Dutch racing driver Jeroen Bleekemolen believes Ferrari were “at it again” in Monaco, reverting to last year’s strategy blunders as they showed “no certainty” at all.
And that, he says, is one of the biggest differences that separates Ferrari from championship leaders Red Bull.
Ferrari failed to reach the podium at Charles Leclerc’s home grand prix, the Monégasque driver down in sixth place after a penalty for impeding another driver in qualifying dropped him from third on the timesheet to sixth on the grid.
Despite the rain offering up moments of confusion – and opportunity – he wasn’t able to capitalise and finished the race in sixth place while his team-mate Carlos Sainz, who started P4, was undone by the wet weather and dropped to eighth.
Sainz, despite wanting to run longer in his first stint, was called in on lap 34 to cover Lewis Hamilton’s strategy with the Spaniard saying after the race Ferrari were too impatient.
That was in sharp contrast to Red Bull who left Max Verstappen out on long first stints as they waited to see whether or not the forecast rain would impact the race. It did but to Sainz’s detriment, not to Verstappen’s.
“It’s a bit of the mess we saw last year again and that is that they don’t choose a clear direction,” Bleekemolen told Motorsport.com.
“That’s the great thing about a Red Bull, which just does everything right with Verstappen and the rain. Those are difficult choices. A small mistake in Monaco and you throw away a victory. They do it well and Ferrari is at it again.
“There is just no certainty there. It was really Ferrari like last year.”
Verstappen won the race ahead of Alonso with Esteban Ocon, Sainz’s nemesis in the first half of the race, P3.
Asked whether Ferrari would’ve been better suited to leaving Sainz out longer, Bleekemolen replied: “They were thinking about beating Ocon. That was also the reason they were hesitating. So they though ‘if we pit at the right time, we can take that podium’.
“But there is too much a lot of uncertainty then.
“They just have to choose a clear direction there at that time and they didn’t choose it. That has to do with many things.
“It already starts, for example, with a Max Verstappen, who just has the confidence and radiates that confidence to the whole team. They just don’t hesitate, that’s what goes on in such a whole team.
“At Ferrari it is still too much doubt. With motorsport you just have to make clear choices.”
Former F1 driver turned Sky Sports pundit Timo Glock agrees.
Despite acknowledging the driver’s Monaco curse, as it has been billed many times before, the former Toyota driver feels Ferrari dropped the ball in qualifying.
“At Ferrari and especially Charles Leclerc, the Monaco curse continues tirelessly,” he wrote in his latest Sky Deutschland column.
“He had a great qualifying session, but then Ferrari made the reckless error of not warning Leclerc about Lando Norris, who was on a fast lap behind him. As a result, Leclerc was moved back three places.
“When you start from sixth place in Monaco, the fight for the podium becomes difficult. The speed in the race wasn’t there either because you don’t have a free ride and you’re always stuck in traffic.
“Once again it was not a complete weekend, the Scuderia have to make a good step forward in the next races, also in terms of all the small mistakes.
“You can’t always stand in your own way. You have to get a handle on this momentary tension so that the errors compared to the competition are reduced.”