F1: Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) Expect Vettel to End MercedesAMG’s Dominance
Ferrari’s (NYSE:RACE) Sebastian Vettel will be keen to make amends for a 1st-lap shunt in the French Grand Prix by ending MercedesAMG’s dominance at the Red Bull Ring this weekend.
Mr. Vettel was given a 5-sec penalty after crashing into Valtteri Bottas at Turn 1 at Circuit Paul Ricard.
He only managed to finished 5th as Lewis Hamilton ran easily to victory that put him back at the Top of the driver standings with a 14-point advantage.
MercedesAMG has won all 4 races since the Austrian Grand Prix returned to Spielberg.
Silver Arrow’s boss Toto Wolff is expecting more twists and turns in the F1 season after watching Mr. Hamilton return to the Top of the podium with a commanding drive in a car fitted with an upgraded power unit.
“I believe that all three power units are pretty close together, between Renault, Ferrari and ourselves at the moment. It’s about finding gains without compromising reliability. That’s the trick. That fight is going to continue until the end of the season,” Mr. Wolff said.
“I think what you saw in Montreal in comparison to Le Castellet is that marginal gains matter. We fell back in Montreal because we could not bring the new power unit, and we were racing power unit number one for the seventh consecutive race, and the others introduced their upgrade. This certainly didn’t help.
“We also constantly are learning on how to set the car up in the right way in combination with the tyres, and of course we also brought some upgrades to the car which was good to see coming together. And all these gains in their respective areas added to a solid step that we could materialise on each of the three days at Le Castellet.”
There could be some friction in the paddock this week after Max Verstappen called on journalists to give Mr. Vettel the same sort of probing he faced after some costly mistakes earlier in the season.
Mr. Vettel admitted to being at fault, but Verstappen said he should still be in the firing line when he faces the media.
“I think next time you see Seb, maybe you should tell him to change his style, because honestly it’s not acceptable,” he said. “That’s what they said to me in the beginning of the season, so I think they should do the same to him.”
It is being reported that Mr. Hamilton could be set to sign a new lucrative contract before the British Grand Prix, while speculation over Daniel Ricciardo’s future continues after Eric Boullier confirmed McLaren’s interest in the Red Bull driver.
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 145
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 131 (-14)
3. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 96 (-49)
4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 92 (-53)
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 83 (-62)
1. Mercedes 237
2. Ferrari 214 (-23)
3. Red Bull 164 (-73)
4. Renault 62 (-173)
5. McLaren 40 (-197)
RACEWEEK SCHEDULE (all times local)
FP1 (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)
FP2 (2-4:30 p.m.)
FP3 (Noon-1 p.m.)
Qualifying (3-4 p.m.)
Race (2:10-5:10 p.m.)
2017: Valtteri Bottas
2016: Lewis Hamilton
2015: Nico Rosberg