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Trouble and strife for Ferrari in Monza 09 Sep 2007

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2007.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 9 September 2007 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2007 leads Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2007.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 9 September 2007 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 9 September 2007

The tifosi left Monza disheartened on Sunday afternoon after an Italian Grand Prix that Ferrari would probably prefer to forget. With Felipe Massa retiring early on and Kimi Raikkonen finishing third behind the two McLarens, the team gleaned just six points from their home event and fell further behind their rivals in the championship race.

Initially, it had all looked so different. Both F2007s made excellent starts, with Massa launching himself briefly up into second, while Raikkonen took fourth from BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld. Although McLaren’s Fernando Alonso retained the lead from team mate Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari looked to have a fighting chance.

Soon, however, the Italian team's hopes were dealt a bitter blow. On lap 10 Massa pitted from third place with a suspected puncture. He re-emerged, only for Ferrari’s reliability woes to return and the Brazilian crawled straight back to the pits with suspected suspension problems.

"We are very disappointed at having failed to secure a better result," said team principal Jean Todt. "Felipe was forced to retire in the early stages because of a mechanical problem with the rear suspension, the cause of which has yet to be analysed."

With Massa out, Ferrari’s hopes rested on Raikkonen’s shoulders. Running third, the Finn took the lead briefly when the McLaren pair pitted for the first time, and a clever one-stop strategy saw him emerge in front of Hamilton after the championship leader's second stop.

Ferrari’s celebrations were cut short, however, when Hamilton, on softer and newer Bridgestone tyres, overtook Raikkonen into the first chicane with a move that the Finn was powerless to prevent.

"I tried to defend my position but he was definitely quicker than me," said Raikkonen. "In the final stages I slowed to save the car for the next race. We were keen to win in front of our fans but we did not manage it. At least I got onto the podium."

The result means Ferrari now trail McLaren by 23 points in the constructors' championship, with four races remaining.

"Clearly the situation in both championships is now more difficult," concluded Todt. "We will aim to do our best in the four remaining races, starting next weekend in Spa-Francorchamps."