Best possible result
Ferrari’s weekend in Monza concluded with third and fourth-place finishes. Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc did their best in front of the home crowd to contain the dominance of the two Red Bulls. However, despite the pole position secured by the Spanish driver yesterday, the top step of the podium was once again claimed by Max Verstappen. Even the double finish of the RB19s didn’t wipe the smile off the face of Ferrari’s Team Principal, Frederic Vasseur. The French manager was experiencing his first Italian Grand Prix as the boss of Ferrari and had reason to celebrate a result that brought the Prancing Horse back to third place in the Constructors’ Championship.
“Today, it wasn’t possible to do more to compete with the Red Bulls,” Fred Vasseur candidly admitted to Sky Sport F1’s microphones after the race. “Their pace was better. Maybe we could have held Checo somewhere between our two drivers, but it was difficult. Nevertheless, the difference was much less than usual, which is positive. Overall, it was a very enjoyable race. This has been a very positive weekend for us from the start. We were strong in qualifying, and in the race, we managed to compete with the Red Bulls.” However, the most intense emotions for Ferrari fans may have come in the final laps when Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc engaged in an exciting yet perilous duel, followed with some apprehension even in the red team’s garage.
“In the end, I told our drivers not to take risks,” Fred Vasseur commented regarding the final battle for third place, “and at that point, it was their responsibility. At the end of the race, I was trembling a bit because of the fight, but I really appreciated that they dueled.” It demonstrated the maturity of the drivers and the entire team, which wisely refrained from issuing team orders, except for the obvious one not to cause accidents. If Monza saw Ferrari return to being the second force on the track, it remains to be seen how the SF-23 will evolve in the upcoming races on the calendar.
“Since the beginning of the season, the standings change from one track to another,” explained the head of the Ferrari pit wall. “And we will start from scratch in two weeks in Singapore. It will be another challenge, but we must seize all the positive aspects. I think it has been a very good event for the team, and I am happy for the fans. This result is due to several factors: we are certainly in better shape on this type of track, and the fans pushed us, but it will be a different story in Singapore. We have a better understanding of the situation after Zandvoort, and we hope to make progress on that type of track as well.” – the French manager concluded at the end of the 2023 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
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