“Drenched in passion, the ink oozing love for red, seething in rage, the Italian F1 Press long for a Ferrari victory than seeing anyone in the lead ahead! “
The recently-concluded Austrian Grand Prix was a memorable one for Ferrari. In a closely-contested duel in the Styrian Alps, two drivers, in particular, gave pretty much everything they had in their abilities to emerge on top at Spielberg.
Red Bull eventually emerged victorious thanks to an incredible drive by Max Verstappen, who pulled himself up despite that terrible getaway seconds from the start. It may not have been any easy to bounce back seeing drivers a few years junior like Lando Norris getting the hang of the contest early on.
Then in the penultimate lap, with the gap to track-leader Charles Leclerc under two-tenths of a second, the Dutch driver’s move on the Ferrari was about as sensational as seeing a ninja fighter assassinating a young weaponless mercenary.
The track positions changed, the narrative of the contest reversed, Leclerc now trailing Max, the hunter wasn’t going to be hunted. And at that very moment whereupon the ever-hungry Mad Max raced passed a formidable opponent, hundreds of thousands of Italian hearts must have sunk. And one can only have imagined the Italian F1 Press drenched with remorse with the finality at Red Bull Ring.
No, it wasn’t the final flourish that would’ve hurt it as much as the respected stewards’ decision. The daring overtake, somewhat aggressive, somewhat against the spirit of competitive racing- according to many out there- saw Leclerc go down in the fight to Verstappen, the latter finally being adjudged the deserving winner of the 71-lap contest.
But this meant yet another instance of a disappointment for Ferrari lovers and admirers alike. As if the earlier struggles such as Leclerc’s inability to win at Bahrain given the technical glitches with his SF 90 weren’t enough, the Italian F1 Press couldn’t help but express all its anguish in the aftermath of the Austrian Grand Prix.
This was both understandable and timely given that only a little over a fortnight ago had those connected with the Scuderia stable- whether fans or in the racing community- had to bear the brunt of a controversial decision at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. According to the verdict handed by the stewards, Vettel was reprimanded by a 5-second penalty at Montreal only for Lewis to be adjudged the winner.
And now, one had to deal with this. Several publications in the Italian F1 press community came out with caustic, severely frustrated remarks, such as the following:
“Attack against Ferrari,” in La Gazzetta dello Sport. This was followed by the esteemed Corriere della Sera reporting the following:
“At the same time, concerns about Ferrari’s political weight after the death of Sergio Marchionne appear,” the influential sports daily noted.“
“It is not easy to accept this decision by the stewards.
“Obviously, there are only rights for the drivers who attack, and no mercy for those who defend. Vettel in Canada; Leclerc in Austria.”
And that wasn’t all. Others to echo the unified disappointment being felt by the Italian F1 press included La Stampa, that wrote, “Ferrari loses again, first on the track and again in the stewards’ room.”
This year, Ferrari have already failed to beat Mercedes or anyone for that matter in nine back-to-back attempts.
But that said, their podium runs including consistent successes at Monaco, Canada, France and, now Austria, indicate that a win is around the corner.
But there’s a little problem- with 12 races remaining one doesn’t quite know when is that elusive win finally going to strike, if at all. It’s all to play for, for Vettel and Leclerc.