Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel (left) of Germany celebrates beside his second-placed teammate Kimi Raikkonen of Finland at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel (left) of Germany celebrates beside his second-placed teammate Kimi Raikkonen of Finland at the Monaco Grand Prix. Claude Paris

Ferrari on brink of 'cold war'

FERRARI has a "potential cold war" brewing within its team after Sebastian Vettel beat Kimi Raikkonen in a controversial victory at the Monaco GP, according to Formula 1 newspaper experts.

Vettel's triumph around the streets of Monte Carlo extended his championship lead over Lewis Hamilton to 25 points, but the way he jumped his pole-sitting teammate through the pit stops has led to suggestions Ferrari has already made the German its No.1 driver.

It comes as Sky Sports F1 expert Pete Gill described Ferrari's treatment of its veteran driver during the race as "chastening, debilitating".

"Talk about bittersweet for Kimi Raikkonen," Gill wrote in the Sky Sports driver ratings.

"A weekend which included his first pole position in almost a decade and his joint-best result in four years also amounted to a chastening, debilitating experience as Raikkonen's unequal status within Ferrari was made apparent in brutal fashion.

"Raikkonen's strategy and Vettel's superior pace were equally responsible for Sebastian's victory and Kimi's defeat - and neither reflected especially well for the Iceman. It's an interesting thought: is Raikkonen more likely to be a Ferrari driver in 2018 because of events this weekend in Monaco or less?"

Four-time world champion Vettel was kept out five laps longer after Raikkonen came in for his only stop, giving Vettel clear air to put in some fast times and "overcut" the Finn, who was visibly unhappy after the race.

"The stony demeanour said it all for Kimi Raikkonen by the close of the Monaco Grand Prix and, while the Iceman is renowned for giving nothing away in public, that he was not happy at how his race had panned out was clear," Giles Richards wrote in The Guardian.

"That he was beaten into second by his teammate Sebastian Vettel was plainly to the German's advantage in his battle for the Formula 1 world championship with Lewis Hamilton. That conflict is positively heating up but the suggestion that Ferrari manipulated the strategy to ensure the result suggests a potential cold war within the team."

The Telegraph's Oliver Brown also suggested the relationship between the two Ferrari drivers could deteriorate the same way Hamilton's and Nico Rosberg's did at Mercedes.

"Raikkonen had a face that could curdle milk. The Finn tends to display roughly the same emotional spectrum as a block of ice but his expression on the podium was a diagram of rage as some crafty Ferrari tactics propelled Sebastian Vettel to the team's first Monaco Grand Prix win for 16 years," Brown said.

"All weekend this inscrutable cult figure, whose wife Minttu has recently given birth to the couple's second child, seemed to have a fresh burst of energy, showing dazzling pace to achieve pole position and keep his teammate at bay off the start line.

"But from there Ferrari reverted to extreme pragmatism, bringing Raikkonen into the pits first and giving Vettel all the space and time he needed to vault into the lead and sustain his quest for a fifth world title.

"Diplomatically, he chose to bite his tongue rather than accuse his employers of brazen team orders, but his distaste for their decision was clear. Before the Italian national anthem played out in all its jauntiness, he could barely be bothered to lift his second-place trophy in the air. He glowered at his bottle of champagne as if it were strychnine.

"(Raikkonen's_ sour body language towards Vettel was all too redolent of the simmering intra-team feud last year between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg."