Well, congratulations on a fantastic race, you must be very happy and it’s a hell of a season you’re having. Well done. Kimi – terrific. Happy?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Obviously you’re never happy when you finish second but I think after a difficult start to the year I’m a bit pleased to get some result – a bit better result. Obviously we came through in the end very quickly but we run out of the laps but I think we have to be happy after where we qualified, after we finished, but obviously we’re looking for a bit better results still.
Well, it’s a terrific success for Ferrari to come back as strongly as this. You must be pleased about that?
KR: Yeah, I’m very happy how the team is working and obviously after last year where we are now is a big step and everyone is working very well together. The atmosphere is good now and we have a good direction to keep pushing. It seems to be working well and things are improving, so I’m sure as a team we’ll get there and to be able to be all the time fighting for wins, but it will take a little more time.
Q: Kimi, fourth on the grid, second at the finish, first podium since Korea 2013. Alternative strategy for you. Obviously the middle stint was the key to your grand prix. Tell us about that and the pace that you were able to maintain against everybody else on the softer tyre. But also, you questioned at the end the decision to go onto the soft tyre – how did that work out, was it the right thing to do in the end?
KR: I think we had a few different plans. How to run the race and obviously this one was one of them. It all really depended where we are after a few laps. But I think we did a very good job out of it and the medium tyres worked very well for me in the second stint and I could pretty much… quite easily keep up with them, even catch them. They were working fine so obviously I was wondering if it’s the right choice to go on the soft at the end – but obviously it was the correct choice, they were much faster still. So, I was able to catch Nico and got past him. We did more or less the maximum that we could do today and obviously if you think that we were ahead of Nico earlier, he got past me on lap two or three or something, so we lost some time but I think we had a pretty good race and hopefully we can have many more.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, after being fourth in Malaysia and China and being out of top three for 18 months, how much do you appreciate this comeback to the podium?
KR: Obviously it’s much nicer than being out of it but, you know, you come second and obviously we got quite close to the Mercedes today but it’s a bit disappointing after that always – but I’d rather take this one than something else. You cannot feel happy. We are happy to be second but it’s still disappointing. It’s not what we want to do. Big thanks to the team. I had a pretty hard time last year. This year in the beginning, just some bad luck in the races but, you know, the team has done a great job over the winter and everybody is pushing together, in the same direction and I’m sure we are only going to get stronger and better as a team and improve the car. So, it’s a great place to be.
Q: (Khodr Rawi – F1Zone.net) Kimi, do you think the only possibility to beat Mercedes is by trying a different strategy, trying to undercut them because beating them on track seems a bit difficult now?
KR: Well, I don’t think it’s the only way. Obviously on some circuits we can get closer, some not, but I think obviously the first step is to improve our package, that will happen in the future and hopefully get closer. One step is to qualify more higher up, make better starts and go from there. I think we had a pretty decent speed today but obviously if you’re behind any cars and you lose any seconds, you will pay a price for it in the end. I think we just have to keep working and improving the whole package and how we do things. I’m sure we will get there and we can fight for wins every weekend after that.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Kimi, you were flying in the second and third stints on both type of tyre but you struggled in the first stint. Have you any idea why?
KR: I wasn’t struggling really. I didn’t feel that it was much problem. I got passed by Nico, I passed him at the start and I got passed by him and obviously you lose quite a bit of time and then he passed Seb and we were pretty close to each other. I felt I was faster but obviously it’s pretty hard to pass. I think that we did the maximum, more or less. Yesterday we lost a place to Nico, but after that, once we got the mediums and the new set of softs at the end, the car was very good, so I could keep up good speed and everything was running smoothly, but already at that point we were a bit too far off first place.
Q: (Matt Youson – Racetech) Kimi, can you tell us how this year’s car is an improvement on last season’s. Everybody talks about the power unit but is it just that or is there a lot more?
KR: Obviously a big chunk of it is the engine itself. It’s a big improvement on horsepower plus reliability but you cannot just give all the credit to them. The car has improved a lot: much more downforce, the car is handling much better because of that, and obviously how the whole package has been done and put together. I think the big key is that all areas have improved quite a bit plus the people have been working more closely, as one team putting it together more nicely, so obviously the end result is what we have now and then as I said earlier, I’m very happy how things are going, very happy with the team and I think not many people expected after last year that we can be in this kind of position this early and now we are going in the right direction, so I’m sure we will get there but we want to start winning races more often and we just have to have some patience and do the work that we’ve done so far and we will get there.
Q: (Khodr Rawi – F1Zone.net) To all three of you: is the challenge of the championship against the rival teams more difficult than against your teammate, because you don’t know what others have or what others are planning in terms of strategy and that sort of thing?
LH: It’s all hard. It’s difficult to say which one is harder. When you’re fighting the guy in your team with the same car you’ve got the data. Sure it’s more on the limit when you’re fighting another team. There’s pros and cons, there are advantages and disadvantages on each side. You just try to do your best job, that’s what motor racing is all about, to be fighting other teams, that’s what we’re here to do.
NR: It’s both different but both tough. It’s difficult to go into the details but it’s tough to battle Lewis last year and this year and it’s tough now to battle the Ferraris now that they’re in the mix.
KR: I think it doesn’t make a lot of difference. Obviously with your teammate you more or less know what he’s doing and in the race when he’s going to stop but you have to beat all of them so it’s really the same end result.
F1 Bahrain GP: Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen promises more to come
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen believes the team will soon be an even bigger threat to Mercedes at the front of the field in Formula 1, following the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Finn took advantage of an alternative tyre strategy to finish between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at Sakhir on Sunday, coming home just three seconds behind the winner as Mercedes nursed brake problems at the end.
And Raikkonen believes that it will not be long before Ferrari is a genuine threat to Mercedes at every grand prix.
"We had decent speed today, I think we just have to keep working and improving the whole package," said the 2007 world champion.
"I’m sure we will get there and we can fight every weekend after that.
"I’m very happy with the team and I think many people didn’t expect after last year that we would be in this position this early.
"We will start winning [more] races. We have to be patient and do the same work as we have done so far and we will get there."
Raikkonen added that Ferrari deserves credit for making gains in all areas following a disappointing 2014 season.
"The whole package has gone forward," he said. "A big chunk of it is the engine but you cannot give all the credit to them.
"The car has improved a lot, there’s a lot more downforce, it’s handling a lot better.
"All areas have improved, that is the key. People are working more closely, which has helped us get to where we have now."
TYRE CALL WAS CORRECT
During his strong stint on the harder medium-compound tyre, Raikkonen questioned Ferrari’s decision to revert to the soft tyre for his final stint.
However, after reeling in the Mercedes drivers after his final stop, he admitted that the team had made the right decision.
"I think we had a few different approaches of how to run the race," Raikkonen said.
"On the medium tyre it was quite easy to catch up to them.
"In the end it was the right choice to go soft – we were much faster still.
"We did more or less the maximum we could have done, we had a pretty good race and hopefully we can have a few more."
F1 Bahrain GP: Lewis Hamilton wins ahead of Kimi Raikkonen
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took his third victory in four races in the 2015 Formula 1 season with a dominant drive in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
While the reigning world champion always looked in control at the front, there was a thrilling battle for the trio of places behind him with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen coming out on top to score his first podium of 2015.
Raikkonen also closed on Hamilton, who had some late brake worries, but the Briton stayed clear.
Nico Rosberg finished third, ahead of Williams’s Valtteri Bottas and the other Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel in the first night race of the season.
Hamilton made a clean start from pole, with Vettel going defensive and successfully holding on to second. That backed Rosberg up, allowing Raikkonen to snatch third.
However, Rosberg battled his way back past Raikkonen and then took advantage of Vettel running wide at Turn 1 to close and then pass at the same corner next time around.
Ferrari successfully used the undercut to jump Rosberg at the first round of pitstops, but Vettel was then distracted by Hamilton exiting the pitlane and Rosberg took advantage – diving down the inside of Turn 1 to retake second.
The Scuderia repeated the undercut trick at the second stops and again it worked, with Vettel jumping Rosberg, but another mistake by Vettel, this time running wide at the final corner, allowed Rosberg back through.
That slip also caused front wing damage for Vettel and forced him to pit for repairs.
Raikkonen then started catching Rosberg in the final stint of the race, as he was running the softer of the two compound tyres.
And the Finn capitalised when Rosberg – who also had brake problems – ran wide at Turn 1 in the closing laps, allowing the Ferrari to snatch second.
Vettel dropped to fifth with his extra pitstop and could not get back past Bottas despite a long chase.
Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault engine let go coming out of the final corner of the last lap, but he managed to cross the line to take sixth for Red Bull.
Romain Grosjean scored points for the second successive race with seventh for Lotus, ahead of Sergio Perez, who scored for Force India for the first time since the season-opening Australian Grand Prix as he made a two-stop strategy work well to progress through three-stopping rivals in the midfield.
Daniil Kvyat rescued some points with ninth in the Red Bull, having started in 17th, with Felipe Massa completing the top 10 and recovering well from a pitlane start after stalling on the grid.
The Brazilian ran eighth late on but his very long final stint on his two-stop strategy proved ambitious and his tyres faded.
Fernando Alonso equalled McLaren’s best finish of the season in 11th, while his team-mate Jenson Button did not even make the start after a problem was detected with his energy recovery system.
Sauber’s Felipe Nasr was 12th, one place ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg with Marcus Ericsson 13th, having run in the points before losing at least 20 seconds during a pitstop when his team struggled to fit the front-left tyre.
Pastor Maldonado was also in contention for points but he was delayed in the pits with smoke pouring from the front brakes of the Lotus and he ended up 15th.
Manor got both cars to the finish for the second successive race, with Will Stevens 16th and Roberto Merhi 17th.
Toro Rosso suffered its first double non-finish of the season. Carlos Sainz Jr pulled off track at the halfway point and Max Verstappen parked his car in the garage a few laps later.
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m01.751s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1 Lap|
|10||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|11||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Honda||1 Lap|
|12||Felipe Nasr||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|14||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|15||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|16||Will Stevens||Marussia/Ferrari||2 Laps|
|17||Roberto Merhi||Marussia/Ferrari||3 Laps|
|–||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||Retirement|
|–||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||Retirement|
|–||Jenson Button||McLaren/Honda||Not started|
Bahrain GP: Kimi Raikkonen “could have pushed more” in qualifying
Ferrari Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen admitted he underestimated the grip level at the end of Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying as he ended up fourth on the grid.
The Finn – who last week in China described poor qualifying as a “habit” he needed to break – achieved his best grid position of the year, but he was overshadowed by Ferrari team-mate Vettel splitting the Mercedes to get on the front row.
“I think there was more grip than I expected,” said Raikkonen.
“Afterwards it’s easy to say I could have pushed a bit harder in certain places but I wasn’t sure.
“But the car was OK, the lap wasn’t too bad, maybe I just ran a little bit wide in one corner but that wouldn’t have cost a lot of laptime.
“I could have pushed more in certain places because there was surprisingly good grip.”
The result was still Raikkonen’s best qualifying position since the 2013 German GP.
“It gives you a better chance or a more easy life for tomorrow as long as we make a good start out of it,” he said.
“Obviously then the race can turn out to be different because of that, so that helps.
“We know that we still have some work to do and things to improve but I’d take this rather than fifth or sixth place – I’m kind of happy.”
Kimi Raikkonen – A good starting point
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a positive day even if it’s a bit disappointing to finish fourth, because our aim is to be at the front. My last lap was quite good, I made a small mistake and ran wide a little bit in one corner, but it was nearly nothing, it did not cost me a lot of time. It was very close with everybody. On the track there was more grip than I expected and probably I could have pushed a little bit more, but I was not sure I could. My car was working well today, the position on the grid is not ideal but it’s a good starting point for the race. Tomorrow we’ll try to make a good start, and move on from there with a good first lap. To get ahead of Rosberg would help a lot, and then we’ll see what we can do. We’ll do our maximum”.
Bahrain GP F1: Lewis Hamilton beats Sebastian Vettel to pole
Lewis Hamilton continued his dominance of Formula 1 qualifying in 2015 by securing pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix, but Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel denied Mercedes a front row lockout.
Reigning world champion Hamilton was the only driver to lap below 1m33s in Q2 and found a tenth of a second on his only run in Q3 to secure pole by over four tenths of a second.
Vettel was the only other driver to lap in sub 1m33s, his 1m32.982s lap good enough to relegate Hamilton’s team-mate Nico Rosberg to third.
Rosberg, who qualified on pole for this race for the last two years, lost crucial time in the first sector and couldn’t recover, ending up 0.147s slower than Vettel, but just ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.
Williams locked out row three, with Valtteri Bottas substantially faster than team-mate Felipe Massa.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo qualified less than a tenth adrift in seventh, but with a gap of over six tenths to the remainder of the top 10.
Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India qualified a superb eighth, just 0.012s clear of the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr, while Romain Grosjean’s Lotus rounded out the top 10, just 0.022s further back.
Both Force Indias made it through to Q2 for the first time this season, with Sergio Perez edging out team-mate Hulkenberg by two tenths of a second in Q1.
But the Mexican just missed out on joining him in Q3 during a tight battle in the middle portion of qualifying.
Perez looked on course to make the top 10 as the session finished, but lost out Sainz by just 0.063s so wound up 11th.
That meant both Saubers missed out on making Q3 – with Felipe Nasr just 0.033s slower than Perez in 12th.
Marcus Ericsson made an error on his best lap so was almost three tenths further back in 13th.
In fact the Swede was only fractionally faster than Fernando Alonso, as McLaren-Honda made it through to Q2 for the first time this season.
Alonso qualified 14th, just ahead of the Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen, who complained of a lack of power at the start of Q2.
Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus, Daniil Kvyat’s Red Bull and Jenson Button’s McLaren-Honda joined the Manor/Marussias in filing through the Q1 exit door.
A problem with Maldonado’s Mercedes engine meant he missed the cut by just 0.024s, having looked strong throughout free practice.
A poor lap from Kvyat, who lost much of Saturday’s practice session when he beached his RB11 in the gravel, meant the Russian languished down in 17th place, his worst qualifying result of the season so far.
Will Stevens again comfortably outpaced team-mate Roberto Merhi, as Manor qualified off the final row of the grid for the first time this season thanks to more problems for Button’s McLaren.
Button’s car, which suffered reliability dramas throughout practice on Friday, stopped exiting Turn 3 on his out-lap with a suspected electrical problem, so the 2009 world champion failed to set a time.
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m33.832s||1.261s|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.450s||1.879s|
|9||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m34.462s||1.891s|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.704s||–|
|15||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m35.103s||–|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.800s||–|
Bahrain GP: Lewis Hamilton edges out Sebastian Vettel in FP3
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton edged Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to the quickest time in the third and final Formula 1 practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The reigning world champion clocked a 1m34.599s – the fastest time of the weekend so far – on the soft tyre to finish 0.069s clear of Vettel.
The other Mercedes of Nico Rosberg was third, after a slow first sector, 0.369s off the pace with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen fourth.
Raikkonen led the way after the medium tyre runs, with Ferrari team-mate Vettel 0.245s adrift in second – but the order changed significantly when drivers bolted on the soft tyres with 13 minutes of the one-hour session to go.
Rosberg was the first of the frontrunners to do a performance run, but his first sector was three tenths slower than his best on Friday.
His team-mate Hamilton had a much cleaner lap to top the charts for the first time this weekend.
The circuit was very dusty early on amid blustery conditions, with winds hitting 20mph and track temperatures 15C lower than they were during Friday’s daytime session.
The dirty circuit meant a number of drivers struggled for grip with both Lotus’s Romain Grosjean and Hamilton locking up on the run to Turn 1 and running wide onto the run-off.
Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were fifth and sixth respectively, ahead of the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado, who was as high as fifth during the medium-tyre runs.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who didn’t go out until the final half and hour and ran wide at Turn 13 on his medium-tyre run, was eighth, with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sauber’s Felipe Nasr completing the top 10.
Jenson Button was the first driver out on track in a bid to make up for a loss of track time on Friday, when he completed just a handful of laps.
The Briton was the leading McLaren in 11th after 14 laps, five places and half a second quicker than team-mate Fernando Alonso in 16th.
Kvyat, who was caught out when he spun at Turn 4 and beached his Red Bull in the gravel, ended up 12th after the team got him back out for the final few minutes of the session.
Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber was 13th, ahead of Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso and Force India’s Sergio Perez.
It was a disappointing session for Carlos Sainz, who could only manage 17th, one place clear of Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, who asked his team early in the session, "how can the car be so different?"
The Manors brought up the rear of the field, with Will Stevens eight tenths quicker than team-mate Roberto Merhi. Both were within the 107 per cent cut-off time.
|8||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m36.335s||1.736s||8|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m36.421s||1.822s||13|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m36.548s||1.949s||7|
|14||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m36.684s||2.085s||11|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m36.727s||2.128s||14|
|17||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m36.979s||2.380s||14|
Bahrain GP F1: Kimi Raikkonen gets reprimand for pit incident
Ferrari Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen has been given an official reprimand for an infringement when leaving the pitlane during the second Friday practice session ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Both Raikkonen and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton crossed the white line demarking the two lanes in the pits to cut behind a Sauber that had just emerged from the garage.
The FIA stewards, including ex-grand prix driver Mika Salo, deemed that Raikkonen’s driving had been unsafe, leading to the Ferrari driver earning his first reprimand of 2015.
"The driver of car 7 drove in a potentially dangerous manner when leaving the pitlane," said the stewards’ statement.
This was deemed to be in contravention of article 30.13 of the sporting regulations, which states that "at no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person."
AUTOSPORT understands that there will be no action against Hamilton, although there has been no official communication of this despite the fact he was stated to be under investigation alongside Raikkonen.
"I don’t really know too much about it," said Hamilton after the session. "The rule is that you do your starts on the left and allow people to pass on the right.
"I saw Kimi was kind of blocked because there was a car coming out of the garage so Kimi went around him and I followed.
"I just went to the right. As far as I am aware, it was legal."
Raikkonen – We can improve for tomorrow
Kimi Raikkonen: “I still haven’t had a look at the lap times of the session, but I think we are not as good as we want to be. In the second session it was a bit tricky with the set-up, we had some problems with the handling and we struggled in a few places. This evening we’ll analyse all the data in order to improve and do a better job tomorrow. Having a clear qualifying makes life easier in the race. I don’t know if we can challenge Mercedes, tomorrow is another day, conditions can change and this plays a big part, so let’s wait and see.”
F1 Bahrain GP: Nico Rosberg pips Lewis Hamilton in practice
Nico Rosberg pipped Formula 1 title rival and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to top spot in Friday’s second free practice session ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Hamilton held sway during the early stages of the 90-minute session when everyone used the medium-compound Pirelli tyres that proved to be two seconds or more off the pace, the champion lapping four tenths faster than Rosberg and a tenth quicker than Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari.
But Rosberg then took the initiative when the softs were bolted on.
Hamilton did briefly go to the top of the timesheets after outpacing Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari, only to be subsequently relegated by Rosberg.
While Rosberg’s lap was not perfect, Hamilton had a big front-right brake lock-up on the approach to Turn 8, sliding wide past the apex and costing him time.
The gap between the pair was 0.115s.
Rosberg’s session was brought to an end with a few minutes to go when the team called him in because something concerning had been noted in the car-to-pits telemetry.
Raikkonen ended up as the best non-Mercedes in third place, a tenth ahead of Ferrari team-mate Vettel.
The Finn made an error in the final corner on his first flier on the softs, which cost him time on the run to the line, but improved on his second attempt.
Vettel made a bigger mistake at the same turn, running wide onto the run-off, but still set a time good enough to slot in just behind Raikkonen, and could not get ahead of his team-mate on his second attempt.
The German later suffered some damage to his front wing after contact with Sergio Perez’s Force India at the first corner with just over 10 minutes remaining, dropping debris on track that brought out the red flag for three minutes.
The collision will be investigated by stewards after the session.
Williams driver Valtteri Bottas survived a left-front lock-up at Turn 10 to set the fifth fastest time, six-tenths off the pace, and was one of the last drivers to attempt a performance run.
As usual, the Williams team did not do a pure qualifying simulation, with Felipe Massa down in ninth place.
Daniel Ricciardo was sixth-fastest for Red Bull Racing, slotting ahead of the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado shortly after the halfway mark of the session.
Felipe Nasr capped off a promising day for Sauber with the eighth-fastest time, having earlier been an unexpected fourth-quickest on the medium rubber.
He was backed up by team-mate Marcus Ericsson, who was 11th fastest behind the second Williams of Massa and Daniil Kvyat’s ninth-placed Red Bull.
Fernando Alonso narrowly missed out on a second top 10-placing of the day in 11th place, less than half a tenth off Ericsson and 1.544s off the pace.
But it was another mixed session for McLaren-Honda, with Alonso’s team-mate, Jenson Button, being ordered to stop the car after completing just three laps and parking adjacent to the end of the Bahrain circuit’s drag strip.
Button’s car was recovered and he rejoined late in the session, although he did not improve on his earlier pace.
Romain Grosjean was 13th fastest ahead of the lead Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz, while Force India had a difficult day with Nico Hulkenberg, who was briefly third fastest after bolting on the softs, 15th and Perez 17th.
They sandwiched Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso, which appeared to require some attention to the front brakes during the session.
At Manor, Will Stevens was 1.5s faster than team-mate Roberto Merhi, with the pair split by Button’s early time in the McLaren.
Both Hamilton and Raikkonen are being investigated for failing to leave the pitlane correctly during the session.
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.449s||0.802s||27|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.883s||1.236s||23|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m36.471s||1.824s||32|
|15||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m36.805s||2.158s||30|
|16||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m36.917s||2.270s||26|
|17||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.062s||2.415s||33|
Bahrain GP: Ferrari F1 pair Raikkonen and Vettel set practice pace
Ferrari Formula 1 team-mates Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel left it late before taking the top two positions in opening practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
With track temperatures well over 50 degrees early in the session, after using their first sets of mediums during the first 30 minutes, several teams opted to leave it very late before making their final runs.
By that time, the track temperature had dropped to the mid-40s, with both Raikkonen and Vettel jumping from the lower reaches of the timing screens to the top in the final 10 minutes.
First Vettel, who when he initially went out for his final run was told to ease off while a problem was solved, deposed Williams driver Valtteri Bottas from top spot, then Raikkonen outpaced him by two tenths.
With usual pacesetter Mercedes down in 15th and 16th places with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, having both moved onto their second set of tyres earlier in the session and presumably concentrating on heavier fuel-load work, Bottas was able to hang on to third place despite a lockup at Turn 10 and a wild moment in the middle of the last corner on his best lap.
Carlos Sainz Jr was another driver who held back his second set of tyres, briefly jumping up to second before behind shuffled back to fourth ahead of the lead Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo and Scuderia Toro Rosso team-mate Max Verstappen.
McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso was among the drivers to move onto their second set of rubber relatively early on and briefly went fastest, ultimately ending up a strong seventh, just under eight tenths off the pace.
But it wasn’t all good news for McLaren, with Jenson Button spinning at Turn 1 on only his third lap and ending the day last after failing to set a time.
Sauber had another solid session, with Felipe Nasr in eighth place, although team-mate Marcus Ericsson was unable to make a significant improvement on his second set of rubber after running fifth following the first 30 minutes, and ended up down in 17th behind the two Mercedes drivers.
Felipe Massa, in the second Williams, was 10th fastest, but only four tenths off team-mate Bottas, just behind the second Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat.
Force India driver Sergio Perez also had a brief spell in first position early in the second runs, but ended up 11th ahead of Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado, who had a run through the gravel at the last corner while on a lap on his second set of rubber having already improved his time.
Lotus reserve driver Jolyon Palmer made his second appearance on an F1 weekend, ending up 14th and within half-a-second of Maldonado after losing time in the first sector.
At the foot of the timesheets, Will Stevens was the quicker Marussia ahead of team-mate Roberto Merhi in 18th and 19th places.
|4||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m38.447s||0.620s||14|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m38.455s||0.628s||17|
|6||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m38.504s||0.677s||22|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m38.661s||0.834s||17|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m38.793s||0.966s||15|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.187s||1.360s||20|
Kimi Raikkonen says Ferrari F1 environment feels better than ever
Kimi Raikkonen says the current Ferrari team environment is the best he has experienced in Formula 1.
Raikkonen is in his second stint with Ferrari, which he joined from McLaren in 2007 for an initial three-year stint, before returning in 2014 after spells in the World Rally Championship and back in F1 with Lotus.
Ferrari has recently undergone a major restructuring headlined by the arrival of Maurizio Arrivabene, a change that Raikkonen feels is working extremely well.
"I must say, in the past when I was here at Ferrari they were good times and it was a good atmosphere," he said.
"But this year is the best that I have had in any team; how the team works together, how people work together, how the atmosphere is and how things are being run.
"That tells you a lot. I’m very happy."
Raikkonen indicated last summer that he would probably retire from F1 after his current contract expires at the end of this year.
Asked if his improved form this year and his happiness with the current Ferrari regime might make him stay longer, Raikkonen said that choice was not up to him.
"The team has to decide that," he said. "You will have to talk to them.
"Time will tell what will happen. I’m happy with how things are running."
Raikkonen’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel reckons the Finn would have plenty of alternatives if he wanted to change teams.
"I think he’s doing a very, very good job," said Vettel of Raikkonen.
"He was in the past. Probably last year it wasn’t noticed so much, but inside the team it definitely was.
"I don’t know the details of his contract. I think it’s in his hands if he wants to carry on in Formula 1.
"There would be plenty of interest in a fast driver like him, with the experience that he has, if he wants to carry on in Formula 1.
"If he doesn’t want to then he will quit."
Kimi Raikkonen – Un tracciato che fa la differenza
Sakhir, 16 aprile – E’ iniziato parlando della gara di Shanghai l’incontro del giovedì di Kimi Raikkonen con la stampa sul circuito di Sakhir. “Nell’ultima gara in Cina abbiamo fatto il massimo” ha dichiarato il pilota finlandese. “E’ stata la prima senza problemi, ma ovviamente vogliamo di più e continueremo a lavorare per migliorare sotto tutti gli aspetti. La squadra sta lavorando bene insieme, è un gruppo molto solido di persone che vanno nella stessa direzione.
Ogni pista è diversa, ma finora la macchina si è comportata bene ovunque e non vedo ragioni per cui non dovrebbe andare bene anche qui. Da domani inizieremo il nostro programma e vedremo. Ora è troppo presto per fare previsioni sul fine settimana. Ogni anno sullo stesso tracciato qualcosa cambia e tutte le vetture si comportano in modo diverso. La pista del Bahrain è bella, il tracciato consente di sorpassare e questo può fare una grande differenza in gara.
La seconda sessione di prove libere avviene molto più tardi della prima, ed è in questa che si può capire meglio la propria condizione. Per avere un weekend senza problemi dobbiamo fare del nostro meglio. Abbiamo molto lavoro davanti a noi se vogliamo migliorare e lottare per la vittoria”.