Ferrari struggled to take advantage of the crash between Hamilton and Verstappen because of its straight line speed deficit
Ferrari surprised most people at the power sensitive Monza track with a P4 for Charles Leclerc and P6 for Carlos Sainz Jr but the home team felt disappointed with the result considering the front running cars of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen crashed and retired. This in turn opened things up for the McLaren duo of Ricciardo and Norris for a dominating 1-2 something which resulted in the Italian team falling 13.5 points behind their prime rivals for P3 in the world constructor’s championship.
Leclerc particularly found himself in a strong position after the Hamilton-Verstappen crash as that triggered a safety car and having not pitted earlier, the Ferrari was suddenly in P2 behind Ricciardo. However, he was quickly overtaken by Norris, Perez and Bottas mostly due to Ferrari power deficit compared to the Mercedes and Honda powered
“20hp deficit compared to McLaren. I think today we saw that,” said Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto. The gulf with Mercedes would’ve been similar as both teams use the same engine and perhaps with the Red Bull of Perez it would’ve been marginally lower.
Ferrari is planning an all new engine for the 2022 season that will last it through to the engine development freeze which will be till 2025. Ferrari wants to have the best engine in F1 following this season. But even for the 2021 season it has an engine update thanks to the homologation rules which could add as much as 10 bhp which would reduce its deficit to Mercedes and Honda.
On tracks like Monza, the SF21 becomes a sitting duck as 75 per cent of the race is run at full throttle and with DRS, the car becomes an easy prey on the straights.
“We know it was present, this must not get us down in the dumps, we’re working on that a lot, also in view of next season. The development is also well under way. It’s clear that it’s a pity to lose points, but a race like this one must cheer us up for what we did. It was a solid race in general, good driving from the drivers, the strategy, the pit stop. Overall it’s good,” said a pretty relaxed Binotto.
Ferrari expected to struggle here but actually did quite well. The problem was that its chief rivals in the contsructor’s championship extracted maximum points as a result of the clash between title contenders Verstappen and Hamilton. Binotto feels this deficit, however, can be overcome.
“We expected a difficult weekend for us, all in all P4 and P6 is a solid result. Then congrats to McLaren, today they did full points, so good for them. On our side we focus [on ourselves], we were vulnerable at the restart after the Safety Car, we were overtaken. I would say this can happen for what we know is still a bit our weakness, so the top speed and the engine power and performance,” he added.
“I think McLaren adapts well to this track, also last year they did a great weekend. Yes, we can reverse it, it is not said that by the end there can be tracks that can suit better for us. Then we’ll always do our best. There are some tracks where we expect to do well,” clarified the Ferrari team boss.