Carlos Sainz (right) holds back late attacks from teammate Charles Leclerc to claim the podium. Photo: Getty Images/Ryan Pearce
Ferrari should leave their home race at Monza happy, having qualified on pole and third, and a home podium and fourth. It was their best result of the season.
The only cars that overtook them were the two Red Bulls teams and they won every race that season, so third and fourth were the most they could achieve, despite Carlos. Sainz managed to hold off Max Verstappen for the first 15 laps.
Ferrari, of course, should be happy with the end result, but they should not be happy with the struggle of the two drivers, as happened at the end of the race. For this reason Maranello should have some harsh words on Monday – it could have cost them a podium and a lot of points in a race they put so much effort into. It was crazy to let them race like that.
All Formula 1 fans love to watch the battle, but it could easily end in a double DNF. One day, Leclerc lost control while entering the first chicane with the front wheels locked. He missed Sainz on the left flank, but could eventually destroy him. It's so easy to do at Monza, as we saw with Lewis Hamilton and Oscar Piastri earlier in the race. You must keep it clean, otherwise you risk throwing everything away.
I would go on the radio and tell them to keep it clean, but they can fight. These last laps weren't clean and crisp and it was luck that kept them both on the track. When it's two drivers from different teams, it's fair, but that was with two Ferrari drivers in Italy, one of whom took the podium.
I have faced similar situations in the past and when it happens it is very frustrating for the team. When I was in Jordan, in Argentina in 1997, two cars fought for the podium, but Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella collided. Schumacher ended up finishing third, but that could have been a decisive double podium finish. However, situations like this always happen in the blink of an eye. The red mist descends on the driver, and perhaps the red mist in Italy is harder to control.
The Ferrari car has had ups and downs throughout the season, and this double headbutt shows it yet again. At Zandvoort last week they qualified sixth and ninth, with Sainz being the only one to finish fifth. Why is there a jump in productivity between Monza and Monza?
They just did so well in Monza because they focused on Monza. It may seem obvious, but not many teams will focus on optimizing their cars for extreme calendar conditions such as high downforce Monaco or very low downforce Monza. You will achieve the best results during the season by focusing on tracks that are in between these two tracks in terms of performance.
Performing in front of the tifosi in Italy is a priority for Ferrari and they put in a lot of effort to get the best result over the weekend and they did. They had fresh engines for both drivers, a better rear wing, and straight-line speed priority to give them an outside chance of winning.
Carlos Sainz (right) and Charles Leclerc celebrate first and third places in qualifying. Photo: AFP/Marco Bertorello
Was there ever any real hope that they would beat Red Bull? Not really, and it depends on how both cars handle their tyres, and at Monza especially their rear tyres.
Ferrari performs better on one lap than on the race track, but Red the opposite is true. Bull. This is also the merit of tires, since Ferrari is able to bring them to working mode quite quickly.
This advantage in qualifying and at the start of the race, it helped Sainz keep the lead on the first lap. Getting the pole position was an advantage because the Ferrari had the advantage over the RB19 on the straights. All this helped Sainz to maintain leadership for some of the first segment. However, as a consequence, this means that during the course of the race, Sainz lost life and performance due to his tires.
We could see from the start – and Verstappen too – that Sainz was slipping as his rear tires wore out. Ferrari's less downforce put more stress on the tires in corners, even though he was in front in the open air. Verstappen, on the other hand, had to contend with Ferrari's foul air, taking the life out of his tires. We didn't get to see the true speed of the RB19 at the start, but once Verstappen took the lead, he was about a second faster; it just goes to show how well Red Bull takes care of their tyres.
Was there anything strategically that Ferrari could have done differently? They could have brought Sainz out earlier to try to get past Verstappen and keep his position on the track. But I doubt that it would have changed anything drastically, except perhaps that Leclerc finished in third place rather than his teammate.
While this was an encouraging result, I did not expect that Ferrari will be there in Singapore next year. period of two weeks. Their performance on the track throughout the season either improved or fell. They were also inconsistent operationally and strategically – and too often unacceptably bad. At the previous race in Zandvoort, Leclerc came to the pits and the team had no tires ready. This is a simple operational task for which there is no excuse.
It seems that they are misinterpreting the situation in operational terms. They are fine when they have nothing to anticipate or no set of variables to contend with, but when they do, they fail. Red Bull is in a much better position to deal with such variable situations better. I was expecting Ferrari to get better behind the scenes under Frédéric Wasser, but at the moment I don't see any difference from what it was before.