A year after Ferrari put both their cars on the podium at the Spanish Grand Prix they are back at the Catalunya Circuit for another go. The cars are different but Fernando Alonso would love to repeat his winning performance of a year ago in his home country. Ferrari’s second car, now driven by Kimi Raikkonen, finished third a year ago with Felipe Massa at the wheel and Raikkonen finished second in a Lotus.
With the new Ferrari F1 Director, Marco Mattiacci, getting one Grand Prix weekend under his belt a few weeks ago in China they are hoping to build on the success they had there. Both cars finished in the points once again and Alonso scored Ferrari’s first podium of the season with a third place finish. They have had three weeks to try to update their chassis and catch up to the front running Mercedes cars who have been dominating the field thus far. Of course, every other team has had the same amount of time to try to play catch up but the boys at Ferrari feel confident that the work both crew and drivers have put in will come through this weekend.
Ferrari have said that Raikkonen has been working hard at adapting to the new car and working well and in sync with his new team to try to overcome the challenges that have been setting him back so far. He’s been out performed by teammate Alonso every step of the way this season but they think he’ll be returning to his usual form soon. It appears to me that they haven’t been able to get the handle on the car the way that Raikkonen is used to. He has suffered greatly with braking, cornering and tyre graining at every race so far, as has Alonso, but not to the degree Raikkonen has. Not being able to finish any higher than seventh, they have a long way to bridge the gap between driver and team before they will be able to close the gap between Ferrari and Mercedes effectively. Alonso has been performing well given the problems Ferrari have had in the opening weeks, perhaps because of a familiarity of the Ferrari organization that he has over Raikkonen. Whatever it is he is still looking ahead to the Drivers’ Championship, hoping there is still time to make up ground before competing for a Championship is a lost cause.
It’s going to be a tough task, with Mercedes winning all four Grand Prixs this season, Lewis Hamilton winning the last three and his teammate Nico Rosberg winning the first of the year in Australia. Rosberg and Hamilton hold the lead on the Drivers’ Championship by more than 30 points each over the hopeful Alonso. The Spanish Grand Prix may be the telltale sign of how the majority of this season will end up for Ferrari.
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Main Photo credit WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images