A celebrated Formula 1 journalist with more than 500 (consecutive) Grands Prix’ experience, David Tremayne is one of those familiar paddock figures who has seen it all, met them all, and written about it all, over almost five decades of F1 racing. Here, he shares his thoughts after round 14 in Italy and explains the unfortunate outcome for Scuderia Ferrari at Monza:
“Ferrari are the team in form right now, from the performance point of view. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think that the SF71H has the legs on the Mercedes W09 EQ Power+. Since Canada, Ferrari have developed an edge on acceleration that gives them great straightline speed too, and Vettel’s domination at Spa last week paved the expectations for a Ferrari whitewash at Monza.
Perhaps, if the Gods smiled on Raikkonen for a change, the 1-2 that had been elusive since Rubens Barrichello led Michael Schumacher home in 2004 might have happened. So how on earth did the Scuderia lose?
For sure, Sebastian’s incident with Lewis was one of the causes, as it took one car out of contention straight away. But the root cause was that the SF71H ate its soft tyres quicker than the Mercedes did.
That allied with some great strategy from Mercedes, who had to recover ground fast after Lewis’ first stint actually quintupled his deficit to Kimi, from 1.0s on the 19th lap, just before Kimi pitted, to 5.2s after Lewis had on the 28th lap.
They were fortunate that Bottas was in the lead and that they could use him to hold up Kimi and exacerbate his tyre wear, so that Lewis on his eight-lap fresher rubber could home in and pick up his challenge by the time his team mate got out of the way.
When the Ferrari blistered its left rear tyre, just as Sebastian’s car had done, Kimi was toast. It didn’t help Ferrari, either, that they focused most of their dry road running in practice on the supersoft tyre, and did less running than Mercedes on the soft.”