It is time for Ferrari to dish out the punches; that’s the rally cry from team boss Maurizio Arrivabene in the build-up to this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
For the first time in many a year, Ferrari head to Monza as the team to beat.
The Scuderia’s much-improved engine has taken over from Mercedes’ as the one to beat as helped Sebastian Vettel to the victory at Spa last Sunday.
It was Ferrari’s first win at the Belgian GP since 2009 and the Italian team is hoping to follow it up with their first Monza win since 2010.
Arrivabene reckons now is the time for the Scuderia to hit back at Mercedes and put the reigning champs under pressure.
“They are not used to it,” he said. “In the last few years we were with our heads held low, we took punches right and left, but we always got up.
“We’re used to it. They are not, so the speech made to the boys is simple: let’s keep them under pressure.
“Sooner or later, when we reach them [Mercedes], we are the aggressive ones who have taken them [the punches] and we know how bad it is.
“Now it’s time to give them.”
Ferrari, though, are still trailing Mercedes in both championships with Vettel 17 points off the pace in the race for the World tit.e.
Arrivabene urged caution.
“It’s a recovery but we’re still behind,” he said.
“We have to put this in our heads that if you win a race, you have not won the championship, and that is our goal.
“We must put pressure on Mercedes, who are not accustomed to it.”