L’ennesima scoperta dell’acqua calda–05/06/2015
Kimi Raikkonen says poor qualifying form could be down to tyres
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen says getting the tyres to work is the key to getting on top of his poor form in Formula 1 qualifying so far this year.
The Finn has struggled for one-lap pace all season, failing to outqualify team-mate Sebastian Vettel at any of the six grands prix so far, and that has had a knock-on effect on his race results.
After Raikkonen started and finished sixth in Monaco, Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivebene called on his charge to raise his game, adding he needs to do some qualifying "homework".
When asked if there was one area that was holding him back in qualifying, Raikkonen said: "I don’t think there’s the one.
"Obviously tyres is a big key to get them working in a proper way and that makes a massive difference.
"We just have to make a better job of it, drive better, do two or three good laps. I’m sure we’ll get there but it seems to be a bit tricky.
"I know where we have to improve, nobody has to tell me, and it’s a very easy thing to know.
"We put ourselves in a difficult position on many Saturdays, so when we improve that, we can have good speed in the race.
"When you’re starting where you shouldn’t, it obviously makes a very difficult race for us."
Asked whether a title challenge is still possible given his 66-point deficit to leader Lewis Hamilton, Raikkonen replied: "I don’t think about the title.
"We try to go race-by-race and do the maximum and then obviously we can see at the end where we are.
"We know we still have work to do, to be where we want to be. We have improved a lot if you look at where we started.
"I think we have a correct way of doing things and the direction is right but there are still things to improve.
"We want better results as a team. It hasn’t been such an easy start to the year, but we just have to tie up some things and make it work a bit better."
Raikkonen doesn’t need Arrivabene’s homework
Refusing so far to sign the 2016 ‘option’ in the Finn’s current contract, Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene left Monaco insisting Raikkonen must improve.
"So I give him homework — to write a hundred times ‘I must do better in qualifying’," the charismatic Italian joked.
Raikkonen, however, did not laugh when asked by reporters in Canada about the comments.
"There’s nothing new," Finnish reports quote the 2007 world champion as responding. "I know already where we need to improve and do not need to be told."
Former F1 driver David Coulthard, once Raikkonen’s teammate at McLaren, agrees that the 35-year-old is well aware of the areas to improve.
"Just like all the experienced drivers, Kimi is the first to admit that when you haven’t optimised qualifying, it’s difficult to get the most out of Sundays as well," he told Turun Sanomat newspaper.
The driver most strongly linked with Raikkonen’s Ferrari seat has been fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas.
But also increasingly mentioned on the paddock grapevine is Daniel Ricciardo, the currently frustrated top Red Bull driver.
Asked about that, Red Bull boss Christian Horner told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "That will not be possible, as Daniel has a long-term contract with us."