What a year 2019 is turning out to be for Ferrari. Unfortunately, it is for all the wrong reasons.
It looked so promising for the Maranello outfit during pre-season testing. Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel had been consistently putting their scarlet red cars at the top of the time sheets, with Mercedes nowhere in sight.
But the F1 paddock was left in shock after the first race of the season in Melbourne, with the Ferrari cars only lining up in fourth and fifth place behind the dominant package of Mercedes.
No matter, it was put down to a one-off, and surely the prancing horse would bounce back at the next race in Bahrain. And they did, with the team set for a one two finish and Leclerc ready to sip the winner’s champagne for the first time in F1.
But another mistake from Vettel in a fight against Lewis Hamilton cost the team their chance of securing maximum points, made worse after a problem for Leclerc cruelly robbed him and the team of victory.
Ferrari struggle to beat rivals
Sebastian Vettel: 4th (156pts)
Charles Leclerc: 5th (132pts)
Constructor Standing: 2nd (288pts)
Since that race Ferrari has consistently been behind it's German rivals of Mercedes. The team had the opportunity to take victory a couple of races later in Canada with Vettel, but a controversial penalty for the German quashed any of those hopes.
Another good race in Austria saw the team look set for victory with Leclerc, whilst Mercedes struggled with heating issues, although no-one could have expected the pace Max Verstappen would show in a fast developing Red Bull, who snatched victory from Leclerc with a few laps remaining following an epic duel.
However, it means that so far this season Ferrari has not won a single race, despite coming close in three of them.
The last race in Hungary summed up Ferrari’s miserable season, with the team finishing a minute behind race victor Hamilton.
What makes it worse for the Italian team is that Verstappen only looks to be getting stronger in his Red Bull, who has taken two victories so far this season.
Fortunately for the team, only Verstappen is bringing home good points for Red Bull at the moment, with Ferrari likely to battle new Red Bull driver Alexander Albon after he replaced Pierre Gasly.
Where are Ferrari now
Currently Vettel sits fourth in the drivers championship on 156 points, with Leclerc behind in fifth on 132 points. It means that in the constructors championship, the team sit on 288 points, only 44 ahead of Red Bull and far behind Mercedes.
The drivers seem to be getting the best out of their car, with both pushing to extract the best performance available. And surely Vettel’s drive in Germany from last to P2 has got to be one of the best since the hybrid era.
But sadly for the team there doesn’t seem to be a clear vision going forward on how to get on top of Mercedes, with the rest of their season seemingly set for a battle with Red Bull for second.
Maybe next year should be the main focus for Ferrari’s championship hopes. Either way, it is not the season Ferrari or anyone in the F1 paddock was expecting.