How Low Can Ferrari Go?

Illustration for article titled How Low Can Ferrari Go?
Photo: Rudy Carezzevoli (Getty Images)

Ferrari hasn’t had a good year in Formula One in a while, but 2020 might just be rock bottom for the Maranello team. No longer is Ferrari one of the top three teams. Instead, it’s languishing away near the rear of the grid, hoping to scoop up a few points-scoring finishes. And it’s not looking any better ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix with both drivers knocked out in Q2.

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Charles Leclerc will start Sunday’s race from 13th with Sebastian Vettel right behind him. These are tough times, considering that last year, Leclerc qualified on pole at this race.

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To make matters worse, Haas and Alfa Romeo—both Ferrari-engined teams—were knocked out in Q1. All four drivers will start on the last rows of the grid.

In a pretty typical Ferrari fashion, the team has no lack of reasons as to why it’s been struggling in 2020. Team boss Mattia Binotto has been unable to identify a problem with the car, noting, “We struggle to make the tires work. We are lacking grip, both in braking and acceleration. There is no overall performance to the car.”

In other words: everything is wrong, which means there’s no easy way to solve the problem.

Meanwhile, Mercedes continues to dominate, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas once again qualifying on the front row. Hamilton took his 93rd pole position of his F1 career and paid tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman, who passed away yesterday due to stage IV colon cancer.

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Not only that, but Hamilton also set a new track record of 1:41.252s—a full half- second ahead of his teammate. And he did it without a tow, which basically means that he didn’t follow a slower car to take advantage of the channel of low pressure air left behind it. Hamilton’s No. 44 Mercedes cut through the air all on its own. It’s a damn impressive pace.

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Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing and Daniel Ricciardo of Renault will line up in the second row. Alex Albon rounds out the top five.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Freelancer. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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DISCUSSION

Nothing against Hamilton or Mercedes, but where’s the enjoyment of starting to watch a race when you know, with almost 100% certainty, which car will be sitting in the center in parc fermé?