Why Ferrari’s Monza practice pace flatters its chances of home success
With the pressure very much on at its home grand prix at Monza, Ferrari showed strong form and headed both practice sessions on Friday. But with Red Bull yet to show its full hand, the pace of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz could merely flatter Ferrari as the Italian Grand Prix enters its more critical stages
Ferrari has been mocked for its fumbled strategy, its poorly executed pitstops and its iffy reliability that appears to have already squandered a shot at championship success in 2022. Charles Leclerc has been criticised for his spin out of third place at Imola and his shunt into the Paul Ricard barriers while leading. And there appears to be a new element to the Scuderia’s undoing: its pace is seemingly in decline. Or, perhaps more accurately, Red Bull is getting quicker and quicker.
While a victory in Hungary was lost to Leclerc’s ill-fated switch onto the hard tyres, since the summer break, the red cars have struggled to come up with a convincing answer to Max Verstappen’s turn of speed, albeit Sergio Perez’s recent uninspiring form has left the door ajar for the brace of F1-75s. The reigning champion was utterly peerless in Spa as Leclerc ran over his rival's visor tear-off to prompt an early unplanned pitstop. After the early promise shown at Zandvoort, it was instead the Mercedes that took the fight to the lead RB18.
In a marathon Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, Sergio Perez’s victory was only assured hours after the race due to a stewards investigation. Throughout the contest the Red Bull driver impressively held off Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in changing conditions to see the Mexican pull out enough of an advantage to negate his post-race penalty
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