Kimi Raikkonen: “Doing our best”
Kimi Raikkonen: “We knew we could expect a very demanding race and that starting from far back it would not be easy to move up the order, but at the start we did very well. Unfortunately a Toro Rosso squeezed me towards the wall once we were on the straight. Because I had to brake hard, various cars passed me and I lost any chance of having a good race, because from then on I was always stuck behind other cars.
The car handled well and with a clear track I had a good pace, but we lacked top speed with which to try and overtake on the straight and having to save fuel meant I couldn’t push as hard as I wanted to. We are aware that this year it’s hard to fight for the top places, but all the same, we will continue to try our best, starting with the very next race in Austin. That track is very demanding and interesting and I hope I don’t have the same problems I had here, so that I can aim for a good result. However, what I wish for most is that all our prayers help Jules at this difficult time.”
Russian GP: Lewis Hamilton cruises to win as Mercedes takes title
Lewis Hamilton extended his lead in the Formula 1 world championship to 17 points over Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg with a commanding victory in the inaugural Russian Grand Prix.
Hamilton generally looked more at ease than Rosberg with the demands of the new 3.6-mile F1 circuit in Sochi, and the Briton converted pole position into his ninth win of the year with a measured drive, which also meant he equalled Nigel Mansell’s British record of 31 grand prix victories.
Rosberg also started on the front row, and briefly headed his chief rival after sneaking up the inside after the first run through the flat-out Turn 1 right-hander, but Rosberg locked up heavily under braking for Turn 2 and flat-spotted his front tyres.
That forced him into the pits for a tyre-change at the end of the opening lap and effectively handed victory to Hamilton, as Rosberg was forced to battle his way back through the pack.
Extraordinarily, Rosberg made his set of medium Pirelli tyres last 52 of the scheduled 53 laps as he limited the damage to his own championship aspirations by recovering to second in a largely processional race.
The pair’s eighth one-two finish of the season also clinched the constructors championship for Mercedes.
Valtteri Bottas ran second for the majority of the first half of the event, but had to settle for the final podium spot once he had made his own stop and it became clear Rosberg’s tyres would last the distance.
Jenson Button recorded his best result since July’s British GP by finishing fourth, while McLaren team-mate Kevin Magnussen – who qualified sixth but started 11th thanks to a grid penalty for a gearbox change – made an excellent start and recovered well to finish fifth.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso also got away well to climb from seventh on the grid and lie fourth at the end of the first lap when Rosberg pitted, but the Spaniard ultimately lacked the pace to fight the McLarens and also suffered a delay at his only pitstop.
The Spaniard held off Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull to finish best of the non-Mercedes engine runners and round out the top six.
Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel ran ahead of slow-starting Red Bull team-mate Ricciardo in the early stages, but his strategy of running an extended first stint backfired and Vettel had to settle for eighth.
Kimi Raikkonen finished a distant ninth in the second Ferrari, while Force India’s Sergio Perez survived fears of excessive fuel consumption to claim the final point by rounding out the top 10.
The Mexican just held off the second Williams of Felipe Massa, who started 18th after a fuel pressure problem ruined his qualifying session.
Massa attempted an aggressive two-stop strategy in an effort to recover the lost ground, but ultimately just fell shy of salvaging any points.
Nico Hulkenberg took a close 12th in the second Force India, while Russian home hero Daniil Kvyat started a superb fifth but slipped backwards after a scruffy opening lap and wound up finishing 14th, behind Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne.
Both Kvyat and Vergne – who also started inside the top 10 and ran as high as fifth in the early stages – struggled for speed in the race as they finished well outside the points.
All drivers stood united at the front of the grid ahead of the race, as a mark of respect to injured Marussia driver Jules Bianchi.
The French racer’s team-mate Max Chilton raced on in Marussia’s sole entry for this grand prix, but retired with a front-left vibration at the end of his ninth lap.
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||-||23h28m09.s|
|8||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||-||23h28m09.s|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||-||23h28m09.s|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||-||23h28m09.s|
|13||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||-||23h28m09.s|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||-||1 Lap|
|15||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber/Ferrari||-||1 Lap|
|16||Adrian Sutil||Sauber/Ferrari||-||1 Lap|
|17||Romain Grosjean||Lotus/Renault||-||1 Lap|
|18||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus/Renault||-||1 Lap|
|19||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham/Renault||-||2 Laps|
Kimi Raikkonen: “Make up some places”
Kimi Raikkonen: “After a difficult Friday, things went better today, the car has improved a lot thanks to a series of changes that worked and we had a good pace. Sure, we can’t claim to have ended up where we would have liked, but compared to the start of the weekend, we have made a step forward and this makes me confident for the race. Today, it wasn’t easy to put a quick lap together because I still have some difficulties with the front end, especially in the final sector, but tomorrow we will try our hardest to be in the game and make up some places.”
Russian GP: Lewis Hamilton takes pole for F1’s Sochi debut
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for Formula 1’s inaugural Russian Grand Prix, denying Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas at Sochi.
Hamilton outpaced Mercedes team-mate Rosberg by two tenths of a second, with the part both completing three increasingly fast flyers on their sole Q3 run.
Although Rosberg was the faster on their first runs thanks to Hamilton’s conservative opening lap, Hamilton had the edge and took his seventh pole position of the season.
There was a very real threat to the dominance of the Silver Arrows, with Williams driver Bottas putting in a spectacular final lap to challenge for pole position.
The Finn set the fastest sector times of all in the first two sectors, but the rear stepped out at the final corner and he ran wide, which cost him any chance of beating the two Mercedes drivers and left him in third place.
McLaren pairing Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen continued the strong form for the team in fourth and sixth place, although Magnussen will take a gearbox-change penalty.
They sandwiched arguably the star of qualifying, Daniil Kvyat, who qualified a career-best fifth after a strong performance on home soil.
Daniel Ricciardo was seventh on a weekend of damage limitation for Red Bull, ahead of the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.
Jean-Eric Vergne, in the second Toro Rosso, was slowest in Q3 and qualified 10th.
Reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel was eliminated in Q2, his final lap only good enough to take 11th, 0.123s slower than Red Bull stablemate Vergne.
Vettel did not report any specific car problems, although he had been struggling with the balance of his Red Bull.
Just behind were the two Force Indias, with Nico Hulkenberg narrowly ahead of Sergio Perez but also set for a penalty.
Esteban Gutierrez won the intra-Sauber fight, over four tenths faster than team-mate Adrian Sutil, the Mexican doing a good job after sitting out Friday morning practice in favour of Sergey Sirotkin.
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was slowest in Q2, ending up 16th.
Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson continued his recent run of good form with 17th, fastest of those to be eliminated in Q1.
The Swede’s final lap allowed him to jump ahead of Williams driver Felipe Massa, who ended up 18th.
Massa had looked set to qualify well, but a fuel pressure problem that the team did not have time to fix meant that he was down on power.
He did complete eight laps during Q1, but the hobbled car did not have the performance to get into the top 16.
Kamui Kobayashi, in the second Caterham, ended up just a tenth off Massa after improving by almost six tenths on his final run.
This was enough to put him ahead of Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado, who received an apology over the radio for what was described as a “shambles” after a problem delayed him.
He has to serve a five-place grid penalty anyway, a consequence of using his sixth engine during the Japanese GP weekend, so will drop to last.
Max Chilton in the sole Marussia was 21st, just over four tenths slower than Maldonado.
PROVISIONAL STARTING GRID:
|5||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.277s||0.764s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.635s||1.122s|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.020s||1.507s|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m40.052s||-|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.163s||-|
|17||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.058s||-|
** Magnussen, Hulkenberg and Maldonado have had five-place penalties applied
Format: Q1 sets 17th-22nd, Q2 sets 11th-16th, Q3 sets 1st-10th
Russian GP: Lewis Hamilton still in control in final practice
Lewis Hamilton marked himself as favourite for pole position as he set the pace in the final practice session for this weekend’s Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes duo were once again the pace setters throughout most of the hour-long session, with Hamilton heading his team-mate Nico Rosberg by 0.290 seconds.
Hamilton ended the practice period in the pits after he spun at the penultimate corner on the lap, seven minutes from the chequered flag. After the spin Hamilton was able to nurse his car across the circuit and into the pitlane.
The main interloper at the top of the timesheets was Valtteri Bottas in his Williams. At one stage he was the quickest runner in the field and ended up splitting the Mercedes drivers. He ultimately finished third overall.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was next up ahead of the second Williams of Felipe Massa.
The partisan crowd would have been delighted with the performance of Russian Daniil Kvyat. He was third behind the Mercedes mid-way through the session and finished the hour-long period with the sixth fastest time.
Drivers continued to struggle on the new low-grip surface at the new Sochi Autodrom and in particular a few racers ran wide at the tricky right-handed Turn 4.
Sebastian Vettel set the tenth quickest time, but he appeared to struggle with the grip levels, running wide at number of times throughout the session.
Kimi Raikkonen was seventh, one place ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso.
The session was red-flagged on the 18 minute mark after Kevin Magnussen brought his McLaren to a stop heading into Turn 4.
On the radio he complained of either a puncture or suspension failure and replays showed how he skilfully managed to keep his car off the wall around Turn 3.
Pastor Maldonado could only manage an installation lap after a problem with the energy recovery system on his car.
To compound his misery, the Lotus driver goes into qualifying with a five-place grid penalty for an engine change that has been carried over from Suzuka.
Nico Hulkenberg also goes into qualifying with a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.
The Sochi circuit was bathed in warm sunshine for the lunchtime session and the good weather is set to continue for the rest of the weekend.
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.755s||1.029s||16|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.009s||1.283s||27|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.205s||1.479s||26|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m40.338s||1.612s||21|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.669s||1.943s||23|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.699s||1.973s||26|
Kimi Raikkonen: “Studying the tyres”
Kimi Raikkonen: “This first day of practice was given over to learning the track, which I like and although it’s new, the grip level was good. In the first session, we went through our programme step by step, even if towards the end of the session I was unable to complete my last run. In the afternoon, we focused on tyre behaviour, with both compounds taking a long time to reach the maximum performance, which is unusual, especially for the Soft tyre. In order to have a clearer picture on this topic, we will have to wait for the track to evolve. Unfortunately, here too I still don’t feel comfortable with the front end and this prevented me from putting together a good lap. Now, along with the team, we will try and find a solution that will allow me to get the most out of the car.”
Russian GP: Lewis Hamilton ends second practice on top
Lewis Hamilton topped the opening day of practice for the inaugural Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.
The world championship leader was the only driver to dip under the 1m40s barrier, putting in a best lap of 1m39.630s to take top spot by a massive 0.864s at the new Sochi circuit.
Hamilton had been outpaced by Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by over two tenths of a second when everyone was on the slower medium-compound Pirellis early on.
But after a conservative lap on his first flier on the softs, he took the top spot on his second attempt before further extending his advantage on his final flier, aided by the durability of the tyres that meant drivers could attempt multiple fast laps.
He was the fastest driver in all three sectors of the lap, underlining his advantage.
"I think it’s been good," said Hamilton. "I feel comfortable learning new circuits. Growing up it’s a skill you have to learn quite quickly. It’s the same for everyone. The car’s been feeling really good today.
"The McLarens are very close, which is good for everyone, to be having a race. The track was getting grippier and grippier, rubbering in quite a lot – and there’s a nice flow you get on this track. I’m really enjoying it."
McLaren built on its strong showing in the morning practice session by setting the second-fastest time, although it was Kevin Magnussen who led the way rather than morning star Jenson Button.
Magnussen did hold top spot at one stage before being relegated by Hamilton, but he was able to split the Mercedes.
Rosberg did look set to go at least second fastest before making a mistake on what should have been his quickest lap, running wide at the penultimate corner.
This meant he ended up nine tenths slower than his team-mate, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso jumping ahead of him into third place on his third flying lap having left his soft running late.
"It was a good day technically from the engineering perspective," Rosberg said. "It went a bit wrong with my car.
"We tried two different things as a team and my thing didn’t work out. We need to go back on that tomorrow. Other than that OK. It’s a difficult track to get right."
Valtteri Bottas was fifth fastest, recovering from a difficult morning during which he was only able to run on one set of rubber thanks to a problem with the tyre blankets ruining his planned second set of Pirellis.
Felipe Massa, in the second Williams, was seventh fastest, just over a second off Hamilton’s pace, ahead of home hero Daniil Kvyat.
Sebastian Vettel, who complained of a lack of power, which the team suggested over the radio was actually caused by a headwind, was ninth fastest after also leaving his quick run late.
Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne rounded out the top 10, almost two seconds down.
Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo showed disappointing pace in the session, ending up 11th and 13th, separated by Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India.
The Australian stopped on track with eight minutes remaining and triggering a five-minute red flag, with most drivers heading back out for brief runs when the session was restarted.
Sauber prevailed in its ongoing battle with Lotus, with 15th-placed Adrian Sutil comfortably ahead of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.
But Grosjean complained of a problem with the rear of the car, which was hindering him even though he was able to continue.
Esteban Gutierrez was down in 18th on his first experience of the Sochi circuit having missed the morning session to allow Sergey Sirotkin to run.
He ended up ahead of Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson and Max Chilton, driving the lone Marussia with Jules Bianchi’s car left in the garage.
Kamui Kobayashi, who also missed the morning session, with Spaniard Robert Merhi taking over, was slowest, over five seconds down.
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m41.108s||1.478s||32|
|9||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.396s||1.766s||30|
|10||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m41.531s||1.901s||33|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m41.677s||2.047s||27|
|13||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m42.061s||2.431s||25|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.090s||2.460s||29|
Russian GP: Nico Rosberg tops Sochi’s first F1 session for Mercedes
Nico Rosberg set the fastest time in the opening Formula 1 practice session at the inaugural Russian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver put in a time just 0.065 seconds quicker than his team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Jenson Button impressed for McLaren, setting the third quickest time, while his team-mate Kevin Magnussen was fifth. They were split by the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso.
Drivers spent the morning session familiarising themselves with the new 3.6-mile circuit created around Sochi’s Olympic Park and it was evident how little grip the new track had.
Button spun at Turn 8 unharmed, while many drivers ran wide into Turn 2.
Local hero Daniil Kvyat shone in his Toro Rosso, setting the seventh fastest time behind Force India’s Sergio Perez. He was ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and his team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne.
The Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel were struggling, finishing 12th and 14th respectively, over 1.5s off the pacesetting Mercedes.
The two Williams were 10th and 11th, with Valtteri Bottas ahead of his team-mate Felipe Massa, although there was a bizarre reason why Bottas was forced to sit out much of the session after a malfunctioning tyre blanket ruined one of his sets of Pirelli tyres.
The session was held in warm and sunny conditions with a air temperature of 20 degrees C.
Aside from the regular drivers the session included Russian Sergey Sirotkin, who took over Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber, while Roberto Merhi drove Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham. The latter had a spin at towards the end of the 90-minute session when he pirouetted at Turn 15.
Only one Marussia was fielded for Max Chilton after the team’s decision to not run a second car this weekend following Jules Bianchi’s Suzuka accident.
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m43.129s||0.818s||26|
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m43.164s||0.853s||29|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m43.327s||1.016s||24|
|12||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m43.821s||1.510s||25|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m43.976s||1.665s||21|
|14||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m44.506s||2.195s||30|
Raikkonen: “My thoughts are with Jules’ family”
Sochi, 9 October – As a veteran of the sport, Kimi Raikkonen wisely kept away from any conjecture or speculation regarding Jules Bianchi’s Suzuka accident, when he held a subdued press conference in the Scuderia’s hospitality unit in the Sochi Paddock this afternoon. “It’s not for me to comment, except to say that all my thoughts and those of the team are with Jules’ family now. It’s pointless to speculate, it was very unfortunate and you never want to see those things happen, but in sport, things can go wrong. As a team, we will try and have a good race.”Moving onto the Sochi track, the Finn was complimentary about the newest venue on the calendar. “I’ve been around the circuit and it all looks very nice, including the surrounding area. I am pleasantly surprised at how good it all looks, one of the nicest places we have been to. We will have to wait until tomorrow to see what the circuit is like. It will probably be a bit slippery at first.”One local journalist pointed out that Sochi might well be the closest race to Kimi’s native Finland. “It certainly feels quite close, I came from there on this trip. It’s nice to have a race here in Russia and hopefully there will be plenty of fans and we can put on a good show for them. In the past I did some promotional events in Russia and I think they are passionate about racing and cars here. Let’s wait and see how many people come over the weekend.”Asked about his expectations for these final four races, the Finn made it clear he was still hoping for good results. “You have to take it one race at a time. This year has been very difficult and disappointing, but I fully believe we can turn things around and be where we should be, fighting at the front in the future. This year, there are only two guys who can fight for the championship and it will be interesting to see what happens there.