F1i continues to look back over the whole of the 2017 Formula 1 world championship season team-by-team and driver-by-driver. Ferrari is the subject of our penultimate review.
After dropping to third place in 2016, Ferrari returned to Maranello to lick its wounds over the winter. The team went 'radio silent' when it came to the media, being much too busy plotting their comeback. And it paid off when they scored a surprise breakthrough in the season opener, when Sebastian Vettel beat Lewis Hamilton in a straight fight in Melbourne.
After that the battle went back and forth. Both teams soon knew they had a real fight on their hands for the championship. Ferrari's SF70H was proving a genuinely competitive all-rounder, while Mercedes admitted that the W08 was a 'bit of a diva'. By Monaco, Vettel was 25 points ahead of Hamilton and Ferrari had 17 points over Mercedes.
Unfortunately, that proved to be the high point as far as their challenge went. Vettel still led the drivers standings by the summer break. However, Mercedes was firmly back on top in the constructors. After that the air seemed to go out of the Ferrari effort and they were unable to match a resurgent Mercedes, either on pace or reliability. The Asian leg of the season was particularly damaging, and the team title was formally decided at Austin.
The gloom at Maranello was palpable despite its success at taking five poles and Grand Prix wins in 2017. It had been a major leap forward on the previous year. But the question now is whether Ferrari can carry their momentum into 2018 and go one better, or whether their progress has already stuttered to a halt.