This weekend, we will peep into the box containing Schrodinger’s driver Lewis Hamilton to discover him with either both hands on the 2018 title, or no hands on the 2018 title. In this experiment, the folks at Ferrari are keen observers to Hamilton’s quantum state but are still tinkering with something themselves. Next to the Mercedes lab in which Toto Wolff waits eagerly to open the Hamilton box, Maurizio Arrivabene and company attempt to untangle the multiverse theory and seek out the parallel universe in which Sebastian Vettel wins this title from 67 points behind with just four races to go.
Ferrari also arrives at COTA with a 78-point gap to bridge to Mercedes in the constructors’ title. Rather than turn up deflated, the team is ready to attack every corner. Arrivabene told Sky F1:
“I know that the situation looks impossible but our job sometimes is to challenge the impossible. This is what we’re going to try to do. We win and we lose together.”
It’s a long shot, and given Hamilton’s form and the upsurge in performance from the Mercedes and its engineers, DNFs will need to be a factor if Vettel is to cling onto title hopes for any longer. Ferrari remains stubbornly resilient as a competitor and despite the odd mistake this season that has without doubt set the team back, it has certainly kept Mercedes more than honest and provided good company on-track for large chunks of this season.
It won’t help Ferrari’s cause that Lewis Hamilton has quite the record at COTA, with five wins at the circuit. If he has a smooth weekend, Ferrari’s only real hope will be that the shadow of a gargantuan bird of prey will be very real and that the glint of a Silver Arrow might catch its beady eye.