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Una giornata libera–Intervista a Kimi


Raikkonen: “Fuori dalla pista vivo senza orari. Non ho finito, magari rivinco il mondiale”

Stefano Mancini

Kimi Raikkonen a Singapore è un finlandese in una sauna naturale: dopo un quarto d’ora ha bisogno di aria condizionata. «Non amo il caldo e se potessi eviterei di venire qui – dice mentre assapora un venticello gelido nell’hospitality della Ferrari -. Ma ne ho viste tante e me la caverò anche stavolta». Va diretto al punto, come sempre, però adesso sorride, scherza, suda, racconta del privato. È un po’ meno Iceman («Chiamatemi come vi pare, non mi interessa») e un po’ più pilota esperto e navigato.

Si dice che quest’anno lei vada forte perché ha fretta di tagliare il traguardo e di tornare da suo figlio.

«Davvero? No, non credo che la paternità incida sulle prestazioni di un pilota. La velocità non c’entra con la famiglia».

Comunque questa è stata una delle sue migliori stagioni in Ferrari, a parte il titolo del 2007.

«È vero, anche se il Mondiale rimane il momento della carriera che mi è rimasto più impresso».

Nel 2015 qui finì con un terzo posto suo e la vittoria di Vettel. Come sono le premesse stavolta?

«Abbiamo alcune idee su cui lavorare. Il caldo di solito è una condizione a noi favorevole, il che non garantisce che finiremo primo e secondo».

Si è allenato in modo particolare?

«No. A che servirebbe cambiare abitudini per due settimane?».

A che ora va a dormire in questi giorni?

«Quando ho sonno».

E riesce ad adattarsi al fuso orario e alle temperature?

«Tra due settimane correremo in Malesia che è anche peggio, a volte ci sono Gran premi altrettanto caldi in Europa. Quando guidi te ne accorgi poco. I momenti peggiori sono le prove libere: torni ai box e devi stare lì, con il casco in testa, in attesa di ripartire».

Circuiti preferiti?

«Spa è il migliore, poi Melbourne perché il primo della stagione e si ha voglia di ricominciare».

Come cambia la guida nei tracciati cittadini?

«Singapore è molto diverso da Montecarlo, mi ricorda Montreal. Il giro è lungo e insidioso, l’asfalto meno regolare rispetto ai tracciati tradizionali. Comunque alla fine la pista migliore è quella in cui le cose filano via senza imprevisti».

Com’è il rapporto con il suo compagno di squadra?

«Buono fin dall’inizio. Corriamo e lavoriamo bene insieme da due anni».

E con Verstappen?

«Personalmente non ho nulla contro di lui, ma non so se sia un sentimento reciproco».

La vendita della F1: che idea si è fatto?

«Non conosco i contenuti dell’accordo. Ho letto qualche titolo di giornale e non sono rimasto particolarmente colpito. In prospettiva, l’obiettivo è quello di rendere la Formula 1 più divertente e interessante per gli appassionati. Qualcuno si è svegliato e ha deciso che questo è il momento di cambiare».

Ha già ragionato sul suo futuro oltre il 2017?

«No, non sono arrivato tanto in là. Adesso penso al weekend di Singapore, poi a finire bene questo campionato e infine a cominciare al meglio il prossimo. Magari lotterò per il titolo e a quel punto chissà. Ne parlerò con la Ferrari».

Lei è il pilota più anziano, ha quasi 37 anni ed è in F1 dal 2001…

«Sì, ma mi sono anche fatto due anni di vacanza (ride). Nei rally, intendo».

Qual è stata la macchina più divertente con cui ha gareggiato?

«La Ferrari del 2007. In quel campionato c’erano due fornitori di pneumatici, Bridgestone e Michelin, e la competizione li spingeva e produrre gomme sempre più veloci».

Che macchina guida nel tempo libero?

«Una Giulietta».

Forse una Giulia…

«No, no, una Giulietta. Modello base, colore viola».

Tutti si aspettano che un pilota di F1 guidi una Ferrari rossa. Soprattutto se è un pilota Ferrari.

«Me l’hanno regalata. La uso in Svizzera per andare e tornare dall’aeroporto, non ci devo fare lunghi viaggi».

Che sport pratica fuori dalla F1?

«In inverno l’hockey. Mi piace anche il calcio, ci giocavo da ragazzo».

Ruolo?

«Attaccante».

Com’è una giornata a casa Raikkonen?

«Libera. Vede questo foglio? (mostra il programma delle conferenze stampa durante il fine settimana di Singapore, ndr). Nella mia giornata in famiglia non esistono orari. Faccio quello che voglio quando ne ho voglia». 

Da La Stampa.it


Non per caso–24/09/2016


Kimi Raikkonen "not a world champion for nothing" – Ferrari F1 boss

Kimi Raikkonen is demonstrating he is "not a world champion for nothing" after his performance in the Singapore Grand Prix, according to his Formula 1 team boss Maurizio Arrivabene.

The Finn put pressure on Lewis Hamilton in the battle for third and passed the Briton when he made a mistake only to lose the position during a pitstop sequence later in the race.

He went on to finish fourth for the second successive race on a weekend when he consistently outshone his team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

Raikkonen is just five points behind Vettel in the drivers’ championship, having been 113 adrift at this point in the season last year.

"Talking about Kimi, he is showing he was not a world champion for nothing," said Arrivabene.

"He was very, very good, especially when he overtook Hamilton – even if Hamilton made a little mistake.

"Sometimes you make a mistake because the other guy is pushing your back.

"Kimi has enough experience to feel that and in my opinion it was great."

Arrivabene also praised Vettel’s performance after the German came through the field from the back to finish fifth.

"Sebastian had a fantastic race, the choices of strategy were correct and he was able to use that advantage to the maximum," he said. "It was fantastic."

Raikkonen’s pass on Hamilton was only the sixth time a Mercedes has been overtaken in a proper move on track, not including the start, in 2016.

In China, Hamilton was nursing damage after a first corner collision and said the car was "flexing like crazy, like a four-poster bed" when he was passed by Daniel Ricciardo and then Raikkonen.

The reigning world champion started 10th in Baku, after an error-strewn qualifying session, and was passed by Valtteri Bottas, who also got by Max Verstappen in the same move.

Nico Rosberg was "baffled" by a lack of pace in the race in Monaco, as Hamilton went on to win, and was mugged by Nico Hulkenberg on the line to lose sixth.

At Silverstone, Verstappen [pictured] pulled off a brilliant move on Rosberg in damp conditions around the outside of at Becketts.

Da Autosport.com


GP Singapore, commenti post gara–18/09/2016


Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene defends Raikkonen’s strategy

Ferrari Formula 1 team principal Maurizio Arrivabene insists bringing Kimi Raikkonen in for a third pitstop in the Singapore Grand Prix was correct, even though the Finn lost a podium finish.

Raikkonen ran third after a mid-race overtaking move on Lewis Hamilton when Mercedes switched strategy and pitted the world champion for fresh ultra-soft tyres.

Ferrari had the choice of leaving Raikkonen out on his soft tyres for the final 16 laps and hoping Hamilton did not make up the deficit his stop had created, or immediately pitting in response.

Raikkonen was called in but Hamilton’s out-lap was quick enough that he was ahead by the time the Ferrari left the pitlane, and he stayed ahead to the finish.

Asked by Autosport if he felt Ferrari had made the right choice, Arrivabene replied: "To be 100% sure, you have to look at the data.

"It was the right decision to take.

"If we were having huge degradation [on the soft tyres] and Mercedes were taking us, we would have been crazy.

"We took a decision looking at our data. The thing to do afterwards is verify if our data was right."

Raikkonen believes there were things Ferrari could learn from in the race, but was unsure whether staying out would have paid off or not.

"We could have got to the end," he said when asked by Autosport how his softs would have held up had he stuck with a two-stop.

"But would they have caught us or been able to pass us? I don’t know yet.

"There are certain things we could have done but obviously afterwards it’s very easy to say.

"Obviously, they managed to get in front of us again so we lost the place.

"There was not much we could do anymore by that point."

Da Autosport.com



“A good and solid race”

Kimi praises speed ‘but we could have done better’

Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a good and solid race, the car was behaving well and we had a pretty good speed. Obviously it was very difficult to overtake, but at one point Hamilton made a mistake and I managed to pass him, then after the pit stop he got the position back. We lost the place there, I don’t know how and why they managed to jump us, and I don’t know what would have happened if we would have stayed out. Now we have to go through everything, see what happened and what we could have done better. Today we gained one place from the starting position, but of course this is not the result we are looking for, we are trying to be in position to win, but we need to make the car a bit faster.”

Da Ferrari.com


GP Singapore, gara–18/09/2016


Singapore GP: Nico Rosberg resists Daniel Ricciardo for victory

Nico Rosberg held off a charging Daniel Ricciardo to win the Singapore Grand Prix and reclaim the Formula 1 world championship lead.

In his 200th F1 race start, Rosberg resisted Ricciardo by just 0.4 seconds to take a third successive victory.

With Rosberg’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton only third, the German has now leapfrogged the Briton at the top of the drivers’ standings to lead by eight points with six grands prix remaining.

Despite both Mercedes drivers being warned about brake management from the early laps, Rosberg controlled most of the race.

After a safety car for a startline crash and a hair-raising moment as a marshal had to scamper off the track with the leaders approaching at the restart, Rosberg established a comfortable gap over Ricciardo and Hamilton.

Mercedes’ choice of softs for its second stint, when Ricciardo stayed on super-softs, left Hamilton moaning at his team over the radio.

Hamilton then found himself under pressure from Kimi Raikkonen’s super-soft-shod Ferrari, which got past just after half-distance after a lock-up from the Mercedes.

The second round of stops followed soon after, with the gap between Rosberg and Hamilton in fourth out to 18.9 seconds.

Mercedes then switched Hamilton to "plan B", and he charged up behind Raikkonen and then made an unexpected third stop for a set of ultra-softs with 16 laps to go.

Ferrari was left in two minds on whether to react, and though it hauled Raikkonen in, a superb lap from Hamilton allowed him to pull off the undercut and reclaim third. He then held off Raikkonen to the flag.

Red Bull covered off both those drivers by bringing in Ricciardo for new super-softs, while Mercedes left Rosberg out on his softs.

The Australian started hunting down Rosberg, a 24s gap becoming 5s within seven laps.

But some traffic, fading tyres and Mercedes giving Rosberg the green light to push his brakes harder stymied Ricciardo’s charge and he ran out of time to pass.

The dramatic finish matched the start, when Max Verstappen’s slow getaway from fourth triggered chaos.

Carlos Sainz Jr and Nico Hulkenberg tangled as they tried to dodge around the Red Bull, sending Hulkenberg spinning into the pitwall and triggering the safety car.

That proved to be the only caution period, but Sebastian Vettel did not need too much help to make it through the field from the back of the grid.

Rapid overtaking in the midfield and a long first stint on softs were the foundation for him to make it through to fifth place.

Verstappen ended up sixth via a late move on Fernando Alonso’s McLaren, having had a big battle with his Red Bull predecessor Daniil Kvyat along the way.

Sergio Perez’s eighth nudged Force India a point ahead of Williams in their battle for fourth in the constructors’ championship as the latter failed to score.

Felipe Massa was only 12th, while Valtteri Bottas picked up damage in the first-lap incident, had to pit with a seatbelt problem and eventually retired.

Kvyat claimed ninth, with Kevin Magnussen 10th for only Renault’s second points-scoring finish of the season.

Romain Grosjean’s nightmare weekend, which already included two crashes and a gearbox-change penalty, culminated in a brake failure on his Haas that prevented him from even taking the start.

RESULTS – 61 LAPS:

Pos Driver Car Gap
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1h55m48.950s
2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 0.488s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 8.038s
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 10.219s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 27.694s
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m11.197s
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m29.198s
8 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m51.062s
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m51.557s
10 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m59.952s
11 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1 Lap
12 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1 Lap
13 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1 Lap
14 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1 Lap
15 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1 Lap
16 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1 Lap
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1 Lap
18 Esteban Ocon Manor/Mercedes 2 Laps
Jenson Button McLaren/Honda Retirement
Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes Retirement
Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari Not started
Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes Collision

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP:

Pos Driver Points
1 Nico Rosberg 273
2 Lewis Hamilton 265
3 Daniel Ricciardo 179
4 Sebastian Vettel 153
5 Kimi Raikkonen 148
6 Max Verstappen 129
7 Valtteri Bottas 70
8 Sergio Perez 66
9 Nico Hulkenberg 46
10 Felipe Massa 41
11 Fernando Alonso 36
12 Carlos Sainz 30
13 Romain Grosjean 28
14 Daniil Kvyat 25
15 Jenson Button 17
16 Kevin Magnussen 7
17 Pascal Wehrlein 1
18 Stoffel Vandoorne 1
19 Esteban Gutierrez 0
20 Jolyon Palmer 0
21 Marcus Ericsson 0
22 Felipe Nasr 0
23 Rio Haryanto 0
24 Esteban Ocon 0

CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP:

Pos Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 538
2 Red Bull/Renault 316
3 Ferrari 301
4 Force India/Mercedes 112
5 Williams/Mercedes 111
6 McLaren/Honda 54
7 Toro Rosso/Ferrari 47
8 Haas/Ferrari 28
9 Renault 7
10 Manor/Mercedes 1
11 Sauber/Ferrari 0

Da Autosport.com


GP Singapore, commenti post qualifiche–17/09/2016


“Pretty pleased until the last run”

Kimi admits he ‘had to push a bit over the limit’

“Today we got more or less what we could from our car. Obviously it’s a bit disappointing given where we finished, but this is a tricky place. The fifth position is not ideal, but I was pretty pleased with my first lap in Q3 and the car was handling well. In the last run I knew I had to push a bit over the limit, trying to improve, but it didn’t pay out. I made some mistakes, I went wide in turn 1 and got sideways. There’s no issue with the car, we are just lacking overall grip and in Singapore that makes a big difference. Tomorrow we have to make a good start and then go from there, there will be different ways of using the tires between the teams. The race is going to be very long, and usually there’s a lot happening, so we have to get the timings right and try to go forward.”

Da Ferrari.com


GP Singapore, prove del sabato–17/09/2016


Nico Rosberg claims Singapore GP pole ahead of Daniel Ricciardo

Nico Rosberg claimed a comfortable pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix, while his Mercedes team-mate and Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton could only qualify third.

Hopes of a tight, multi-team battle for pole position were obliterated in Q2, as Red Bull and Ferrari – down to one car already after early problems for Sebastian Vettel – struggled to get within a second of Rosberg’s benchmark.

Rosberg was the only driver to make it below 1m43s around the Marina Bay F1 circuit in Q3, and his first run proved enough to get the job done as he lapped in 1m42.584s to claim top spot by over half a second.

Hamilton lost track time to a hydraulic valve problem on Friday and has struggled under braking all weekend so far, and he endured a difficult time again in qualifying.

He trailed Rosberg by more than seven tenths of a second after his first run in Q3 and failed to improve on his second run.

That allowed Daniel Ricciardo to steal a front row start for Red Bull, as he leapt to second with a superb 1m43.115s effort at the end.

His team-mate Max Verstappen was fourth fastest, just 0.040s down on Hamilton.

Kimi Raikkonen qualified his Ferrari fifth fastest, over six tenths down on Verstappen, while team-mate Sebastian Vettel dropped out in Q1 after his Ferrari appeared to suffer a suspension failure.

Vettel initially tried to press on and drag a time out of the car anyway, before pitting for repairs Ferrari had no time to complete.

Carlos Sainz Jr claimed a superb sixth for Toro Rosso, ahead of team-mate Daniil Kvyat (who only made one run in Q3) and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.

Fernando Alonso qualified his McLaren-Honda ninth fastest, fractionally ahead of the second Force India of Sergio Perez.

Perez may yet face sanction for overtaking Esteban Gutierrez under yellow flags in Q2.

Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were 11th and 12th, Bottas missing the Q3 cut by just 0.003s, and both affected badly by those yellow flags after Romain Grosjean crashed his Haas at the Turn 10 left-hander.

Jenson Button damaged his McLaren-Honda’s left-rear wheel against the wall at Turn 14 on his final flying lap, so failed to improve and ended up 13th fastest.

Esteban Gutierrez was 14th, just ahead of Haas team-mate Grosjean, whose crash also hindered Hulkenberg and Gutierrez at the end of Q2.

Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber rounded out the top 16, electing to save tyres knowing he could do no better after Vettel’s misfortune allowed him passage to Q2.

Ericsson made it through to Q2 with what he described as a "nice lap" at the end of Q1.

That put him almost four tenths clear of the Q1 dropouts, headed by Kevin Magnussen’s Renault, Ericsson’s Sauber team-mate Felipe Nasr, and the second Renault of Jolyon Palmer, these three all covered by just 0.135s.

Pascal Wehrlein was 20th fastest for Manor, over six tenths up on team-mate Esteban Ocon, while Vettel’s broken Ferrari trailed the entire field, almost a second further back.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m42.584s
2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m43.115s 0.531s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m43.288s 0.704s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m43.328s 0.744s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m43.540s 0.956s
6 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m44.197s 1.613s
7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m44.469s 1.885s
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m44.479s 1.895s
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m44.553s 1.969s
10 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m44.740s 2.156s
11 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m44.991s
12 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m45.144s
13 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1m45.593s
14 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m45.723s
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m47.827s
16 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m46.825s
17 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m46.860s
18 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m44.582s
19 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m46.960s
20 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m47.667s
21 Esteban Ocon Manor/Mercedes 1m48.296s
22 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m49.116s

Da Autosport.com



Singapore GP F1 practice: Rosberg fastest as Hamilton struggles

Nico Rosberg edged out Max Verstappen in final practice for the Singapore Grand Prix, while Formula 1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton failed to complete a qualifying simulation.

Rosberg clocked a 1m44.352s on ultra-soft Pirelli tyres to finish just 0.059s clear of Red Bull driver Verstappen, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen third.

Hamilton was two-tenths up on Rosberg’s fastest time in the first sector on his first flying lap on ultra-softs, but locked up the left-front wheel and had to release the brakes and take to the escape road.

This was the second time in the session that Hamilton had locked up at Turn 7 and followed a scruffy second practice session, during which he failed to complete a clean low-fuel run.

The reigning world champion, who ended the session eighth based on his earlier lap on super-soft Pirellis, also complained about heat coming through the right-hand side of the seat and around the right elbow.

Rosberg led the way early in the session with a 1m45.544s on the super-softs, 0.25s ahead of Hamilton on the same rubber, and improved by 1.2s when he swapped to the ultra-softs.

Verstappen, who was amused to see a giant lizard waiting next to the track as he passed before it crossed the road early in the session, set the fastest middle sector as he slotted into second.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fourth fastest, half a second slower than his team-mate, with Sebastian Vettel having a difficult session in fifth and complaining of a lack of rear-end grip.

Force India continued its good form this weekend with Nico Hulkenberg sixth, ahead of Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and Hamilton, whose best lap was on the super-softs.

Carlos Sainz Jr and Valtteri Bottas completed the top 10.

Pascal Wehrlein brought out the red flag early in the session when he lost the rear in the Turn 11 right-hander and backed into the barrier.

The German damaged the rear wing and dropped debris on the track as he returned to the pits, causing a five-minute stoppage.

He spent much of the session in the garage but after a rear wing and floor change, Manor got him back out for the final few minutes and he was able to post 21st fastest time ahead of team-mate Esteban Ocon.

Esteban Gutierrez outperformed his Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean, finishing more than a second quicker in 13th.

PRACTICE THREE TIMES

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes 1m44.352s 15
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Red Bull/Renault 1m44.411s 0.059s 15
3 Kimi Raikkonen Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 1m44.860s 0.508s 15
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing Red Bull/Renault 1m44.903s 0.551s 12
5 Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 1m45.104s 0.752s 13
6 Nico Hulkenberg Sahara Force India F1 Team Force India/Mercedes 1m45.316s 0.964s 13
7 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m45.503s 1.151s 19
8 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes 1m45.806s 1.454s 9
9 Carlos Sainz Scuderia Toro Rosso Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m45.879s 1.527s 17
10 Valtteri Bottas Williams Martini Racing Williams/Mercedes 1m45.947s 1.595s 16
11 Sergio Perez Sahara Force India F1 Team Force India/Mercedes 1m46.112s 1.760s 15
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda McLaren/Honda 1m46.164s 1.812s 13
13 Esteban Gutierrez Haas F1 Team Haas/Ferrari 1m46.316s 1.964s 16
14 Felipe Massa Williams Martini Racing Williams/Mercedes 1m46.529s 2.177s 17
15 Kevin Magnussen Renault Sport F1 Team Renault 1m47.116s 2.764s 11
16 Jenson Button McLaren Honda McLaren/Honda 1m47.277s 2.925s 16
17 Felipe Nasr Sauber F1 Team Sauber/Ferrari 1m47.293s 2.941s 18
18 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team Haas/Ferrari 1m47.411s 3.059s 20
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber F1 Team Sauber/Ferrari 1m47.956s 3.604s 20
20 Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport F1 Team Renault 1m48.689s 4.337s 13
21 Pascal Wehrlein Manor Racing MRT Manor/Mercedes 1m49.201s 4.849s 10
22 Esteban Ocon Manor Racing MRT Manor/Mercedes 1m49.

Da Autosport.com


GP Singapore, commenti post libere venerdì–16/09/2016


Singapore GP: Ferrari’s Raikkonen tipping three-team fight for pole

Kimi Raikkonen is hopeful Ferrari will be in a three-way fight with Formula 1 rivals Mercedes and Red Bull for the Singapore Grand Prix pole.

Raikkonen finished Friday 0.275 seconds behind pacesetter Nico Rosberg as the top four, which included the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, were separated by just 0.4s.

"This morning was a bit tricky but the afternoon was quite decent," said Raikkonen, who was unusually upbeat after the two sessions.

"If you have a good feeling with the car, it makes all the difference around here.

"The afternoon was nice, it was quite easy and the lap time came. So far, so good."

Only at Monaco has a Mercedes driver not claimed pole position this year, but the Finn believes it could all be up for grabs on Saturday.

When asked whether Ferrari would be fighting with Mercedes and Red Bull, Raikkonen said: "Hopefully yes.

"We had a good feeling and it feels like we can do something this weekend but we don’t know what will happen tomorrow.

"We’ll see. Hopefully we’ll be there."

Raikkonen’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel, polesitter and winner in Singapore last year, finished the day in fifth.

The German accepted the blame for simply not putting a good lap together but echoed Raikkonen’s positivity ahead of qualifying.

"My lap wasn’t good enough," he said. "Kimi had a very good lap.

"I wasn’t entirely happy, I was struggling a bit with the car balance and therefore not really finding the rhythm, but all in all it’s been a good day.

"Tomorrow is important – it’s very difficult to pass here so we try to trim everything towards qualifying.

"If we get everything right, it will be very tight but we have a good chance to position the car well."

Speaking about the pace of rivals Mercedes and Red Bull, Vettel said: "Both looked very strong.

"Mercedes is the favourite and we are in the same boat as Red Bull."

Da Autosport.com



Kimi pleased with handling “but it’s only Friday”

“The first practice session was tricky, I struggled a little bit, but the second practice was good: everything worked and the car was handling pretty well. Here in Singapore, if you get the car right, it’s a lot easier to go faster. Today we had quite a good feeling, but for sure there is still something to improve. It’s hard to say if we can be strong, it’s only Friday, but the feeling was positive. So far so good, but tomorrow is another day, we’ll see where everybody is and then we’ll go from there. We’ll give our best and hopefully we have the speed to challenge our rivals.”

Da Ferrari.com