Kimi Raikkonen: “A frustrating race”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Today’s race was really frustrating, because despite the fact we were quick, we weren’t able to finish where we wanted. My start was good, I moved up a few places and everything was working perfectly. After the first stop, I lost a place to Felipe and from then on, I found myself stuck behind a Williams for the entire race. Unfortunately, every time I managed to get close, I lost aero performance on the rear and on top of that, tyre degradation was very high. It’s a real shame I was never able to run my race, even if we already knew that straightline speed is our opponents’ strong point. I’m not happy with eighth place, but on the positive side, we have seen improvements this weekend. I’m sure that if, from now on, we don’t have problems, things will go better.”
Singapore GP: Hamilton takes F1 points lead as Rosberg retires
Lewis Hamilton claimed the lead of the Formula 1 world championship by dominating the Singapore Grand Prix, as Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg retired with technical problems.
Rosberg led Hamilton by 22 points coming into the 14th round of the 2014 F1 season, but now trails his rival by three after a disastrous race.
After Rosberg narrowly missed out on pole to Hamilton by just 0.007 seconds in qualifying, the expectation was for another close fight between the Mercedes duo.
But Rosberg’s problems began before the start, when his team discovered a glitch on the W05 and was forced to swap its steering wheel.
The German then had to start the race from the pitlane when he found he could not pull away from the grid for the formation lap unaided.
Hamilton sprinted into an immediate lead from pole, chased by Sebastian Vettel (who passed Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo into Turn 1) and Fernando Alonso.
The Ferrari briefly rose to second but Alonso outbraked himself into Turn 1, used the runoff area, and handed the place back to Vettel.
Rosberg made little progress during the first stint, failing even to pass Marcus Ericsson’s Caterham as he battled problems that were affecting his DRS, energy recovery systems and his gearbox, and eventually retired at his first pitstop on lap 13 – after another steering wheel change – when the car refused to re-engage first gear.
With his main rival removed from the race, Hamilton looked set for a comfortable win, but his superiority came under threat when the safety car was deployed for debris following the collapse of the front wing on Sergio Perez’s Force India, following a brush with Adrian Sutil’s Sauber, at the midway point of the race.
Mercedes decided not to pit Hamilton (yet to run the soft compound tyre) under the safety car, requiring him to stop again under racing conditions, so the 2008 world champion began hammering in fastest laps following the restart on lap 38 of 61, in order to open a big enough gap to the chasing pack to get in and out of the pits with his lead intact.
However, the chasing Red Bulls of Vettel and Ricciardo were attempting to make their first set of soft tyres last to the end of the race, easing the pressure on the leader.
Hamilton stretched out more than 25s over Vettel before making his final pitstop with nine of the scheduled laps to run, but this was not enough to keep him ahead.
Hamilton just fended off Ricciardo into Turn 3 as Vettel claimed the lead, but with far fresher tyres Hamilton easily retook the place and drove on to win by a comfortable 13.5s margin as the race ran past the two-hour limit with a lap of the scheduled 61 to run.
Having jumped Vettel at the first round of stops, Alonso conceded track position to both Red Bulls by pitting under the safety car.
The double world champion sat behind Ricciardo waiting for his rivals’ tyres to fall apart, but the Red Bulls held on to score their first double podium finish of the season, with Vettel bagging his best result of a difficult year in second spot.
Felipe Massa’s Williams repassed the fast-starting Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen for fifth at the first round of stops and raced on to a lonely finish, while Jean-Eric Vergne (twice penalised five seconds for exceeding track limits) scored a season’s best sixth after gambling on a third pitstop after the safety car and using his fresher soft tyres to pass a train of cars in the closing stages with some bold late-braking moves.
Perez recovered from his wing breakage to execute a similar strategy to Vergne and finish seventh as the tyres on the cars around him gave up the ghost towards the end.
Raikkonen paid dearly for his earlier loss of track position, and trailed home eighth despite pitting for fresh tyres under the safety car.
Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top 10, as the tyres on Valtteri Bottas’s Williams – which ran as high as sixth at one point – gave up on him. The Finn trailed home a pointless 11th.
McLaren’s Jenson Button also looked on course to score points, after a fine start and good strategy carried him from 11th on the grid to seventh, but the 2009 world champion’s car broke down seven laps from the finish.
RESULTS – 60 LAPS/TWO HOURS:
|2||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||13.534s|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||14.273s|
|6||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||56.801s|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||59.038s|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m01.661s|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m12.008s|
|17||Max Chilton||Marussia/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|-||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham/Renault||Not started|
Singapore GP: Software glitch caused Raikkonen’s qualifying issue
Ferrari has said a software problem was to blame for Kimi Raikkonen’s missed opportunity in Singapore Grand Prix qualifying.
The Finn looked set for one of his strongest performances of a difficult 2014 Formula 1 season as he topped Q1 in Singapore, but the car issue forced him to abandon Q3 after one run, leaving him seventh on the grid.
When asked by AUTOSPORT to describe the problem, Raikkonen replied: “I think it was some electronic thing, so when you tried to apply power it just cut off.
“Hopefully it is just a small thing, but it was big enough to destroy our qualifying in the end.”
Ferrari technical chief Pat Fry apologised to Raikkonen for the issue.
“We are sorry that he had a software problem on his final Q3 run, because he could definitely have got a better result,” said Fry.
Raikkonen said that the Q3 issue had not overshadowed the breakthrough he made with the Ferrari on Saturday.
“We’ve been struggling with the car a bit all weekend, but we kept changing it and we changed it for qualifying, which was good,” he said.
“It was one of the few times that we have changed it to something really good that I wanted.
“Unfortunately we had a problem, but there was a lot of potential today and it was nice to have a good feeling with the car.”
He also felt he had yet to show his full potential before the software glitch.
“I know I kept messing up the middle sector all the time and there was a lot of potential on the other sectors,” said Raikkonen.
“There was a good feeling with the car and I could put it where I wanted.
“It was feeling easier to drive, so it’s a shame what happened today, but that’s our sport.
“Sometimes you hope it would happen during a different weekend when you’re having difficult times.”
Singapore GP: Hamilton beats Rosberg to pole by 0.007s
Lewis Hamilton beat Formula 1 title rival Nico Rosberg to pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix by seven thousandths of a second.
Hamilton was only sixth fastest on his first run in the Q3 top 10 shootout but despite a lock-up at Turn 1 on his final lap, a particularly strong run through the middle part of the lap allowed him to pip Rosberg.
Red Bull locked out the second row, with Daniel Ricciardo third ahead of Sebastian Vettel, just half-a-tenth separating the two.
Fernando Alonso was fifth fastest, only a tenth behind the lead Red Bull, although Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was not able to do better than seventh after suffering a car problem on his second run.
Splitting the Ferraris was Felipe Massa, the Williams driver putting in an impressive lap to go fastest in Q3 on first-run times, but only able to make a tiny improvement on his second lap.
Valtteri Bottas was eighth in the second Williams, the Finn unable to improve on his second run.
Kevin Magnussen was ninth, only 0.569s off Hamilton’s pole position time, while Daniil Kvyat was slowest in Q3 after having only one set on super-soft rubber available for the final session.
Jenson Button and Jean-Eric Vergne were in the top 10 in Q2 on their first runs, but with both Williams drivers setting slow times after choosing to run used super-softs for their first run, were always in danger of missing the cut.
They were bumped down to 11th and 12th when Massa and Bottas improved on fresh rubber.
Button was able to improve on his second run, but a lock-up at the hairpin cost him time and he missed the cut by 23 thousandths of a second, ending up 11th.
Vergne was unable to improve on his second run, complaining about front-end grip and suffering a costly lock-up, meaning he qualified 11th.
Force India pairing Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez also both failed to improve on their second runs, ending up 13th and 15th respectively.
They were split by Esteban Gutierrez, showing a strong turn of pace in the upgraded Sauber.
Romain Grosjean was slowest of those who made it to Q2, complaining vociferously over the radio about an engine problem that cost him time.
Adrian Sutil came close to escaping Q1, but failed to relegate Perez into the dropzone with his final lap in the first segment of qualifying and ended up 17th.
Pastor Maldonado blamed a power unit problem on his final run for failing to reach Q2.
He was unable to fully recharge the battery, meaning he was lacking full power on his final lap, ending up 18th, behind Jules Bianchi.
The Frenchman put in a superb lap on his final effort to jump ahead of team-mate Max Chilton, who ended up 21st, with Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi doing a good job to separate the pair.
Marcus Ericsson joined the session late after the Caterham team had to work flat out to solve an electrical problem that had struck in free practice, ending up last.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m45.854s||0.173s|
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m45.902s||0.221s|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m47.362s||1.681s|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m46.989s||1.308s|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m47.308s||1.627s|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m47.575s||1.894s|
Singapore GP: Fernando Alonso and Ferrari back on top in practice
Fernando Alonso was quickest again for Ferrari in third practice for the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, edging Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo by 0.051 seconds.
Nico Rosberg was third fastest for Mercedes, 0.189s off Alonso’s time, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton sixth and 0.439s off the leader.
Most teams ran a typical Saturday programme of long runs on the harder of the two available tyre choices, followed by qualifying simulations on the softer one.
There was a flurry of rain at 1pm local time and it remained cloudy throughout the afternoon, with the ambient temperature steady at around 28C – 10C lower than Friday’s twilight session. Thus it was no surprise to hear drivers complaining of a lack of grip early on.
Ferrari appeared to be the fastest of Mercedes’ rivals based on AUTOSPORT’s analysis of raw pace on Friday, but it was Red Bull’s Ricciardo – whose average long-run pace on super-soft rubber was so impressive on day one – who was quickest early on with a five-lap run on softs.
Rosberg soon beat that benchmark by a full second, though, closely followed by Hamilton, who had a half-spin into Turn 5 that he attributed to an engine glitch.
Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel, who required an engine change during Friday, then split the Mercedes on their second runs.
Alonso waited until half the session had elapsed before setting out for a long run on softs – and, while his fastest laps were good enough to put him fifth at that point, he was a second off Rosberg’s long-run pace.
Rosberg was among the first to bolt on super-softs and run a qualifying simulation, setting a 1m47.488s lap that looked impressive until both Alonso and Ricciardo edged him out by over a tenth of a second. Rosberg exited his car and was observed in animated conversation with engineer Andrew Shovlin.
Jean Eric Vergne was again impressive on super-soft rubber in the final moments, logging a 1m47.693s lap in his Toro Rosso that was good for fourth place ahead of Vettel, who switched to super-softs very late in the session.
Williams – as usual – waited until Saturday to show its hand. On their long runs on soft tyres Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were sixth and seventh, splitting the Ferraris.
Massa reversed their order on super-soft rubber, three tenths faster than Bottas, and with Vergne’s arrival ahead they ended the session seventh and eighth, still faster than Kimi Raikkonen.
McLaren barely troubled the top 10 throughout, on both tyre choices, and both its drivers were outpointed on their qualifying simulations by Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg.
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m47.350s||0.051s||15|
|4||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m47.693s||0.394s||17|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m47.711s||0.412s||17|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m48.450s||1.151s||11|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m48.637s||1.338s||18|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m49.078s||1.779s||15|
Kimi Raikkonen: “Room for improvement”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Overall this was a positive day, even if, as usual, there is room for improvement. In the first session we concentrated on looking at different set-up solutions and on my first set of Soft tyres I managed to do a good lap, then unfortunately some technical niggles prevented me from getting the most out of the second set. At the end of the session I had a problem with the brakes overheating, but the team managed to sort it out quickly and prepare the car for the second session. The changes we made to the set-up improved the handling of the car and with the Supersoft tyres there was plenty of grip.”
Singapore GP: Lewis Hamilton ends Friday on top for Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton ended the opening day of practice for the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix on top of the timesheets in his Mercedes.
The 2014 F1 title contender was only fourth fastest in the early stages of the session, when the field ran on the slower soft-compound Pirelli tyres.
But after leaving his qualifying simulation run on super-softs later than most, Hamilton was able to take to the track when it reopened after a mid-session red flag.
This was caused by Pastor Maldonado, who lost the rear of his Lotus exiting the Turn 10 left-hander and, in correcting, ran out of road and slid heavily into the exit barrier.
Hamilton, who complained about a vibration in his brakes at the start of the run, then set a lap good enough to relegate Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo to second place by three tenths of a second.
While the vast majority of drivers had completed their qualifying simulations before the red flag, of the frontrunners only Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg had yet to do so.
Alonso got to within 0.133s of Hamilton on his performance run, ending the session second ahead of Ricciardo.
But Rosberg, who had already started his qualifying simulation when the red flag came out, then went straight into a long-run after the restart.
This meant that his fastest lap on the soft Pirellis stood as his best, the significant performance difference between the two compounds leaving him down in 13th, just over a second-and-a-half off Hamilton.
Kimi Raikkonen completed a promising day for Ferrari in fourth, four tenths slower than his team-mate.
Remarkably, Sebastian Vettel ended the session fifth having only taken to the track with seven minutes remaining.
He had suffered an engine problem at the end of the day’s first session, with Red Bull doing a superb job to get his car ready for a run on super-softs in the closing minutes.
This relegated McLaren pairing Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button to sixth and seventh.
The Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, who had held first and second on the timesheets after being among the earliest to bolt on super-softs, ended up eighth and ninth ahead of the Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne.
Romain Grosjean coaxed a good lap out of a Lotus that looked very difficult to drive to end up 12th, ahead of Rosberg, with Maldonado also setting a good pace on his qualifying simulation prior to his shunt.
With the Saubers of Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez 15th and 16th, it was a difficult day for the Williams team.
Although it had expected to struggle here, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas ended up right down in 17th and 18th.
The Marussia drivers won the battle at the back, with Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton, the latter of which suffered with a turbo problem late on, outpacing Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m47.790s||0.300s||28|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m48.041s||0.551s||5|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m48.653s||1.163s||30|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m48.751s||1.261s||30|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m48.770s||1.280s||31|
|11||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m48.800s||1.310s||33|
Singapore GP: Fernando Alonso leads practice one for Ferrari
Fernando Alonso scored a coup for Ferrari in the first practice session of the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, edging out Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
Alonso’s flying lap of 1m49.056s beat Hamilton by 0.122 seconds, with Nico Rosberg 0.027s further back in third.
The Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, who had been expected to go well here on account of the RB9’s prodigious downforce, were fourth and fifth fastest, but were much more active than Alonso on track, completing 27 and 21 laps to the Spaniard’s 16.
Rosberg led much of the early running in spite of reporting gear selection problems, and having to remove a loose mirror.
Kimi Raikkonen was the first of the Ferrari drivers to dial in to the circuit, lapping more neatly than Alonso and even briefly topping the timesheets before Rosberg ended his tenure there.
Alonso soon restored the normal Ferrari order, though, and Raikkonen would close out the session seventh fastest with his front brakes on fire in the pits.
At the end of the first half hour, when the teams have to give back their extra set of soft-compound Pirelli tyres, it was Vettel and Alonso who were fastest by a half-second margin from Rosberg.
But with the tyre exchange completed, Rosberg was among the first drivers to head back out on track, once again on the soft-compound tyres, setting a new benchmark nearly two seconds faster then his previous best.
Hamilton responded with a lap 0.027s quicker to ‘win’ this run, and that was how the Mercedes order remained until the chequered flag.
As Hamilton and Rosberg moved on to race simulation runs with 30 minutes of the session remaining, Alonso found space on track to nail a flying lap 0.122s faster than Hamilton’s best.
Vettel made productive use of his new Red Bull chassis to set a time faster than team-mate Ricciardo, though he had a close encounter with the wall at the exit of Turn 21.
Ricciardo moved on to a full-tank race simulation run in the final half hour, undercutting his previous best but also touching the wall while doing so.
It was not all good news for Vettel, though; he suffered a suspected engine failure at the end of the session and stopped in the pitlane.
Toro Rosso showed well on headline times, with Jean-Eric Vergne sixth fastest and Daniil Kvyat ninth, but this was an eventful 90 minutes for the Faenza team.
Vergne required a battery change that put him out of action during the first hour; then, having set his flying lap, he had an ERS failure that ended his session.
Kvyat, for his part, claimed to be being blocked by several other drivers on-track.
McLaren had a new front wing but neither Jenson Button nor Kevin Magnussen were able to make an impression up front, closing the session eighth and 11th.
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m49.874s||0.818s||27|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m50.122s||1.066s||21|
|6||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m50.539s||1.483s||11|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m50.990s||1.934s||26|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m51.131s||2.075s||23|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m51.604s||2.548s||23|
Singapore GP: Thursday press conference
Kimi, you famously told the team “leave me alone, I know what I’m doing.” Does that mean you welcome this change?
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: Well, obviously we don’t speak a lot on the radio in my case usually, when there are no issues – but obviously it might get quite complicated if there are some problems with the car and you have to change certain things to try to finish the race. I don’t know how the rule goes at those times. Obviously it makes it more complicated for us but it’s part of the game so it’s OK.
Q: Kimi, coming back to you, obviously this season hasn’t been quite what you expected it to be – but did you expect to have your problems sorted out by now? And what’s your focus for the remaining six races or so?
KR: Obviously to do as well as we can and have good results for the team and for myself. I expect it to be difficult. Probably the team didn’t expect to have such difficulties over all. We expected to be more stronger overall. It’s part of the game and we have to try to sort things out. I think we have done pretty good improvements – compared to where we started – as a team and obviously then I’m getting more happy with things but obviously still not where we want to be in the end. Still a lot of work to do.
QUESTION FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Heikki Kulta -Turun Sanomat) Kimi, it’s two hours in very humid conditions; Nico Rosberg said that the last laps are always very painful here because it’s physically so demanding. How painful are they for you?
KR: I don’t know. Everybody has their own feelings so I can’t know how they feel like but in the past it hasn’t been a problem. It doesn’t feel as hot or humid in the last years unless the course has slowed in the race, so I don’t see why it should suddenly be a problem.