Tuesday 24 October 2017

Motorsport: Ferrari boss orders struggling team to raise game

Tom Cary in Shanghai

Ferrari chief Luca di Montezemolo has warned his struggling team that they must improve their performance.

"This cannot and must not be the team's level," Di Montezemolo said after Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso finished six and seventh in the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday.

Ferrari have yet to finish on the podium in the first three races of the campaign, despite an encouraging pre-season in which it seemed they were second only to Red Bull. Alonso lies fifth in the drivers' standings, 42 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel, with Massa a further two points adrift in sixth.

"I want Ferrari to be at the level that both we and our fans demand it should be," added Di Montezemolo.

"I expect our engineers to act with determination and know-how, unleashing the maximum of their capacity to improve the performance of the car in a short time."

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton believes his painful experience in Malaysia helped him win the Chinese Grand Prix. Hamilton was unable to make his tyres last the full race distance in Sepang the previous week, having been too hard on them in qualifying.

He feels his McLaren team can now enjoy the mini-break before the Turkish Grand Prix on May 8 safe in the knowledge that they are closing the gap on Red Bull.

"It took the experience of the last race to be able to do what I did," said Hamilton, who showed how hands-on he is regarding race strategy when he revealed that he would have forced his team to keep a set of soft tyres back for the race even if they had wanted him to use two sets in Q3.

"This weekend was done on strategy. I came here and my mind was set on the strategy," Hamilton said.

"When I sat down to speak to my engineers I knew that I was going to have a set of options (soft tyres) left. I wasn't going to let them make me use two.

"They were fine with it, but even if they had argued I would have made sure it would have happened and it worked. I wanted to do a three-stop in the race even though a two-stop was kind of looking better.

"I knew that with a three-stop I could have been a bit more aggressive with my tyres." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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