Monza — Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari can hand Formula One champions Mercedes a taste of their own medicine and give the Italian fans a home win to savour on Sunday.
Mercedes have won for four years in a row at Monza, with Lewis Hamilton on pole position every time, but that dominance has faded this season with Ferrari on the pace.
After a commanding performance in Belgium last weekend, the German’s fifth victory in 13 races, Vettel arrives with the local "tifosi" dreaming of Ferrari’s first win at Monza since 2010.
Now 17 points behind Hamilton but closing in, Vettel has had to dampen unrealistic hopes in the past but this time the four-time champion is revelling in the upbeat mood — if still taking nothing for granted.
"I find it quite nice that we get put in this position," Vettel said on Thursday when asked about Mercedes’ "power deficit" to Ferrari. "I think people forget that for the last five years Mercedes has been absolutely dominant, especially in terms of power unit," he added.
"Obviously it’s nice for them to put us in that position [ahead on power] because it means they believe they’re not the strongest anymore."
Vettel knows how it feels to win at Monza — the "Pista Magica" — and be cheered all the way, as he was when he took his first F1 victory for Italy-based Toro Rosso in 2008.
He also knows about the boos, the crowd voicing their disapproval when he triumphed in 2011 and 2013 for enemy Red Bull.