Written by Matthew Brixton-Lee, Edited by Ishani Aziz
Coming into the summer break Ferrari currently sit second in the constructors championship, a mind-boggling 97 points behind Red Bull, despite having initially been a comfortably ahead early in the season. With only a 30-point lead over Mercedes, fans have been wondering how Ferrari’s season has gone so wrong. Let’s take a look at why things may have turned sour for Ferrari…
Their first big failure was at the Spanish Grand Prix, where Leclerc was leading by a comfortable margin of ten seconds. He looked likely to extend his already 19-point lead over championship rival; Max Verstappen. Then coming onto lap 27 Leclerc’s Ferrari slowed and spelled disaster for the Scuderia. An engine failure cost them an almost certain win and the championship lead. Something which they have still not regained.
The next blunder was soon after in Monaco. Having led the race in the early stages Leclerc was now in third behind his teammate when he was called into the pits for slick tyres. After already committing to the pit lane, he was suddenly told to stay out. It was too late by the time Leclerc came in to find Carlos Sainz already pitting. Fans watched as Leclerc sat for what felt like minutes before being released. The strategy call cost him a podium, coming in at P4, and a crushing handful of points.
The Baku race weekend was a stroke of more unwarranted bad luck. The weekend started well with Leclerc on pole position. On lap nine of the race Sainz’s car ground to a halt at turn 4, adding to the tally of engine failures to the Scuderia’s tab. On lap 20, Leclerc’s engine met the same fate. The double DNF was made more tragic by Verstappen’s win, further extending the Red Bull lead, and the Mercedes P3 and P4 meant the gap was closing in between Ferrari and the Silver Arrows.
To continue their trademark, Ferrari met with another disaster in France. Leclerc led the early laps with ongoing pressure from Verstappen, but a crucial throttle pedal error from Leclerc ended his race. Meanwhile a five-second penalty on top of the grid penalty for Sainz meant he would miss a podium. Again the Ferrari lead from Mercedes was dwindling.
No matter what happens in the fight for second Ferrari will finish at least third in this year’s championship. But to walk away from a season where they led early on to only finish third would be nothing short of an embarrassment for the scuderia. If they want to sustain second place Ferrari need to seriously fix their reliability and rethink their strategy over the summer break. Otherwise they will be overtaken by Mercedes who have scored more points than them in the last five races. If they don’t make serious changes Ferrari will find themselves making no improvement in position from last season.
Who do you think will be victorious in the fight between Mercedes and Ferrari? The next few races hold the answer.