Vettel beats Raikkonen in Monaco after overtaking team-mate through pit stops
Ferrari have a “potential cold war” brewing within their team after Sebastian Vettel beat Kimi Raikkonen in a controversial victory at the Monaco GP, according to Monday’s national newspapers.
Vettel’s triumph around the streets of Monte Carlo extended his championship lead over Lewis Hamilton to 25 points, but the way he jumped his pole-sitting team-mate through the pit stops has led to suggestions Ferrari have already made the German their No 1 driver.
he four-time world champion was kept out five laps longer after Raikkonen came in for his only stop, giving Vettel clear air to put in some fast times and ‘overcut’ the Finn, who was visibly unhappy after the race.
“The stony demeanour said it all for Kimi Raikkonen by the close of the Monaco Grand Prix and, while the Ice Man is renowned for giving nothing away in public, that he was not happy at how his race had panned out was clear,” Giles Richards wrote in The Guardian.
“That he was beaten into second by his team-mate Sebastian Vettel was plainly to the German’s advantage in his battle for the Formula One world championship with Lewis Hamilton. That conflict is positively heating up but the suggestion that Ferrari manipulated the strategy to ensure the result suggests a potential cold war within the team.”
The Telegraph’s Oliver Brown also suggested the relationship between the two Ferrari drivers could deteriorate the same way Hamilton’s and Nico Rosberg’s did at Mercedes.
“Raikkonen had a face that could curdle milk. The Finn tends to display roughly the same emotional spectrum as a block of ice but his expression on the podium was a diagram of rage as some crafty Ferrari tactics propelled Sebastian Vettel to the team’s first Monaco Grand Prix win for 16 years,” Brown said.
“All weekend this inscrutable cult figure, whose wife Minttu has recently given birth to the couple’s second child, seemed to have a fresh burst of energy, showing dazzling pace to achieve pole position and keep his team-mate at bay off the start line.
“But from there Ferrari reverted to extreme pragmatism, bringing Raikkonen into the pits first and giving Vettel all the space and time he needed to vault into the lead and sustain his quest for a fifth world title.
“Diplomatically, he chose to bite his tongue rather than accuse his employers of brazen team orders, but his distaste for their decision was clear. Before the Italian national anthem played out in all its jauntiness, he could barely be bothered to lift his second-place trophy in the air. He glowered at his bottle of champagne as if it were strychnine.
“[Raikkonen’s] sour body language towards Vettel was all too redolent of the simmering intra-team feud last year between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.”
Meanwhile in The Times, Rebecca Clancy opined Hamilton is facing a big challenge to win a fourth world title given the Ferrari has replaced the Mercedes as F1’s near bullet-proof car.
“Mercedes will need to take back control and quickly. With 14 of the season’s 20 races remaining, Hamilton is 25 points behind Vettel. The gap is by no means insurmountable - one win is worth that many points - but with the Ferraris showing no signs of weakness, Hamilton is facing a tall order.”