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Monza: Bittersweet podium for Ferrari

2015-09-07 08:05

GLASS HALF FULL FOR FERRARI: Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen (right) managed a front-row qualifying position but suffered horrible race start. Sebastian Vettel however finished in second. Image: AFP / Olivier Morin

Monza, Italy - The glass was half full for Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene after Sunday's 2015 Italian Grand Prix (Sept 5), even if Kimi Raikkonen filled it almost to the brim before sloshing the contents around.

With Sebastian Vettel taking second place in his first race in Italy in red Ferrari overalls, the home team could hold their heads high even if they never came close to catching Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes.

Raikkonen, Ferrari's 2007 world champion, outqualified Vettel and started on the front row to the delight of a legion of tifosi - including Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne.

Then it all went wrong...

Raikkonen was left standing as everyone else pulled away, cars veering around him to the left and right, before getting going and entering the first corner in last place.

He ended up fifth after a strong fightback, helped by a rare Mercedes engine failure that denied Nico Rosberg a place on the podium.

Ferrari remained second overall in the constructors' championship, with Mercedes disappearing into the distance.

Arrivabene said:  "On Saturday (September 4), Kimi had done a great qualifying and we were all pleased. Sunday he got messed up a bit, we need still to check but most probably messed up a bit with the finger (in releasing the clutch).

"During the race he overtook many, many other cars and his race was fantastic I have to say."

'Ripping our hearts out'

So too was Vettel's race, with the four-times champion thrilled to be back on the Monza podium and in front of the heaving wave of cheering fans spilling out of the stands onto the pit straight.

Vettel told reporters: "It's the best second place I ever had. The emotions on the podium are incredible. If we take this (circuit) away from the calendar for any... money reasons I think you are basically ripping our hearts out."

The circuit, which has hosted races since the 1920s and featured on the calendar in every season but one since the world championship started in 1950, faces an uncertain future with its current contract ending in 2016.

Raikkonen, a fan favourite, said he had never experienced a start problem like Sunday's before and had not done anything different to usual.

Raikkonen said: "Obviously it's not ideal. You're in a good position for the start and then after a few seconds we were last so the front row didn't help us a lot did it?

"The weekend has been good apart from that issue and then obviously its fine to get back to fifth, when you start from second place, with that kind of start."


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