Kimi Raikkonen: “Make up some places”
Kimi Raikkonen: “After a difficult Friday, things went better today, the car has improved a lot thanks to a series of changes that worked and we had a good pace. Sure, we can’t claim to have ended up where we would have liked, but compared to the start of the weekend, we have made a step forward and this makes me confident for the race. Today, it wasn’t easy to put a quick lap together because I still have some difficulties with the front end, especially in the final sector, but tomorrow we will try our hardest to be in the game and make up some places.”
Russian GP: Lewis Hamilton takes pole for F1’s Sochi debut
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for Formula 1’s inaugural Russian Grand Prix, denying Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas at Sochi.
Hamilton outpaced Mercedes team-mate Rosberg by two tenths of a second, with the part both completing three increasingly fast flyers on their sole Q3 run.
Although Rosberg was the faster on their first runs thanks to Hamilton’s conservative opening lap, Hamilton had the edge and took his seventh pole position of the season.
There was a very real threat to the dominance of the Silver Arrows, with Williams driver Bottas putting in a spectacular final lap to challenge for pole position.
The Finn set the fastest sector times of all in the first two sectors, but the rear stepped out at the final corner and he ran wide, which cost him any chance of beating the two Mercedes drivers and left him in third place.
McLaren pairing Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen continued the strong form for the team in fourth and sixth place, although Magnussen will take a gearbox-change penalty.
They sandwiched arguably the star of qualifying, Daniil Kvyat, who qualified a career-best fifth after a strong performance on home soil.
Daniel Ricciardo was seventh on a weekend of damage limitation for Red Bull, ahead of the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.
Jean-Eric Vergne, in the second Toro Rosso, was slowest in Q3 and qualified 10th.
Reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel was eliminated in Q2, his final lap only good enough to take 11th, 0.123s slower than Red Bull stablemate Vergne.
Vettel did not report any specific car problems, although he had been struggling with the balance of his Red Bull.
Just behind were the two Force Indias, with Nico Hulkenberg narrowly ahead of Sergio Perez but also set for a penalty.
Esteban Gutierrez won the intra-Sauber fight, over four tenths faster than team-mate Adrian Sutil, the Mexican doing a good job after sitting out Friday morning practice in favour of Sergey Sirotkin.
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was slowest in Q2, ending up 16th.
Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson continued his recent run of good form with 17th, fastest of those to be eliminated in Q1.
The Swede’s final lap allowed him to jump ahead of Williams driver Felipe Massa, who ended up 18th.
Massa had looked set to qualify well, but a fuel pressure problem that the team did not have time to fix meant that he was down on power.
He did complete eight laps during Q1, but the hobbled car did not have the performance to get into the top 16.
Kamui Kobayashi, in the second Caterham, ended up just a tenth off Massa after improving by almost six tenths on his final run.
This was enough to put him ahead of Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado, who received an apology over the radio for what was described as a “shambles” after a problem delayed him.
He has to serve a five-place grid penalty anyway, a consequence of using his sixth engine during the Japanese GP weekend, so will drop to last.
Max Chilton in the sole Marussia was 21st, just over four tenths slower than Maldonado.
PROVISIONAL STARTING GRID:
|5||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.277s||0.764s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.635s||1.122s|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.020s||1.507s|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m40.052s||-|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.163s||-|
|17||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.058s||-|
** Magnussen, Hulkenberg and Maldonado have had five-place penalties applied
Format: Q1 sets 17th-22nd, Q2 sets 11th-16th, Q3 sets 1st-10th
Russian GP: Lewis Hamilton still in control in final practice
Lewis Hamilton marked himself as favourite for pole position as he set the pace in the final practice session for this weekend’s Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes duo were once again the pace setters throughout most of the hour-long session, with Hamilton heading his team-mate Nico Rosberg by 0.290 seconds.
Hamilton ended the practice period in the pits after he spun at the penultimate corner on the lap, seven minutes from the chequered flag. After the spin Hamilton was able to nurse his car across the circuit and into the pitlane.
The main interloper at the top of the timesheets was Valtteri Bottas in his Williams. At one stage he was the quickest runner in the field and ended up splitting the Mercedes drivers. He ultimately finished third overall.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was next up ahead of the second Williams of Felipe Massa.
The partisan crowd would have been delighted with the performance of Russian Daniil Kvyat. He was third behind the Mercedes mid-way through the session and finished the hour-long period with the sixth fastest time.
Drivers continued to struggle on the new low-grip surface at the new Sochi Autodrom and in particular a few racers ran wide at the tricky right-handed Turn 4.
Sebastian Vettel set the tenth quickest time, but he appeared to struggle with the grip levels, running wide at number of times throughout the session.
Kimi Raikkonen was seventh, one place ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso.
The session was red-flagged on the 18 minute mark after Kevin Magnussen brought his McLaren to a stop heading into Turn 4.
On the radio he complained of either a puncture or suspension failure and replays showed how he skilfully managed to keep his car off the wall around Turn 3.
Pastor Maldonado could only manage an installation lap after a problem with the energy recovery system on his car.
To compound his misery, the Lotus driver goes into qualifying with a five-place grid penalty for an engine change that has been carried over from Suzuka.
Nico Hulkenberg also goes into qualifying with a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.
The Sochi circuit was bathed in warm sunshine for the lunchtime session and the good weather is set to continue for the rest of the weekend.
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.755s||1.029s||16|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.009s||1.283s||27|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.205s||1.479s||26|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m40.338s||1.612s||21|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.669s||1.943s||23|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.699s||1.973s||26|
Kimi Raikkonen: “Make up places in the race”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Today’s performance was in line with the whole weekend so far and even if I’ve had a good feeling from the car, I was unable to resolve a few problems already encountered on Friday. In the morning’s free practice, a technical problem meant I had to stop running earlier than planned and that prevented us from testing some new components, which would have been useful for the set-up choice.
The team did a great job to get my car ready for qualifying in record time. In the first sector, I had a few balance problems and that stopped me pushing as hard as I wanted.
I did my best today and tomorrow we will try and make up some places and have a good race.”
Raikkonen would welcome Vettel as teammate
Ferrari is yet to confirm the news, but the famous team looks set to enter the 2015 season with Sebastian Vettel alongside Kimi Raikkonen.
It is now an open paddock secret that Alonso and Ferrari made the decision to terminate the rest of their contract – scheduled to run until the end of 2016 – on Thursday.
According to Red Bull, quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel will replace the Spaniard.
And despite Kimi Raikkonen’s struggles in 2014, the Finn has a watertight contract and so he looks set to be Vettel’s teammate in red.
Famously, the pair are friends.
Asked by the Finnish broadcaster MTV3 if he would be happy to work with Vettel at Ferrari, Raikkonen said at Suzuka: “Absolutely.
“I have never worked with him, we’ve always been in different teams, but I know him well.”
Raikkonen played down any lingering doubts that he might join Alonso in departing the crisis-struck Maranello camp, amid ‘academy’ driver Jules Bianchi’s obvious interest in stepping up for 2015.
“I have a contract,” said Raikkonen, “and I expect that I am here next year.
“I strongly believe that we will be in better positions next season.
“I know Marco (Mattiacci) has said he does not expect us to be at the front next year, but who knows,” the 2007 world champion added.
“Lots of things happen in formula one, including big steps in development.
“I’m here because I want to be here,” said Raikkonen. “I could leave tonight, but I can also continue for two or ten more years if I want.”
Japanese GP: Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton to Suzuka F1 pole
Nico Rosberg beat Formula 1 title rival and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
The German had set the pace in Q2 and on the first runs in the top 10 shootout, and consolidated his place in top spot by shaving just over a tenth off his time on his second run.
After Rosberg crossed the line for the final time, Hamilton completed his lap but a lock-up at the hairpin cost him and he ended up two tenths slower.
This mean that both of Rosberg’s flying laps in Q3 were good enough for what could prove to be a vital pole position in the world championship race.
Williams pairing Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa locked out the second row, with Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso fifth.
Red Bull had a difficult session. Daniel Ricciardo ended up sixth after flirting with elimination in Q1 and Sebastian Vettel was ninth, both drivers carrying wet set-ups in anticipation of a rain-hit race.
Kevin Magnussen won the intra-McLaren battle by beating Jenson Button to seventh place, with the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen in 10th.
Jean-Eric Vergne was the fastest of those to be eliminated in Q2 in 11th place, falling two tenths short of relegating Vettel with his final lap.
This put Vergne ahead of Force India driver Sergio Perez, who complained of a power problem during Q2, with Vergne’s Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat 13th after failing to improve on his second run.
Because of breaking into his sixth power unit, Vergne is set to be hit with a 10-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.
Nico Hulkenberg was 13th fastest ahead of the Saubers of Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez.
Pastor Maldonado was bumped out of Q2 contention in the dying seconds of the first segment of qualifying by Sutil.
The Venezuelan, who will drop to the back of the grid thanks to using his sixth V6 engine of the season shaded Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean by less than a tenth.
Because Maldonado is only able to serve five of his 10-place grid drop, the remaining positions will be rolled over to next weekend’s Russian GP.
Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson’s strong weekend continued, as he ended qualifying 19th ahead of Marussia’s Jules Bianchi.
Home hero Kamui Kobayashi, whose Friday afternoon session was ruined by a crash, was 21st ahead of Max Chilton.
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m34.075s||1.569s|
|9||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m34.432s||1.926s|
|11||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m34.984s||-|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m35.089s||-|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m35.092s||-|
|14||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m35.099s||-|
Japanese GP: Rosberg tops final practice as Hamilton crashes
Nico Rosberg topped Saturday morning practice for the Japanese Grand Prix while his Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton crashed.
Rosberg had lapped three-tenths slower than Hamilton while both were running on the slower hard-compound Pirelli tyres early in the session.
The German completed his qualifying simulation on medium rubber first, improving by 1.3s to take top spot.
Moments later, Hamilton started his flying lap, but carried too much speed into Turn 1, ran wide onto the asphalt runoff and couldn’t avoid going head on into the tyre barrier.
The front-left corner of his Mercedes was damaged in the crash but although Hamilton did not set a time on the faster tyre, his pace on the hard Pirellis was still good enough to be second fastest, albeit one second down on Rosberg.
Fernando Alonso was best-of-the-rest in third place, 1.211s off the pace, even though the Ferrari driver didn’t put together a perfect lap.
Williams pairing Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas both completed their qualifying simulations late in the session to take fourth and fifth fastest ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.
The Australian was unable to make a big improvement on the medium rubber, finding less than three-tenths, with a wide moment at Degner costing him time.
Kevin Magnussen was seventh fastest ahead of the two Toro Rossos, with Jean-Eric Vergne outpacing 2015 Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat by less than half-a-tenth.
Jenson Button completed the top 10 ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Kimi Raikkonen – with the Finn losing track time towards the end as Ferrari decided to change his engine.
Several drivers hit trouble during the session, with Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, fresh from the revelation that he will leave the team at the end of the year, completing only six laps and ending up 15th.
Esteban Gutierrez also had a big moment, losing the rear of his Sauber exiting 130R and spinning, the Mexican just keeping it out of the barrier.
Team-mate Adrian Sutil also had an off, spinning at the chicane, with the two Sauber drivers ending up 14th and 18th respectively.
Both Lotus drivers also had similar offs to Hamilton by running wide exiting Turn 1, potentially as a consequence of a tail-wind blowing into that corner, but Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean were able to keep their cars out of the wall and continue.
At the back, Marcus Ericsson was again the quickest of the Caterham and Marussia drivers in 19th place, half-a-second faster than Max Chilton.
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.086s||1.858s||13|
|8||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m35.494s||2.266s||8|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m35.538s||2.310s||17|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m35.732s||2.504s||15|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m36.365s||3.137s||8|
|15||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m36.460s||3.232s||6|
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|
Italian GP: Kimi Raikkonen mystified by car handling change
Kimi Raikkonen was left mystified by how difficult his Ferrari Formula 1 car became to drive during Italian Grand Prix qualifying.
The Finn failed to reach Q3 and was only 12th quickest, which will become 11th on the grid due to Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat’s penalty.
That was despite an encouraging run through Friday practice.
"We changed the car a little bit, but it’s hard to believe that those small changes made it as difficult as it was," said Raikkonen.
"We had a good weekend on this side and we had no issues. Things were running smoothly, as they should always, and then we had difficulties to get grip in qualifying.
"For some reason I kept locking the fronts a bit and couldn’t find how I could make one sector good but not all of them in a row. It just got difficult for some reason.
"It was a bit of a surprise for me, an unpleasant surprise.
"We have to try to look into the details a bit and hopefully find an explanation."
Raikkonen is still optimistic that he will be able to make progress in race trim.
"Obviously today our qualifying was not very good for me, but overall the weekend has maybe been a bit better than expected," he said.
"We knew that qualifying would be a little bit difficult compared to some of the Mercedes people. They usually make a bigger step for that, and then it comes back a little bit for the race.
"We had a good long run yesterday, so I 100 per cent believe that we can do a much better race.
"Do we have enough speed to overtake people? We will know tomorrow. But I believe that we should be stronger than today."