Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2015

Ferrari capable of beating Mercedes – Vettel

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Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2015In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel says it’s possible that Ferrari could beat Mercedes to the chequered flag in today’s Bahrain Grand Prix.


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Vettel says victory in the Bahrain GP is possible (Sky)

"It’s always possible. I think it’s most important that we feel good inside the car and then we have a good platform to work from. Obviously now overnight we try and improve and go from there."

Kimi Raikkonen contract extension depends on performance (ESPN)

"Kimi knows, now it's early to talk about this at the moment. I'm happy about the performance of Kimi but he needs to push and he knows that."

Valtteri Bottas Q&A: We will try everything to beat Ferrari (

"What has been really good this weekend so far is that we’ve got the option tyres to work better in qualifying and in the long runs, so I think that we will be able to run the same strategy as the cars in front and that should hopefully bring us closer. Then let’s see if the pace is enough tomorrow to fight with them."

Alonso: Reaching Q2 a nice surprise for McLaren (NBC)

"This weekend has been a nice surprise so far and the car felt better again today. We’ve made a step forward, performance-wise. Everything appears to be going in the right direction."

Kvyat blames Red Bull-Renault energy issues for Q1 exit (Autosport)

"Daniil Kvyat believes 'energy issues' with his Red Bull's Renault power unit were to blame for his Q1 exit during qualifying for Formula 1's Bahrain Grand Prix."

VIDEO: Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene: 'F1's rock and roll team principal' (BBC - UK only)

"Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene talks to BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan about how he has turned the Maranello teams fortunes around this season."

Red Bull unfair to former drivers says Alguersuari (GrandPrix)

"When I started, Formula 1 felt much more special. Now a Formula 1 car is like a big Formula 3 car, and only a few seconds faster than GP2."


Comment of the day

With Sebastian Vettel out-qualifying team mate Kimi Raikkonen for the fourth consecutive race, @polo offers a considered assessment of the two Ferrari drivers.

Vettel has clearly had the upper hand over Raikkonen so far, but Raikkonen has been close. He’s had a lot of bad luck in the first two races, and some errors in qualifying, but when things go cleanly he’s right up there with Vettel. Given that Vettel is one of the best drivers in the sport, it’s clear that Raikkonen is still performing at a very high level – now that he’s got the car to suit him.

Vettel is definitely the better qualifier (Vettel has always been great in qualifying), but throughout Kimi’s career qualifying has never been his speciality – his real speciality is race pace. He doesn’t have 40 fastest laps (3rd in the all-time list) and the joint-record for most fastest laps in a season (10 in 2005 and 2008, shared with Schumacher in 2004) for nothing, and his long-runs in practice have been very strong, in fact it’s not exactly uncommon to see them ahead of Vettel’s. Kimi is also very good at tyre conservation (though Vettel has always been very good at this as well, excluding his struggles in 2014). I would definitely agree that Vettel is a stronger overall driver than Kimi, but Kimi is no slouch and I can see him staying with Ferrari next year.

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On this day in F1

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Among those who failed to finish were Jacky Icky and Jackie Oliver who were fortunate to survive this horrifying accident caused by a fault on Oliver’s car:

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79 comments on “Ferrari capable of beating Mercedes – Vettel”

  1. The marshal standing at the apex, a few feet from passing cars, spraying extinguisher onto and across the track. Good lord.

    1. Yeah, incredible footage of that incident. The thing that gets me about all of this is though, is that for all of our moaning about safety cars, you know what, it means that the race is on hold until the wreckage is cleared, or in the above example, the fire would be contained… Just crazy stuff.

      1. Call me safety concious, but that incident probably would probably be a red flag rather than a safety car.

        1. my god! that marshall!

    2. The scary bit was while he was spraying and at one point he sprays over one of the cars at the apex. In fact I felt quite a few cars were losing grip out of that corner and nearly spinning out!

    3. Yes safety has come a long way! Shocking, I have never seen that clip before.

  2. Rock & roll team principal…
    Can someone put BBC out of its misery? A mercy bullet. Quick and painless.

    And all of that in an article where this “rock & roll team principal” talks how he did this an that, when in fact, he had less to do with this team setup than previous team principals. He didn’t sign the technical director James Allison, but Domenicalli did. Both him and the chief aerodynamicist. Yet, he talks as if he was an architect of this team. He didn’t bring anyone. He just fired the guys who were going to get sidelined anyway. 2015 Ferrari was supposed to be Allison’s first full Ferrari, be it under Domenicalli, Mattiachi or Arrivabene. He didn’t sign the aero chief and he didn’t sign any of the drivers. The arrogance of this guy is mindblowing, and the irony is that he is full of some modesty talk and change of culture or something. This team was setup by Domenicalli, with addition of Vettel by Mattiachi.

    The other thing is, he is acting as if he has nothing to do with the old Ferrari, which according to him did everything wrong, but he is using chief technical personnel that was there, in pretty much the same position before he or his master Sergio even touched the team.

    1. The more I read the words of this Arrivabene guy, the more it feels like I’m reading Montezemolo’s words. He sounds the same as Montezemolo in his worst years. Just minus 14 titles.

    2. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      19th April 2015, 3:38

      @Biggsy – I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis of Arrivabene. He seems to be quite proud, bordering, if not already, a bit narcissistic.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        19th April 2015, 7:18

        Guys did you even see the interview? – @Biggsy, @braketurnaccelerate

        There is absolutely nothing wrong or contentious Maurizio is saying
        – EJ says “it’s very easy isn’t it”. MA only jokingly says “of course it is”. followed by “No, honestly, …”
        – he only said that the people in the team was very ‘disappointed, not smiling, defensive’, and the first thing to do was to ‘work on the human’.
        – EJ calls him a rock and roll team principle!
        – he was open about the contract discussion with Kimi
        – etc.

        nothing more/nothing else.

        1. A few races ago one of their pundits was musing that he looked like a thug straight out of Goodfellas. It sounds like a typical EJ comment, but I can’t remember for sure. One of these days they’ll work out how to describe an Italian without resorting to stereotypes.

          1. +1 on the stereotype or Merc would be likened to ss officers, Honda samurais (oh wait) and all the Brits are football hooligans.

    3. michel (@atomicgarden)
      19th April 2015, 4:34

      1. BBC has amazing coverage. the dynamic between jordan and the others is just perfectly managed, all there sections are well thought out and produced with some talent and flair. sky otoh is awful commercial television at it’s worst. F1 lost out heavily as a TV show once sky took over, it’s like we only have a half season of good TV.

      2. you seem to greatly underestimate the importance of the person in charge, i have seen teams and companies in all kind of different fields completely change just by replacing the man/woman in charge.
      If what you say is correct they might as well remove his function alltogheter since according to you only the technical staff counts.

      1. @atomicgarden Yes, the person in charge is very important. Who was leading them and inspiring them a year ago when the fundamentals of the 2015 car were being decided? And then through the following months when the design was finalized and committed to?

    4. One sign of a good manager is utilization of assets/manpower. Is it not feasible to think that Arrivabene could be a better motivator? Is he more capable of streamlining processes and putting people in positions to succeed? Recognizing talents which perhaps were assigned to other duties within the team and reassigning them? Time will tell but they are certainly in better condition now than last year.

      1. Not only that, but the word is that attitudes have changed greatly in the team and everyone is more motivated as a result. Maybe it’s the departure of a devicive driver and the arrival of one who’s a team player, maybe it’s the new management, maybe it’s both, or maybe it’s none of those things, but supposedly that’s the mood at Ferrari according to multiple journalists with contacts there, and it certainly seems to show in what we’ve seen of the team at the races so far this season.

        1. I find it pretty annoying when people state alonso as not a team player because he left Ferrari … He was there for 5 years and he was praising Ferrari at every opportunity in the first 3 years or so and that’s Exactly what vettel is doing now… It will be interesting to see whether vettel remains with Ferrari if they fail to produce a championship winning car next couple of years..and if he does so I will admit he’s more of a team player than album alomso is …as far as the new Ferrari boss he appears to be doing a fine job indeed

      2. Arrivabene is the kind of team-boss Ferrari needs. He’s human but still strong enough to shelter the team from people higher up in the Ferrari system. Just what Todt and Schumacher was able to do in the past. There was no coincidence so many left at the same time back then.

        Montezemolo can be very demanding and appears threatening when he’s in a bad mood. That didn’t affect the team when Todt and Schumacher was there as the team knew they would protect them. But Domenicali, the nicest man in F1 wasn’t able to do that. On top of that Ferrari got another demanding character that appears threatening to his surroundings, Fernando Alonso. The knives were brought out at the end of 2010 and were never put back. The Scuderia was now between a rock and a hard place (Montezemolo and Alonso). This created an athmosphere where people were afraid to put their head on the block and innovation suffered as a consequence. This led to a slippery slope.

        Mattiacchi was good for Ferrari as he was the clean-up boy. Montezemolo also did good as he realized something had to be changed, he didn’t know it had to involve himself.

        Ferrari is acting like a “liberated” team. Now everybody are bringing ideas forward, often good ideas they’ve had for years but didn’t dare to bring forward. Much of this is because of the personalities of the new key-personell at Ferrari. Arrivabene, a more sentral Allison, Vettel and probably many more that have been promoted. You can put together the same people in different ways and get very different results.

    5. Are you seeing the same person as I??!?! Because you’re describing someone far from what I’m seeing until now from Arrivabene!! He has never take credit for the work or wins, always saying that Maranello workers are the real reason behind Ferrari’s improvement! During the tests he even said the old team had some saying in this year car. The only thing that he takes some credit is from the human side, the motivation part, and we really can’t know if is telling the true or not.

  3. I’va always Alguersuari but in his rookie year pole position at Bahrain was 1.33.431 this year its 1.32.571. I dont think we will be hitting the speeds of the Schumacher era any time soon but compared to 7 years ago we are on a par again.

    1. I think Alguersuari is right but for the wrong reasons, as you just pointed out the time is quicker than 2009. These days feeder series are quite quick aswell this put lots of physical strain already, maybe he meant F1 didn’t follow the jump other series did. It’s certainly not about the speed or the neck as Jaime says, if F1 looks easier it must be something else.

      1. @peartree I reckon he means 2008 and before the 2009-13 rule spec… those cars really looked a handful still to drive.

        1. @fastiesty The Pre-2009 cars did not look like a handfull to drive, They all looked planted to the track & relatively easy to drive because of how much downforce they had & Pre-2008 because of the driver aids.
          Back then you hardly ever saw cars step out of line & you didn’t see drivers fighting wheelspin & having to be careful when applying throttle.

          The post 2009 cars & especially the 2014/2015 cars look like a far bigger handful to drive because of the torque & lower downforce mean there moving around a lot more with lots more wheelspin & drivers having to be much more careful when feeding in the power.

          1. True.. but I really meant how planted the suspension looked. Maybe Alguersuari means 2010 – those cars had the most downforce ever….

        2. @fastiesty Alguersuari said by the time he came in, Alguersuari didn’t came in before the 09 spec.

          1. @peartree True, but I wondered if he meant when he got signed by Marko for RB Juniors, maybe a year or two beforehand.

    2. I believe he is complaining (and is right) about F1 overall. The Pirelli tyres are made to degrade but they seem to be crap. They can’t handle any punishment and only last the 8-15 laps or so while being babied. They can’t handle 2-3-4 hard laps in quali back to back. Sensitive to heat etc.

      DRS is not what Formula One needs, It has ruined “the show”

  4. COTD is right. I think people are writing Raikkonen off too soon. I know it’s unlikely, but I do believe it’s possible he finds his best form and keeps both Hamilton and Vettel honest to the end of the season, lurking behind just close enough to take advantage of a season finale ’07 style.

    But he needs to start now, and I hope we have an exciting race tomorrow in which his experience and apparently superior race pace pay off. I wouldn’t be surprised if out of battle between Vettel and Hamilton (which we all want to see), Raikkonen comes out on top due to tyre management and strategy.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      19th April 2015, 2:03

      I think Raikkonen is good, but so is Rosberg. @flig.
      But they are just no match for Vettel and Hamilton when those guys are in sync with their cars.

      1. Maybe, but don’t forget that when Raikkonen was in sync with his car, he kept Schumacher honest, and beat both Alonso (title holder) and Hamilton (the rookie on fire). If a “boy” (Verstappen) can excel in this formula, so can an “old man” (Button, Alonso, Raikkonen). He just needs to find the groove.

      2. And only now I notice you compared Raikkonen to Rosberg. All I’m goint to say is: no.

        1. Yeah, all the nopes on that one.

        2. I’m adding another big NO.

        3. Another no. But on the other hand: ever since mid way through 2013 Raikkonen has been getting spanked by his teammates every year …

    2. Trenthamfolk (@)
      19th April 2015, 8:36

      The shouting down of drivers is getting laughable… it’s turning into Football where one negative result causes hoards of fans to start calling for sackings and blood! Seriously, have people got nothing better to shout about? There can only be one winner in an F1 race. The constant churn of drivers means there is little continuity and suggests that some teams are unwilling to invest in driver development. I’m pleased that the older teams at least appear to rise above their detractors… I acknowledge that they can generally afford to.

      1. +1!! Kimi is good enough to be Vettel’s partner! They push each other well, at least Vettel is pushing Kimi (the last time he qualified 4th was in 2012 so…), and just one of them can win. It’s better to have someone like Kimi than Vettel and Hamilton in the same team, despite Ham being an awesome driver.

  5. Nice stat by andae23. Commenting Polo’s CotD, I fear the Iceman isn’t “cold” enough to put out the Vettel Ferrari fire. Kimi throughout his career has not been able of stringing flawless streaks of performances/results, he seems to get himself in all sorts of troubles, Vettel on the other hand has the ability to ride the waves of success.

    1. Kimi holds the record for most consecutive points finishes (27), so you can hardly blame him to be a driver that “get’s into all sorts of troubles”.

      Sometimes errors and bad luck just happens, this is why F1 (and any sport) is enjoyable.

  6. ColdFly F1 (@)
    19th April 2015, 1:58

    Webber (tweet) is still referring to ‘dependant’; probably left over from his days at RBR next to Vettel ;)

  7. Keep saying that while you’re driving just a big RC car, Jaime. I was sorry the guy got dropped by Red Bull, but honestly… bashing F1 this much? just sounds bitter…

    1. The guy was thrown into the sport to early and once he started getting good, was thrown right back out again.

      Honestly, he owes most of his anger to Red Bull… but where would he be without them?

  8. It is really pleasant to see the atmosphere change at Ferrari, they are very likable now, and it basically happened overnight.

    1. A LONG relief and enjoyable season to us Ferrari Fans :) – But I dunno if I’d be liking Vettel (Maybe I’ll wait for this season). Ferrari & Kimi fan (but hate vettel, but I guess if he improves his character over time, he might as well be likeable in RED).

      1. if he improves his character over time

        I don’t know he could improve his character. He is one of the most likeable drivers on the grid.

  9. Congratulations to Giuliano Alesi on winning his first car race! As a hardcore Jean Alesi fan I’m very happy!

    1. Thanks for pointing me to that. You made another long-time Alesi-fan happy :)

      And what way Giuliano did that, his first car-race ever, torrential rain, 2 seconds per lap quicker than the rest of the field.

  10. I’m not disagreeing with the gist of the CoTD. But on this point ‘in fact it’s not exactly uncommon to see them[Kimi’s long-runs in practice] ahead of Vettel’s’
    Ferrari’s long run simulation in the first two races, Kimi was on option tyres while Seb on primes. In China Seb’s run on options wasn’t good but the two Mercs traffic didn’t help. For the first time this week both were on the same tyres and Seb looked a bit faster on paper but Kimi was often in traffic. My point is that to judge their long run pace on different tyres in FP2s we need more data than lap time charts and we don’t have any. And the sample size is too small to read anything meaningful. That said, Kimi indeed has been great in the race and certainly I wouldn’t write him off.

  11. Agree wholeheartedly with MW’s tweet. This chess game of tire management is overwhelming the show.

    1. @robbie I get that from a driver’s point of view, saving fuel and tyres is not what they want. But going at crazy speeds all race long, at the limit of what the car can do, wasn’t ideal either back in the early 2000’s. For the spectator, the races were beyond rubbish.

      There must be a compromise so the races become interesting and give chances to the unexpected to happen. Otherwise, it’s just a race-long qualifying session.

      1. Going at crazy speeds all race long, at the limit of what the car can do is EXACTLY what I want to see! I NEVER had a problem with it!!!

        1. @fer-no65 I haven’t suggested ‘crazy speeds,’ and I would suggest there are many degrees of race style between what we have today, and the era you cite.

          ‘The unexpected’ often happens naturally and needn’t be forced. I would so much rather the unexpected come from a driver surprising us in a car with which he can perform his art. These aren’t them. Knock them down a healthy amount in aero, and give them even just somewhat better tires that give them 5-10 hot laps a stint, and generally work toward getting rid of DRS altogether.

        2. @drone
          Is what you are referring resulted in processional race. Is that is what you are meaning that had no problem with the procession.
          Reducing aero also reduces the top speed also needs more driver skill in tire management and tire saving.
          I am all for reducing aero, but then people will complain that cars are now so slow.

          1. @aks-das Actually no. Reducing downforce would increase straight line speeds as there would be less force pushing the car down. But cornering speeds would be reduced due to said lesser downforce, which can be made up with better tires. The cars simply need to become less disturbed in dirty air but it seems to be F1’s addiction and so in reaction we have fake DRS passes instead.

      2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        19th April 2015, 13:08

        @fer-no65 the main cause of processional races was refuelling determining the fastest way to the flag.
        In today’s no-refuelling era, the FIA should abandon its restrictive tyre rules, and open up the formula a little by providing a wider range of tires, such that a hard 0-stop and a super soft 5-stop could both be viable ways to the line.

        1. @fullcoursecaution I’d like something like that (although maybe not 5 stops). Have 3 different tyres, all open to use, soft = 2 stop, medium = 1 stop, hard = 0 stop and have them all be around about the same race time by the end of the race and then cars which are better at different things will be developed and we could start to see different cars, or rather different design philosophies.
          Only issue is trying to do that would be almost impossible I think.

          1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            19th April 2015, 14:44

            @fer-no65 I agree its childishly optimistic to think it would radically change things. The top teams will all run the optimum strategy, however just increasing the scope for drivers to get off-strategy and try and get an edge with a heavy or light footed, would increase the likelihood of on track battles and less noah’s ark races, especially if the SC comes out

    2. But remember, if we have durable tire, Mercedes will much ahead than everyone else. The fact is we have hope on Ferrari-Mercedes battle this year is because tire degradation. Or how Perez can get his podiums and good results is simple because he’s the best at preserving those Pirellis.

      1. Why assume better tires would only favour Merc? If any kind of ‘hope’ as you put it is only based on poor tires, then F1 has a problem. The same F1 that has said people need to perceive the drivers as gladiators out there. They are not. They are out there driving as little as possible for the win. They are held back from being gladiators. From enthralling people with spectacular feats. Because the best F1 can come up with is intentionally bad tires. Not pinnacle-like at all.

        1. @robbie Drivers have always done as little as possible for the win.

          1. @philereid No, not to this degree. A better mix of better tires and reduction in aero could easily ensure that the drivers have to race each other harder on the scale of ‘as little as possible’ such that at least we sense they are being taxed physically and mentally from pushing each other.

          2. @robbie I’d argue that mentally they probably are, but yes, physically not. However I don’t see how a reduction in aero, and less grippy and more durable tyres would by harder physically.
            What I want is a compromise. This aero is fine, I think it’s almost spot on, but have more mechanical grip from the tyres, and also get rid of the ‘cliff’ as well, so that they don’t go off when you’re following the car ahead (so ideally, you can follow the car ahead without worrying about anything, but also the tyres aren’t so durable that the car ahead can just run away with it giving you no chance. I think the race in China was the perfect example of how tyres that don’t break when you follow the car ahead would be benefitted. All more durable tyres does is mean that in that same race, Hamilton would have just been gone.

            It’s all a game of compromise really. You don’t want it too artificial, but also make it too far the other way, nothing happens in the races usually.

            If I could have any one change for 2016, it would be wider tyres, just so following the car ahead becomes easier as the car is less likely to slide and thus damage the tyres.

  12. Interestingly the biggest complainers about a lack of speed are:
    1: Who have no drive for the season
    2: Who are failing or failed to deliver the expectations in F1

    The biggest problems of the sport are the all crippling and souring internal politics, the lack of a real governing body, and the worst PR in the history of the sport.

    Most of the time the teams, Mr. E, and the drivers are complaining or moaning about something. This is how you drive away people from the sport…
    Heck, even WEC is about tyre management, just in bigger scale. Jani had been way more behind in Silverstone for example if he couldn’t spare a tyre change. Only we know way more today about tyre degrading and vehicle dynamics, so engineers have exact and more directions about that for the drivers, than 20 years ago.

  13. Webber angry with tyres having played a role in Evans dropping from second to sixth in the closing stages of the feature race?

    1. @wsrgo yes, he tweeted that after the GP2 race. Which is rather remarkable since it was really a fantastic race.

      1. Brilliant race indeed.

      2. @paeschli @mattDS The reverse grid race was quite good, but DRS seems to be an unnecessary addition. I don’t know why people are so excited about it. If there’s anything Webber needs to be complaining about, it’s DRS.

        1. @wsrgo Very much agreed. If they really felt the need for DRS, they should have made it half as powerful.
          I’d have none, and I think most people would agree too.

  14. Webber – because let’s be honest, WEC has never had races decided by fuel consumption and how many laps the tyres last, right. Not quite the same as the races length makes it feel more natural, but eh

    1. This. How often were races defined by being able to go longer on a tyre and less fuel stops in endurance. Or in F1 for that matter (Ask Mansell about that)! I guess Mark was unhappy to see Evans lose out

      1. We all know some degree of tire management has always played a role in car racing. WEC has it’s mission statement right in it’s name…Endurance. Formula 1 is supposed to be number 1…the pinnacle. Rather, F1 has now become a short endurance race and it is unnecessary. It should be a sprint, with tires that will go off if pushed too much, but only after providing something more like half a stint worth of racey laps without fear of that killing the tires completely and one’s race strategy to boot. Leave the extreme endurance for the series that touts that as what it does. Leave the sprint for the cars that are fastest with shorter race durations such that drivers can handle thse G’s for just that long, but pushing all the way. Having a 2 hour endurance race simply makes no sense and is not enthralling. And is not F1.

  15. Webber always lost out big time to Vettel on tyre management so he’s not exactly a neutral observer.

    Afaics all the interest in Seb vs Lewis today is thanks to the tyres.

  16. Haha, didn’t see that tweet coming, thanks :)

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      19th April 2015, 10:16

      @andae23 – good one. hope the race stats, facts & figures will lead with this.

      PS – what a pith that Hamilton didn’t pick up #1 this year.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        19th April 2015, 10:17


  17. Keep dreaming Vettel.

  18. Yup, both Kimi & Vettel have equal chance (Ferrari as whole) beating Merc this weekend (I’d be shocked and delighted at the same time if Ferrari can get 1-2). I’ve a feeling that any 2 among top 5 cars will crash/touch each other within first 3 laps (esp 1st lap). I would be a very interesting contest. Don’t forget the Williams have a role to play in the drama of the outcome as Massa or/and Bottas might pop in at the start and restrain the guys behind. I hope Kimi gets a good start (improve 1-2 places) just like last weekend’s start.

  19. Alguesuari is wrong about the speed of the F1 cars, as far as I can work out the current F1 cars are seven seconds a lap faster than the GP2 cars. That’s quite significant. Also he doesn’t have any experience of the current F1 cars, so when he talks about the physical demands of the new cars he is only speculating. Also remember at singapore last year where both Magnussen and Kvyat struggled massively with the heat, and Magnussen said it was the hardest point he had ever earned or something to that effect.

  20. Lewis: Hey Nico, is it ok if I back Sebastien into you, or are you going to complain about having Raikonnen
    behind you?

  21. Strange wording by BBC UK. Whatver role did Maurizio Arrivabene have in the improved fortunes Ferrari is experiencing this season? The team this year is reaping the benefits of James Allison and also the efforts of the earlier team of people including Fernando Alonso…

    Arrivabene is lucky, really lucky to experience such a turnaround the moment he’s shown up. And I feel really sorry for Alonso…

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