GP Russia, commenti post qualifiche–29/04/2017
Russian GP: Raikkonen bemoans traffic and tyres for lost pole
Kimi Raikkonen believes traffic on his outlap and the resulting loss of tyre temperature cost him a shot at his first Formula 1 pole position in nine years.
The Finn held provisional pole position after the first runs in Q3, but failed to improve on his second attempt and was jumped by Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel after making a mistake at the final corner pushing to make up for lost time.
The gap between the pair was just 0.059s at the end of qualifying, meaning Raikkonen could have taken pole with even a slender improvement had the tyres been as good as they were on the first run.
"We just had traffic on the outlap on the last set and couldn’t make the tyres work as well as the first run," said Raikkonen, who has not started on pole since the 2008 French Grand Prix.
"It was a bit more tricky. I tried to get it back in the last corner and it didn’t pay off.
"I am happier than previous qualifying [sessions], but we had all the tools to be in the front today.
"One-two for the team is not bad."
The French round in 2008 was also the last time Ferrari locked out the front row.
Vettel admitted that he had an untidy run on his first attempt in Q3, which put the pressure on for his second run as he attempted to improve on third place.
"I had a good start to the session and was feeling reasonably comfortable, and in Q2 lost lost the rhythm on my final run, which would give me the idea for the first of Q3," said Vettel.
"I locked up, and on my first run in Q3 it wasn’t tidy, so I made up for it in the second run.
"I knew we could do well and the car was good, but didn’t know what they [Mercedes] might be able to find in the last bit of qualifying.
"I knew we were strong, I knew we could do it, but didn’t know how strong in relation to them."
Vettel accepted that the Mercedes tyre troubles and the track configuration had potentially helped Ferrari’s qualifying pace.
In the previous three races of 2017, Mercedes had the edge in qualifying, and Vettel admitted Mercedes looked strong heading into the Russian Grand Prix weekend.
"Coming here, on paper they looked very strong and they were strong yesterday, but as Valtteri [Bottas] said maybe they were not comfortable with the tyre treatment and temperatures," said Vettel.
"I think the track, the layout, is not bad for us. Last year we were strong here.
"We didn’t have any problems, we had smooth sessions so far this weekend and the car felt very good."
Q: Many congratulations. Coming to you Kimi, your second place gives Ferrari it’s first front row lock-out since the French Grand Prix in 2008. You were so close to Sebastian. How frustrated are you to be on pole?
Kimi Raikkonen: Obviously the aim is to be on the front. The feeling has been more better this weekend and now we just got some traffic on the pout lap on the last set and couldn’t really make the tyres work as well as the first run and it was a bit more tricky. It was thereabouts and then I just got it back in the last corner but it didn’t pay off. I’m happier than previous qualifyings but obviously I think we had all the tools to be in the front today but a one-two for the team is not bad.
Q: Kimi, different strategies for Ferrari and Mercedes during that session, you guys going out on the supersoft tyres at the start of Q1. Just talk us through how the whole qualifying session played out.
KR: It played out as we planned it. We did what we planned to do and obviously the end result turned out to be pretty OK for the team. We’ve seen often people run different tyres in the first qualifying. Doesn’t really matter which tyres you run most of the time. That’s what we chose to do and then just go from there.
Q: How’s the race pace of the Ferrari?
KR: I think it was good yesterday but obviously tomorrow is the race and we have to see. I’m sure it’s going to be a close fight and we have to make a good job out of it, so let’s see.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) I have a question for Sebastian and Kimi. Sebastian, do you feel that you are in the same condition you were in at Red Bull during their dominant era. Is Ferrari starting a new dominant era like Red Bull when you were there. And for Kimi, if you think this Ferrari seems very close to the Ferrari in that fantastic years 2007-2008.
KR: They’re all different cars. There’s no way that we can compare. It’s ten years ago so different rules, different tyres, different a lot of things. So, maybe we have a good package. Estimating how does it feel comparing to the old cars… doesn’t really matter how that plays out as long as we can be faster against the cars that we are racing now.
Q: (Kiril Zaytsev – 66.ru) Question for both Ferrari drivers about team orders. Seb, if tomorrow will be in front of you, will you ask the team to pass, and Kimi, will you let Seb pass you without fighting?
SV: I think it’s simple. If I’m in front then he wants to pass me, if he’s in front I want to pass him. I don’t think it makes any sense to ask for help from outside. We know that we’re free to race and that’s what I believe and I know we’re both here to do. Today obviously was very close, I expect it to be very close tomorrow and we see how the race goes.
KR: No more to say about it. We know what we do and we race for Ferrari and that’s it.
Q: (Jelena Leppanen – Ilta-Sanomat) Question to Kimi, you said already yesterday that you’re pretty happy with how the car works out. In which way does it feel better compared to the previous races?
KR: It’s always specific for each circuit so you cannot really compare how it is in one place – because what you need in other circuits might be a completely different story. Overall it’s just been more easy to… normal to drive. I think we started well, in the correct areas, so it’s always more easy to go from there. That side has been much better this weekend so I’ve been happy and doing some changes and improving. Small things but it makes a big difference in the end.
Q: (Slava Karpov – Radio Sport) Kimi, you are a favourite driver among the Russian fans; what do you think of this and do you feel this support?
KR: Obviously I’m happy to have the fans here or anywhere around the world. I must say it’s nice to come here. There are not many places that have beautiful mountains behind and snow. The weather is perfect this weekend so it’s a great place to come in my view and the circuit is fun. Like I said, I will take any fans that I have, here or anywhere else.
Q: (Kiril Zaytsev – 66.ru) To both Finnish drivers: why are you so successful on this track? We remember Valtteri was on the podium in Sochi, Kimi has been on the podium in Sochi. Why are you so successful here, maybe because it’s slippery asphalt and Finnish people love sliding and slipperiness?
VB: It’s not actually that slippery asphalt compared to Bahrain, for example. I think we have had more grip here so that’s not the explanation. Obviously you like some tracks more than the others but I think in the past, for Williams, this used to be a good track in general and I don’t know if I can explain it more than that. I think the track is nice and I enjoy it.
KR: I don’t think I have had very good results here. In the past years it’s been very slippery, at least for me, but this year the rules and conditions are better. It’s not really any different here to any other place.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) To the two Ferrari drivers: the only negative – if you can say that it’s negative – point of this weekend is that you have to again change the turbocharger and it’s the third element. Do you believe that it will be an issue for the end of the season?
KR: You’re always very good to always find negative things about us.
SV: He’s Italian, he should be over the moon. Everybody in Italy I’m sure is very happy now and you’re the only Italian in the world that finds a reason to be negative. You should be ashamed.
KR: It’s a planned change and I’m sure we’ll be fine with it. Obviously I’ve had one failure that we will not be able to use but the others are still fine and we will run it as we want and they are there to be used and re-used whenever you feel like it.
SV: Maybe I think you will have a great chance to get a German passport because usually Germans always find a reason to complain. If there’s a hard time when you get back to Italy you’re welcome to Germany.