Scuderia Ferrari’s thousandth Formula 1 race, the Toscana – Ferrari 1000 GP will be remembered for many reasons. The difficulties and spectacular nature of the Mugello circuit, the track owned by Ferrari and making its debut on the Formula 1 calendar, will be recalled for the return of spectators to the grandstands, for the Italian national anthem sung by Andrea Bocelli and the excitement before the race start of seeing Mick Schumacher doing five laps in the F2004, the Scuderia’s most successful car as raced by his father Michael. However, it won’t be remembered for the race result with Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel finishing eighth and tenth. This was at the end of a chaotic race, red flagged twice, thus featuring three starts off the grid.
Start. When the lights went out, Charles got the perfect getaway, going from fifth to third, even getting alongside Lewis Hamilton in second. But at turn 2, there was a collision between Carlos Sainz’s McLaren and Lance Stroll’s Racing Point. At this point, Seb arrived to find the McLaren across his path sideway and was unable to avoid it, damaging the front wing. A bit further back, Kimi Räikkönen, Romain Grosjean, Pierre Gasly and Max Verstappen collided, with the AlphaTauri and Red Bull finishing up in the gravel, bringing out the Safety Car. The race resumed eight laps later, Charles was third while Seb was thirteenth and last. There was barely time for the race to get going before it was red flagged once more after a big collision on the start line.
Second start. The second start saw Charles again get away well to stay third, while Seb immediately got ahead of Grosjean in the Haas to go 12th. Soon Leclerc was struggling to run at a good pace and was overtaken by several cars, so the decision was taken to pit at the end of lap 22 to go for a change of strategy and a set of Hards. The same tactic was tried with Vettel on lap 29. On lap 38, the team called Charles in again fitting Mediums to his SF1000. Shortly after, Lance Stroll crashed at Arrabbiata 2, bringing out the Safety Car yet again and once more that was soon changed to a red flag. There hadn’t been anything similar happen since Brazil in 2016. Before the stop, Seb pitted for a set of Softs.
Third start. Third time off the grid, with 13 laps to go, Charles was eighth on the grid with Seb tenth. The Ferraris did not get the best of starts this time, Charles losing two places and Seb dropping down to eleventh. Leclerc soon passed Grosjean and set off after Räikkönen, who had been given a five second penalty for crossing the white line at the pit lane entry. Vettel also got past the Frenchman and crossed the line tenth, behind his team-mate who was classified ahead of Raikkonen, once the penalty was applied.
A break. The Mugello race was the last of the third triple-header of the season. Now the championship has a break of two weeks before the circus assembles again at the Sochi Autodrom from 25 to 27 September for the Russian Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc #16
“I had a great start, making my way to P3. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pace we needed to keep this position and finished in 8th place. I tried to fight as much as I could, but it just wasn’t enough today. Lots of things happened in the race, but one thing hasn’t changed, which is that we have to work hard to improve our performance.
The race itself was quite fun. I was happy every time there was a standing start because it was an opportunity for us to try and fight for positions.
The car was quite difficult to drive, especially on the Hard tyres. Towards the end it became a bit better on the Softs, but overall, it’s very tough at the moment, so we need to keep our heads up and stay motivated. It’s very important to keep this in mind in times like these. Hopefully we will see better times coming soon.”
Sebastian Vettel #5
"The start was not the best, but then I had a good run into Turn 1 staying on the inside, out of trouble. Then when I came round Turn 2, I saw that the McLaren had spun, but I couldn't avoid making contact.
Luckily, with the Safety Car deployed we could change the wing and rejoin the field. I would have loved to capitalise a little bit more on other people’s mistakes, but at least we were quite lucky to generally stay out of trouble. The positive thing is that we were able to finish in the points, but of course we can’t be happy with our position."
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
"A very disappointing result brings to an end an historic weekend for Scuderia Ferrari at our home track, Mugello, with our one thousandth Formula 1 Grand Prix.
While yesterday, at least with Charles we managed to get a result in line with our expectations, today we didn’t have the pace to allow our drivers to fight with their nearest rivals, suffering especially with tyre degradation.
Both Charles and Sebastian did the best they could, given the performance level of the car. We are working hard to try and correct its basic faults, but it’s not something that can be done in a short space of time, nor with a few updates. That doesn’t mean we won’t be bringing new solutions between now and the end of the season, but we have to be realistic with ourselves and with our fans."