Charles claims his 2nd victory in Ferrari’s homeland, the Italian GP. A massive achievement considering that the last win gor the Italian team was marked 9 years ago, in 2010 by the spaniard Fernando Alonso. But this years the the boundry conditions where quite different from the past season: the crew directed by Binotto has presented a dragster-type F1 car; the low drag configuration together a powerful engine make long straights circuits very appreciated by Leclerc and Vettel’s car. Yes, I said car, because the two Ferrari driver gave a very different response in terms of final results.
Before the race analysis: what did we see on Saturday’s qualifying?
The (expected) lap of the Q3 (qualifying session) was a tactical show, if of show we can talk. Also during the first attempt, the Mercedes made thier move: when they saw their were followed by Ferrari, they stopped at the end of the pitlane. The consequence was right there: Vettel incapable of find a proper slipstream.
The difficulty of finding a driver ready to sacrifice his time lap to give the slipstream to the following one was the sparkle, the ignition what we have (NOT) seen: Hulkemberg doing the zig-zag at turn 1 was only an anticipation. Only Sainz and Leclerc capable of passing under the finish line before the red lights.
I say, quite fair if you exit the pits with only 15 seconds of margin.
Was Leclerc cunning during Quali?
Of course it was. We heard some rumours saying he didn’t followed the team directions. However, he showed up to be very clever. Let me ask a question: Vettel eas behind Sainz during the last straight before the parabolic. Fine. The German was still slowing down: if Leclerc didn’t overtake his teammate, probably the 22 years-old Ferrari driver (and all the ones following him) would have comprimised his opportunity to do the lap time. I take it like a reaction that only talented and cute drivers have.
After just one week, Charles showed up. Again. But this time he can celebrate properly (after the dull weekend of Spa for what happened to his friend Hubert). The 22-years old driver confirmed the first place of Quali after an all-long under pressure race. But at the end, winner and superior to the Mercedes and their strategies. The keys to victory were essencially two: the right strategy of Ferrari (long last) chosing the hard compound and the awesome management of Charles. But now it’s the time for the grade marks to drivers!
Leclerc: consistent, concentrate, aggressive to the limit (during the fight with Hamilton) and sly (when missing the apex and ready to find the right way to lose the least possible). GRADE: 9.5/10.
Hamilton: the black king today is beaten. But he always demonstrate to never give up. All the race stuck the to rear of the Ferrari to put pressure on his rival. Driving so close to another car is an ability only champions have. However, at the end, he loses the second place. GRADE: 6.5/10.
Bottas: That could have been the chance to attack the first position of a GP. Great worker but he does not same the same ability to manage the slipstream of a car. But, on the whole he gains few points on Hamilton. GRADE: 6.5/10.
Verstappen: Not a great race, also due to engine problem of the new power unit. Also his Red Bull has not seemed to have a stunning pace during the race. NO MORE ACCIDENT on turn 1, please. GRADE: 5.5/10.
Giovinazzi: No mistakes during the last lap of the race. And this means point to Alfa, in a under pressure track because he was also his home track. Needs points aligned to the performances he quite always delivered. GRADE: 6.5/10.
Ricciardo: very important results for Renault which regains 21 on Mclaren. The high speed configuration is favourable to the Australian driver and Hulkemberg, even though the tyre wear requires to be mantained under control and improved for next races. GRADE: 8/10.
Vettel: DNF. Bonus time. I do not want to rage this time on him. GRADE: DNF.
The German driver seems to have lost himself sometimes. Sometimes spinning seems to have become his discipline. The technical cause is hidden in the fact that Vettel prefers driving understeering car with a very stable rear. In fact, during the beginning of the season we was competitive and scored important points. But the warm-up problems of Pirelli on Ferrari has required the engineers to progressively shift the aero-balance to the front as the Mercedes does (do you remind the front tyres blistering of Merceds in France?). A rear limited car may not be the fastest car on Vettel’s hands. However, according to me, until the psychological condition of the 4-times wold champion will be recoverd the technical difficulties will remain unresolved.