If this stat doesn’t convince you that Ferrari are back to their best, nothing will. Sebastian Vettel has secured five consecutive podiums in the opening five races for Ferrari in 2017. The last time this was achieved was back in 2004, when Michael Schumacher was piloting the dominant F2004.
Along with 2nd place at Catalunya, Vettel gained the F1 Driver of the Day votes for his efforts against a resurged Lewis Hamilton in a radically amended Mercedes W08. The fight for the victory was the pinnacle of the spectacle, and either driver could have won had a few variables and calls been switched.
This will keep the fiery ambition firmly alight in the Ferrari camp, having retained competitiveness after the first round of radical upgrades. After the race, Sebastian Vettel analysed the race, and the feelings within the team.
“My start was good, I saw Lewis struggle with wheel-spin, and kept looking in mirror to see if anybody else had a better start. The first stint went ok, then we had to pit, otherwise they might have got us with an undercut. My second stint was also pretty good: I managed to get close to Valtteri who was all over the place with his tyres. He blocked me, in the end I managed to get past, but by then I had lost an awful lot of time. Then in the last stint we did everything we could, the car was good, it was close with Lewis.
I am happy when we have the chance to race the Mercedes cars, we can be very happy but not entirely happy today. The most important thing, though, is that we were in the fight; the team is in great form, we need to improve because we want to be ahead of them.”
– Sebastian Vettel
The result saw Vettel finish on the podium for the fifth time in five races this season, Championship-winning consistency that even Lewis Hamilton hasn’t quite managed with his 4th place finish in Sochi.
It’s an even harder contest to call around Monaco, the unpredictability, and occasional random result will surely throw a few spanners into the usual running order. One thing is certain, grabbing pole around the principality will be paramount. The gaps between Ferrari and Mercedes in this area have been quite small, if either team can get both cars on the front-row, their chances of victory will rise quite drastically.