Formula One: Vettel's victory validates targets set by new Ferrari team principal

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrating after winning the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at the Hungaroring race track in Mogyorod near Budapest, Hungary, on July 26, 2015.
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrating after winning the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at the Hungaroring race track in Mogyorod near Budapest, Hungary, on July 26, 2015.PHOTO: EPA

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but hot and spicy is tastier for Ferrari Formula One team principal Maurizio Arrivabene.

Sebastian Vettel's stirring Grand Prix victory in Hungary, the land of paprika, on Sunday gave Arrivabene the chance he had been waiting for.

Mercedes had won eight of the nine previous races and their non-executive chairman, Niki Lauda, had stirred things up when he blamed Ferrari rather than his team's dominance for making the sport seem boring.

"How is it Mercedes' fault if Ferrari mucks about with spaghetti rather than improve their car on the track?" the Austrian, a former Ferrari world champion, had said.

Ferrari were not going to let a barb like that slip by unpunished and Arrivabene tucked in with glee on Sunday afternoon. "It's the second victory after 10 races and eight podiums and I dedicate it to those who don't know how to add up, who say stupid things," he told reporters.

"I don't like spaghetti, I had a spicy pizza made and told the team to fill up."

Sunday's triumph was Vettel's second of the season, after Malaysia, and the German driver dedicated it to former Ferrari test driver Jules Bianchi, the Frenchman whose funeral he attended last week.

Bianchi died of head injuries nine months after his Marussia skidded off the track and into a recovery vehicle at the Japanese Grand Prix last year.

Hungary was a fitting tribute to the popular 25-year-old, seen as a future Ferrari winner, and also the ideal antidote to those who moaned about predictable racing and boredom.

By his own reckoning, it also left Arrivabene just two steps away from heaven.

Before the start of the season, after a winless 2014, the Ferrari boss had set out his targets for the year ahead by declaring that two wins would be success, three a triumph and "if we win four we go to heaven".

Success is now assured and Arrivabene could not resist another little dig. "Until last week people were talking about us as a disaster," he said. "Most probably they did not read a number or they don't want to read the number.

"Mercedes is strong everywhere," he added. "We expect to have good races, bad races. The direction that we took is good. We have nine races to go. We will have races like this one, and others maybe like Silverstone and Spain."