A pole position, a podium, and third place in the Constructors’ Championship. This is the total that Ferrari takes away from Monza, undeniably a special weekend for the Maranello team, as it’s here they find their fans and an essential part of their history.
The Scuderia can’t say they didn’t try, with the first part of the race seeing them keeping a close eye on Max Verstappen. On multiple occasions, the Dutchman attempted to apply pressure to the pole-sitter and find the right moment to attempt an overtake that would pave his way to victory. The opportunity came following Carlos Sainz’s lock-up at the first corner, which opened the door for the decisive move at Turn 4, giving Max Verstappen a chance to build a safety gap and pull the two SF-23s out of his slipstream.
After losing touch with Max Verstappen, the two Ferrari drivers then tried to defend against Sergio Perez, although the Mexican ultimately prevailed with an overtake on the straight. Until Leclerc had the opportunity to use DRS and slipstream behind his teammate, the strategy allowed the Monegasque to defend, sometimes quite vigorously, as seen at the Roggia chicane. However, once this element was removed, there was little that Charles Leclerc could do to contain the other Red Bull.
“In general, it was a good weekend. We had the pace from FP1, secured pole position, and fought with the Red Bulls throughout the race. One car is on the podium, and the other is in fourth place. Overall, it’s a good result. I’m proud of the team’s work, and I’m happy for the fans,” explained Frederic Vasseur during interviews, highlighting the team’s good work even before the weekend. Despite the issues Charles Leclerc faced on Friday, the team quickly found a setup with Carlos Sainz that delivered the expected benefits. Ferrari emphasized that they had understood the car better on low-downforce tracks like the Italian one.
“We weren’t so far from thinking we could keep Perez behind, but that’s how it went. It was tough because their pace was better than ours. The next step is to be more competitive on high-downforce tracks. Let’s see in two weeks. After Zandvoort, we have a better understanding of the situation. We hope to make progress on those tracks too,” added the Team Principal when asked if Ferrari could achieve a bit more in terms of the final result.
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Undoubtedly, Ferrari performed well on one of the tracks most suitable for the SF-23’s characteristics, allowing them to be the second force of the weekend with relative ease. “In the end, it was a bit of everything. We are certainly in slightly better shape on this type of track, and the fans probably gave us something extra! It will certainly be a different story in two weeks in Singapore, but after Zandvoort, we have a better understanding of the situation. We hope to make progress on those tracks too.”
After losing second place to Sergio Perez, the two Ferrari drivers dueled for the last position on the podium. The Maranello team did not impose team orders, leaving the opportunity for both drivers to fight for their position on the track, although they clearly indicated not to take excessive risks. Still, a few daring maneuvers were observed. “I was a bit scared,” Fred Vasseur said with a smile. “In general, I’m a fan of letting them duel. I told them they could fight but without taking risks.”
Finally, the Team Principal also praised Carlos Sainz’s growth over the season, who had shown evident difficulties, especially in qualifying, at the beginning of the year. At Monza, he secured his first podium of the year at the end of a weekend where he proved fast from the start, immediately finding confidence in the car. “I think he has made a big step forward even from the beginning of the weekend. He was fast in FP1 and FP2, secured pole position in qualifying. He has improved a lot since the start of the season. We hope he can do the same in the second half of the season.” – the Ferrari boss concluded after the Italian Grand Prix.