fan of blam­ing any­one and I think over­all this has just been a re­ally good week­end for Fer­rari. Strat­egy-wise I think we are a very strong team. The guys are usu­ally on the money, very strong, re­act­ing well and if here and there we don’t do the op­ti­mum then that’s part of the job.

“I en­joyed the race a lot. The last 30 laps I was just flat-out, and that’s how rac­ing should be.”

Ar­riv­abene also said he was glad to see the team has bat­tled past the mys­te­ri­ous tyre prob­lems that plagued its per­for­mance in qual­i­fy­ing at both Spain and Monaco. “The team re­acted very well and we start to un­der­stand clearly how to find the right bal­ance with the car,” Ar­riv­abene said. “The gap that we have from Mercedes is now short, but we need to work more to be able to win.”

Mercedes aware

Fer­rari brought a raft of up­grades to Mon­treal in its ef­forts to close down Mercedes.

De­vel­op­ment to­kens were spent on a new tur­bocharger de­sign and the SF16-H boasted a re­worked aero kit with new front and rear wing changes and new brake ducts.

The pack­age paid div­i­dends, with Vet­tel qual­i­fy­ing just a tenth be­hind the two Sil­ver Ar­rows.

Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff said he was keep­ing an eye on how Fer­rari was de­vel­op­ing. “Fer­rari was strong in both qual­i­fy­ing and the race, whereas Red Bull’s per­for­mance was bet­ter in qual­i­fy­ing,” said Wolff.

“If you see the long-term de­vel­op­ment slope of Fer­rari they are get­ting bet­ter ev­ery race and they have had some bad luck at the beginning of the sea­son, but this week­end again you could see that their car is ca­pa­ble of win­ning races.

“We are com­ing back to nor­mal­ity. We have been in the lucky sit­u­a­tion for two years be­ing the dom­i­nant team, now we are see­ing the gaps be­tween the top three or four teams is shrink­ing. That’s why we’re all here, for com­pe­ti­tion.”

Vet­tel jumped Hamil­ton (r) and Ros­berg (l) off the start

Ar­riv­abene happy with pace

Vet­tel says that Fer­rari is clos­ing in on the speed of Mercedes

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