“Ferrari can’t win anymore” declared a damning indictment from Auto Motor und Sport, with Mattia Binotto left to rue Ferrari’s race pace at the Italian Grand Prix.
Although Charles Leclerc started Sunday’s 53-lap Monza race from pole position, the Monégasque driver P1 for the eighth time this season, he was unable to match Max Verstappen’s pace in the grand prix.
Aware of this, Ferrari threw the dice with an early pit-stop when the Virtual Safety Car was deployed on lap 12 with that decision putting Leclerc onto a two-stop strategy.
But even with the brand new set of soft tyres he took on at his second stop, he was unable to chase down Verstappen and was 16 seconds behind when the Safety Car was deployed, ending the day’s action.
Team boss Binotto admits such was the pace of the Red Bull RB18 that Ferrari had nothing to lose by gambling with Leclerc’s strategy.
“The Red Bull was the faster car,” said the Italian. “If we had gone up against him with the same strategy, we would never have beaten him.
“Two stops were basically not wrong because you never know what will happen later in the race.
“For us, playing poker was without risk.”
Binotto added: “Since the Hungarian Grand Prix, the Red Bull has been the better car. Not on Saturday but in the race.
“Our tyres degrade faster. They get a better balance than us and we have to work hard to understand that.”
Leclerc had to settle for second position at Ferrari’s home race, the 24-year-old again dropping points with Verstappen’s advantage in the standings up to 116 points.
Auto Motor und Sport’s Michael Schmidt says Ferrari’s biggest problem is their race pace due to the F1-75’s high tyre degradation.
“Ferrari can’t win anymore,” he wrote. “It’s still enough for pole position but no longer for victory.
“The speed in the F1-75 is still there, but over the distance the red car eats its tyres. That puts all the trump cards in Max Verstappen’s hand.
“Monza was no exception. Even if Charles Leclerc gave the Tifosi hope, it was deceptive.”
Ferrari, he added, “suspect the aerodynamics – that the search for more downforce has reduced the working window and thus the scope for set-up”.
But while Leclerc lost a position on Sunday, his team-mate Carlos Sainz made up 13 as he raced his way from the back of the grid to fourth.
The Spaniard is P5 in the Drivers’ Championship with 187 points, with Ferrari still sitting second in the Constructors’ but 139 points behind Red Bull.
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