Around this time, last year, Ferrari were a jolted unit. They were terrible, struggling, and impassioned fans had run out of adjectives in describing their struggles to come to terms with the fact that the Prancing Horse had simply lost anything worth noting.
Leclerc was fighting largely but without any significant gains. Vettel was in his final season, and for the better part of last year, unsure about whether he’d even stay in the sport. Binotto was making headlines but ones he’d have dreaded reading.
Great then that the bespectacled Ferrari team principal stays away from newspapers and is admittedly, no fan of Netflix. There wasn’t much smashing content to cover on the Maranello-based team anyways.
The signs of struggle were so apparent and relentless in their devastation of Ferrari that with two excellent drivers at the helm, one a four-time world champion and the other, the man tipped to author a red-letter day in the future, all that the team gathered were 131 points.
Read that again. 131 points.
But where it stands at the moment, where we see 6 more races to go, the team have already collected 216.5 points and of these, Carlos Sainz Jr. has gathered 112 on his own.
Take for a second what two drivers in 2020 managed and then compare it with what the noted Spaniard driver, fresh from a fighting third at Sochi, has already amassed.
And the gap that you see is pretty much the lost ground that Ferrari have finally covered in a season that’s sparkling with parallel narratives such as the Verstappen versus Hamilton bouts and the rise of drivers like George Russell, Lando Norris, and Mick Schumcher.
The sport’s famous team, one undoubtedly a firm fan favourite has, in no uncertain terms, made giant strides toward in 2021. It’s just that the gleeful story of Ferrari has probably found less takers for much of our attention rests with Verstappen versus Hamilton saga, which undoubtedly is the determiner of this championship besides other exciting moments such as Ricciardo’s Monza triumph and Ocon’s Hungarian victory.
Not that the above weren’t significant moments that helped make the ongoing championship such a rush of adrenaline but Ferrari’s bounce back from the insipid, inglorious 2020 season is something that deserves to be given more credit to than is afforded.
This, after all, is a season where the team has captured 2 pole positions, the SF 2021, not yet a frontrunner in the Constructor battle, has still raised its game and is already fourth in the standings. Last year, after 17 races, Ferrari gathered a lowly P6, looking the part of haphazard team that didn’t have both drivers in any great or consistent form even as Leclerc somehow found a way to capture 2 podiums (Vettel had none) at Silverstone, which wasn’t before the sensational P2 at the season-opening Austrian GP.
Not that Lelcerc, still searching for a win in 2021, wasn’t in any form this year around at Silverstone, the sport’s most historic venue, featuring in the 1950 F1 season.
But with a collective of 5 podiums this season, 3 of which have come all thanks to Carlos Sainz Jr., the Spaniard reaching a career-best P2, a fine result at Monaco have provided the much needed thrust Ferrari so desperately needed.
Resultantly, the Leclerc and Sainz pair has struck silver, if not gold, for the lack of better expression and Ferrari have bounced back.
This, it ought to be remembered, is the very outfit that had experienced woeful results in 2020, wherein both, the experienced German and the rising Monegasque endured a DNF at Monza, which wasn’t the finest sights given its Ferrari’s home race.
With poles at Baku and Monaco, the latter unfortunately resulting in a DNF, yet again, Leclerc’s shown flashes of great speed in a car that’s far more powerful than 2020’s listless machine.
With 6 more races to go and Leclerc and Sainz already enjoying a healthy- not bitter- battle (not rivalry) in the Scarlet red camp, what would be most interesting moments is to note whether the Scuderia can storm past McLaren to get to third on the Constructor Standings, the Ricciardo-Norris powered team currently enjoying an 18-point lead on the charts.