Kimi Räikkönen Enticed by US Lifestyle
Kimi heads to Austin looking for a longer race than last time out, and expecting to enjoy some good ol’ fashioned American hospitality
What do you think of the Circuit of the Americas?
It’s a nice circuit. The layout is quite interesting and the racing last year was good. The sectors of the track are fairly different, so there’s a challenge there. Last year the days started out pretty cold so it was very slippery, but hopefully now it’s been used a bit more the track surface won’t be as shiny, so it should be easier to get the car as we want it.
You’ll be using the shorter wheelbase car again; why is this?
It has a better feeling for me and seems to make it easier for me to get more of what I want from the car. We’ve been trying to get rid of understeer to get the car more as I want it and the shorter car helps with this.
Any thoughts looking back at your race in Abu Dhabi?
It wasn’t the longest race I’ve been in; certainly not as good as my 2012 race there either. Obviously it wasn’t ideal, but that’s the way things go sometimes. We should have a much longer race in Austin.
What’s your previous experience of racing in the US?
I competed in seven Grands Prix at Indianapolis. Unfortunately the one time I felt I had a really strong car there it was 2005 when only six cars raced and I wasn’t one of them. I did get pole position in 2003, but none of the races there are ones I remember well. In 2011 I tried NASCAR. I did two races on the Charlotte oval and I really liked it a lot. That was probably the experience I needed to open my eyes for racing again. After that I really wanted to come back to Formula 1, while it was a tempting idea to do more NASCAR too.
How are you looking forward to racing in Austin again?
After going there for the first time last year – like everyone – I’m particularly looking forward to this one. I like the American atmosphere, it’s just a relaxed environment. They know how to have fun, and most of all they love racing.
What are your memories of last year’s race?
It was an okay day, but not a very easy one for us. I got a bad start and then I touched with another car on the first lap so I had a lot of work to do. We were using quite hard tyres for the race so it was difficult to get the performance you wanted from them; especially when it got cooler because of the clouds that day. Hopefully it’ll be clear skies this year.
Do you think a better performance is possible this year?
The car has been feeling pretty good and we’ve seen some good races this year. We won’t know how good it is in Austin until we’re out on track, but we’re certainly pushing for a good result.
Raikkonen believes grid start was correct call
Kimi Raikkonen insisted he had no regrets about starting from the back of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix grid rather than the pitlane, despite crashing out at the first corner.
After Raikkonen’s exclusion from qualifying, Lotus had the option to start him either from 22nd on the grid, giving him the chance to make up ground off the line, or from the pits to avoid any first-corner trouble.
Raikkonen took the start from the grid, but tangled with Giedo van der Garde’s Caterham at Turn 1 and immediately retired.
Asked afterwards if he now felt he should have started from the pits, Raikkonen replied: "no".
He believes he was unlucky that the van der Garde incident did as much damage as it did.
"I went to the inside and then somehow managed to touch with a Caterham," said Raikkonen.
"We didn’t touch hard but I think the angle was very unlucky and it broke the steering."
AUTOSPORT revealed earlier that Raikkonen’s management and Lotus had reached a deal to resolve their pay dispute prior to the race, ensuring that the Finn will see out the 2013 Formula 1 season.
Early Bath for Kimi Räikkönen in Abu Dhabi
Disqualified from qualifying then eliminated on the opening lap; it’s not been an easy twenty-four hours for Kimi here at the Yas Marina. In typical style, the Iceman tells it how it is…
An abrupt end to your Abu Dhabi weekend; talk us through it
There was some contact in front of me through the first corner so I stuck to the inside, but unfortunately one of the Caterhams touched my front wheel and it broke the track rod. It wasn’t a heavy impact, but the angle made it worse and i had to retire from the race.
Some were suggesting a pit lane start may have been wise; would this have made a difference?
It’s never easy starting so far back on the grid, but after the penalty it was a better choice to help our chances in the race rather than starting from the pit lane. After a difficult start to the weekend we did well yesterday so it was a shame we couldn’t start where we qualified, but these things happen sometimes; it’s just back luck.
Any thoughts heading to Austin?It wasn’t the best weekend here in terms of results, but the car has been much more to my liking so hopefully it will be the same again at the next races. If we can keep it how I like it then we’ll be able to push for some better results, so we’ll see how it is in Austin.
Abu Dhabi GP: Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull dominate
Sebastian Vettel took his seventh consecutive win with one of the most dominant victories in recent Formula 1 history in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Poleman Mark Webber did not make the best start and was overtaken on either side by his Red Bull team-mate Vettel and the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.
As the Mercedes defended from Webber, Vettel put together his now customary fine first lap to go 1.9 seconds clear.
While Vettel then pulled away up front, Webber gradually fell away from Rosberg and was soon under pressure from the Lotus of Romain Grosjean.
Webber and Grosjean pitted together on lap eight and returned in the same order, while Vettel was one of the last frontrunners to stop as he continued to lap faster on his ageing soft tyres than all those on fresh mediums.
The leading Red Bull finally came in at the end of the 14th tour and resumed in the lead, ahead of the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, both of whom had yet to stop.
Vettel duly reeled off the remaining laps and second stop, completely in a class of his own, and crossed the line half a minute clear of the field.
Webber recovered from his poor first stint by closing Rosberg down once they were both on the medium-compound Pirellis and sweeping round the outside of the Mercedes on lap 20.
Rosberg kept the second Red Bull in sight thereafter, but did not have the pace to seriously challenge Webber.
Similarly, Grosjean could not quite keep up with the Mercedes. He only narrowly cleared the two Ferraris after his second stop before putting on a late charge that fell just short of usurping Rosberg.
The main excitement in the closing stages of the race was the contest for fifth, as a number of cars closed on the one-stopping Force India of Paul di Resta.
Lewis Hamilton, who felt a vibration and had his Mercedes’ brakes checked before the start, had already lost ground in the second stint. Unlike Webber and Grosjean, he was unable to overtake the yet-to-stop Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez.
Once the Sauber pitted, Hamilton caught the Force India of the late-stopping Adrian Sutil, which was on mediums.
By then the Mercedes had Massa, Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) and Alonso not far behind.
All three made it by Sutil’s Force India, but not before Massa had brilliantly dived by the Mercedes to run fifth. Alonso also got by Hulkenberg during the battle.
As the other cars pitted, Alonso closed on Massa before the Brazilian stopped.
Alonso left his final stop until there were just 11 laps to go and changed to softs. He rejoined just ahead of Massa and alongside Jean-Eric Vergne, getting ahead of the Toro Rosso as the Ferrari jumped over the Turn 2 kerbs.
The move attracted the attention of the stewards and will be investigated post-race, but Alonso charged on and started closing on Hamilton, who in turn was closing on di Resta, setting up a fight for fifth over the last half-dozen laps.
It took Alonso no time to overcome the Mercedes on lap 50 and he dispensed with di Resta the next time through.
As Alonso charged on, setting fastest lap on the final tour, di Resta successfully held off Hamilton for an impressive sixth.
With Vergne fading on his old rubber and eventually pitting, Massa moved up to eighth, while Sergio Perez’s McLaren overtook Sutil on the last lap to take ninth.
Charles Pic led the fight of Formula 1′s minnows early on, but was overcome by Giedo van der Garde. He nevertheless finished well clear of the Marussias, headed by Jules Bianchi.
After being put to the back after qualifying, Kimi Raikkonen’s grand prix was brief. He tried to pass the Caterhams at the first corner and the ensuing contact with van der Garde put the Lotus out.
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi; 55 laps; 305.355km; Weather: Clear. Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h38m06.106s 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault +30.8s 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +33.6s 4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault +34.8s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +1m07.1s 6. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes +1m18.1s 7. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +1m19.2s 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari +1m22.8s 9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes +1m31.1s 10. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes +1m33.2s 11. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault +1m35.9s 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +1m43.6s 13. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari +1m44.1s 14. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari +1 lap 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault +1 lap 16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap 18. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault +1 lap 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault +1 lap 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth +2 laps 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth +2 laps Fastest lap: Alonso 1m43.434 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 0 laps World Championship standings, round 17: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Vettel 347 1. Red Bull-Renault 513 2. Alonso 217 2. Mercedes 324 3. Raikkonen 183 3. Ferrari 323 4. Hamilton 175 4. Lotus-Renault 297 5. Webber 166 5. McLaren-Mercedes 95 6. Rosberg 159 6. Force India-Mercedes 77 7. Grosjean 114 7. Sauber-Ferrari 55 8. Massa 106 8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 32 9. Button 60 9. Williams-Renault 1 10. Di Resta 48 11. Hulkenberg 39 12. Perez 35 13. Sutil 29 14. Ricciardo 19 15. Vergne 13 16. Gutierrez 6 17. Maldonado 1
Abu Dhabi GP: Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus excluded from qualifying
Kimi Raikkonen has been excluded from qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix following a front floor deflection test failure.
Representatives of his Lotus team were summoned to see the race stewards in Abu Dhabi after it was found that Raikkonen’s car did not conform to the regulations.
The left hand side of the floor was found to deflect more than the permitted 5mm vertically when the testing load was applied to it.
Investigations by Lotus found that the issue had been caused by a broken floor due to kerb damage, but the stewards did not accept the explanation.
He has been excluded from qualifying but will be allowed to start from the back of the grid.
A statement issued by the FIA said: "The stewards heard the explanation of the team that the relevant part broke upon contact with a kerb.
"However, the stewards did not accept that the incident referred to constituted an accident, or excused failing the relevant test."
AUTOSPORT understands that the stewards did not accept the explanation because Romain Grosjean’s car had suffered a similar problem in Hungary earlier this year, when he escaped a penalty after hitting a kerb.
While a one-off event like that could be put down to misfortune, the stewards felt that modifications should have been made to the car to ensure that there was no repeat event.
Raikkonen’s penalty means that he will not be able to take up his best grid slot since the German Grand Prix in July, having qualified fifth.
For the Abu Dhabi weekend Raikkonen has reverted to the shorter wheelbase version of the E21 after feeling that the longer version did not suit his driving style.
"We wanted to do it in previous races already but some races we could not," said the Finn. "I was told it was maybe an area where I can get the car like I want, so it has been OK.
"I think it doesn’t need to be a big change, but if you get the front end as I like it, then I can drive normally and everything comes more to like it should be. At least here today was not too bad."
Revised Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying results: Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m39.957s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m40.075s +0.118s 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m40.419s +0.462s 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40.501s +0.544s 5. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.576s +0.619s 6. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m40.997s +1.040s 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m41.015s +1.058s 8. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.068s +1.111s 9. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.111s +1.154s Q2 cut-off time: 1m40.989s Gap ** 10. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m41.093s +0.620s 11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m41.133s +0.660s 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.200s +0.727s 13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.279s +0.806s 14. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m41.395s +0.922s 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m41.447s +0.974s Q1 cut-off time: 1m41.884s Gap * 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m41.999s +1.306s 17. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m42.051s +1.358s 18. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m43.252s +2.559s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m43.398s +2.705s 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m43.528s +2.835s 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m44.198s +3.505s 22. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m40.542s +0.585s*** 107% time: 1m47.741s * Gap to quickest in Q1 ** Gap to quickest in Q2 *** Excluded post-session
Abu Dhabi GP: Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus fails qualifying floor test
Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus Formula 1 car has failed a front floor deflection test after qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Finn had qualified in fifth place, but following post session checks by the FIA his car was found not to be in conformity with the regulations.
A statement issued by the governing body said that both Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg’s cars had been tested, with the Lotus not passing while the Sauber complied.
It stated that the Lotus’s "front floor deflected more than 5mm vertically when the load was applied vertically to it at the point which lies 100mm of car centre line on the LHS [left hand side]"
Lotus representatives have been summoned to the stewards to explain what happened, and whether or not there is an explanation for the failure such as a broken part.
At the Hungarian Grand Prix earlier this season, Romain Grosjean escaped a penalty after a similar situation when it was proved that a broken floor stay had resulted in it not passing the deflection tests.
Lotus successfully argued then that an impact with the kerbs had damaged the stay, which resulted in the test irregularity.
Kimi Räikkönen Pleased to be Back on Top of His E21
With the shorter wheelbase E21 seeming to suit the Iceman here in Abu Dhabi, a P5 qualifying performance leaves him in a confident mood heading into the race where he scored his 2012 victory
How was your Saturday in Abu Dhabi?
Today wasn’t too bad overall. In the early sessions both yesterday and today I struggled a bit to get the car working how I wanted, but in the evening when the temperature is cooler it’s been much more to my liking. This is good as the race will be in the evening so we’d prefer it that way around for sure.
How’s progress with your return to the short wheelbase car?
The short wheelbase car seems to suit my style a bit better, so hopefully we can continue this way for tomorrow. It’s not a big change, but if you can get the front end of the car as you want it there can be a big difference in how it feels. This means I can drive normally and everything comes to me as I want it. Here today it was not too bad.
Can you have a strong race like last year?
Of course, you always want to be as far up the grid as you can and we clearly weren’t the fastest today, but you never know what might happen on Sunday. Our car is usually good in the race and as long as we don’t have any issues we should be up there fighting for a good result.
Abu Dhabi GP: Mark Webber beats Sebastian Vettel to pole
Mark Webber qualified on pole for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, pipping Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel with a late run.
Both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg topped a qualifying segment for Mercedes before Q3, but Red Bull’s pace at the crucial moment was too much, leaving the silver cars on row two.
Vettel recorded a 1m40.091s on his first run of Q3, ahead of the two Mercedes, with Webber apparently struggling.
But a great final effort helped the Australian to 1m39.957s and even a late improvement from his four-time world champion team-mate was not enough to deny Webber the top spot.
Rosberg outqualified Hamilton, who spun off on his final run, while Kimi Raikkonen was the top Lotus in fifth.
Nico Hulkenberg continued his fine form for Sauber to take sixth, ahead of Romain Grosjean’s Lotus and Felipe Massa’s Ferrari.
The times in Q2 were again tight and two big names fell. Ferrari’s Abu Dhabi struggles continued, particularly in the final sector, and Fernando Alonso could only qualify 11th, not helped by a minor error.
A similar charge from Jenson Button also failed to get the McLaren driver into the top 10 after what the Briton described as a "very strange" loss of grip since final practice.
With the circuit getting faster and faster in Q1, the last soft-tyred runs proved crucial and it was Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil’s Force India who were the midfielders to fall.
Giedo van der Garde topped the Caterham/Marussia battle, while Jules Bianchi (20th fastest) has a five-place grid penalty after his gearbox needed changing thanks to his crash in practice three.
The results remain provisional, with several drivers apparently setting their best laps after running all four wheels over the white lines, which they had specifically been warned not to do.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m39.957s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m40.075s +0.118s 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m40.419s +0.462s 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40.501s +0.544s 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m40.542s +0.585s 6. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.576s +0.619s 7. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m40.997s +1.040s 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m41.015s +1.058s 9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.068s +1.111s 10. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.111s +1.154s Q2 cut-off time: 1m40.989s Gap ** 11. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m41.093s +0.620s 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m41.133s +0.660s 13. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.200s +0.727s 14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m41.279s +0.806s 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m41.395s +0.922s 16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m41.447s +0.974s Q1 cut-off time: 1m41.884s Gap * 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m41.999s +1.306s 18. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m42.051s +1.358s 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m43.252s +2.559s 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m43.398s +2.705s 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m43.528s +2.835s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m44.198s +3.505s 107% time: 1m47.741s * Gap to quickest in Q1 ** Gap to quickest in Q2
Abu Dhabi GP: Sebastian Vettel leads final practice Red Bull one-two
Sebastian Vettel topped the final free practice session ahead of qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, leading another Red Bull one-two.
Vettel and the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen took it in turns to top the times in the early going on the harder tyre.
Raikkonen was the first to dip under 1m44s, then Vettel moved ahead with a 1m43.795s.
Mark Webber went second fastest before Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg moved to challenge the Red Bulls for Mercedes.
As track conditions improved, the duo moved ahead of Vettel just after the halfway mark, with Rosberg ahead.
Vettel and Rosberg then alternated in front, with Rosberg recording 1m43.465s with around 20 minutes to go.
Webber also moved ahead of Vettel, but the newly crowned world champion was set to improve before hitting traffic in the final sector.
Marussia driver Jules Bianchi then spun exiting Turn 1 and hit the barriers, preventing further improvements for several minutes.
Everyone subsequently switched to the softer Pirelli tyre for their low-fuel runs.
Button was the first to strike, with a lap in 1m41.956s. He was soon surpassed by Hamilton, but still ended up sixth as McLaren continued its decent Abu Dhabi form.
Vettel finally took the honours with a 1m41.349s lap, all but matching his best from free practice two, in the final three minutes.
Hamilton had a big moment at the last corner as he tried to improve, and ended up being pipped by a late charge from Webber.
Behind Rosberg, Romain Grosjean’s Lotus was fifth fastest, while both Saubers proved competitive, Nico Hulkenberg finishing seventh, one spot ahead of Esteban Gutierrez.
Raikkonen had a minor moment in the final 20 minutes and ended up ninth.
Ferrari continued to struggle on both the hard and soft tyres, Fernando Alonso ending up 11th, Felipe Massa 14th.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m41.349s 19 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m41.571s +0.222s 17 3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m41.580s +0.231s 18 4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m41.721s +0.372s 19 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m41.832s +0.483s 19 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.956s +0.607s 19 7. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.055s +0.706s 19 8. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.282s +0.933s 19 9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m42.387s +1.038s 18 10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m42.457s +1.108s 21 11. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m42.516s +1.167s 15 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m42.681s +1.332s 23 13. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m42.698s +1.349s 19 14. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m42.702s +1.353s 16 15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m42.727s +1.378s 18 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m42.798s +1.449s 18 17. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m42.989s +1.640s 22 18. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m43.142s +1.793s 15 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m44.472s +3.123s 20 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m44.728s +3.379s 21 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m45.621s +4.272s 20 22. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m47.506s +6.157s 15
Sky, commenti pre Libere 1:
Sky, commenti durante le Libere 1:
Sky, commenti post Libere 1:
Sky, intervista a Kimi e a Bouiller dopo le Libere 2:
Kimi Raikkonen willing to skip final F1 races of 2013 in Lotus row
Kimi Raikkonen has warned Lotus that he will consider not finishing the 2013 Formula 1 season if the team does not sort out its financial problems.
As AUTOSPORT revealed on Thursday, Raikkonen’s future with Lotus has been plunged into doubt following the non-payment of his salary and amid heightened emotions after a tense Indian Grand Prix radio exchange.
Speaking for the first time about the matter in Abu Dhabi on Friday, Raikkonen confirmed that he did come close to not racing this weekend, and has not ruled out skipping either of the final races in the United States or Brazil.
"I came here only because hopefully we found an understanding on the certain issues we have been having," said Raikkonen.
"Hopefully it will be fixed and we can finish the season as well as we can."
When asked by AUTOSPORT if he would contemplate not taking part in the final races if the outstanding matters are not resolved, Raikkonen said: "For sure. I enjoy racing, I enjoy driving – but a big part of it is business.
"Sometimes when that is not dealt with like it should we end up in an unfortunate situation.
"You have to put the line somewhere, and if it goes over that… it is not really my fault any more."
RADIO EXCHANGE NOT MAIN ISSUE
Raikkonen’s relations with the team were strained by the radio exchange in India, when he was ordered to move aside for Romain Grosjean, but his main frustration is relating to outstanding wages – which are believed to be in excess of $15 million.
Speaking about the radio discussion with trackside operations director Alan Permane, Raikkonen said: "It is a part of it. It is true those things should not happen but they have happened. That is not really the issue.
"It is all the other stuff, and all the things come together in the end. Like I said, it is easy to say that is the reason but it is not that."
The 2007 world champion also expressed frustration at the fact that his loyalty to the team has been questioned at a time when he has not been paid.
"Sometimes it is not very nice when you hear that you are not really a team player, and you don’t have the interests of the team [at heart] – but you have been paid zero Euro the whole year," said Raikkonen.
"It doesn’t put you in the best place, but that is how it goes and hopefully, like I said, we found an understanding on both sides on how we should deal with the situation right now and fix the issues, and try to finish as well as we can."
Lotus boss Boullier admits Kimi Raikkonen’s future out of his hands
Lotus boss Eric Boullier admits that Kimi Raikkonen’s immediate future with the team in Formula 1 is now pretty much out of his hands.
Raikkonen has threatened to skip the final two races of the F1 season if a financial dispute with the outfit is not resolved, having come close to not racing at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Raikkonen was persuaded to compete at Yas Marina after reaching an understanding with team owner Gerard Lopez, and Boullier says is it now up to Lopez to sort out the situation once and for all.
When asked by AUTOSPORT if he was confident a deal could be reached with Raikkonen to ensure he races in America and Brazil, Boullier said: "Part of it I cannot answer you.
"There is discussion between Gerard and Kimi and it obviously involves our shareholders and parent companies."
Although the Raikkonen situation has come just as Lotus is knuckling down for a tough fight for second in the constructors’ championship, Boullier said he was hopeful the matter would not affect things on track.
"We have an exceptional group of people in Enstone and they produce a car, with the last aero package based on the long wheelbase, that is delivering," he said.
"We just do our best to be delivering on track. There is obviously some issues which we know already for a long time and we are waiting, as Gerard said, for the new investment company to close the deal with.
"And if that does not happen we will have to think about other scenarios."
Räikkönen put a stop to the blaming
Kimi Räikkönen’s press conference after Abu Dhabi Grand Prix -free practice said it all. The reason why he wanted to stay home became clear to everyone.
– The radio message alone didn’t alone affect, but the line has to be put somewhere. It’s not nice when you hear claimed that you are not a good team player, or rather that I don’t think about the team’s benefit at all. When you have got zero euros this whole year it’s not the best situation for anyone, Räikkönen said.
Then why did the emotions run so high in India after Romain Grosjean’s overtake went tough?
– I don’t know. For me it was like any other race. I drive the same against everyone else, but some people see the situation differently. Everyone have their own opinions, Räikkönen said.
The situation has calmed down for now at least.
– We found a mutual understanding of how to deal with the situation, Räikkönen said.
Turun Sanomat, Abu Dhabi
Pay the salary – or Räikkönen’s season is wrapped up!
Enough is enough. Kimi Räikkönen didn’t left anyone in doubt over why he was about to skip the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
– I am here because I enjoy racing and I always want to do my best when going on the track. Sometimes something just happens, something that should not happen. This sport has both the professional and financial side. It’s not enough if one is in order and the business-things aren’t, Räikkönen told the media.
– I have been put in a difficult situation. They haven’t paid me one single euro this year although they have spread all kinds of stories. It’s not true that I don’t care what happens to the team, but when you are accused of not being a good team player, or rather that you don’t think what’s best for the team, it definitely doesn’t help at least if you haven’t paid any salary so far.
Alan Permane cursed rudely to Räikkönen and got back the same in India.
– But that doesn’t matter anymore at this point. Bygones are bygones. But the line has to be put somewhere and this is now it. If they don’t take care of things that I’m not satisfied with, then I have to react to it. The team should respect the promises they have given or else they find themself from a situation where there is no racing anymore.
Räikkönen didn’t confirm on Friday that he would race the remaining races, although his manager Steve Robertson and his lawyers have reached some kind of an understanding with Gerard Lopez.
– In this profession nothing is ever 100% certain, until the matters have been taken care of as agreed upon. If that doesn’t happen then it’s all the same for me if I race this season anymore or not. It wouldn’t change my life in one way or another, Räikkönen snapped.
On Thursday Robertson presented Kimi different options and he made his own decision based upon them.
– I have been in this business for a long time. One needs to have a certain kind of trust in people. When you repeat the same thing over and over again and nothing happens, it surely doesn’t help the situation. I do try my best, but right now this is not the most pleasant moment in my career. But it’s certain that if I would not try to win here then I would not even have showed up, Räikkönen said.
Then why did the emotions run so high between Permane and Räikkönen when Romain Grosjean overtook Kimi?
– I don’t know. For me it was the same situation like in any other race. I defend my position like this towards everyone and some see different situation in a different way. But what he said doesn’t matter much anymore. It was unfortunate that it happened.
Turun Sanomat, Abu Dhabi
Back to Basics for Kimi Räikkönen in Abu Dhabi
After making the call to revert on the team’s longer wheelbase E21 configuration this weekend, our Iceman was satisfied with initial progress as his quest for a repeat Yas Marina masterclass began earlier today…
How was your day?
The car feels okay and we had a pretty normal Friday. The shorter chassis feels okay here>, but I didn’t drive it back to back with the longer one so it’s difficult to say which is better. We’re still trying to get rid of some understeer, but on this circuit the car feels better so far.
How are you approaching qualifying tomorrow?
As always, there are some improvements we can make to the car so hopefully we can get it as we want it. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.
Abu Dhabi GP: Raikkonen to switch to short wheelbase car
Kimi Raikkonen will switch back to Lotus’s short-wheelbase configuration for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The team felt its long-wheelbase upgrade had been a key part of its return to form in recent races.
But team boss Eric Boullier said Raikkonen felt more comfortable with the previous specification.
"He is trying because the last two races he was not 100 per cent happy with his balance and he is just trying something different," said Boullier."
"The first thing is to know where you are so you obviously go back to back what you were doing."
Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane said that Raikkonen would stick with the short-wheelbase car for qualifying and the race as the change had paid off in practice.
"He wanted to try the short wheelbase car again as he felt its characteristics would suit this circuit," said Permane.
"So far it all looks good and this configuration will be kept on his car for the remainder of the weekend.
"His long-run pace looks very encouraging on both [compounds of] tyres."
Raikkonen was sixth quickest in Friday practice.
The Finn is the centre of attention in Abu Dhabi this weekend, having admitted that he had considered skipping the race due to his ongoing pay dispute with Lotus and could yet walk away from the final races of the 2013 Formula 1 season if the issue continued.
Abu Dhabi GP: Sebastian Vettel takes charge in second practice
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber returned Red Bull to the top in the second Friday practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
After being shaded by Lotus and Mercedes in the afternoon session, Red Bull regained its habitual top spot as darkness fell over Yas Marina.
Vettel had been fastest on the harder tyres in the opening quarter of an hour, and then left his switch to softs relatively late.
Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen was first to make that move and found a big time gain to go fastest.
He was eventually usurped by first Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, then Mark Webber’s Red Bull.
Vettel then came through with a 1m41.335s to head Webber in a Red Bull one-two that held until the finish.
Hamilton and Raikkonen retained third and fourth places, followed by the former’s team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Practice one pacesetter Romain Grosjean was only 12th fastest, having been sidelined by a front brake failure.
Several drivers had incidents and issues, with both Force India’s Paul di Resta and McLaren’s Jenson Button having to slow with punctures.
Button was still seventh, one place behind team-mate Sergio Perez, in a strong session for McLaren.
Ferrari improved on its quiet opening practice and at least got both cars into the top 10, albeit only eighth and 10th, either side of Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber.
Max Chilton and Giedo van der Garde both had spins, but rejoining without finding the barriers.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m41.335s 33 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m41.490s +0.155s 32 3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m41.690s +0.355s 37 4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m41.726s +0.391s 40 5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m41.758s +0.423s 39 6. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m42.006s +0.671s 35 7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m42.010s +0.675s 30 8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m42.171s +0.836s 30 9. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.324s +0.989s 40 10. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m42.440s +1.105s 35 11. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.509s +1.174s 37 12. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m42.607s +1.272s 18 13. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m42.806s +1.471s 26 14. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m42.952s +1.617s 35 15. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m42.998s +1.663s 25 16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m43.152s +1.817s 28 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m43.271s +1.936s 35 18. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m43.565s +2.230s 34 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m44.138s +2.803s 34 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m44.459s +3.124s 34 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m44.525s +3.190s 37 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m45.565s +4.230s 26
Abu Dhabi GP: Romain Grosjean quickest in opening practice
Romain Grosjean thrust Lotus to the top of the times with a late charge in opening practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Amid all the focus on his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen’s relationship with the squad, Grosjean bucked the usual Friday morning trend by waiting until the closing moments to set his best time.
Grosjean’s 1m44.241s lap put him 0.192 seconds clear of Lewis Hamilton, who would normally have expected to stay up front after winning the traditional mid-session dice for top spot.
No one set a flying lap for the first half hour, and it was near the hour mark before the Mercedes and Red Bulls really raised the bar.
Hamilton emerged on top for Mercedes at that stage, 0.066s ahead of Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull.
The world champion had a slight scare at the end of the session, when he misjudged his entry to the Red Bull pit stall and required some evasive action from his crew as he locked up.
Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber beat Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes to fifth, with the in-the-spotlight Raikkonen seventh.
Paul di Resta put Force India in an encouraging seventh place. His team-mate Adrian Sutil moved aside for James Calado this time. The GP2 title contender was 14th.
Other ‘Friday drivers’ in action were Caterham’s Heikki Kovalainen and Marussia’s Rodolfo Gonzalez, who were 20th and 22nd.
The McLarens ended up eighth and 10th, split by the Williams of Pastor Maldonado.
Ferrari had a low-key start, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa 12th and 17th.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m44.241s 20 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m44.433s +0.192s 22 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m44.499s +0.258s 18 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m44.712s +0.471s 18 5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m44.741s +0.500s 23 6. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m44.929s +0.688s 21 7. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m45.040s +0.799s 19 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m45.099s +0.858s 19 9. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m45.150s +0.909s 23 10. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m45.331s +1.090s 19 11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m45.378s +1.137s 21 12. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m45.440s +1.199s 17 13. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m45.823s +1.582s 21 14. James Calado Force India-Mercedes 1m45.924s +1.683s 19 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m46.068s +1.827s 17 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m46.114s +1.873s 21 17. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m46.124s +1.883s 17 18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m46.126s +1.885s 20 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m47.600s +3.359s 21 20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m47.670s +3.429s 21 21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m47.723s +3.482s 22 22. Rodolfo Gonzalez Marussia-Cosworth 1m49.565s +5.324s 21
Kimi Raikkonen absence fuels doubts over Lotus F1 team relationship
Doubts about Kimi Raikkonen’s immediate future with Lotus in Formula 1 have emerged amid signs of increasing tension between the Finn and his team bosses after the Indian Grand Prix.
The Finn will be a late arrival in Abu Dhabi, having opted to delay his departure from Europe until the last minute. Raikkonen is missing his regular media commitments at the Yas Marina track on Thursday.
Although the team is adamant that the former world champion’s decision to arrive late is simply down to him electing to spend more time at home, with no risk of jet lag issues due to the time difference, high level sources have revealed that all is not well between the driver and team.
As well as the ongoing matter of unpaid payments – which he said was a key factor in him electing to join Ferrari in 2014 – the nature of the heated radio conversation with trackside operations director Alan Permane at Buddh telling him to let Romain Grosjean overtake him is understood to have not gone down well.
Sources with good knowledge of the situation suggest that Raikkonen was so annoyed with Lotus matters that he even briefly considered not racing in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
However, following conversations with senior team representatives over the last 48 hours, it appears that Raikkonen has been convinced to carry on with the team and is now scheduled to arrive in time for opening practice in Abu Dhabi.
It is also thought unlikely that, having not been paid in full, he would deliberately not race and put himself at risk of breach of contract.
Nevertheless, the relationship between Raikkonen and Lotus appears set to come to a difficult end over the remaining races of the 2013 campaign.
Lotus has been in the media spotlight since India, with team principal Eric Boullier apologising on Tuesday for the language used in radio comments following a backlash from Raikkonen fans.
Boullier vowed to have words with both Raikkonen and Grosjean in Abu Dhabi this weekend to ensure that the team’s performances on track are not compromised.
"I’m going to speak to both of them in Abu Dhabi," he told AUTOSPORT. "We are working for these guys to deliver, but there is a team behind them and you always have to think about the team."
Neither Raikkonen nor his manager Steve Robertson were available for comment.
Kimi Räikkönen: “The nice thing is that it starts so late”
After a challenging Indian Grand Prix, our Finn heads to the scene of his first race victory for Lotus F1 Team fired up for a strong result
How’s the feeling heading back to the scene of your 2012 race victory?
You just approach it like any race. I had a good result there last year, but I had a very boring race there the first time I visited in 2009. I’d prefer to have another good result, but you don’t know how strong you’ll be until you get to the circuit.
What do you think of the Yas Marina?
It’s a great place to go. The circuit is connected to big entertainment centre and you’ve got all the boats moored next to the circuit. There are often a lot of passionate fans watching the race and for me the hotel is walking distance from the track which I like. It’s also good to race at a circuit where you have had a strong result before.
Anything else in Abu Dhabi that’s good for you?
I like to be on a familiar time zone so you can wake up normally and do everything in the expected order. That’s one of nice things with this race; especially with it starting so late.
What do you think of the circuit itself?
The facilities are second to none. The track layout makes it really challenging for overtaking as there are not too many places to pass. You really have to qualify well to be at the front and get a strong result from there. There are many corners, you need good overall downforce and grip, plus the car has to ride the kerbs very well too. It’s a track where you really hope to get everything nicely together during the whole weekend. When you succeed with that, it’s a good place to race. I have had one very boring race being stuck in the middle group and then one great race fighting for the victory at the top. I know which I prefer.
Your race in 2009 wasn’t one of your favourites then?
That was a boring one I can tell you! I finished back in twelfth position and there was nothing I could do about it. Those sorts of races are not the best.
How did it feel to take your 19th win in Abu Dhabi last year?
I was very happy for the team; myself also obviously, but mainly for the all the crew and everyone at Enstone. It was a hard season so the win was well deserved for everyone and just what we needed. It was something great for all the fans who have continued to support me and the team too. For me, it was just another win on the list. It’s great of course because it had been a few years, but the wins before were very similar; we didn’t have the best car, but we fought hard and still won.
How does the evening race timing influence the race?
An evening race means I can get up later! Having a mixture of day and night makes a different challenge from circuits that we see anywhere else. We start with the sun and finish with the lights. It’s different, interesting and spectacular for the fans to watch too.
You’ve had some great races where you’ve moved up the order superbly; what’s the key to overtaking in Formula 1?
You cannot plan it beforehand. Often an occasion comes suddenly and you have to jump on it immediately. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes not. More often nowadays you have to sit for quite a while behind somebody to work out where you can do it. Sometimes you just have to wait to see if the guy in front makes a mistake or if his tyres are finished quicker than yours; that’s when you do it.
How was your Indian Grand Prix?
We tried something different with a one stop strategy and it didn’t work, but we didn’t lose anything by making a late second stop over running the normal two stop strategy. I had a brake problem for all of the race where they were overheating, and this got worse in traffic so I couldn’t overtake.
What’s your target for Abu Dhabi?
A race like last year would be good, rather than the one I had there in 2009.
Parole di fuoco in casa Lotus: “Kimi, get out the f***ing way!”
27 ottobre 2013 – Nelle ultime tornate del Gp d’India di Formula 1 è andata in scena quella che molti potrebbero considerare una rottura definitiva tra Kimi Raikkonen ed il team Lotus. Con un set di pneumatici molto usurati, il finlandese veniva rimontato giro dopo giro dal compagno di scuderia, Romain Grosjean, fino a quando le due vetture si sono trovate ruota a ruota.
A tener viva l’attenzione degli spettatori nelle ultime fasi del Gp d’india, mentre Sebastian Vettel coronava la propria cavalcata trionfale verso il Titolo Mondiale, ci hanno pensato le due Lotus. Kimi Raikkonen, che occupava la terza posizione, si è visto rimontare furiosamente da Romain Grosjean, il quale è stato senza dubbio favorito anche dall’usura degli pneumatici del compagno di scuderia.
Giunto a distanza utile per tentare il sorpasso, il transalpino ha affiancato la E21 gemella, trovando però per tutta risposta la strada chiusa, con il finlandese che lo ha accompagnato con decisione verso l’esterno della pista, facendolo finire sull’erba artificiale.
Al muretto non è andata propriamente a genio la manovra di Raikkonen, tant’è che, in mondovisione, si è sentito nitidamente il team radio: “Kimi, get out of the f***ing way.” (“Kimi, levati di mezzo, c***o!”). La risposta del Campione del Mondo 2007 non è stata meno velata, va detto: “Don’t f***ing shout at me” (C*** urli con me?”)
Inutile dire che il team non si è minimamente dimostrato concorde con il comportamento tenuto dal finlandese. Alan Permane, il Direttore dell Operazioni in Pista della Lotus ha dichiarato ai microfoni di Sky Sport F1: “Onestamente, è abbastanza disdicevole quanto successo. Kimi sapeva benissimo che le sue gomme non avrebbero retto fino al termine della corsa, non era necessario dare battaglia. Romain stava facendo la sua corsa, e sono sicuro che avremo modo di chiarire quanto successo nel de-briefing.”.
Intervistato sulla questione, anche Eric Boullier, Team Principal Lotus, ha fatto sapere il suo punto di vista: “Sicuramente ci dev’essere stato un fraintendimento, perchè Kimi non si aspettava che Romain fosse così rapido, quindi abbiamo dovuto calmarlo via radio. Quando ti mancano solo dieci giri alla fine, non sai mai come possano andare.“
Indian GP: Raikkonen hampered by overheating brakes
Kimi Raikkonen said his Indian Grand Prix was hampered throughout by overheating brakes even before his tyres faded.
A one-stop strategy brought the Finn up to third in the closing stages despite his issues.
But after losing three positions in quick succession, he made a late pitstop for fresh tyres and finished seventh.
"I did the first 20 laps with hardly any brakes on the car," he said.
"They overheated massively and every time I got close to somebody I lost the brakes.
"In the end we lost the tyres too. It’s very disappointing."
Raikkonen and his Lotus team had a blunt radio exchange as his team-mate Romain Grosjean closed in on him late on.
After resisting Grosjean’s first passing attempt, Raikkonen eased off and let him pass.
"It’s normal to move out of the way, but you can’t do it in a fast corner," he said when quizzed about the argument.
Indian GP: Lotus to hold talks with drivers over on-track battle
Lotus will hold talks with its drivers in Abu Dhabi having admitted it expected Kimi Raikkonen to make life easier for his team-mate Romain Grosjean in their Indian Grand Prix battle.
Grosjean’s tyres were in much better shape as he gained on Raikkonen by two seconds per lap in the closing stages as they fought for third.
The Frenchman was held out wide in his first passing bid, leading to a profanity-laced radio exchange in which the team urged Raikkonen to "get out of the way" while the Finn objected to being "shouted at" in fast corners. He subsequently moved aside.
Asked if Raikkonen should have moved aside immediately, team boss Eric Boullier replied: "They are free to race each other.
"It’s true that we maybe expected a little bit of an easier manoeuvre, let’s say.
"You are never happy when you see both cars fighting and one car going off so you just make sure everything is going in the team interest."
Boullier believes the team now needs to sit down with the duo to discuss the situation.
"I’m going to speak to both of them in Abu Dhabi," he said.
"We are working for these guys to deliver, but there is a team behind them and you always have to think about the team.
"If Kimi’s tyres would not have dropped off he would have been on the podium. We let them race, which is normal, but the tyres dropped off and we tried to save the maximum number of points for Kimi.
"We had the fear of the tyres dropping off for Romain. We had an engine issue as well when we had to switch off everything to make sure the engine would last to the end.
"There was a lot of stress behind which is not always easy to manage."
Though Boullier said he understood Raikkonen’s stance, he thought the situation in India should have been handled better.
"Kimi is a competitor. He is racing everybody and I can understand this," said Boullier.
"But when you are racing in certain conditions, you are racing and I am fine with that. When the tyres are dropping off and you are two seconds off the pace against your team-mate you try not to make a drama of this."
Kimi Räikkönen Believes Strategy Gamble Was Worth the Risk
A tough afternoon for our Iceman saw him stuck in traffic, battling brake issues and foiled at the last by a strategy call falling just short of success. A sterling effort from the Finn to take P7; here’s his view of events…
How was your race?
We ran maybe the first twenty laps with no brakes as they had overheated, so every time I got close to somebody I lost braking. At the end of the race I ran out of tyre performance too so it’s been a pretty disappointing day.
What was the strategy?
We started the race knowing that a one stop strategy could be possible if you did a longer first stint on the soft tyres. Ours wasn’t so long, but when I got stuck behind [Nico] Hulkenberg later in the race we decided to try and make it a one stop. Unfortunately It didn’t work.
How difficult was it to battle when your tyre performance was dropping away?
I knew the tyres would drop off quite quickly, but you still try to race. Once I had lost the places I could make an extra stop without losing any more which meant I finished where I would have done anyway, so it was worth the risk. We tried to get on the podium with a one stop strategy, but in the end it didn’t work.
Indian GP: Vettel takes fourth F1 title with crushing win
Sebastian Vettel sealed his fourth consecutive Formula 1 World Championship crown with a dominant Indian Grand Prix victory.
The Red Bull driver converted his pole position into the lead at the first corner at the Buddh circuit and was always effectively in front, even though his pit strategy painted a different picture during the opening phase of the race.
Vettel started on Pirelli’s soft tyres and was the first man into the pits for medium rubber at the end of the second lap.
Once Felipe Massa’s Ferrari and the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton had got rid of their softs, Vettel’s Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber was left in front while the German battled through the pack.
A combination of passing moves and pitstops for others quickly moved Vettel up from 18th to fifth. Despite being in traffic, he cut an 18-second deficit to Webber to one of less than 11s by the time the Australian made his first stop on lap 28 of 60.
By that point Vettel had passed Romain Grosjean’s Lotus, Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso and Sergio Perez’s McLaren, meaning he retook the lead at this point.
Both Red Bull drivers made their final stops by lap 33, Red Bull employing a similar, short-stint strategy on softs for Webber.
Webber’s 11s deficit to Vettel before those final stops became one of more than 13s after them, leading to the team instructing the German to ease his pace and protect his tyres.
It became irrelevant less than 10 laps later as Webber retired from second after suffering an alternator problem.
Webber’s misfortune promoted Kimi Raikkonen to second, the Lotus driver attempting to make it to the finish with a 52-lap stint on medium Pirellis.
But the Finn could not hold off the two-stopping Rosberg, who used his DRS to ease into second with eight laps remaining. He finished 29s behind Vettel as Red Bull clinched the constructors’ title.
Raikkonen’s pace during the final few laps was over a second slower than those chasing him, including team-mate Grosjean, whose rubber was 46 laps old by the finish.
The Frenchman, who started 17th, pulled onto Raikkonen’s tail with four laps to go and passed the Finn for third at the exit of Turn 4, only to cede back the place immediately to avoid a penalty.
Raikkonen let Grosjean by further around the lap to allow the Frenchman to to finish on the podium for a third straight race. He was then passed by Massa for fourth as they crossed the start/finish line seconds later.
The battling Hamilton and Perez were with Raikkonen a lap-and-a-half later, Perez using his DRS and KERS to pass both down the back straight and take fifth – his best result since joining McLaren last winter.
Raikkonen, who lost sixth to Hamilton during the same move, pitted for fresh rubber with just two laps to go, but was able to remain ahead of Paul di Resta and set the race’s fastest lap right at the death.
Di Resta and Adrian Sutil made it two Force Indias in the points with Ricciardo completing the top 10.
Fernando Alonso, the only man who arrived in India with a chance of denying Vettel the title, had a race fraught with incident.
He stopped early for tyres and a new front wing after clipping Webber’s rear wing and damaging his nosecone at the exit of the race’s first corner, and then banged wheels with Jenson Button two corners later.
The Ferrari driver spent his entire afternoon in the midfield and finished 11th after stopping three times. And battling with Ricciardo, Pastor Maldonado and Button late on.
Nico Hulkenberg drove strongly all weekend and was on course for eighth when he pitted near the end with a problem with the floor of his Sauber. He retired with three laps left..
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The Indian Grand Prix Buddh International Circuit, India; 60 laps; 307.249km; Weather: Smoggy. Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h31:12.187 2. Rosberg Mercedes + 29.823 3. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 39.892 4. Massa Ferrari + 41.692 5. Perez McLaren-Mercedes + 43.829 6. Hamilton Mercedes + 52.400 7. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 1:07.900 8. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:12.800 9. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1:14.700 10. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:16.200 11. Alonso Ferrari + 1:18.200 12. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1:18.900 13. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap 14. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 1 lap 15. Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap 16. Bottas Williams-Renault + 1 lap 17. Chilton Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps 18. Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps 19. Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari + 6 laps Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:27.679 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Webber Red Bull-Renault 40 Pic Caterham-Renault 36 van der Garde Caterham-Renault 2 World Championship standings, round 16: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Vettel 322 1. Red Bull-Renault 470 2. Alonso 207 2. Mercedes 313 3. Raikkonen 183 3. Ferrari 309 4. Hamilton 169 4. Lotus-Renault 285 5. Webber 148 5. McLaren-Mercedes 93 6. Rosberg 144 6. Force India-Mercedes 68 7. Massa 102 7. Sauber-Ferrari 45 8. Grosjean 102 8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 32 9. Button 60 9. Williams-Renault 1 10. Di Resta 40 11. Huleknberg 39 12. Perez 33 13. Sutil 28 14. Ricciardo 19 15. Vergne 13 16. Gutierrez 6 17. Maldonado 1
Steady Progress for Kimi Räikkönen in India
It’s P6 on the grid for our Finn tomorrow. How far can he work up the order? We asked the man himself…
How was qualifying for you?
It wasn’t an ideal qualifying session and I’m still having some problems with understeer, but the car did feel better overall than yesterday. The tyres are a challenge and have to be managed over a full lap for qualifying so we are where we are on the grid.
Have you made changes to the car since yesterday?
Obviously we made some changes, but there are certain things we can’t change so it’s still not exactly as we want. That’s how it is.
How long can you make the soft tyres last?
Let’s see tomorrow. I have no answers today.
Any predictions for the race?
We’ll see what happens and I’ll try to do as well as I can. Overall, the car feels slightly better than in the last few races; still not where we want it to be, but slightly better. Usually we do better in the race than we qualify so we’ll just have to see what happens.
Indian GP: Raikkonen making progress with camber issues
Kimi Raikkonen believes he has made some progress in improving his qualifying performances even though he still cannot get the car to handle as he wants it to.
The Finn was sixth fastest in qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix, his best position on Saturday since he took fourth at the Nurburgring in July.
Raikkonen revealed yesterday that the camber and pressure limits introduced at the German GP have held him back, but while he is not happy there have been some gains.
When asked by AUTOSPORT if qualifying is back to normal, he replied: "No, I don’t think so.
"The issues are still there but it’s maybe a little bit less.
"We can go much faster but we have to do those things [change restricted settings].
"Overall, it was a little bit better, but it’s still not as I want it. There are still some issues."
The 2007 world champion is hopeful of being able to contend for a podium finish from his place on the third row.
In the last three races, he has finished in the top five every time, twice on the podium, even though he started no higher than ninth.
"Usually we go better in the race, so that’s the aim and we have to see what happens tomorrow," he said.
"There are a lot of different ways of doing the race, differences with the tyres, so we will see how it goes.
"You cannot plan the race as there are a lot of things you cannot plan, the start, safety cars.
"You try to make the best decisions where it comes and see where we are."
Indian GP: Sebastian Vettel flies to pole ahead of Nico Rosberg
Sebastian Vettel produced one of his most commanding qualifying performances of an already-dominant 2013 Formula 1 campaign to take Indian Grand Prix pole.
The Red Bull driver, who is poised to clinch a fourth straight world championship this weekend, was 1.7 seconds faster than his rivals when he first put in the 1m24.119s that became pole.
That statistic was skewed by the fact that all those out on that stage were using medium tyres whereas Vettel was on softs.
But even the soft-shod Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were seven tenths off Vettel as they took second and third.
The shock of qualifying was Romain Grosjean’s Q1 exit.
The man who fought for victory at Suzuka a fortnight ago will be fighting to get through the field at Buddh having chosen to use medium tyres in Q1.
Vettel was the only other man who went for that strategy, but while he had no problem getting through in 11th, Grosjean could only manage 17th.
Mark Webber used mediums successfully in Q3 to take fourth on the grid. He was 0.928s slower than Red Bull team-mate Vettel, but 0.8s and four places ahead of next-best medium user Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard’s Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa took fifth, followed by Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg for Lotus and Sauber respectively.
McLaren used mediums for both its drivers as Sergio Perez and Jenson Button completed the top 10.
There were no surprises in Q2, with the Toro Rossos and Force India intermingling on rows six and seven, ahead of Valtteri Bottas’s Williams and Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber.
Pastor Maldonado joined Grosjean among the Q1 departures, and was only 0.128s clear of Jules Bianchi’s Marussia and 0.265s ahead of Giedo van der Garde’s Caterham.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m24.119s 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m24.871s +0.752s 3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m24.941s +0.822s 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m25.047s +0.928s 5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m25.201s +1.082s 6. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m25.248s +1.129s 7. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.334s +1.215s 8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.826s +1.707s 9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.153s +2.034s 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.487s +2.368s Q2 cut-off time: 1m25.458s Gap ** 11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m25.519s +0.951s 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m25.711s +1.143s 13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m25.740s +1.172s 14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m25.798s +1.230s 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m26.134s +1.566s 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.336s +1.768s Q1 cut-off time: 1m26.178s Gap * 17. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.577s +1.003s 18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m26.842s +1.268s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m26.970s +1.396s 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m27.105s +1.531s 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m27.487s +1.913s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m28.138s +2.564s 107% time: 1m31.564s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2
Indian GP: Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull complete practice sweep
Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull remained untouchable in Indian Grand Prix practice, the Formula 1 world champion leading team-mate Mark Webber in a shortened final session ahead of qualifying.
Vettel, quickest in both of Friday’s sessions, needed just one lap on the softer tyres to elevate himself to first place with a time of 1m25.332s. He then focused on longer runs with the soft rubber, which he seemed to struggle on as the blistering issues continued.
The German driver did not even complete a run using the harder compound.
Webber finished second, but over 0.5 seconds behind his team-mate, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso the first of the non-Red Bull drivers in third, albeit over seven tenths off Vettel.
Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg showed strong pace once more, the Sauber driver finishing in fourth ahead of Lotus’s Romain Grosjean, who completed the top five.
The start of the session was initially delayed by 15 minutes because of visibility problems.
Race control announced a further 15-minute delay moments later, only to then shorten that to five minutes, with the session finally getting underway 20 minutes later than scheduled and the running restricted to 40 minutes.
The decision to shorten the session meant the action was frantic from the start, with most drivers taking to the track right away.
Webber was the initial pacesetter in the Red Bull before Felipe Massa and then team-mate Alonso moved to the top of the times, before the Australian driver regained the top spot moments later.
Twelve minutes in, it was McLaren’s Sergio Perez who went quickest by just 0.044s as the top four were covered by less than a tenth of a second.
Alonso then regained first place before Vettel completed his first soft-tyre run with a time that was over 1.5s quicker than anybody else and also the best lap of the weekend so far, a 1m25.332s.
Webber also tried the soft tyres before the halfway point, but the Australian was over half a second off his team-mate’s pace.
Red Bull, struggling with the degradation of the soft tyres this weekend, seemed to focus mainly on solutions to extend the life of the rubber.
Despite everyone trying the soft tyres as the session progress, no one could get close to Vettel’s time.
The only significant incident of the session involved Hulkenberg hitting one of his Sauber mechanics when returning to the pits. The mechanic took a tumble but got up on his own and seemed to suffer no serious injuries.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m25.332s 16 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m25.892s +0.560s 14 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m26.105s +0.773s 19 4. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.306s +0.974s 17 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.350s +1.018s 16 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m26.435s +1.103s 20 7. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m26.438s +1.106s 15 8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.441s +1.109s 19 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.489s +1.157s 15 10. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m26.557s +1.225s 17 11. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m26.635s +1.303s 14 12. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m26.641s +1.309s 13 13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.737s +1.405s 13 14. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m26.847s +1.515s 17 15. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.876s +1.544s 17 16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m26.883s +1.551s 15 17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.259s +1.927s 18 18. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m27.941s +2.609s 18 19. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.019s +2.687s 15 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m28.498s +3.166s 16 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m29.094s +3.762s 11 22. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m29.169s +3.837s 13
Kimi Räikkönen Encouraged by Setup Improvements in India
A day of setup improvement seeking for our Finn at the Buddh International Circuit resulted in a much more satisfied Iceman heading into tomorrow’s qualifying lottery; here’s his view on events…
How would you sum up your day?
It was a pretty normal Friday for us. We kept trying to find improvements in the car. We had some problems in the morning, and I flat spotted a hard tyre on my first run in the afternoon so I couldn’t really use it much as I couldn’t see when running in a straight line after that. Just normal Friday things really; we’ll look at everything and try to make the car better for tomorrow now.
Did you find any improvements today?
Yes, the car’s better than it started the day but it’s still not completely the way we want it and I have a few issues with the front end. We’d like to change a few things that you can’t now because of the latest rules for how you can use the tyres with camber and pressures, so we’re looking at different ways of changing the set-up to get what I want from the car. I’m not too worried about it today and I’m sure I could have gone faster; if I can’t get it as I want I’ll just try and live with it.
There’s been quite a bit of talk about tyre blistering today – any dramas for you?
We had some blistering on the soft tyres but we changed the set-up and it made things better.
How well do you think you can qualify tomorrow?
I’m sure we can do better than in the last few races where I made a few mistakes; some of those because the car’s not easy to drive as it’s not exactly as I want it. Let’s see tomorrow.
Raikkonen says revised tyres hampering qualifying progress
Kimi Raikkonen says the chances of curing his qualifying issues are being hampered by the tyre usage restrictions that have been imposed over the second half of the campaign.
As reported by AUTOSPORT, Raikkonen has suffered a drop in qualifying form because the new Pirelli tyres used since the Hungarian Grand Prix do not suit his driving style.
Although he has made some progress on the issue in recent races, he revealed ahead of the Indian GP that he is being limited in what he can do by the camber and pressure restrictions that Pirelli have imposed on safety grounds.
"The limits on the cambers and pressures, they add up to a lot," he said, when asked by AUTOSPORT about how he was coping with the matter.
"There are not many things you can do, and unfortunately we are a bit stuck. If we were free to do with the cambers what we want, it would be a much easier thing.
"But that is how it is. I think for one lap it is an issue – but in the race it is not so much because you don’t push as much in certain places
"Hopefully we can try to do other things, but then you start hurting in places that you were fine before.
"It is a never ending story and we are not really getting anywhere – so we have to try to figure it out. It is what it is, but we are not worried by it.
"In certain places yes I could go faster, but we have to try to live with it."
Despite fearing that the usage limits will prevent a total cure for his problems he thinks that some progress is being made.
"We have some plans and hopefully we can improve it a bit," he said. "I am sure we can do better than the last few races."
Indian GP: Sebastian Vettel stays ahead in second practice
Red Bull claimed another one-two in second Indian Grand Prix practice, as Sebastian Vettel again led Mark Webber.
As had been the case in the morning, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg offered a plucky challenge to the Red Bulls.
On the medium compound tyre, Rosberg emerged with the honours, beating Webber by just 0.001 seconds.
Times were over a second faster on softs, and Vettel’s early 1m25.722s secured the top spot with an hour to spare, as teams then switched to long-stint tyre work.
Webber repeated the practice one Red Bull symmetry by grabbing second, 0.289s slower than his team-mate, who is poised to secure a fourth consecutive Formula 1 title this weekend.
Rosberg was only sixth on soft tyres, behind Romain Grosjean’s Lotus, the second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
Following his morning gearbox issues, Alonso made up for lost time with 37 laps of running. His team-mate Felipe Massa was seventh.
Kimi Raikkonen got into the top 10 this time in eighth, but was half a second down on team-mate Grosjean.
The McLarens completed the top 10 spots.
Pastor Maldonado provided the most notable incident when his Williams shed a wheelnut on track. He managed to coax the loose-wheeled car back as far as the pitlane entry before having to park.
Paul di Resta was back in action for Force India after his earlier illness and took 15th place, 0.2s and three spots behind his team-mate Adrian Sutil.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m25.722s 35 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m26.011s +0.289s 38 3. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.220s +0.498s 36 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m26.399s +0.677s 36 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m26.430s +0.708s 39 6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.582s +0.860s 40 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m26.601s +0.879s 41 8. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m26.632s +0.910s 32 9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.857s +1.135s 40 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.972s +1.250s 39 11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.304s +1.582s 17 12. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m27.375s +1.653s 36 13. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m27.429s +1.707s 31 14. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.491s +1.769s 40 15. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m27.608s +1.886s 38 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m27.720s +1.998s 23 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.949s +2.227s 34 18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m28.431s +2.709s 30 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m28.692s +2.970s 39 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m28.799s +3.077s 32 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m29.366s +3.644s 37 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.164s +4.442s 27 Da Autosport.com
Indian GP: Sebastian Vettel on top in first practice session
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber held off the Mercedes and Lotus challenge to give Red Bull a one-two in opening practice for the Indian Grand Prix.
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg ensured that Vettel did not have things all his own way during the mid-session short runs when most of the quick laps were set.
Rosberg did a 1m27.937s then a 1m27.217s in quick succession to remove the McLarens from their early position on top.
Vettel then beat his compatriot by 0.021 seconds, but within a minute Rosberg went quicker again and produced a 1m26.899s on the 10th lap of his run.
After a slower lap, Vettel got back up to speed again with a 1m26.683s that would keep him ahead for the rest of the morning.
Webber then snuck his Red Bull between the two Germans in the closing minutes.
Romain Grosjean was fourth for Lotus, while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen never attempted a lower-fuel run and was 1.7s slower in 17th.
Lewis Hamilton had also languished in the midfield for much of the session, before jumping to fifth late on, just ahead of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez’s McLarens.
It was a tough start for Ferrari, with Felipe Massa eighth and Fernando Alonso sidelined by a gearbox problem after six laps.
Williams got itself into the top 10 with Valtteri Bottas just behind Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber in 10th. Bottas’s team-mate Pastor Maldonado also had a spell in the top half of the field, though he also had a spin.
James Calado was the session’s other spinner, as he stood in for the unwell Paul di Resta at Force India.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m26.683s 24 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m26.871s +0.188s 17 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.899s +0.216s 23 4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.990s +0.307s 20 5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m27.227s +0.544s 21 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m27.335s +0.652s 23 7. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m27.416s +0.733s 23 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m27.692s +1.009s 21 9. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.770s +1.087s 19 10. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m27.800s +1.117s 23 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m28.035s +1.352s 25 12. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m28.214s +1.531s 6 13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m28.336s +1.653s 18 14. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m28.342s +1.659s 21 15. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m28.468s +1.785s 20 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.538s +1.855s 18 17. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m28.730s +2.047s 18 18. James Calado Force India-Mercedes 1m29.197s +2.514s 22 19. Giedgo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m29.413s +2.730s 24 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m29.560s +2.877s 20 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m30.026s +3.343s 23 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.471s +3.788s 17
What about you Kimi? What have you got up your sleeve?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: I think I have to do a bit better in qualifying. That would help a lot. That would give ourselves a good chance then to try to beat them. It’s not just only them though, so we’ll see what happens here.
Q: Kimi, this is your second year coming to race in India. Do you notice the popularity that you have? Does it spur you on when you get to the track? Does it give you extra motivation?
KR: I think it’s very nice to have it but I mean I’ve only really seen the hotel this morning, from the airport to the hotel, and the circuit. So, especially today there were not many people when we came here – so I feel it less than at many other places but I’m happy that there are fans here. This circuit is nice and hopefully we can have a good weekend for all of them.
Q: When you come to what is still a relatively new venue, would you like to take more time out to see a bit of India?
KR: Yeah – but I think it’d be a little nicer if you come when it’s not a race weekend, so when you have proper time and not during the weekend. But for sure I’m sure there’s a lot of nice places to go and see.
Q: Is that right, Kimi, there’s really only the first sector where you can get past?
KR: In a normal situation, yes, but on some of the circuits there’s not even one place. You might get a chance in some other places – it depends – but it’s a good race circuit. Last year I got stuck behind (another car) but that can happen anywhere.
Q: (Paolo Ianieri – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Kimi, in the last few races, Lotus seem to have been the second team after Red Bull. Do you think that you have the chance to try to grab second place in the Constructors’ championship in the last four races and that this could be a place to win?
KR: That’s the aim for us but it’s hard to say if it’s going to happen. It seems that the last races have been strong for our team but I have to qualify better, to put myself up there and maybe try to win some races but it will not be easy.
Q: (Vinayak Pande – AutoX) Kimi, given the way Lotus is performing towards the end of this season and how Fernando has been struggling recently, how do you feel about your decision going to Ferrari next year?
KR: Good, otherwise I wouldn’t have made the decision if I didn’t think it was right for myself. It’s so competitive… and the rules, nobody really knows how it’s going to work out next year.
Da SkyF1 del 24/10/2013:
Kimi Räikkönen Focused on Qualifying Improvements
Our Finn heads to India looking forward to the cuisine and hoping for a stronger qualifying position than of late
What do you think of the Buddh International Circuit?
It’s quite an interesting track; one of the better ones from the modern circuits. It’s quite similar to Korea; long straights, not terribly challenging corners and hard braking. It’s not as technical as Korea which was another new track for me last year, but it’s good. It’s always nice to go to a new place like India. It’s certainly a good track to go fast with a strong car in front of all the others!
How was your first – and only – race at the track so far?
It was okay but it could have been better. We struggled for grip over the weekend last year and we made life difficult with the change of setup before qualifying. After that there was nothing really to do on Sunday. In the race itself we had enough speed to challenge for the top positions, but we got stuck behind slower cars and overtaking was impossible. I can remember spending a lot of the race trying to get past Felipe [Massa] so that wasn’t ideal.
Did you get to see much of India?
No, it was my first visit and I spent my time in the paddock and the hotel. We only come to race and India is a very big country! The thing I like is eating Indian food, which I really enjoy.
Japan was quite a straightforward race for you?
It was a pretty normal race I would say and it’s good that we got some points. I had a very poor start where I left the line with a lot of wheelspin and lost a few places. This wasn’t ideal and it meant I got stuck in traffic, but I managed to gain some places back later on.
You spoke over the weekend of the car feeling more to your liking, which much be a positive looking to the remaining races of the season?
The car felt pretty strong all weekend at Suzuka and we’ve made good progress with it recently. It’s still not exactly as I want it and we’re trying to get rid of some understeer which is something I don’t like. In Japan it was hard to show our real pace at the beginning of the race as I was stuck behind slower cars for quite a long time. After the final pit stop when I got a bit of free air the car was working much better. It ran well in the last half of the race and I was very happy with it.
We saw some more great overtaking moves from you…
Unfortunately when you don’t have an ideal qualifying it makes life a bit harder on Sunday. It’s not easy to overtake at Suzuka and we weren’t so fast in a straight line which made it more tricky, but I got past a few people which was important after the slow start. With Nico [Hulkenberg] I managed to get a good run on him leading up to the chicane which is what made the difference. We did what we could.
What’s the target for India?
Hopefully we finally get it right in qualifying as the last five qualifying sessions have not been that great for me. If we don’t, it’s going to be a difficult Sunday afternoon, although of course we’ll keep pushing. If we do get it right, then we can really go for it!
Slow Start Hampers Kimi Räikkönen in Japan
With plenty of work to do after a tough Saturday – compounded by a tricky start to the race – our Iceman found himself fighting all the way to claim an impressive fifth place at Suzuka. Here’s his view on proceedings…
How was your race?
I had a very poor start where I left the line with a lot of wheelspin and lost a few places. This wasn’t ideal and it meant I got stuck in traffic, but I managed to gain some places back later on. It was a pretty normal race I would say and it’s good that we got some points.
What was your feeling like with the car?
It was ok – a big improvement from Friday for sure – but it was hard to show our real pace at the beginning as I was stuck behind slower cars for quite a long time. After the final pit stop when I got a bit of free air the car was working much better. It ran well in the last half of the race and I was very happy with it.
You pulled off some pretty impressive passes; particularly on the Sauber at the end there…
Unfortunately when you don’t have an ideal qualifying it makes life a bit harder on Sunday. It’s not easy to overtake here and we weren’t so fast in a straight line which made it more tricky, but I got past a few people which was important after the slow start. With Nico [Hulkenberg] I managed to get a good run on him leading up to the chicane which is what made the difference. We did what we could.
Japanese GP: Sebastian Vettel defeats Mark Webber and Romain Grosjean
Sebastian Vettel clinched his fifth consecutive Formula 1 victory as differing strategies produced a thrilling climax to a three-way fight for Japanese Grand Prix honours at Suzuka.
Polesitter Mark Webber passed Romain Grosjean late on to secure a Red Bull one-two, but fell seven seconds short of denying Vettel and securing what would have been a first victory of his farewell F1 campaign.
Fernando Alonso meanwhile finished fourth, ensuring that Vettel must wait until India at least to be crowned a four-time champion.
It was Grosjean’s Lotus that captured the lead at the start, jumping from fourth into the lead as both Red Bulls got poor starts.
The Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton also got the jump on the Red Bulls, but as he squeezed in between the two RB9s he and Vettel brushed, puncturing Hamilton’s rear right and causing floor damage which would ultimately lead to his retirement after just nine laps.
In the background, Giedo van der Garde and Jules Bianchi collided at Turn 1, with the incident set to be reviewed after the race.
For the first half of the race Grosjean was able to maintain his advantage over Webber and Vettel, with the trio easing away from a chasing pack led by Nico Rosberg and the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.
The group lost massive time through the first round of stops when Daniel Ricciardo, who started on the hard compound and ran a deep first stint, managed to jump into fourth and hold a string of quicker cars at bay for several laps.
It was Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg – who jumped the Ferraris through the first round of stops – who eventually managed to break Ricciardo’s resistance, but by then the top three were 27 seconds down the road and out of touch.
That allowed Vettel, Grosjean and Webber to adopt wildly different strategies, with the latter opting for a three-stop plan in contrast to the two-stops of Vettel and Grosjean.
Webber therefore held track position heading into the final 10 laps, while Vettel was able to go far deeper than Grosjean in his middle stint, and therefore had much fresher tyres on which to close a two-second deficit to the Lotus man.
The crucial pass came on lap 41 when Vettel attacked at Casio and then dived down Grosjean’s inside at Turn 1 for second.
With Webber pitting one lap later, Vettel duly hit the front and was able to cruise home to extend his winning streak.
That he did so owed much to Grosjean however, whose spirited defence kept Webber – now on the option tyre for a final 10-lap charge – at bay until the final laps, when Webber picked him off at Turn 1 to secure second.
Behind, Alonso executed a great pass around the outside of Hulkenberg heading into Turn 1 to clinch fourth and keep the title race technically open.
Kimi Raikkonen also picked off Hulkenberg’s Sauber to seal fifth ahead of the German.
Esteban Gutierrez held on to deny Rosberg – hit by a drive-through penalty for an unsafe pit release – in a fight for seventh, while Jenson Button and Felipe Massa rounded out the top 10.
Massa also had to fight back from a drive-through for speeding in the pitlane, although his cause was also aided when Sergio Perez and Rosberg collided while fighting for 10th, sending the former to the pits with damage.
Paul di Resta beat Jean-Eric Vergne to 11th, while a third drive-through – this time for Ricciardo after he went off-track passing di Resta at 130R – meant the Australian was restricted to 13th ahead of Adrian Sutil, Perez and the Williams of Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas.
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The Japanese Grand Prix Suzuka, Japan; 53 laps; 307.471km; Weather: Dry. Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Sebatian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h37.410s 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault +7.1s 3. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault +9.9s 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +45.6s 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault +47.3s 6. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari +51.6s 7. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari +1m11.6s 8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +1m12.0s 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +1m20.8s 10. Felipe Massa Ferrari +1m29.2s 11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes +1m38.5s 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap 13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap 14. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes +1 lap 15. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault +1 lap 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault +1 lap 18. Charlies Pic Caterham-Renault +1 lap 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth +1 lap Fastest lap: Mark Webber, 1m34.587s Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 9 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 0 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 0 World Championship standings, round 15: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Vettel 297 1. Red Bull-Renault 445 2. Alonso 207 2. Ferrari 297 3. Raikkonen 177 3. Mercedes 277 4. Hamilton 151 4. Lotus-Renault 264 5. Webber 148 5. McLaren-Mercedes 83 6. Rosberg 126 6. Force India-Mercedes 62 7. Massa 90 7. Sauber-Ferrari 55 8. Grosjean 87 8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 31 9. Button 60 9. Williams-Renault 1 10. Hulkenberg 49 11. Di Resta 36 12. Sutil 26 13. Perez 23 14. Ricciardo 18 15. Vergne 13 16. Gutierrez 6 17. Maldonado 1 All timing unofficial
P9 Grid Slot No Drama for Kimi Räikkönen in Japan
He may not have clinched the ideal grid slot for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix, but the Iceman is very happy with how his car is feeling. All bodes well for tomorrow’s race…
How was qualifying for you?
The car has felt much better here than it has in recent races; even if we don’t have a better position on the grid for tomorrow. A small mistake on my quick lap cost me a little bit of time and it’s very close here, so a small amount lost can mean quite a few positions dropped. We’ll have to see what happens in the race, but the car has certainly been more to my liking this weekend so the position on the grid is not a drama.
Where have you found improvements?
There’s not so much understeer. It’s not perfect and we could still make it better, but it’s feeling good and I can pretty much do what I want with the car.
What can be achieved from P9?
We’ll do the best that we can and see where we end up. Maybe it’s a little bit more tricky to overtake here than at some other places, but it’s a long race and if we have a good start we could have a strong result.
Japanese GP: Kimi Raikkonen plays down Grosjean qualifying deficit
Kimi Raikkonen insists he is happier at the Japanese Grand Prix than in recent races despite qualifying his Lotus down the field again.
Raikkonen has not qualified in the top six since the Hungarian GP in late July, and will start ninth at Suzuka.
His team-mate Romain Grosjean was fourth fastest in qualifying, but Raikkonen played down the single-lap disparity.
"There were a couple of small mistakes, and we lost a few places from that, but the car is pretty much normal," he said.
"I’m much happier than I was at the previous race even though the starting place is the same."
Despite his poor qualifying form, Raikkonen has charged through to the podium in the last two grands prix and is confident that will continue.
"We haven’t had very good qualifying lately, but we’ve still been up there in the races, so that’s what counts," he said.
"Obviously I would have like to qualify higher but last time it wasn’t a disaster."
Grosjean was thrilled to qualify as high as fourth, having suspected in practice that Lotus was off the pace.
"We worked hard last night trying to analyse what was right, what was wrong and what we could do to help that and the feeling was pretty clear," he said.
"The first lap this morning, the car felt very different and very competitive.
"I was very surprised on the hard [tyre] because yesterday we were something like two seconds off the pace and today we were one of the quickest."
Da SkyF1, FP3: