The president of Ferrari, Sergio Marchionne has said that his team openly “screwed up” at the Italian Grand Prix last weekend, letting Mercedes take a dominant 1-2 finish.
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen took home third and fifth place respectively for the Italian brand on home soil, after a disappointing qualifying from both drivers and a difficult race where the prancing horses could not keep up with the Silver Arrows at all.
Vettel finished an earth shattering 36-seconds behind race winner Hamilton, leaving the red team from Maranello digging up answers to explain the situation.
“I think we just screwed up,” Marchionne said. “The set-up for the car was wrong. I think we underestimated the circuit.
After a strong showing last time out at the Belgium Grand Prix – which saw Vettel push Hamilton hard all the way to end fighting for victory, Ferrari looked positive coming into their home race and with thousands of their Tifosi lined up at the gates on Sunday morning shouting for a Ferrari win, Marchionne says his outfit claims full responsibility for not building on their Spa performance.
“I think we screwed up from Belgium, from Spa, into here. Now, we need to go back to the factory and find out which way the car went sideways. But we will be back in Singapore.”
Podium finisher Vettel says he struggled with a steering problem in the latter stages of the race which meant that he couldn’t trust the car under braking.
The German driver ran wide at turn one in the closing stages of the race and claimed he picked up some damage, affecting his pace in the last 20-laps of the 53-lap race and allowing a charging Daniel Ricciardo to catch up to the back of him.
The Australian Red Bull driver ended up just four seconds behind Vettel at the chequered flag, but Ferrari’s title hopes took a hit and so did Vettel’s championship lead which Hamilton assumed by a margin of three points.
“I went off at Turn 1 and I think something broke,” said Vettel. “The left side of the steering was a bit down and I couldn’t trust the car on braking.
“It is a braking track, so the last laps didn’t show the pace I could have done.”
“We probably lacked half a second per lap today but there are not all the parts you can judge.
“I am not worried by the gap, Monza is specific place and if you have that bit of confidence it makes a difference.
“We knew it would be a difficult race, perhaps we expected to be closer. It’s not nice to see them winning but with third we gave everything we had. I am very positive right now.”
Vettel’s team-mate Raikkonen also reckoned that the Ferrari’s lacked pace throughout the Italian Grand Prix, reasoning the setup and change of weather conditions from Saturday to Sunday.
“I think we lacked speed unfortunately and then the balance maybe wasn’t correct,” said Raikkonen.
“We changed [the setup] after Friday and obviously in the race was the first time we tried because of the rain on Saturday. But I think with the setup, the result was not going to be awfully different.
“So I think it’s something we have to fix in this kind of circuit with the low downforce.”