Raikkonen: Team knew about front wing problem after China
Kimi Raikkonen says his Alfa Romeo team was aware of the potential problem with his front wing which led to his disqualification from qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Raikkonen revealed he had a damaged front wing at the previous race in China but the team was not able to address the problem which led to the failure before this weekend’s race.
His front wing did not pass a deflection test after qualifying, which led to him being disqualified from the session.
“I don’t know what happened, I got a message this morning,” said Raikkonen. “Last race I had an issue at the end of the race with a broken stay on the front wing and we lost the downforce. So probably it is a similar thing that has caused it, unfortunately.
“We knew the issue after the last race but we didn’t have time to produce a new one so this is what you get. It surely doesn’t make us faster but this is what it is. Hopefully then it’s fair for everybody.
Raikkonen’s disqualification meant he started the race from the pits. He finished the race in tenth place. “We need to do things better a little bit better here and there,” he added.
Baku Formula 1 race report: Bottas fends off Hamilton in Azerbaijan
Valtteri Bottas withstood a late charge from Lewis Hamilton to win Formula 1’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix and atone for his heartbreak at the end of last year’s race in Baku.
Twelve months after being denied victory by a late puncture, Bottas held his nerve under pressure to lead Hamilton home and regain the lead of the championship.
As Mercedes clinched its fourth one-two in four races at the start of the 2019 F1 season, Sebastian Vettel could only finish third again for Ferrari.
Vettel’s team-mate Charles Leclerc recovered to fifth, behind Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, after the qualifying crash that left him eighth on the grid.
Hamilton got the better start from the front row but Bottas held on around the outside of the first two corners and then built a strong margin through the rest of the lap.
Bottas kept Hamilton at arm’s length until pitting on lap 12 of 51, one lap after Vettel and one lap before Hamilton.
That meant Bottas resumed in a net lead, but stopping two laps earlier than Hamilton drew Vettel closer to the second Mercedes.
The pace of the medium tyre was stronger than the soft, as demonstrated by Leclerc – who fell to 10th on the first lap but had charged to fourth by lap 10.
Leclerc, on new mediums following his crash in qualifying, assumed the lead when the top three pitted to get rid of their soft tyres.
He led the middle portion of the race, managing his pace effectively to stay ahead until Bottas finally got into DRS range and cleared the Ferrari into the first corner with 19 laps to go.
Hamilton took another lap to get ahead of Leclerc, which gave Bottas more breathing space after Hamilton had whittled the advantage down to almost nothing.
Bottas had a two-second lead to protect once the Mercedes one-two was restored, and Hamilton’s attempts to cut into that were hit when Pierre Gasly ground to a halt and caused a virtual safety car.
Gasly had charged from the pitlane up to a comfortable sixth but his Red Bull, fitted with an upgraded Honda engine for this weekend, had to be parked up 12 laps from the finish.
The two-lap VSC also helped Bottas by giving him an extra one second over his pursuers, presumably as it ended in a favourable position for the leader.
Hamilton chipped away at that margin and with three laps to go got within DRS range of his team-mate.
Just as Hamilton looked like he might be about to launch a last-lap pass, Bottas picked up DRS himself down the start-finish straight as he lapped the Williams of George Russell.
That top-speed boost put Bottas 1.4s clear as he started the final tour, and he finished it 1.5s ahead to clinch his second win of the season.
Vettel ended up a lonely third, never quite close enough to attack a Mercedes but equally not under threat from Verstappen at the end.
Verstappen had a quietly effective race and looked like he could mount an attack on Vettel but fell away once the VSC period ended.
Leclerc finished almost a minute adrift of Verstappen after a second pitstop for another set of fresh soft tyres, which let him steal the fastest lap bonus point from Bottas.
Sergio Perez earned best-of-the-rest honours for Racing Point, finishing sixth to continue his fine record in Baku.
Though a third Azerbaijan podium was never on the cards, Perez was the class of the midfield after clearing early sixth-place runner Daniil Kvyat and rarely looked like being challenged.
Carlos Sainz Jr finally opened his account for McLaren in seventh place, but only after a race-long contest with team-mate Lando Norris. That was decided in Sainz’s favour when Norris made an extra stop under the VSC.
McLaren celebrated its first double points finish of the season as Norris came home eighth, while Racing Point also got two drivers in the top 10 as Lance Stroll clinched ninth.
Kimi Raikkonen scored an unlikely point to keep his record of finishing in the top 10 every race this season, despite starting from the pitlane after his Alfa Romeo failed a front wing deflection test.
Among the four retirements were Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo, who have been summoned to the stewards over a bizarre incident in which Ricciardo reversed into Kvyat trying to get back on track after a failed overtaking attempt sent them both off at Turn 3.
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||51||17.493s|
|6||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||51||1m16.416s|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||51||1m23.826s|
|9||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||51||1m43.816s|
|10||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||50||1 Lap|
|11||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||50||1 Lap|
|12||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||50||1 Lap|
|13||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||50||1 Lap|
|14||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||50||1 Lap|
|15||George Russell||Williams/Mercedes||49||2 Laps|
|16||Robert Kubica||Williams/Mercedes||49||2 Laps|
|–||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||38||Gearbox|
|–||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||33||Accident damage|
|–||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||31||Accident damage|
|12||Carlos Sainz Jr.||6|
Kimi Raikkonen spoiled his Baku Q3 by catching Lewis Hamilton
Kimi Raikkonen says his Azerbaijan Grand Prix qualifying was spoiled by getting too close to Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes Formula 1 car in Q3.
Alfa Romeo driver Raikkonen got too strong a slipstream off Hamilton on the long straight as he began his final qualifying lap.
It meant he was left tucked right under the gearbox of the Mercedes for the tight opening section of the circuit – which cost him downforce and effectively wrecked his run.
He ended up slowest overall out of all the cars that took part in Q3, with his best time 0.644 seconds adrift of team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi.
Raikkonen will start eighth, thanks to Giovinazzi getting a grid penalty for taking an extra engine component and Charles Leclerc not running in Q3 following his Q2 crash.
"I didn’t put any laps together," said Raikkonen.
"I had one new set [of tyres] and on the last one I tried to start the lap and got way too close to Mercedes.
"It was shit, but what can we do about it? It is disappointing."
Raikkonen had left a gap to the Mercedes cars ahead of him on their warm up lap but was caught out when Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas slowed down at Turn 16 to give themselves some space.
"Everybody tried to find position on the out-lap and I got too close to the Mercedes as I was trying to start the lap," Raikkonen added.
"It was really done before the first corner. It was disappointing."
Azerbaijan GP qualifying: Bottas on pole, Leclerc crashes in Q2
Valtteri Bottas claimed a surprise pole position for Formula 1’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix after pre-qualifying favourite Charles Leclerc crashed out in Q2.
Bottas lapped 0.059 seconds faster than Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who was in the tow behind him, on the final runs in Q3 to grab top spot, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel three tenths down in third place.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen only had one run in Q3 and ended up fourth, almost three tenths behind Vettel and well clear of fifth fastest Sergio Perez.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was sixth ahead of McLaren driver Lando Norris.
Antonio Giovinazzi headed Alfa Romeo team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in the battle for eighth place, although the Italian must serve a 10-place grid penalty for taking his third power unit control electronics of the season earlier in the weekend.
Leclerc was classified 10th in Q3 as his pace on medium-compound Pirellis before he crashed meant he made the top 10 – but he was unable to run in the pole session.
Leclerc was the faster Ferrari driver in free practice and Q1, but hit the wall at the narrow Turn 8 after locking up the front-left on entry during Q2 -calling the error "stupid" over the radio.
Carlos Sainz Jr was 11th fastest after being pushed into the dropzone by McLaren team-mate Norris at the end of Q2 – missing out on a place in Q3 having lapped just 0.017s slower than Giovinazzi.
That put Sainz ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, with Alex Albon 13th after clipping the wall with the right-rear of Toro Rosso late on in a Q2 session interrupted by the red flag that followed Leclerc’s crash.
Kevin Magnussen was 14th due to locking up and heading up the Turn 3 escape road on his final lap.
Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly, who must start from the pitlane as a punishment for missing the weighbridge during Friday practice, was 15th and did not run in Q2.
But he did set the fastest time in Q1 with the help of a mighty tow from Lance Stroll’s Racing Point.
Stroll was eliminated in Q1 for the fourth time this season, relegated to 16th by Ricciardo at the end of the session.
Ricciardo positioned himself behind Stroll for his final lap, benefiting from the tow both in the first and last sectors to take the position by a tenth and a half.
Haas driver Romain Grosjean was 17th after not improving by enough on his final lap, although it was sufficient to beat Nico Hulkenberg, who had briefly jumped ahead of him, by 0.02s.
George Russell was 19th having missed almost all of Friday’s running as a result of hitting a manhole cover early in the abandoned morning practice session, forcing the Williams team to rebuild his car around the spare monocoque.
Robert Kubica was slowest after crashing at the Turn 8 left-hander on his final push lap as a result of tagging the inside wall behind the apex.
This brought out the red flag and delayed the start of Q2, although little running was lost as the chequered flag had already been thrown.
Provisional starting grid
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m41.069s||0.574s|
|5||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m41.593s||1.098s|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m41.681s||1.186s|
|8||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m43.068s||2.573s|
|10||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m42.398s||–|
|12||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m42.494s||–|
|14||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m42.630s||–|
|18||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m42.424s||–|
|20||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||–||–|
Azerbaijan GP practice: Charles Leclerc on top as Ferrari dominates
Charles Leclerc set a stunning pace in final practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as the Ferrari team outpaced its Formula 1 rivals by more than a second.
The 21-year-old was quickest in Friday practice and reinforced his early control of the Baku weekend in emphatic fashion in the Saturday session, which he led for its majority and eventually topped ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
Leclerc, seeking his first F1 win, set a 1m41.604s that briefly put him 1.2s faster than anyone near the end of the session.
Vettel lapped 0.198s slower than his young team-mate to complete Ferrari’s one-two, with Max Verstappen next up for Red Bull on a 1m42.852s.
Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were stuck in the 1m43s in fourth and fifth.
Leclerc was 0.3s clear of Vettel at the halfway point of the session, with Hamilton the same distance back in third after a longer run on medium tyres.
Switching to softs hauled Hamilton and Bottas closer to the Ferraris, with Hamilton initially edging his team-mate by 0.06s before eventually losing out by just over a tenth.
Both were overhauled by Verstappen when the Red Bull driver punched in a 1m42.852s to split the Ferraris and go second, just 0.2s behind Leclerc.
Leclerc then put an enormous gap between Ferrari and the rest of the pack with a 1m41.604s on a fresh set of softs to go 1.2s clear at the top.
Vettel’s efforts to match his team-mate were hindered when he locked his left front and ran deep into Turn 1, where he took to the escape road.
His second effort was tidier, and allowed him to improve to a 1m41.802s.
Hamilton also made mistakes, ending up on the escape roads at Turn 2 and Turn 15, as neither Mercedes showed the sort of pace the team is likely to have in qualifying.
Toro Rosso was a surprise best of the rest, with Daniil Kvyat sixth fastest and 1.6s off the pace.
Kevin Magnussen’s Haas split the two Toro Rossos as Alex Albon – briefly fourth fastest at one stage – wound up eighth, and Sergio Perez (Racing Point) and Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) completed the top 10.
Raikkonen was involved in a minor incident with Carlos Sainz Jr near the end of the session as the two drivers appeared to race each other through the end of the final sector and down to Turn 1.
They did not make contact although Sainz complained to his McLaren team over the radio after the bout of slipstreaming.
George Russell completed an early installation in his new Williams chassis following the drain cover incident he suffered at the start of Friday’s abandoned first session.
Among the changes Williams has had to make around the new chassis is a new floor, while it also has new Mercedes control electronics and energy store.
The Formula 2 champion went on to complete 20 laps as he clocked his first real Baku mileage in an F1 car, and though he was outpaced by team-mate Robert Kubica by 0.3s he was not the slowest.
That place fell to Pierre Gasly, as the Red Bull driver ignored performance running in preparation for his pitlane start – though his difficult weekend continued with a near miss with the wall that took him down an escape road.
Practice three times
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m42.852s||1.248s||16|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m43.223s||1.619s||18|
|8||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m43.300s||1.696s||19|
|9||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m43.430s||1.826s||15|
|10||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m43.537s||1.933s||19|
|12||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m43.637s||2.033s||20|
|14||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m43.978s||2.374s||19|
|15||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m44.039s||2.435s||16|
|20||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||1m47.836s||6.232s||22|
Formula 1 looked ‘amateur’ in Baku drain incident – Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen says Formula 1 was made to look ‘amateur’ by the Baku drain cover incident that damaged George Russell’s Williams and disrupted Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice.
Russell struck a loose drain cover during the opening free practice, with the impact badly damaging his car and forcing Williams to build him a new chassis for Saturday.
The FIA later explained that the drain had come loose because of a broken underside mounting.
With a need for track officials to inspect all the drains around the circuit to ensure that there would be no repeat issue elsewhere, the first practice session had to be abandoned.
Formula 2 qualifying was also put back by half an hour.
The second F1 session then ran on schedule.
Alfa Romeo driver Raikkonen thinks the FIA should shoulder the blame for what happened, as he said the lost track time "destroyed" Friday for the teams and fans.
"Obviously it was far from ideal for everybody and we looked like amateurs here today," said Raikkonen.
"It should not be like this. It’s up to FIA to make sure that track is like it’s supposed to be.
"It seems to be that every year some drainage hole comes loose or something slides up.
"It’s up to them to check and tell the people here. It is their responsibility to have the track as it is expected to be.
"Luckily nobody got hurt, but it obviously destroyed everybody’s day.
"Also for the people who came to watch here it is far from ideal."
When asked if the matter would be brought up in Friday night’s drivers’ briefing, Raikkonen said: "It’s not the first time. Hopefully it’s the last time."
There was a further incident while Russell’s car was recovered to the pits, with the truck carrying it striking a bridge that it was too high to get under.
That led to hydraulic fluid from the damaged crane section on the truck pouring onto the Williams and a second vehicle having to be arranged to bring it to the garage.
With drivers effectively only having one session to get all their Friday running done, Raikkonen said it was hard to draw conclusions from the timesheets.
"It was a confusing day," he said.
Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice: Charles Leclerc leads Ferrari 1-2
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc topped the second Formula 1 free practice session for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Leclerc traded fastest times with team-mate Sebastian Vettel during their qualifying simulation runs, with the soft Pirellis able to deliver three push laps.
Leclerc put in a best lap of 1m42.872s, which put him 0.324 seconds ahead of Vettel – and 0.669s quicker than third-fastest Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.
With teams eager to make up for lost time after most of morning practice was abandoned when Williams driver George Russell hit a loose drain cover, Hamilton recovered from a trip up the escape road at Turn 8 to put his Mercedes top in the early running on medium-compound Pirellis.
Leclerc was initially just behind, but then put in a time of 1m44.748s to take top spot despite glancing the Turn 7 wall with the left side of his car, shortly before the session was stopped because Racing Point driver Lance Stroll had crashed.
Stroll had a moment at the entry to the Turn 2 left-hander and subsequently attempted to bail out of the corner to head up the escape road, only to hit the barrier with his front left wheel having aborted too late.
Stroll reported over the radio that "I just got a snap on entry" and the damage meant he couldn’t return to the pits, leading to the session being stopped 15 minutes in.
Following an 11-minute delay, Vettel was among the first to head out on softs but had to abort his first push lap after having to take to the Turn 3 escape road.
Leclerc improved on his first lap, but then briefly dropped behind Vettel’s lap of 1m43.196s before reclaiming top spot with a time that would stand for the rest of the session – 1m42.872s.
Max Verstappen was one of the last to do a qualifying simulation run on softs, slotting into fourth place 0.252s behind Hamilton.
Bottas, who had an early trip up the escape road on his first flying lap of the session, ended up two tenths further back and comfortably ahead of the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.
Kvyat hit a power steering problem on his out-lap, leading to him returning to the pits for it to be changed.
He eventually rejoined the track in the second half of the session, setting a time 1.305s off the pace to pip McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr to fifth, only to crash and cause a nine-minute red flag with 26 minutes remaining.
Kvyat lost the rear in the Turn 7 right-hander, sliding into the wall and hitting initially with the left rear, then the left front.
Alex Albon made it two Toro Rossos in the top eight, just 0.033s slower than Sainz and 0.022s quicker than the Red Bull of Pierre Gasly – the latter having a couple of trips up the escape road during the session.
McLaren driver Lando Norris had an off at Turn 3 on what should have been his first push lap, but on his second set a time good enough for 10th place, 1.423s down.
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen beat Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi to 11th place, with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez 13th ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.
Daniel Ricciardo had a difficult session, which ended prematurely once he had run out of tyres – not helped by flatspotting a set of softs with a major lock-up.
He was still quick enough to secure 15th ahead of the second Haas of Romain Grosjean, with Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg down in 17th.
Stroll’s early pace on mediums was good enough for 18th place ahead of the Williams of Baku debutant Robert Kubica – with the Racing Point team close to getting the Canadian back out at the end of the session but not quite making it.
George Russell did not participate after his morning accident, as monocoque damage means his car is now being rebuilt around a spare.
Practice two times
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m43.793s||0.921s||24|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m44.177s||1.305s||9|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m44.183s||1.311s||27|
|8||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m44.216s||1.344s||33|
|9||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||1m44.240s||1.368s||24|
|12||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m45.366s||2.494s||31|
|13||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m45.436s||2.564s||28|
|14||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m45.482s||2.610s||30|
|18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m47.875s||5.003s||8|
Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice one abandoned after drain incident
The first Formula 1 practice session for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was curtailed after just over 10 minutes, following a track surface incident involving George Russell’s Williams.
Russell ran over a loose manhole cover on the run down to Turn 3, with the car briefly lifting into the air and shedding debris all over the track.
"I just hit it and got the biggest smack through my body," Russell explained to Sky Sports afterwards. "I was just going down the straight on my normal line."
As Russell pulled over on the exit of Turn 3, the session was red-flagged for his FW42 to be extricated while track workers attempted to force the manhole cover back in its place.
Amid suggestions that the circuit inspectors now need to check over 300 manhole covers around the track surface, the session was abandoned completely shortly afterwards.
Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams described the situation as "not acceptable", telling Sky Sports: "It’s not what you would expect from a Formula 1 circuit, the drain covers are supposed to be welded down. We’ll be taking that up with race control."
Russell’s FW42 was caught up in another incident as it returned to the pitlane on the recovery truck, as the crane that had extricated it made contact with a bridge and was damaged – spilling liquid onto the F1 car sat on its flatbed.
All teams but Mercedes had completed at least an installation lap in the first 10 minutes of practice, while the two Ferrari drivers were the only ones to set timed laps.
Charles Leclerc recorded the fastest time on the medium tyre, a 1m47.597s, two seconds quicker than team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
Television replays suggested that Leclerc’s car had initially lifted the drain cover that was then struck by Russell.
Raikkonen: Unfair to judge Giovinazzi after Formula 1 misfortune
Kimi Raikkonen says it would be "very unfair" to pass judgment on his Alfa Romeo Formula 1 teammate Antonio Giovinazzi on the basis of the first three races of 2019.
Giovinazzi, who is contesting his first full-time season in F1, is yet to outqualify grand prix racing veteran Raikkonen and has no points to his name – whereas the Finn has been in the top 10 in all three races so far.
But Giovinazzi is yet to enjoy a clean race weekend as an Alfa Romeo driver, as he had his Australian Grand Prix compromised by floor and front wing damage from debris, sat out much of the crucial FP2 session in Bahrain due to cooling issues and was unable to qualify in Shanghai due to a control electronics problem.
Asked by Autosport what he had made of his new teammate amid Giovinazzi’s run of misfortune, Raikkonen said: "I think it’s obviously not been all up to him, he’s unfortunately had a lot of issues on the car.
"And obviously [he has] quite little experience, any mileage you can do, it’s obviously going to help him a huge amount more than on my side, so it’s been very unfortunate, but that’s racing, and obviously we always try to fix things.
"He’s had more issues on the practice with the reliability, small issues that are not a big issue but stop the car and then we don’t get running, so it doesn’t help him.
"Hopefully he gets a clean weekend and then we can judge him much easier, I think it’s very unfair right now to write him off.
"I think he can do fast laps but obviously he has not that much experience, and when you miss one full session in any weekend it’s going to be a nightmare to try to build back on it."
Giovinazzi was a standout fourth in the first qualifying segment in Melbourne, and trailed Raikkonen by less than a tenth in Q1 in Bahrain, where he was eliminated while the Finn advanced to Q2.
In China, team boss Frederic Vasseur admitted that Giovinazzi has not yet been given the chance to display his full potential.
"We need to be able to give him a clear weekend, and so far he didn’t do the FP1, he didn’t do the quali," Vasseur told Autosport.
"You can’t work like this. You need mileage, you need to get confidence, but we are not helping him at all."
When asked about Vasseur’s comments, Giovinazzi said in Baku: "I think we are only in the beginning of the race, we are a team, like the team is believing in me I believe in the team, and we need to just keep working and I’m sure the result will come."
Giovinazzi will serve a 10-place grid penalty for the Azerbaijan GP after Alfa Romeo had to fit a replacement control electronics on his car in China before switching it for a new-specification component for the Baku race.