Belfast Telegraph

Monza failure shows Ferrari aren't hitting heights: Wolff

 

By Philip Duncan

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team believe Ferrari have taken a step backwards in the battle for the Formula One title after Sebastian Vettel was knocked off the championship summit for the first time this year at the Italian Grand Prix.

Hamilton toasted his victory on Ferrari's home turf in Monza - his second triumph in what could prove a pivotal eight days in this year's title battle - with a beer from his Monte Carlo apartment on Sunday night.

The 32-year-old Englishman is now three points clear of Vettel after his crushing performance in which he finished 36 seconds clear of the German, who crossed the line a distant third.

Vettel attempted to put a brave face on their disappointing performance in front of a record 93,000 crowd, but Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive of the Italian manufacturer described the difference between his team and Mercedes as "embarrassing".

Ferrari's weekend was made worse when Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who started 16th, eased past their second driver Kimi Raikkonen in the closing stages to finish fourth.

"Emotions run high and when you have a bad day you can't hide it, so I can understand his feelings," Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said.

"For me it looks like Ferrari have taken a step back this weekend. I think we were very solid, but they have not performed in the way everybody expected."

The F1 circus now leaves Europe and heads to Singapore for its next stop a week on Sunday, the first of three races in Asia.

The Marina Bay street circuit could provide Vettel a chance to bounce back with his Ferrari car so far suited to the low-speed tracks on the calendar.

Hamilton has struggled at the floodlit race in recent years, but said: "I feel like I have felt more heart and passion and found more within myself at the last three or four races."

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