With Red Bull’s Max Verstappen starting 10th, this past weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix represented a good chance for both Charles Leclerc and Ferrari to make up ground on their title rivals. However, come race day both Ferraris slipped back down the order with Leclerc eventually finishing sixth after a poor strategy call saw him go out on the unfancied hard compound tyre post his second pit stop.
Meanwhile his teammate Carlos Sainz could only manage fourth after two slow pit stops and an uninspiring run on the soft compound tyres during his final run.
On a track that was supposed to play into Ferrari’s hands, Verstappen and Red Bull made full use of Ferrari’s bungling with the Dutchman winning the race and opening up an 80-point advantage over the Monegasque driver.
Italian media write off Ferrari’s championship bid
Back in Italy, the leading media publications have all come together to write off Ferrari’s championship chances, harshly criticizing the Italian outfit in the process.
“Ferraris disaster, breakdowns, driving errors, unsafe box,” Gazzetta dello Sport stated.
“Formula 1 is on vacation – and thus also Ferrari’s World Cup hopes. How can we talk about World Cup chances if Charles Leclerc’s gap in the overall standings to Max Verstappen has grown to 80 points nine races before the end?”
Corriere dello Sport has urged Ferrari to focus on individual races as the championship seems a step too far this year.
“Ferrari [is a] disaster, nothing works,” the article from Corriere dello Sport reads.
“The ground collapsed under the feet of Ferrari, who are convinced that they have the best car of the World Cup. But now it’s about closing the book of dreams and returning to the original goals: being competitive with individual Grand Prix.”
Finally, Tuttosport has taken a small dig at Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto, after the Italian confidently stated that his team could secure a one-two at Budapest following the race in France.
“The disaster of Ferrari is complete, enough is enough!” Tuttosport wrote.
“It makes no sense to have the best car if you don’t make anything of it. Thoughtless decisions serve Verstappen the triumph on the silver platter. The goal of the double podium in Budapest turns into the final and incontestable surrender in the race for the World Cup.”
Where does Ferrari go from here?
With Leclerc trailing Verstappen by 80 points in the 2022 Drivers’ Championship and Ferrari now 97 points behind Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship, the Italian team’s chances of winning either championship are slim.
Ferrari will also have to focus on the resurgent Mercedes team as the Brackley-based outfit has slowly crept up on the Italian team after a run of podium finishes that see them sit only 30 points behind them.
Rather than catching Verstappen, Leclerc also seems to be slipping backward getting sucked into a battle for second in the championship. With sixth-placed Lewis Hamilton now only 32 points behind Leclerc, the Monegasque driver, who once led the standings, finds himself being caught by the chasing pack.