Ferrari looking lost

Ferrari had high hopes arriving in Barcelona that it would finally be the race it demonstrated its true performance and forced itself into the reckoning for some long-awaited championship silverware.

The Scuderia had good reason to be optimistic, too, for its performance at the same circuit during winter testing had the rest of the pitlane tipping Ferrari as the team to beat heading into the new season. Add to this a host of new updates, including an upgraded power unit – brought forward by two races – and it seemed that now more than ever, was the time for a Ferrari fightback.

But for all the Prancing Horse’s grunt along the Spanish straights, Ferrari’s tricky SF90 was playing up in the tight and technical final sector. This is where Mercedes gained the most time - as much as six tenths of a second during qualifying - and took control of the weekend as a result.

Ferrari trailed the Silver Arrows throughout practice and ended up eight tenths adrift in Q3. If that wasn’t bad enough, a “daring” approach to its race-day set-up failed to reduce the deficit on Sunday. In fact, as Mercedes scampered towards a fifth straight one-two finish, Ferrari was left more concerned about the pace demonstrated by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

The Dutchman had already swept past Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap, and while the Ferrari pair were busy holding each other up - not once but twice - during a series of bizarre strategy calls that left it dithering over team orders, Red Bull and Verstappen were able to take advantage. Verstappen ultimately beat Vettel to third place, a position that sees him leapfrog Vettel into third place in the championship standings.

Ferrari’s apparent deficiencies in slow speed corners does not bode well for the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix later this month, either. The team is still left searching for answers regarding its weaknesses as it bids to extract the most out of its complex aerodynamic concept, but it is fast running out of time with a near 100-point gap already opening up to Mercedes.

 

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