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Ferrari will dig deep, in every sense

NEWS STORY
21/07/2008

Ferrari headed back to Maranello on Sunday evening determined to solve the mysteries that hindered their performance in the German Grand Prix on Sunday. Felipe Massa finished third to Lewis Hamilton and rookie Nelson Piquet, while Kimi Raikkonen finished sixth.

Ferrari were simply unable to exploit their usual race pace and strong disciplines such as economical use of tyres, as team principal Stefano Domenicali explained after the race. "This was one of the most critical points of this weekend. Normally we know that McLaren are fast over a single lap and that this is a trade-off with consistency and pace during the race.

"Unfortunately today we have seen that that was not the case. In qualifying of course they were really strong, but if you consider the fuel that they had for Lewis and Kovalainen Felipe's lap was really good. This time, if you think that in the first stint we were slower by half a second it shows that there is something that has to be really understood and we need to go deeply into the details without making any quick solutions because that's the mistake that we shouldn't make at this moment."

One of the reasons for the lack of pace was the brakes, as Massa had reported. "I think that we had a problem of high brake temperatures," said Domenicali. "That is one of the reasons why Felipe was not able to attack. Generally, he was also not happy about the grip of the car so he couldn't be aggressive either on soft or on hard tyres. So that was really the main problem. That is the reason why, in that condition, we were not even able to attack Piquet."

Could the conditions have changed? Domenicali was unwilling to draw any swift conclusions. "Possibly," he admitted. "But as I said today I don't want to take any premature reasons because we need to go deeply and analyse the reason for this situation. because it's in a way too microscopic to have an easy solution. For sure what we have seen today is something that we haven't seen since the start of the season in terms of consistency and pace. It is clear that McLaren has made another step forward in respect of the consistency during the race. During this weekend, in the long runs they were pretty good. But on the other side today I'd say we were too slow and we have to understand the reason why."

Kimi Raikkonen, in particular, struggled throughout the weekend. "He was not happy at all with his car's behaviour since Friday," explained Domenicali. "He said the car was too nervous at the rear and he couldn't have the grip that he wanted. If you compare that with what we have seen during the test last week this is the reason why I said I don't completely understand the reason why because last week we were pretty competitive in the last sector so we need to analyse a lot.

"He was not happy with the general grip of the car. He couldn't be aggressive, he felt the rear was still too loose and it was not possible for him to be on the pace that he wanted. If you look at the first stint it was the best in a way. It took a long time before he caught Robert Kubica."

It was pointed out that it was not the first time that Kimi has struggled with the setup between the test and the race weekend. Is the window of the set-up quite small on the Ferrari or is he generally having more difficulties to find it than Felipe? "For sure the window of setup can be wider if you go to the direction that is not taking the car where you want," said Domenicali. "Generally speaking the difference is not so big but that shows how the car is, very sensitive if you don't do the thing properly.

Raikkonen was not really showing a champion's form, it was suggested. "Well, you have to look at the points. The thing I don't want to do now or ever is to make a risky conclusion of the driver situation, because as we said for example in Silverstone for Felipe, after that race, I didn't want to say something and in the other direction with Kimi. So for sure he is the first one not to be happy about the situation but I'm pretty sure that he's very keen to react straight away in Hungary, as we are all together."

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