Of the big three teams, Ferrari is the only team who has yet to score victory in the 12 races so far. If we are looking at technicalities, Sebastian Vettel crossed the line first in Canada, until a time penalty scuppered his chances.
Fast-forward to the Hungarian Grand Prix, and both Ferraris were more than a minute behind race winner Lewis Hamilton.
Ross Brawn, who was a key figure behind Ferrari’s run of titles from 2000-2004, believes that Hungary was “too big a gap for the team”.
“One knew from the track characteristics that this race would not suit the Ferrari car, but not to the extent we saw, especially in the race,” said Brawn.
“The times from the third sector, where you need maximum downforce, speak volumes, as the car was so far off the pace of the Mercedes and Red Bulls.”
“The summer break has probably come at just the right time because I’m well aware of how the pressure can build on Ferrari when things aren’t going well.”
“It won’t do any harm to take a breather and recharge the batteries. Then, once the racing starts again, the aero requirements of Spa and Monza could put Vettel and Leclerc right in the fight again considering the aero efficiency of their cars.”
“Ferrari badly needs a win, not so much for their championship aspirations, but as a morale booster, to prove that it has the potential to be a championship contender, an obligation it has always been under.”
So far, Sebastian Vettel is Ferrari’s best-placed driver in the championship in fourth, and 94 points behind Hamilton. Meanwhile, on the constructors’ scene, Scuderia Ferrari is 150 points behind Mercedes, and Red Bull are looking threatening.
Lewis Hamilton stormed to his eighth win in 12 races after a strategic masterstroke from Mercedes. They switched him to a two-stop strategy to three stops and Hamilton did the rest by clawing into Max Verstappen’s lead.
Brawn admitted that Hamilton “had to fight like the champion he is” and his final stint on fresh tyres saw him “lapping at almost qualifying pace.”
“Earlier, the two men fought a thrilling duel that went in the Dutchman’s favour,” said the former Brawn GP boss.
“It’s true Max’s tyres were shot towards the end, but Mercedes had the benefit of seeing first hand what the hard tyres could do, thanks to a long stint from Valtteri Bottas.”
“It seemed odd to be calling Hamilton in when his tyres seemed in good enough shape to keep pushing but it turned out to be a masterstroke.”
“Mercedes therefore deserve credit for taking a risk on strategy when they could have gone the more obvious route and then wait for the race to evolve.”