Ferrari not quite ready for 2015 title - Berger
"I thought then that they had a chance for a one-two"
Gerhard Berger has hailed the performance in 2015 of his old team Ferrari.
Earlier, some were arguing that Ferrari only appeared to have improved this year due to the collapse of its rival grandees like Red Bull and McLaren.
And after Sebastian Vettel’s breakthrough win in Malaysia, the resurgence seemed to taper, and following an engine upgrade in Canada, speculation suggested technical boss James Allison’s future might be in doubt due to the mid-season slump.
But Berger, who drove for Ferrari until the mid 90s, said the Maranello marque should actually be congratulated.
"They have made a big step forward compared to last year and I didn’t expect that," said the Austrian legend.
As a former boss of Vettel’s at Toro Rosso, Berger told La Gazzetta dello Sport that "I always thought Sebastian would be a perfect fit with Ferrari".
"He has the German mentality, is very organised and hard working. Above all he is a winner. But I repeat: I did not expect that Ferrari would be able to win races already this season," Berger told the Italian daily, "given how difficult last season was."
And he insisted that Vettel’s second win in Hungary was no fluke.
"Both drivers started the race very well," said Berger. "I thought then that they had a chance for a one-two. Great start, no mistakes, and they led not because Mercedes had problems but because Ferrari was fast.
"Unfortunately Kimi Raikkonen had his technical problem but Ferrari did its job brilliantly.
"I am sure Maurizio Arrivabene is coping perfectly with the job of trying to take Ferrari back to the top, as at Maranello there is now a good atmosphere again," he added.
But the 55-year-old warned that an outright title challenge in 2015 might be too hard a task for Ferrari.
"I think Ferrari is on the right track but Mercedes is still stronger. However, there is no doubt that Ferrari has been gradually reducing the gap.
"Hopefully by the end of the season they will be even closer to Mercedes, and next year will be able to take another step forward and fight with them on equal terms," Berger concluded.