La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Italian daily newspaper dedicated to coverage of various sports, has published an article criticizing Scuderia Ferrari for the way in which the Maranello team approaches key moments of the race and chooses to favour Sebastian Vettel instead of giving both drivers the chance to fight for victory.
The following article has been translated from the original, published in La Gazzetta dello Sport:
First and second in qualifying, third and eighth at the end of the race: the Ferrari disaster in China is explained by the poison of the figures. A deep bitterness because Ferrari, today, seems to have the best car on the grid. But just like those of Melbourne and Sakhir were team victories, the defeat in China is due to a confused or distorted mentality of the team.
We take the start, in which Vettel violently closed the door and blocked Raikkonen, with the result that Kimi was forced to brake in order to avoid the collision and was overtaken by Bottas and Verstappen. An unpleasant and harmful maneuver: with two Ferraris in front, the outcome of the race would have been very different. After that, Raikkonen, disappointed and resigned, had to settle with running in fourth position, only to find himself “used” by Ferrari, who kept Kimi on track to slow down the leader Bottas and help Sebastian Vettel attempt to regain first place, which was lost after the pit stop. An unpleasant moment, that Ferrari itself has always criticized when others did it. And so the pit stop for the Finnish was delayed beyond measure and did now allow the possibility to venture a strategy with different tires.
For years, we have criticized Raikkonen for his lack of will and intermittent talent. But Kimi, in this beginning of 2018, presented himself with another spirit, making us remember the super champion of the years in McLaren. Ferrari should have taken this into account. Instead, Kimi in Australia has been penalized by the strategy and is now considered in the team as a banal shoulder of Vettel, at the service of experiments and tactics. A resounding mistake that inevitably will affect the morale and therefore the performance of the driver. How can Raikkonen have the motivation and determination to approach the remaining 18 races in this way, also knowing that at the end of the year he will most likely have to leave?
Red Bull have also focused on one driver, Max Verstappen. But there is also Ricciardo. We can agree that he is another character and other age compared to Kimi. But Daniel is the demonstration of how the “second driver”, sometimes, can get unexpected triumphs and relaunch in championship, in a Formula 1 where nothing is programmable. Think about it, Ferrari. And, calmly, meditate if it really is worthwhile to rely only on the sole ability of cynicism to bring home results.