At 2:45 a.m. on Saturday 18 July 2015, the Bianchi family announced the death of Jules Bianchi through the pilot's official social network profiles. Jules Bianchi dies after nine months in a deep coma, in the silence broken by the noise of the machinery of an intensive care unit. Sunday 5 October 2014, in Suzuka, at the wheel of a Marussia, Jules Bianchi had gone off the track, and with his helmet had hit a crane truck. At that moment his conscious life ended and his agony in hospital began, first in Yokkaichi, Japan, where he had undergone brain surgery, then in the University Hospital Center of Nice, a few meters from home, where his battle ended during the night. The doctors had immediately spoken of diffuse axonal damage and left no hope. But mom Christine and dad Philippe have long believed in a miracle. They surrendered in recent days, in an interview with France Info that today sounds like an omen:
"It is a daily torture, unbearable. Sometimes I feel like I'm going crazy, it's worse than if he were dead".
These are the words of a dad destroyed by waiting for a sign of life. There is no culprit or responsible for this death. Indeed, one yes: the victim. This is the conclusion of an investigation organized by the FIA, entrusted to ten wise men, including former team principals Ross Brawn and Stefano Domenicali and former drivers Emerson Fittipaldi and Alexander Wurz: despite the double yellow flags waved by the stewards, Jules Bianchi did not slow down enough, ended up off the track and impacted an emergency vehicle that was removing another single-seater, Adrian Sutil's Sauber. The commission, charged with investigating Jules Bianchi's accident, had presented a 396-page document to the FIA, explaining the causes of the accident and the responsibilities of the driver and team. Obviously, the commission did not mention any responsibility for the FIA, on the other hand it would have been unthinkable that a commission called by the FIA would have accused the federation itself. The causes and responsibilities presented in the report can be summarized in 12 points. The semi-dry line in the T-7 curve of Suzuka had been interrupted by a trickle of water. Here Sutil lost control and in the next lap Bianchi. Sutil's car was being removed with the crane when Bianchi arrived between turns 7 and 8. Double yellow flags were displayed at that point. Bianchi didn't slow down enough to avoid losing control at the same point on the track where Sutil had lost control. If the drivers followed the rules for double yellow flags (art. 184.108.40.206b), be ready to stop at any time, neither they nor the marshals would risk their physical safety. The interventions after Sutil's exit were in accordance with the rules and the interpretation of the 384 previous cases of the last eight years. Even in retrospect, there is no need to call out the safety car before or after Sutil's Sauber crash.
Bianchi lost control in counter-steering, going off the track at the point where Sutil had left, then heading towards the barriers where unfortunately the crane was located, hitting it at high speed and slipping under. In the 2 seconds he was off the track, Bianchi pressed both the gas and the brake with both feet. The FailSafe safety algorithm should shut down the engine by superimposing the accelerator command, but could not intervene due to the torque control, which is part of the brake-by-wire system. Bianchi's Marussia had a very particular Brake-by-wire system, which was found to be incompatible with FailSafe. The fact that the FailSafe was unable to cut the driver's demanded torque may have affected the speed of impact, but to what extent it is not possible to determine. However, it is possible that Bianchi was distracted by what was happening and by the fact that he locked the front wheels and was unable to steer to avoid the crane. Bianchi's helmet hit the underside of the crane. The force of the blow and the grazing trajectory caused a very strong deceleration for the head and a large angular acceleration which led to very serious injuries. All necessary medical measures were implemented to save Bianchi's life. It would not be possible to reduce injuries in a case like Bianchi's by adopting closed cockpits or equipping the cranes with anti-intrusion panels. With the forces involved, 700kg hitting a 6.5 tonne crane at 126km/h. The single-seater's protective structure cannot be sufficient to absorb the impact without destroying the survival cell, or generating fatal decelerations. The idea that the pilot can be made to survive such impacts should be considered completely wrong.
What is absolutely necessary is to ensure that the car does not hit the crane or marshals working at that point. Reading these twelve points, it is easy to think that the commission has blamed those who cannot defend themselves and will never be able to do so. However, the FIA is not entirely innocent: it is known that drivers lift their foot just enough to not be penalised. Furthermore, even though he knew (since the Federation sees the telemetry of all the drivers in real time) that the whole group had passed at about 210 km/h in that section, he did not send the Safety Car onto the track, but he had a crane pass by the inside of the barriers to remove Sutil's car. The team and the brake-by-wire system used by it are also called into question. In summary, the fail-safe system is a system that processes the electronic accelerator and brake signals coming from the control unit. If both signals arrive (acceleration and braking), the system gives priority to the signal coming from the brake, cutting the engine. One case in which it is possible to see the fail-safe in operation is the Felipe Massa accident in Budapest in 2009. In that case, the driver, struck by a spring from the single-seater in front of him, passed out inside the cockpit, pressing both pedals. The car began to decelerate until it crashed into the barriers at a very moderate speed. Apparently, however, this system did not seem to work on the Marussia, given that for 2 seconds before the impact Jules Bianchi would have, according to the telemetry, pressed both pedals simultaneously without the system entering failsafe mode and therefore without intervening on the exclusion of the engine. Furthermore, the fact that it was pouring, that visibility was approximate, that an expert driver like Felipe Massa continued to signal via radio that the conditions were not there for racing, that the crane-truck was in the middle of the escape route, that no one slowed down at that point or was penalized for it, that a green flag was waved immediately after the crane stating that the danger is over, all of this was considered normal. The car was returned to the team, which in the following days answered a specific question:
"It is in our possession in a safe place".
After the announcement made via twitter by family members, messages of condolences arrived from Jules' world.
"Always in our hearts".
He writes Ferrari, who had put him under contract in 2009, while the president François Hollande says:
"French sport loses one of its greatest hopes".
Fernando Alonso is among the most moved:
"Friend, partner, talent, smile, eternal: rest in peace Jules".
Jules Bianchi is the first victim in F1 since the 1994 Imola weekend, where Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna died one day apart. It was that double tragedy that forced Formula 1 to revolutionize its safety parameters. Last year, after the Suzuka accident, the virtual safety car was introduced, a sort of tutor that forces the riders to maintain a certain average speed. Nine months ago, the real safety car would have been enough to neutralize the race and avoid the worst. On Monday 20 July 2015 the #17 is withdrawn by the FIA. The following day, in Nice, at 10:00 a.m., at the cathedral of Sainte Reparate, the funeral will be held in the presence of the most important Formula 1 drivers and managers. At the end, his body will be buried in the Nice cemetery.
"Don't be afraid to cry".
Said the wise Italian President Sandro Pertini. And no one hides the tears at the funeral of Jules Bianchi, in the cathedral of Santa Riparata. Thousands of people, fans and great personalities of the car, united in pain, close to the family of the French driver of Italian origin. All next to Philippe and Christina, the father and mother, Tom and Mélanie, brother and sister, destroyed. Felipe Massa weeps. Sebastian Vettel is also moved and sad. And, like them, old and young champions: Alain Prost, Jean Alesi, Olivier Panis, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg, Adrian Sutil, Daniil Kvyat, Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. Almost the full line-up of a Grand Prix. Of the well-known names, only Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso are missing. But there are many very young people, from karts to minor formulas, all friends of Jules. Ferrari with Maurizio Arrivabene, the third driver Esteban Gutierrez, the test driver Jean-Éric Vergne, Raffaele Marciello and Antonio Fuoco, who were Jules Bianchi's teammates in the Maranello Academy. For the authorities Jean Todt, the French secretary of state for sport, Thierry Braillard, the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi. During the church ceremony, a song was played in Italian, La notte di Arisa, the favourite of Jules Bianchi and his girlfriend Camille Marchetti. To the applause of an overflowing crowd, the light wooden coffin, on which the pilot's helmet was placed, was carried on the shoulders by Massa, Maldonado, Vergne, Gutierrez and Grosjean. The latter launches a tweet on behalf of all:
"Adieu Jules, on t'aime".
A few days later, on Sunday 26 July 2015, the Hungarian Grand Prix, the tenth round of the Formula 1 World Championship, will take place on the Hungaroring circuit. First, however, on Thursday 23 July 2015, the Sauber team confirms the starting driver duo, Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, also for the 2016 season. The Swedish driver says:
"I am very happy that Sauber has renewed its trust in me for another season. For now, I have only very good memories of our adventure together: I had a very good relationship right from the start and it is worth remembering that it is with this team that I scored my first points in Formula 1 at the beginning of the year. I feel honored to be able to continue to be part of the Sauber family and I will do my best to guarantee it the success it deserves".
And the Brazilian adds:
"It is good to know that I will be able to drive for another year for Sauber. The extension of my contract is an important step for my career. In this first half of the season I have learned a lot, both from a driving point of view and from a personal point of view. The fifth place I got in Melbourne was definitely the most important moment of my life as a driver. So now I can't wait to start the second part of the season, continuing to give my best also with regard to the development of the new car".
While the team principal, Monisha Kalteborn, says:
"We are pleased to have extended Marcus and Felipe's contracts. Having done so so soon shows that we are sure that we are going in the right direction. We have full confidence in their abilities and both have shown important performances, gained experience and learned quickly. Having them still in the team will give us a positive boost. Despite their young age they are two great professionals, both on and off the track, so they will also be very involved in the development of next year's new C35".
For this race, Pirelli, sole supplier of tyres, brings Soft and Medium tyres. The FIA establishes two zones for the use of the Drag Reduction System: the first on the straight of the pits, the second between turns 1 and turns 2. There is a single point for determining the gap, set before turn 14. Emanuele Pirro is called upon to carry out the task of assistant commissioner for the race, by the FIA. The former Italian driver has often performed this function in the past, most recently in the 2014 Brazilian Grand Prix. Honda, the supplier of engines for McLaren, decided to immediately take advantage of the additional engine unit granted, so that both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso use a new power unit from this race, the sixth of the season for the Spaniard, who however does not incur penalties. In the first free practice session, Fabio Leimer (on his debut weekend in the world championship) will take the place of Roberto Merhi at Marussia, while Jolyon Palmer that of Romain Grosjean at Lotus. On the eve of the Hungarian Grand Prix, it must be said that the Hungaroring meteorological service has a very particular perception of heat.
"Sunday clear skies and cool temperature: 33 °C".
The strong heat, according to the latest bulletins, was felt on Thursday 23 July 2015 (37 °C) and it will be felt on Saturday 25 July 2015, during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, with peaks of 38 °C. The beautiful dark asphalt will do its part, capturing the sun's rays and exceeding 60 °C, more than enough to cook an egg (as the Pirelli mechanics did in Malaysia three months ago in similar conditions). The recommendations, in Formula 1, are not to drink fresh water or stay in the shade, but not to destroy the tyres. For the first time the Soft compounds will be used in such an extreme situation. What will happen? And most importantly, who will benefit? We certainly know who put us back in opposite conditions, with the spring climate of Silverstone and very hard tyres: Ferrari. Therefore, Ferrari itself is now hoping for a step forward. Power, which is the strong point of Mercedes engines, matters less. The Ferrari team principal, Maurizio Arrivabene, had admitted after the unexpected podium conquered in Great Britain:
"There will be favourable circuits and others less so".
Here we are at the favorable one. The first objective is to restore the distances on Williams, which already in 2014 in the middle of the season had a sudden improvement in performance. The second, as usual, is Mercedes, unbeatable even if with gaps that in the race this year went from a few seconds to a minute. For the technicians of the Maranello team, this race has particular value: it serves to demonstrate that the work done in recent months has paid off even if the recent results have remained below expectations. Sebastian Vettel is optimistic as always:
"So far it has been a miraculous season and you cannot imagine how many promising new things we are preparing".
From the German driver's point of view, we must never forget what the starting point was:
"We are the team that has improved the most both in terms of performance and morale, I don't understand how you can't appreciate it".
There is also a statistic that Maranello does not like: with his four successes, Lewis Hamilton is the driver who has won the most at the Hungaroring in the thirty-year history of the Hungarian circuit. Sebastian Vettel, by contrast, has won everywhere but here.
And a little thought is doing it. Despite Lewis Hamilton being fastest in the first free practice session on Friday morning, 0.109 seconds quicker than teammate Nico Rosberg. Sebastian Vettel missed the first half-hour of practice with electrical problems in his Ferrari SF15-T, but ended up sixth fastest, 1.254 seconds off Lewis Hamilton. The session was red-flagged after the first hour of practice, when Sergio Pérez suffered an accident at turn 11. Entering the right-hander, the Mexican lost control of his car and spun. The car collided with the barrier, breaking the right front wheel, and overturned. Soon after, Sergio Pérez quickly informs his team about his state of health, saying that he is unharmed.
"It was a really bad accident, really unlucky. I went in at the wrong angle, which made the car roll over, but everything's all right. It was a bit of a strange accident, I thought I was under control but I guess the Astroturf was very dirty and that's why I went into the wall, but we have to check everything in detail".
The session reopened fifteen minutes later, but was interrupted once again when Kimi Räikkönen's front wing came off in turn 12, leaving debris on the track. The Finn ends the session in third place, after setting the fastest lap of him before the accident. Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat follow in fourth and fifth place. Valtteri Bottas, who tested a new front wing during the first session, was ninth. Felipe Massa is 0.6 seconds behind his teammate. Declaring satisfaction with the new wing, the Finn decides to use it for the rest of the weekend. While Jolyon Palmer replaces Romain Grosjean during the first free practice sessions, as he had done in previous race weekends, 2013 GP2 Series champion Fabio Leimer takes part in his first Formula 1 practice session, replacing Roberto Merhi at Manor. After the accident involving Sergio Pérez, Force India decided not to take part in the second free practice session, as they preferred to have time to investigate the causes that triggered the incident during FP1. During FP2 Lewis Hamilton set the best time again, but this time ahead of the two Red Bull Racing drivers, while Nico Rosberg was fourth. However, it was not a trouble-free session for Red Bull Racing, as Daniel Ricciardo was forced out of his car with Renault engine problems with twenty minutes remaining in the session, bringing out another red flag. McLaren, who have had a problematic season so far, proved more competitive, with Jenson Button saying the car is fine, and that he hopes to qualify in the top ten. His teammate, Fernando Alonso, concluded the second free practice session with the eighth fastest time, while Button himself was twelfth. After making suspension changes, Force India is cleared by the stewards to take part in the third and final practice session on Saturday morning. Lewis Hamilton is once again quickest, but this time with team-mate, Nico Rosberg, he is less than 0.1 seconds behind him in second place. Sebastian Vettel, third, is the only one to score a time which is less than a second away from that set by the British driver. While Daniil Kvyat is the second fastest non-Mercedes driver, placing himself in fourth place in the timesheets. McLaren confirms the improvement in pace by closing the session with the eighth and thirteenth fastest times. Kimi Räikkönen's second Ferrari didn't go beyond sixteenth place after a water leak on his car prevented the Finnish driver from making fast laps on the Soft tyres.
"This circuit is one of my favourites".
Says Lewis Hamilton nineteen times each year, in correspondence with the various Grands Prix. The sentence belongs to the collection of clichés to be dispensed to the public, but in the case of Hungary it has a basis of truth. Here the five-time World Champion went to pole position. The latest is the one conquered on Saturday 25 July 2015, the epilogue of two days in which he conceded nothing to his opponents. The Briton was quickest in the three free practice sessions and in the three qualifying heats, and he edged his teammate, Nico Rosberg by 0.5 seconds on the lap, proving that Mercedes may be a spaceship, but he is the commander.
Comment Lewis Hamilton, after signing the ninth pole in ten races:
"It has been the best weekend of my career so far".
It is precisely the gap on Nico Rosberg that marks the difference between the good driver and the phenomenon in the best of conditions. The same difference in the team usually separates the Ferrari drivers: Sebastian Vettel sets the third fastest time, after the pair of Mercedes drivers, but above all he precedes by 0.3 seconds between himself and Kimi Raikkonen, who will start fifth (the Red Bull Racing of Daniel Ricciardo fits between the two Ferraris). Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are the only ones to create such important added value. In terms of talent, Fernando Alonso would also be there, if he drove a normal single-seater instead of the McLaren-Honda, which abandoned him on Saturday a few meters from the pit lane. The Spaniard didn't lose heart: he got out and pushed the car right to his mechanics, in the vain hope that they would fix it. Deluded. Only the fans appreciated and applauded, while some nostalgic recalled the precedents of Nigel Mansell in Dallas in 1984, passed out from the effort, and Alain Prost in 1986 in Hockenheim, who ran out of gas a few meters from the finish line in the midst of a very hard-fought season. As well as being one of Lewis Hamilton's favourite races, the Hungarian Grand Prix is also the tenth round of the World Championship and a turning point of the season. There is no virtual title of summer champion, but the statistics are favourable: from 2000 to 2014, whoever was in the lead in mid-season won the title eleven times. Lewis Hamilton has a 17-point lead over Nico Rosberg, who has so far remained in the slipstream in the standings because he starts better, as well as taking advantage of his team-mate's mistakes, such as the unforgettable and useless pit stop in the final laps in Monaco. Ferrari is aiming for the podium, maybe not for the lowest step. The heat could lend a hand to the SF15-T, which is having difficulty getting the tires up to temperature, even if strategy, weather, efficiency in pit stops and drivers are not enough against this Mercedes: the unexpected is needed. Vettel hopes a bit: also because here at the Hungaroring he has never won.
And he's never even said it's his favourite track. Sunday 26 July 2015, before the start of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Jules Bianchi is remembered with a minute of silence, placing his helmet on the track, surrounded by that of the other riders. The starting procedure was interrupted after the formation lap as Felipe Massa did not position himself correctly in his stall. The race is shortened by one lap, due to the new formation lap needed. The Brazilian is penalized by 5 seconds, to be served at the first pit stop. At the start the two Ferraris took off quickly, so much so that Sebastian Vettel took the lead, ahead of Nico Rosberg and Kimi Räikkönen who, in turn, overtook Lewis Hamilton; already at the third corner the Finn of the Ferrari also passes Nico Rosberg. Shortly after Lewis Hamilton, in an attempt to pass Nico Rosberg too, went off the track, and dropped to tenth place. At the end of the first lap, after the first three, there are Valtteri Bottas, Daniil Kvyat, Nico Hülkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Pérez. During the second lap Nico Hülkenberg passes Daniil Kvyat. During lap 8, the Russian driver also gave up a position to his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo. During lap 10 Daniel Ricciardo passes Nico Hülkenberg. During lap 14, Valtteri Bottas and Daniil Kvjat returned to the pits to change tyres. During lap 16 Nico Hülkenberg also returned to the pits to change the tyres. Between lap 20 and lap 23, both the two Ferrari drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, and the two Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, made their first stops. Coming out of the pits, Sebastian Vettel maintained first position, ahead of Kimi Räikkönen, Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo (who still hasn't changed the tires) and Lewis Hamilton, author of a good comeback. The Briton then also overtook the Australian on lap 29. After lap 40, Kimi Räikkönen's car showed a problem of loss of power from the electric motor. Then, during lap 43, on the finish straight the front wing of Nico Hülkenberg's Force India gave way: the car went off the track at high speed, but without damage to the driver. The race direction establishes the Virtual Safety car regime, on the straight.
Then, however, he decides to let the Safety Car enter the track, with the cars passing through the pit lane. At the restart of the race, after six laps, Nico Rosberg passed Kimi Raikkonen, while Lewis Hamilton was surprised by Daniel Ricciardo: the two also made contact, allowing Daniil Kvyat to pass the British Mercedes driver, and climb up to fifth place. Shortly after Lewis Hamilton returned to the pits to replace the front wing, and dropped to seventh place. Shortly after, Kimi Räikkönen was also forced to return to the pits, where an attempt was made to reset the engine problem, but without success. The Finn returned to the track, but retired shortly after. In the meantime, the two STRs are back in the standings, with Max Verstappen fifth and Carlos Sainz Jr. sixth, ahead of Fernando Alonso. During lap 55 Fernando Alonso manages to pass Carlos Sainz Jr., and climbs to sixth place. The Spanish Toro Rosso driver was then forced to retire on lap 60 due to a loss of power from the Renault engine. In the closing laps Nico Rosberg got close to Sebastian Vettel, but was unable to overtake him. From behind comes Daniel Ricciardo who, in turn, threatens the position of Nico Rosberg. During lap 64 Daniel Ricciardo tries to attack Nico Rosberg, but the two riders touch: Nico Rosberg punctures a tire, while Daniel Ricciardo damages the front wing. The two are forced to stop in the pits. Daniil Kvjat climbs to second position, just ahead of his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo. Nico Rosberg, on the other hand, was forced to complete an entire lap with a punctured tire and dropped to tenth position. Two laps from the end Lewis Hamilton passes Romain Grosjean, and takes sixth place. Sebastian Vettel wins the Hungarian Grand Prix, equaling the number of victories achieved by Ayrton Senna. Daniil Kvyat, who finished second, conquered his first career podium. The Russian driver says, at the end of the race:
"You know some people say: never give up. But they don't know what they're saying and until today I didn't also know what it really means, but today I really learned what it means to never give up because it can always come your way".
Daniel Ricciardo is third, followed by Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean, Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button and Marcus Ericsson. With this result, Lewis Hamilton ended his run of sixteen consecutive races on the podium, as did Mercedes, which had had a driver in the top three for twenty-eight races. Either way, it's the second-longest streak in World Championship history. Dedicated to Jules Bianchi. Sobs Sebastian Vettel as soon as he crosses the finish line at the Hungaroring, when tension gives way to emotions:
"This victory is for you".
The race began after a minute of silence dedicated to the French driver who died after nine weeks in a coma. The drivers embraced in a circle during the national anthem ceremony, then returned to their respective single-seaters, lowered their visors and started one of the most fun and hard-fought Grands Prix in recent years, challenging each other with FairPlay and courage. The best won. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen got off to a better start, overtaking Lewis Hamilton who seems glued to the asphalt, passing Nico Rosberg's Mercedes one after the other and leaving. It's not a question of strategies or unexpected events, luck or rain: they are simply faster. Indeed, Ferrari is not even lucky: Kimi Raikkonen breaks his car during his best race and a safety car erases Sebastian Vettel's advantage, about twenty seconds, giving Mercedes a second chance. It happens around lap 48. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton receive a message on the radio bordering on presumption:
"Guys, we can win".
No, they don't win. On the contrary, they lag behind. And the further back they are, the more they make mistakes.
Lewis Hamilton crosses wheels with Ricciardo Ricciardo, and has the worst. He will finish sixth, however consolidating the first place in the standings. Nico Rosberg tries to approach Sebastian Vettel, but realizes he doesn't have enough speed. So he settles, tries to bring home second place, until he too ends up colliding with the Australian driver's Red Bull Racing. Looking at Sebastian Vettel moved on the podium, in front of a riot of red flags, we need to take a step back, a flashback to the Ferrari conference at the end of 2014. Maurizio Arrivabene said, in his debut as Ferrari team principal:
"If we win a couple of Grands Prix next year it will be a success, if we win three it will be a triumph".
And added the president of Ferrari, Sergio Marchionne:
“If we win four we go to heaven".
After ten races completed and nine to go, Ferrari has already achieved the minimum target. After the Malaysian Grand Prix, the Maranello team also won in Hungary. But with one huge difference: there it was perhaps a lucky victory, this time it's deserved. Says Sergio Marchionne, who dedicates his success to Jules Bianchi:
"Unfortunately today we can't celebrate a first and second place that were within our reach".
Yet the Hungarian weekend had been troubled, to the point that Ferrari's technical director, James Allison, had put his hands in his hair after free practice:
"It's the hardest Friday of my career".
However, Maurizio Arrivabene recommended calm:
"Someone is trying to destabilize us, but they won't succeed".
And the turning point came on Saturday, with the choice of a setup that favours the start. And that works great. The Mercedes team took care of the rest. Lewis Hamilton believes he is invincible and finally apologizes to the team:
"I had a difficult day at the office".
Nico Rosberg loses the opportunity to recover in the standings:
"If it were up to me I would skip the holidays and go back to the car tomorrow".
And the Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, admits defeat:
"Ferrari deserved it. And I have sprouted more white hair".
The Ferrari team principal, Maurizio Arrivabene, collects the compliments and replies to Niki Lauda, who had only praised the spaghetti of Ferrari:
"This time we had pizza. Angry".
In the last seven years, Ferrari has started the World Championship with the aim of winning it, without succeeding. This time she left resigned to losing him and in the middle of the season she is in full swing. And he can no longer back down or hide: after ten races of Mercedes dominance, Sebastian Vettel is only 21 points behind Nico Rosberg and 42 from Lewis Hamilton, gaps that can be recovered in a couple of races. No one in Maranello dares to talk about it, and not just for superstition: the victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix is the result of the work of the technicians in the pits and Sebastian Vettel on the track, but the Mercedes team that makes a mistake is an exception. In a normal race, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg would have been beaten, but they would have finished close behind the Ferrari. Yet there is hope, it costs nothing and rests on at least three points. First, the performance. On at least one circuit the Ferrari proved to be faster than the Mercedes and there is no reason to exclude that it will happen again, for example in Singapore, another circuit where power is less important, the tires are soft and the brakes are stressed. But it is above all on the new engine that will make its debut at Monza that hopes of a comeback are pinned. The president Sergio Marchionne is unbalanced, saying:
"The Italian Grand Prix will be another key point in the development of the car".
Second point, the pilots. Nothing to complain about the Hamilton-Rosberg couple, except that the two steal points from each other. Between Vettel and Raikkonen the difference in performance is clearer: except in Bahrain, the German has always been ahead of his teammate. The two are theoretically free to engage in duels, but the situation in the standings already authorizes the team to ask Kimi to step aside if necessary. The same is unthinkable in Mercedes, at least as long as the situation is balanced. Third point, character. In simple situations, the slightest inconvenience sends Lewis Hamilton into a crisis. Eight years of F1 have given us the same image of fragility as the dramatic 2007 finale, when Lewis got the start wrong and engaged in a duel with his teammate, who was then Fernando Alonso. Losing it in the first round. In Hungary, Lewis slipped to fourth at the start and had 69 laps to make up for it. Trying immediately in a decomposed way, he lost the opportunity to win it. Sebastian Vettel, on the other hand, has nothing to lose. He is happy and having fun, he has reached the podium seven times out of ten, he has fallen in love with Ferrari, which reciprocates the enthusiasm, and always performs at its best. To protect the harmony in the garage, after the race Maurizio Arrivabene challenges enemies and detractors: those who can't count victories and podiums, those who try to divide the team and those who, like Niki Lauda, make fun. A team principal who creates and diverts the controversy to himself. This is also strategy.