Win-less second half for Ferrari? Five Brazilian GP talking points

2017 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Ferrari haven’t won a race since the summer break and they’ve only got two chances left to put that right. Can they do it this weekend?

Here’s the Brazilian Grand Prix talking points.

Win-less second half for Ferrari?

Ferrari have put the trauma of the Asian leg of the championship behind them. Yet it’s clear the the SF70-H is not as competitive at the end of the season as it was at the beginning.

Not only have Mercedes asserted themselves at the front of the field, the red cars now face an ever-stronger threat from Red Bull. A few races ago thigh might have looked like the kind of track which would suit Ferrari but it’s not as clear-cut now.

However Sebastian Vettel was able to take pole position last time out. If he can repeat that, the team may yet end the season with something to smile about.

Perez versus Ocon

Ocon has chipped away at Perez’s points lead
Now the championship battle is over, which is the next most exciting fight in the field? Vettel versus Valtteri Bottas for runner-up spot? Realistically, no one cares who finishes second.

The best duel going now has to be the one at Force India. In Esteban Ocon versus Sergio Perez we have an exciting young upstart taking on a highly-rated, seasoned racer.

The pair have repeatedly come to blows already and are a close match on performance. They’re separated by just nine points in the drivers’ championship. Ocon could claim a major scalp by beating an established star in his first full season while Perez will be desperate to put the rookie in his place. Grab the popcorn for this one.

The rise of Red Bull

With the possible exception of McLaren-Honda, Red Bull were the surprise disappointment of the beginning of the season. The new rules appeared to suit them perfectly, yet the failed to deliver.

But their rate of progress has been excellent and, thanks to Max Verstappen, they’ve won two of the last four races on merit. If the Renault power unit was more reliable they’d be giving Ferrari a hard time for second in the constructors’ championship.

Meanwhile the team is making plans for the future and has signed up Verstappen for another year. That leaves a question mark over Daniel Ricciardo, who has borne the brunt of the team’s problems lately. Technical problems forced him out of the last two races and if he requires more new parts this weekend that will mean another grid penalty for him.

Massa’s second farewell

Felipe Massa, Williams, Interlagos, 2016
Felipe Massa said an emotional farewell to his home fans 12 months ago.

That will make his return this weekend slightly awkward. But at least he gets a chance to go out on a high, something he didn’t manage last year when he crashed out in the wet conditions.

Like Perez, Massa is at danger of ending the season behind his junior team mate. He fell behind Lance Stroll in the championship last time out – something he needs to put right.

One last seat to fill?

Massa’s impending exit leaves a vacancy at Williams which several drivers will be vying for. Not least Pascal Wehrlein, who’s had a difficult season at Sauber and who may be at risk of losing his seat to Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc.

The rest of the driver market for next year looks settled, as Toro Rosso have indicated they will keep Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “Win-less second half for Ferrari? Five Brazilian GP talking points”

  1. ferrari has hardly been uncompetitive since the summer break. they had the fastest race car in spa, singapore, malaysia and mexico (if you believe james allen and mark hughes), and the fastest qualifying car in singapore and malaysia (i’m not included mexico because i think verstappen fluffed his last run). i think they would have been strong in japan too.

    they’ve had a terrible run of races, for a team gunning for the title, but it’s more driver, operational and reliability related than performance. if everything had gone smoothly for vettel i don’t think verstappen would have won either malaysia or mexico, not to take anything away from the dutchman.

    1. Yep, you are right. Singapur was end of the fight. So stupid.

    2. I think the correct terminology is they’ve ‘done a Ferrari’

    3. It’s been a while since a team imploded so effectively!

      1. McLaren, 2012.

  2. Also if Kimi Raikkonen can’t deliver something above average in the last 2 races, why should he drive on Ferraris first team next year? Ferrari has a 2 racecars, but only one racedriver so far.

    1. Maybe because Vet want to him alongside.

    2. There’s no one else to replace him; i’d want Ocon or Riciardo in his place but they are under contract for next year.

      1. I am sure K-Mag could deliver for Ferrari in 2018. Release him from his contract with Haas, and put another Ferrari wannabe driver in the Haas instead. Of course Ricciardo is a more secure, but also more expensive choice. Ocon is a Mercedes driver and for sure not better than K-Mag. Let’s talk after the next 2 GPs.

        1. K-Mag instead of Räikkönen would be a horrible idea. He was beaten by Button, barely managed to beat Palmer last year and is beaten again by Grosjean, who was beaten by Räikkönen at Lotus. Ricciardo would be a much better option.

          1. K-Mag has never been “beaten”. “Beaten” is what Vettel is doing to Raikkonen and Hamilton to Bottas. They outpace their teammate every race and qualification.

            In K-Mags rookie season, the star driver and WC Button only managed to stay in F1, because he delivered better than K-Mag in the last 3-4 races.

            He has a lot more experience and self confidence now. This season proves he is a very special driver in a low-end car.

            The skillset K-Mag and Ricciardo has, is what Ferrari needs to win WC’s again. It’s as simple as that.

    3. Maybe because Ferrari value Kimi’s car development and testing skills and the quality of his technical feedback higher than the headline race results. Maybe that covers a weakness in Vettel’s skill set. And maybe they prefer a laid-back, apolitical Kimi over a potentially destabilising younger driver with nothing else on his mind than proving he’s quicker than Seb.

      1. Good point, but so far the result of Kimi’s work, has not prevented Mercedes from winning and the primary goal, must be to win constructurs and the individual WC’s. I think it is time, to try something different. There is nothing to loose as I see it.

        1. Yes, don’t agree with keeping raikkonen and imo there’s half the grid who would do better than him, not sure about magnussen though.

          But example, perez, ocon, sainz are all people stuck in midfield who would.

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