A difficult podium in Monza

Highlights

  • Seb Vettel - 3rd place
  • Kimi Raikkonen - 5th place
  • Qualifying was wet & slippery
  • Race day saw a drier track

Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finished the Italian Grand Prix in third and fifth places respectively. It wasn’t the best result for Scuderia Ferrari’s home race, but at least the team was able to get a driver to salute the tifosi from the podium, after the difficulties of yesterday. Seb is now three points behind the leader in the Drivers’ World Championship.

With qualifying run entirely in the wet, drivers had a free choice of dry tyre type for the start. Kimi and Seb lined up on fifth and sixth places on the grid shod with the Supersofts. It was an aggressive choice, actually adopted by all those at the front end, with the aim of immediately going on the attack. Raikkonen did just that, passing Bottas round the outside of the Curva Grande. The battle rumbled on to the First Chicane, where Valtteri took the place back. Then Seb successful passed his team-mate heading down to the first Lesmo to go fifth. On lap 5, it was Stroll’s turn to give best to the German who set about chasing Ocon in the Force India who, like the Canadian in the Williams had done surprisingly well in qualifying. Around this time, Kimi went straight on at the first chicane. At the start of lap 8, Sebastian made a determined move on Ocon to get into a podium position.

Kimi was suffering with an unstable rear end and on lap 16, he pitted to switch to the Soft tyres, rejoining in 11th place. Two laps later, Stroll covered the Ferrari’s strategy, but the Iceman was now out in front, also passing Vandoorne to go eighth. On lap 26, he pulled off a copybook move on Ocon, slipstreaming before outbraking him into the First Chicane. Seb meanwhile kept putting in the quick laps to free himself from traffic at the pit stop, which happened on lap 32. A perfect job from the mechanics saw him emerge in fourth place in clean air.

The race was not exactly a thriller, but there was a moment of excitement when Ricciardo, who was on a charge, finally pitted. Kimi stayed ahead and so the SF70Hs were third and fourth. However, the Red Bull was on the softer compound and it got ahead at the first braking point. In the final 10 laps, Sebastian also had to keep an eye on his former team-mate and responded with his best lap, upping the pace in the closing stages. He defended in determined fashion all the way to the flag and was clearly proud to

stand on the podium, having achieved the minimum goal the team had set itself on the most difficult weekend of the year.

Maurizio Arrivabene, Scuderia Ferrari team principal: “It’s been a difficult weekend at a track that definitely didn’t suit the technical characteristics of the SF70H. The great crowd of our fans here at Monza supported us all the way and the entire team thanks them for that. After a far from ideal qualifying in the wet, Sebastian managed to get the better of the drivers directly ahead of him on the grid and thus make it to the podium. As for Kimi, he had a more difficult time due to the balance on his car being inconsistent. Despite the fact that everyone in the team did their utmost, we cannot be satisfied with this result. We will tackle the next race in Singapore with our feet on the ground and with our usual determination.”

Sebastian Vettel: “Today we were not as quick as the Mercedes, but considering where we started from, we got the best result in the race. It was not ideal, but we are working very hard on what we want to achieve. The next tracks should be ok for us. We know we have to work on ourselves and where. I was happy at being back here with all our supporters, I got a lot of adrenalin from being on that podium. Of course, I wanted to win, but I am confident we are on the right way. It was not a great day for us, but at the same time it was brilliant to feel all the passion. Leading the Championship is not important as much as winning the Championship, it’s where you are at the last race that counts. It is clear where we want to go, what we want to achieve.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “For the whole race I kept struggling with the balance of the car. It never felt like it should have done. On some laps it was getting better, but most of the time we were lacking the grip and the pace. It was not an easy weekend, we were fighting in all conditions, in the dry and even more in the wet. This is something that we have to fix for these kinds of circuit. I’m disappointed as the result is not what we wanted. For sure if you take the pure layout of the track it’s not an easy one for us, which is unfortunate at our home grand prix. I would be surprised if it’s the same story at the next race, because on paper the race in Singapore should be better for us. Now we have to go there and do our best.”

Next we travel to Singapore now the European leg of the championship is complete. It's time to go night racing!

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