Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen surprised by pace in Malaysian GP practice
Kimi Raikkonen was surprised with his pace during Formula 1 free practice at the Malaysian Grand Prix after what he felt was a "messy" Friday.
The Finn ended second practice in fourth place, 0.8 seconds behind pacesetter Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes and two tenths down on Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
"We didn’t have a good feeling all day and I’m sure we can regroup tomorrow," Raikkonen told reporters after FP2.
"I’m surprised how decent the lap times were when the feeling was far from what I want.
"It was quite a messy day and not very smooth at all. It was a bit tricky.
"We have to sit down and look things through. The feeling wasn’t good, but the lap time wasn’t disastrous."
Raikkonen complained on the radio of unspecified problems with his car in second practice at Sepang, with Ferrari confirming once he had returned to the garage that it was the front of the car that was being investigated.
Vettel was more positive about his day than Raikkonen, but he was careful to avoid predicting Ferrari can repeat its surprise victory in Malaysia from 2015.
"We had a decent day, testing quite a few things," said the German.
"Our pace didn’t look too bad, at least from what I was told inside the car.
"If the chance is there we have to go for it, but we are realistic and we have seen Mercedes is very strong today on both short and long runs.
"We are pretty happy with our short run, the long run we can improve, getting the car more together.
"It’s right to dream, but at the same time you need to be awake and at the moment we are not strong enough to come here and say we will win.
"But if the chance comes up, similar to last year, then we need to be ready and be there."
Malaysian GP: Lewis Hamilton fastest in second F1 practice
Lewis Hamilton beat Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Nico Rosberg to the fastest time in second practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The reigning world champion clocked a 1m34.944s on the soft tyres to outpace Rosberg by 0.233s with Sebastian Vettel four tenths further back.
Drivers struggled with low grip levels early in FP2 on Sepang’s brand new surface, with track temperatures soaring to 56C, but conditions improved as more rubber was put down.
Hamilton set the early pace on the hard tyres, clocking a 1m35.956s, six tenths quicker than Rosberg on the same rubber.
They then switched to the soft tyres for qualifying simulations with Hamilton edging out his team-mate again.
Attention then switched to gathering long run data for Sunday’s race with the Mercedes duo running all three compounds between them.
Kimi Raikkonen reported there was "something not correct with the car" and retreated back to the pits so his Ferrari team could investigate.
The Finn rejoined and set the fourth quickest time on his second attempt on the softs, 0.2s adrift of team-mate Vettel.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was fifth quickest, one second off the pace, ahead of Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso.
Alonso continued to run Honda’s updated power unit, after encountering a smooth session in FP1, but the plan is to revert to the previous spec for the remainder of the weekend.
Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg and Jenson Button completed the top 10.
Renault’s Jolyon Palmer was 12th, 1.996s off the pace, while his team did a good job to repair team-mate Kevin Magnussen’s car and get the Dane out midway through the session.
He did not set a timed lap in FP1 after his car was heavily damaged when it caught fire in the pitlane after his installation laps.
But he managed 19 laps in FP2, including a qualifying simulation on soft tyres, to end the session 19th.
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m36.037s||1.093s||29|
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m36.284s||1.340s||33|
|8||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m36.337s||1.393s||30|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m36.390s||1.446s||37|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m36.836s||1.892s||30|
|16||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m37.297s||2.353s||29|
Malaysian GP: Nico Rosberg leads fire-disrupted Friday practice one
In-form Nico Rosberg emerged easily quickest from a dramatic first Formula 1 practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix in which Kevin Magnussen’s Renault was involved in a pitlane blaze.
Rosberg, who has won the last three races to regain the championship lead by eight points from Lewis Hamilton, led the way with a lap of 1m35.227s, finishing 0.494 seconds clear of his Mercedes team-mate.
But the main drama came just seven minutes into the session when Magnussen was forced to leap from his Renault after it burst into flames upon completion of his second installation lap.
As Magnussen escaped unharmed, Renault personnel attacked the fire with extinguishers.
But just as it appeared to have been doused, it erupted again as a flammable liquid was seeping from the airbox.
Attempts to remove the engine cover were thwarted as that part of the car continued to reignite, forcing the FIA to red flag the session.
Mechanics managed to attach a hose to the fuel connector in a bid to drain the car, its yellow livery turning white given the amount of extinguisher foam needed to control the flames.
The mechanics eventually managed to take off the engine cover and apply cooling fans before finally wheeling the car back into the garage 15 minutes after the fire had started.
Overall, 20 minutes were lost before the session was restarted.
Ordinarily, teams are forced to give back one set of Pirelli tyres after 40 minutes, but given the circumstances that period was extended until 55 minutes in.
On a circuit resurfaced earlier this year, Rosberg was the first to post a representative time of 1m35.793s, with Hamilton’s first flier just five thousandths of a second adrift, with both on soft tyres.
Rosberg then lowered his best time by over half a second with a lap that would remain unbeaten in the session, leaving Hamilton some way off his pace.
It was not an error-free session for Rosberg, as he ran wide and onto the gravel at Turn 11 with 16 minutes remaining.
Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr had done likewise at the same spot earlier in the session, visiting the gravel and then the grass before finding an escape route back to the track.
Ferrari duo Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel finished third and fourth, both just over a second back on soft tyres, with the latter having bemoaned severe vibrations under braking soon after the session restarted.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who will take a 30-place grid penalty on Sunday for a power unit change, was fifth quickest, 1.383s back, ahead of Red Bull pair Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, whose best laps were on medium tyres.
Force India duo Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, along with the second McLaren of Jenson Button, completed the top 10, with the trio all over two seconds down.
PRACTICE ONE TIMES:
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m36.753s||1.526s||27|
|7||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m36.973s||1.746s||26|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.513s||2.286s||26|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.601s||2.374s||27|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m37.847s||2.620s||29|
|15||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m38.055s||2.828s||25|
“We’re stronger in race condition”
Kimi awaiting feedback from Hard tires
“This is one of the few races in which we have to use the Hard tires, but the conditions here are different from some other places where we have used them: it’s very hot and the track has a completely new surface. So it might be that the Hards are the best tires in race conditions and it might be not. From tomorrow we’ll know. It’s hard to know where we are on pure speed, in the last races we have been a little bit behind, but in race conditions we are usually a bit stronger. If we can have a weekend in good form and with no mistakes, we can be up there and give ourselves a good chance to fight at the front. Then, for the end result, we can only do our best. Obviously our aim is to win. Will it be possible? I have no idea. Hopefully we’ll find out that we are in a strong position.”
Kimi Raikkonen hits back at Ferrari critics, defends strategy
Kimi Raikkonen has defended Ferrari’s strategy following a decision to cover Lewis Hamilton’s final pit stop at the Singapore Grand Prix, which saw him finish behind the Mercedes driver.
The Finn had sat third after passing Hamilton on track at around half-distance at Marina Bay, but when the world champion pitted for a set of ultra-soft tyres and emerged in fourth, Ferrari opted to shadow Hamilton’s stop by bringing Raikkonen in. Hamilton jumped Raikkonen and completed the podium in third, prompting criticism of Ferrari’s strategy for effectively throwing away a top three finish.
When asked about the incident during Thursday’s media day in Malaysia, Raikkonen refused to blame his team and played down the importance of the call.
"We all do our best and unfortunately sometimes I make mistakes, sometimes it happens on the team side," the 2007 world champion said. "We’ve always said we work as a team and whatever the issues are, we have to learn from them and try to avoid them in the future.
"It’s as painful for me as it’s painful for them, whatever happens. Would I have stayed ahead of Lewis without the stop? Afterwards it’s always easy to say it, but I guess if we would have stayed out they would have caught us before the end of the race.
"If they would have passed us, that’s a different mater but if they did, then it wouldn’t change the final result. But it’s impossible to say, because so many things could have changed. It’s not ideal but sometimes it goes like that."
Sebastian Vettel claimed the first of three victories in 2015 for Ferrari at Sepang 18 months ago, but the Italian outfit is yet to replicate the heights it achieved last year and remains winless so far this season. Raikkonen believes this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix is impossible to predict but hopes Ferrari can maximise its performance.
"Obviously we want to win but if that’s possible I have no idea. We can be up there and give ourselves a good chance to fight at the front. What the end result will be it’s hard to say but hopefully we’ll find out we’re in a strong position.
"We had some races where we were surprised how close we were to the leaders and if we can be up there, at least mixing it up, it would be good. If we can be stronger that’s fine, we’ll take it but it’s very hard to predict."
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.
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."
“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.”
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:
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||0.488s|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m11.197s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m51.062s|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m51.557s|
|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|
|–||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||Not started|
|–||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||Collision|
Singapore GP F1 practice: Rosberg fastest, problems for Hamilton
Nico Rosberg set the pace in second Singapore Grand Prix practice as his Mercedes team-mate and Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton’s session was cut short by a hydraulic issue.
Rosberg clocked a 1m44.152s on the ultra-soft tyres to finish 0.245 seconds clear of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen a tenth further adrift in third.
Hamilton led the way in the early stages with a 1m45.275s on the super-softs, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen.
But he locked up heavily into Turn 1 on his qualifying simulation, skating into the run-off before rejoining and switching his focus to gathering long-run data.
The Briton, who ended up seventh, then pitted and climbed out of his car with just under half an hour to go.
Mercedes confirmed Hamilton’s car had a "small hydraulic issue" and after investigating the problem, the team said it could not be resolved in time to get the car back together and called an end to his session.
Rosberg raised concerns over brake problems in the final few minutes, but continued until the end of the session.
Ricciardo spent a chunk of the session in the garage after he clipped the wall and spun at Turn 11 before rejoining and setting the quickest middle sector to finish fourth.
Sebastian Vettel ended up fifth, 1.009s off the pace and seven tenths slower than team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was sixth and nearly a second clear of his team-mate Sergio Perez in 11th.
Carlos Sainz Jr and Fernando Alonso both clipped the wall but continued to finish eighth and ninth respectively with Daniil Kvyat completing the top 10.
Williams had a low-key session, with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas 14th and 15th respectively.
Romain Grosjean, who early in the session complained about the brakes being inconsistent, spun into the wall at the final corner, causing significant damage to his rear wing.
The Frenchman failed to complete a qualifying simulation and managed just 12 laps as he finished 19th.
PRACTICE TWO TIMES:
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m44.532s||0.380s||29|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m44.557s||0.405s||26|
|6||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m45.182s||1.030s||35|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m45.507s||1.355s||33|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m46.029s||1.877s||35|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m46.063s||1.911s||26|
Max Verstappen leads Red Bull one-two in Singapore GP practice
Max Verstappen led a Red Bull one-two in first Singapore Grand Prix practice, while Formula 1 world championship contender Nico Rosberg crashed.
The Marina Bay street circuit is tipped by Red Bull’s rivals to suit the RB12 and Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo lived up to the team’s ‘favourite’ status.
Verstappen ultimately finished quickest with a 1m45.823s lap, 0.049 seconds ahead of his team-mate, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel third but almost half a second down. All three drivers used Pirelli’s ultra-soft tyre.
Mercedes struggled at this circuit last year, failing to get the tyres working. Lewis Hamilton – who began the session by trialling the halo for the first time – and Nico Rosberg ended 2016’s opening practice down in fourth and fifth.
But their times – 0.603s and 0.690s respectively off the pace – were on soft tyres, the hardest of the three compounds available this weekend.
When all the drivers were running on ultra-softs, and on high fuel, earlier in the session, there was little too choose between Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.
Within three minutes of the session starting, Jenson Button’s McLaren ground to a halt on track with a fuel system fault, stopping within sight of the pit entry and prompting a virtual safety car.
After being given the green light by race control, two marshals then pushed Button’s car back into the pits.
Button eventually returned to the track at the midpoint of the session, but finished 16th and 3.792s adrift of Verstappen, with team-mate Fernando Alonso 11th and 1.4s down.
Once the track cleared for Button’s incident, Rosberg set the initial benchmark time with a lap of 1m47.936s on the ultra-soft that was soon bettered by Hamilton by half a second.
A marginal improvement followed from Hamilton just prior to the half-hour mark before he was deposed from top spot by Verstappen by 0.034s.
Midway through the session Rosberg then produced a superb lap on the softs to lead the way by 0.822s from Verstappen.
The lead then quickly changed hands three further times, as Vettel, Verstappen and Ricciardo posted the best times, but unlike Rosberg, all were on ultra-softs.
On his soft tyre run, Hamilton managed to get the edge over his team-mate by 0.054s, with a lap of 1m46.426s for an eventual fourth place.
It was then Verstappen who had the final say to leapfrog Ricciardo into top spot just past the hour-mark.
Late drama followed with 13 minutes to go when Rosberg locked up into Turn 18 on the approach to Anderson Bridge, breaking the front wing as he hit the wall before reversing and cruising back to the pits.
Romain Grosjean finished bottom of the standings and without a time to his name due to the Haas suffering low intake pressure due to a suspected leak.
PRACTICE ONE TIMES:
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m45.823s||–||25|
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m45.872s||0.049s||27|
|7||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m46.936s||1.113s||28|
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m47.683s||1.860s||29|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m48.214s||2.391s||28|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m48.359s||2.536s||28|