GP SOCHI: a report card with a hint of wittiness by Froldi


The sense of defeat for the Ferraristas. Score: It will always be a part of us. There’s something moving, distressful and devastating in being a Ferrarista. If you’re a Ferrari fan there’s always a sense of joy stuck in your throat, when you have to hold back in celebrating because you fear that after a positive result a débâcle is going to come. The Ferraristas (including me), know that their team won far less than it deserved (and often it was the Scuderia’s fault). With the exception of the five years of the great Schumacher, before and after him we had: stinging defeats, world championships that we lost by a point or by an overtake, angry disappointments, years of Purgatorio if not of Inferno and the bad luck that knows the Ferrari very well, like a bull knows the red flag. There’s something heart wrenching in being a Ferrarista, maybe because the Drake raised too much the bar of his titanic dreams. He had a troubled life with his terrible joys and his anathema that doesn’t allow some rest: “The second is the first of the losers”. Even after him, the Ferrari still has this tormented and claustrophobic feel for the victory, for the first place.
Bottas. Score: 12. He knew he had a single chance of winning this race by overtaking the two Ferraris. He did it. The race ended in that moment. Anyway, even if Vettel had come close to the muffler - like he did – he would have to overtake the Mercedes - and he didn’t. Massa (acting almost like Cassandra) predicted it the day before: “This is Bottas’ circuit, he will be the fastest of them all”. Of course, if after going off the track he had crashed on the barrier, we would have rejoiced, but we would have thought that Bottas was well-deserving the victory.

Ferrari SF70H. Score: 11. Near the 30th lap, with his worn out tires, Vettel was faster than Bottas who had brand new tires. Well, the compound was less performing, but a situation like that hardly happens to someone. This gives you the idea of how fast was the Ferrari.

Team Ferrari. Score: 10. The strategy they used was simply the best.

Ferrari’s Pit Stop. Score: 5. When there’s a tight race, even just wasting a fraction of a second can determine a defeat. Yesterday both Ferraris’ pit stops weren’t good enough for their famous standards.

Ferraris’ front row. Score: 10 cum laude. The last time we saw it, it was 9 years ago. Well, let’s hope we don’t have to wait 9 more years to see it again.

Ferraris’ start. Score: 4. The low score is because of the fact that they started in the front row and they have been overtaken immediately not by one but by TWO single-seaters. Alright, we know that Mercedes has an extra kick for an instant start, we know that there was a long main straight, we know that its cars have less downforce. But all these things were well-known facts for the two Ferrari pilots, and guess what they did? Raikkonen had a “mediocre” start (he said so) and Vettel has some hesitation. Fatal. My impression? Too much pressure on the Ferraristas, that started with the handbrake on to avoid a crash. But we all know, while two dogs are fighting for a bone, a third runs away with it. Maybe they’re no longer used to be constantly at the top. They should get used to it again and quickly if the car keeps performing well, otherwise they may lose the world championship. Where did Ferrari’s single-seaters quick start go?

Ferrari’s overall score. Score: 9. After 4 Grand Prix they got a positive evaluation. Just three months ago, I wouldn’t bet on Ferrari confronting itself with the Teutonic superpower in every single race. Credit where credit's due.

Mercedes’ overall score. Score: 9-. Those Germans are tough rivals. If they lose the world championship it will be a victory (and a defeat) that is going to be on the annals. But there is an “if” as big as a house. I believe that they’re the favourites, in long distance. I hope I’m wrong.

Hamilton. Score: 5. What’s going on with the super champion? Black out. Extenuating factor: this circuit gets on his nerves (it happens). Aggravating factor: he was bashed by his teammate/assistant. This is interesting for the world championship. But it is definitely less interesting for the balance of the team.

Red Bull. Score: 3. They melted away like snow in the sun. I have to admit that it is a pleasure for me, since the duo Horner/Marko is very haughty.

McLaren. Score: Endless tragedy. Alonso that sadly goes away from the single-seater that stops just before the start is the picture of the epic poem that McLaren is living and of Honda’s incredible inability to make a hybrid engine.

Strategy Group. Score: They’re crazy. Imagine a super strong football team, and another football team that in theory could be strong. The first one always wins, the second one is among the last teams. Then the last one decides to loan some good players and a fitness coach from the first one. Fiction, right? Of course, because the sacred rule in every competition is that each one has to make it on its own. Ferrari in 2014 has messed up the turbo and it was one of the worst seasons in its history. No one helped, obviously. The team didn’t understand anything about Pirelli, and it had to make everything on its own. When I hear someone saying that the Mercedes’ team should help McLaren’s team just for the show, I get hives. Making similar performances for the show is a deadly for the sport, especially for the Formula1. Each one has to make it on its own, in sports and in life. If not, we dismiss the essence not only of the sport, but the essence of life too. Do you think I’m being too tough? Think about it.

P.S. Next will be Barcelona. The first big evolution for all the single-seaters. Here we’ll have a first and important verdict for the continuation of the season. I’m being too serious in this report card, right? Yes, you’re right. I’ll make it up to you with my next report card. Extenuating factor: I’m still angry for the Ferraristas, they made fool of themselves.

by Mariano Froldi
Translated by Isabella Lai

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