Ferrari Hoping Final Podium builds Momentum into 2017

Throughout the 2016 season, Ferrari have been under immense pressure to win a race again in Formula One. They got close on occasion, but ultimately missed out on getting Vettel or Raikkonen on the top-spot. 

Despite not winning and being cast into crisis for sensational purposes, the Italian team have had a campaign littered with podiums and top-six performances. Red Bull managed to exceed expectations and grab 2nd in the Constructors by 70-points despite Christian Horner’s first race hopes of simply “finishing in the top five”.

There is a cliff edge and big drop off to Force India in 4th. Whilst their efforts this season have been immense in beating Williams, Perez and Hulkenberg would have needed more than double their points tally to beat Ferrari.

Sebastian Vettel endured a few incidents on his travels. His power-unit gave up on the formation lap of Bahrain, a double-tag at the start in Russia and a dramatic tyre blowout in Austria were the most notable misfortunes. It prevented him from having a chance in beating Daniel Ricciardo, who scored two more podiums than Vettel with no retirements throughout the year. A stroke of luck but mainly a personal purple patch of form for the paddock’s own Honeybadger.

The drama between the Mercedes drivers at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix overshadowed the solid drive from Vettel, who has a strong record around Yas Marina. After claiming his 6th podium of the year, Vettel said,

“I think it was an important race for us today: in the final laps, I would have liked to gain two more positions, because the speed was there; but it was difficult to make the move because the car in front also benefited from a tow. Nevertheless as a team we deserve this podium, and I hope it gives some momentum to all of us. It has been a tough year, with lots of up and downs, so I am really happy with this result.

About our global performance in 2016, I think we don’t need to find any story or invent something. I think we expected more; but after the first half, where we could have scored more points, I think we showed real strength by coming back. In the last couple of Grand Prix we had very good race pace, always enough to match Red Bull, and probably even a bit quicker: but that was not the case on Saturdays, and that made Sundays more difficult. Overall we showed the stamina that the team has.

The spirit is unbroken, and I know that we will work hard, because Ferrari deserves to come back. All in all we learned a lot, we made a lot of progress. Today is Nico’s day, well done to him. I think you don’t win the Championship by luck, and it is a sign of respect to give him this. He is a deserving champion.”

– Sebastian Vettel

The team have consistently fallen short in Qualifying, but have more often than not gained ground at the race-start. The team can go into 2017 in the knowledge that this year’s regulations might allow them to close the gap to Mercedes more than last year’s stable changeover.