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”.
Exclusive Kimi Raikkonen Q&A: I still have unfinished business in F1
Q: Kimi, Ferrari has changed significantly since 2014. What is the biggest change?
Kimi Raikkonen: I think the team is working well together now. Some people have left and there is a new team boss and now the atmosphere and the way people are working together is much better.
Q: Ferrari’s performance is clearly running north, but at the moment you seem to be mainly fighting for P3 in races. When will that change?
KR: I expect us to get stronger in the course of the season. Yes, we are not happy about where we are right now as we want to challenge for wins, but we have to be realistic when looking of where we finished last year. We have made a good step forward and now as a team are we have to work in the same direction – then I am sure that we get where we want to be. Hopefully in the near future?
Q: Will you still be in F1 racing when Ferrari return to being the benchmark? Your contract runs out at the end of the season…
KR: That is up to the team to decide. They have an option on my services – so go and ask them!
Q: But you also have to like it, don’t you?
KR: (laughs) I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t like it!
Q: What’s still motivates Kimi Raikkonen, the driver? When you took your rallying sabbatical you were through with F1 racing…
KR: Things can change! I want to do well here. That is the main reason why I am still around.
Q: In Malaysia Ferrari caught Mercedes out with a smarter strategy. Will that prove to be your main weapon against them or can you close the gap?
KR: A smart strategy can help, of course. You can gain or lose positions depending on your strategy – but it is not our aim to do it that way. We want to improve our situation as a whole: improve our speed to challenge Mercedes in every single race. Right now we are pretty close to them in the race – not in qualifying, but in the race. We know now where we have to improve and we are working on that.
Q: Sebastian (Vettel) as team mate: how is that?
KR: No different to any other team mate!
Q: The two of you together in the same team – that sounded like a match made in heaven. Is that how it is in reality?
KR: I think we are a good pair – leave heaven out of it! (laughs) We can talk things over, and that is a lot. We both want to put the team in a position to improve.
Q: Is your situation, working together in the same team, helping you to bond more privately?
KR: Not really, no more than before. We just work in the same team – and it is easy together. We talk easily together.
Q: Does it help that neither of you is overly political?
KR: I would say so, yes. The good thing is that if there is something (that comes up) we can talk to each other – we can talk to each other directly and not have to use mediators. But we don’t have any issues and I don’t expect us to have issues. But who can look into the future? Who knows?
Q: Sebastian has had the edge in terms of results so far. Why is he doing better than you?
KR: He has done better races. We had some issues in the first three races and obviously made some mistakes in qualifying, but that is part of the game, so no big deal.
Q: 2014 was a tricky year for you – does it feel much better now or are you beyond such emotions?
KR: The feeling in the team is much better, but the results are still not what we want. Yes, compared to last year finishing third or fourth is a step forward, but we want to win – win all the time. As a team we’ve done well so far, true. (We’ve got) the maximum that we could right now. But are we happy or satisfied? Not really. We want more. We are here to win – and yes – that is still pretty emotional.
Q: There is the saying that only fools are satisfied…
KR: …that is not completely true. If you had a good fight and pulled the maximum out, you are happy. First and foremost you have to be realistic. We have come a long way from last year – and yes, there are still many steps to make.
Q: If you could make one wish, what would that be?
KR: Some good races? Sounds boring, I know…
Q: Niki Lauda said to succeed in F1 racing you ‘have to be a b*st*rd’. Were you one, the year you won the championship?
KR: I have been the same all along. Maybe he felt that he had to be. Everybody feels differently – and he likes to talk…
Q: Bahrain, with its warm temperatures, is a much better climate for Ferrari. Could that help?
KR: We are racing in the evening so the temperatures are lower, so no help in that respect. I think that we will race at the level where we realistically are.
Q: You have a little baby boy. What values do you want to give him for his journey through life?
KR: Life – that is a long time. Right now I hope that he is healthy and stays healthy – and that he grows into a happy little boy.
Q: How would you rate yourself as a dad?
KR: I don’t know. You’d have to ask his mum. But he is a calm baby – so we are doing something right!
F1 Chinese GP: Hamiton shades Rosberg in Mercedes qualifying 1-2
Lewis Hamilton fended off Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Nico Rosberg by less than half a tenth of a second to take Chinese Grand Prix pole at Shanghai, maintaining his perfect qualifying record in 2015.
Hamilton had been strong favourite for pole after topping all three practice sessions and Q2.
A 1m35.782s on his first Q3 run emphasised that status, with Rosberg three tenths adrift at that point.
But it became closer in the final battle, with Hamilton unable to improve and Rosberg closing to within 0.042s.
Malaysian GP winner Sebastian Vettel was nearly a second off Hamilton’s pole time in third place for Ferrari.
That denied the resurgent Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, which were top-three contenders but ultimately found themselves three tenths and half a second down on Vettel respectively.
They still beat the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, who was sixth ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Daniil Kvyat failed to reach Q3 for the second time in three appearances with Red Bull, taking 12th.
Romain Grosjean was eighth for Lotus, while his team-mate Pastor Maldonado missed out on Q3 by just 0.007s and will start 11th.
Sauber was the midfield underdog starring in Q3 this time, securing the fifth row places with Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.
By contrast the Toro Rossos were left out in Q2. Max Verstappen, who locked up heavily on his last run, and Carlos Sainz Jr share row seven.
McLaren’s encouraging Friday times proved deceptive as Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso found themselves out in Q1 and on row nine, just 0.004s apart.
They were at least within a tenth of the Force Indias. Nico Hulkenberg only got ahead of Button with a final Q1 effort, while Sergio Perez scraped through into Q2 then languished seven tenths off the Toro Rossos.
The Manor-run Marussias were 3s off the tail of the field but made the 107 per cent target in Q1 so are both clear to start the race, Will Stevens ahead of Roberto Merhi.
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m37.540s||1.758s|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m38.209s||–|
|13||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m38.393s||–|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m38.538s||–|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.290s||–|
|16||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.216s||–|
F1 Chinese GP: Hamilton makes it three from three in final practice
Lewis Hamilton completed a clean sweep of Chinese Grand Prix Formula 1 practice sessions by beating Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg on Saturday morning at Shanghai.
Hamilton was quickest in both segments of the session – leading his team-mate by three tenths on medium tyres and then by 0.226 seconds after the qualifying simulations on softs.
The reigning F1 world champion could have been faster still, outpacing Rosberg by four tenths at sector two on his best lap before losing some of his cushion on the run to the line.
Ferrari was again Mercedes’ closest rival. Sebastian Vettel got within a tenth of Rosberg on mediums but on softs the gap to Hamilton’s pacesetting time grew to 0.7s.
Kimi Raikkonen slotted the second Ferrari into fourth, behind Vettel.
Fernando Alonso was only able to do half a lap in the session as his McLaren-Honda stopped with an apparent engine problem within moments of taking to the track.
Despite McLaren’s best efforts, he was unable to get out again. Jenson Button represented the team alone in 15th, but had looked stronger on medium tyres.
There were headaches for Red Bull and Williams too. Red Bull had to warn Daniil Kvyat to take care of his brakes again, while smoke in the Williams cockpit caused concern for Felipe Massa.
Red Bull ended up better off on pace – Daniel Ricciardo and Kvyat taking fifth and sixth, half a second off the Ferraris and just ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr’s Toro Rosso.
Valtteri Bottas and Massa were only eighth and 11th in the Williams, sandwiching Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean’s Lotus.
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.020s||1.405s||8|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.106s||1.491s||14|
|7||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.113s||1.498s||17|
|9||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.274s||1.659s||19|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.513s||1.898s||14|
|17||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.781s||2.166s||17|
Kimi Raikkonen: Ferrari F1 team won’t slump in Chinese Grand Prix
Kimi Raikkonen sees no reason why his Ferrari Formula 1 team cannot continue to threaten Mercedes at the Chinese Grand Prix.
After Sebastian Vettel’s shock Malaysian GP win, there has been more scepticism about Ferrari’s chances at Shanghai because of the cooler conditions.
But Raikkonen is not so downbeat, and reckons that the team should have confidence that its early season promise will continue.
"We have been with the car in Jerez [testing], in Barcelona and the first two races," said the Finn.
"The car is working well in all conditions and circuits, so I don’t see any reason why it should be something else here.
"It might be a bit different because it is cold, but the layout is probably closer to Barcelona than any race so far, and conditions are pretty similar.
"We will go out tomorrow, see how it is and try to work things out if we are not happy. But I don’t expect any surprises."
As well as Vettel’s Malaysia win, Ferrari showed flashes of speed in Australia too – something Raikkonen thinks bodes well for its prospects this time out.
"I said after Australia that if we would have been behind them in the race then I don’t see that they would pull away, at least not as far as people think," he explained.
"All circuits are slightly different and all conditions are different.
"One car works a bit better in one place and then the other is better on that [particular] circuit.
"Maybe we are not where we want to be exactly right now, but if we compare where we were last year I am sure we will be more than happy.
"There is still a lot of work to do to be happy with all the things, but that is why we are here.
"We’ll see how it goes but I don’t expect things to change. I think Mercedes can be very fast in qualifying but in race pace conditions, it seems to be a bit closer."
Chinese GP – Kimi: “Not quite like last year”
Shanghai, 9 April – On Thursday before the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, Kimi Raikkonen addressed questions from the media. Many of them focused on his predictions for the week end. “Obviously we have to put in a clean weekend with no issues, then I’ m sure we could be pretty happy with the result. This is a different track but so far the car has been working well in all kind of conditions on every place and I don’t see reasons why it should be different here. Here it can be a little bit different because it’s cold and the track is challenging, but of course if you have a good car it helps. Tomorrow we’ll go out and see but I don’t expect big surprises.”
Can you say you can challenge Mercedes even if, unlike Sepang, the weather here is not so hot and this one is not a rear tyre limited track? “All track are different and every condition too, and one car can behave better in a place that in another one. Maybe we are not where we would like to be, but compared to last year things have changed a lot even if we still have a lot to do.”
The win in Malaysia is a very good result for the team and for Sebastian. “We knew from testing we have a good package but the two first races for me have been pretty difficult , although I could take some good points in Malaysia. We keep pushing as hard as we can trying to do things right knowing that every race can be different, but generally I think we can be quite strong everywhere. In general we know we have the speed but we have to get rid of all the issues even if they are not our fault like the puncture”.
La Cina di Raikkonen
“Continuità” sembra essere la parola chiave per Kimi Raikkonen sul tracciato di Shanghai, sempre a punti in Cina salvo in due occasioni. Nel 2004, nell’anno d’esordio della nazione orientale in calendario, il finlandese conquista il terzo gradino del podio, alle spalle di Barrichello, vincitore della corsa, e della Honda di Button. Partito bene, il pilota di Espoo tallona sin da subito Rubens, insidiandolo per la prima posizione; complice una strategia non perfetta degli uomini McLaren, Kimi è costretto a cedere il secondo gradino del podio al pilota inglese, il quale relega l’alfiere di Woking in terza posizione.
L’anno seguente, Shanghai segna la tappa conclusiva del Mondiale di F1, dominato dalla Renault di Fernando Alonso, contro cui nulla ha potuto Kimi. Allo spegnimento dei semafori, il pilota di Oviedo mantiene la testa della corsa; Raikkonen, partito dalla terza posizione, approfitta delle Safety-Car per variare in corsa la strategia, e portarsi alle spalle dell’asturiano. Nelle fasi finali del GP, il finlandese prova un disperato recupero su Fernando, ma il vantaggio dello spagnolo non arriva mai ai livelli di guardia, ed il pilota McLaren si deve rassegnare ad occupare la seconda posizione sotto la bandiera a scacchi. Nel 2006, la gara di Kimi dura appena 18 giri: il finlandese, partito quinto, è costretto a ritirarsi prematuramente, a causa di un problema all’acceleratore della sua McLaren.
Il Gran Premio di Cina del 2007 segna per Raikkonen l’inizio della rimonta in classifica. Il Mondiale piloti vede in testa Lewis Hamilton, debuttante di Woking, che si può permettere di guardare dall’alto Alonso e lo stesso pilota Ferrari. Giunto a Shanghai forse troppo convinto dei propri mezzi, Lewis – assistito da una McLaren con la mente già alla festa del post-gara – è costretto a ritirarsi a causa dell’usura eccessiva degli pneumatici. Una scena tragicomica segna la mattina degli europei appassionati di F1, con la monoposto dell’inglese arenata sulla ghiaia all’ingresso della corsia dei box, sulla quale fa bella mostra di se il rivestimento interno di una Bridgestone, segno evidente dell’eccessiva usura. Forte di ciò, e di una delle ultime monoposto straordinarie targate Ferrari, Raikkonen recupera in un sol colpo 10 lunghezze ad Hamilton, andandosi a giocare il Titolo nell’ultimo appuntamento, in Brasile.
Nel 2008, invece, è proprio Hamilton a dettar legge a Shanghai. Dal canto suo, Kimi non può far altro che conquistare il terzo gradino del podio, senza interferire con le velleità di rimonta di Felipe Massa, giunto secondo per motivi di classifica Mondiale in quell’occasione. Il 2009, poi, mette a referto una corsa anonima di Raikkonen, costretto ad accontentarsi della decima posizione, distante anni luce dalle posizioni di vertice, anche a causa di una F60 nata non propriamente sotto una buona stella.
Il 2012 segna per il pilota di Espoo il ritorno in Formula 1. Dopo due Gran Premi conclusi in buone posizioni, Kimi è costretto ad arrendersi alla crisi delle sue Pirelli, per colpa della quale dovrà accontentarsi della quattordicesima posizione all’arrivo, suo peggior risultato nei Gran Premi di Cina, ad eccezione del ritiro del 2006.
Nell’edizione del 2013, Raikkonen fa il suo ritorno sul podio alle spalle di uno scatenato ed incontenibile Fernando Alonso. Allo spegnimento dei semafori, il finlandese si vede sopravanzare da entrambe le Ferrari, ma con costanza risale la china. Nel corso della gara, poi, ha anche modo di dare spettacolo offrendo ai tifosi una avvincente lotta con Sergio Perez, dalla quale la sua E21 esce leggermente danneggiata all’anteriore.
Nel Gran Premio della Passata stagione, Kimi chiude all’ottavo posto, mentre il suo compagno di team festeggiava con lo champagne il primo podio della F14-T
Malaysian GP: Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen declares weekend ‘poor’
Kimi Raikkonen says he had a "poor" Malaysian Grand Prix, despite finishing fourth for the Ferrari Formula 1 team at Sepang.
The Finn’s weekend took a turn for a worse in qualifying when he was bundled out of Q2 after being caught out by the rain.
Then, the race itself started in the worse possible way; a first-lap puncture leaving him at the back of the field.
Despite a strong recovery drive, that ended with him fourth behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel and the two Mercedes drivers, Raikkonen described the weekend as a poor one.
"We’ve had a very poor weekend in the sense of things going wrong," he said.
"After the puncture we had damage to the floor, and that was really the maximum I could do.
"Obviously we had a lot of bad luck on a few occasions this weekend. There’s not much that I can do when I get touched from behind. It is what it is."
Raikkonen added that it was the early safety car period and decent car speed that rescued his race.
"I got a very bad start, wheelspin off the line and then the first corner I didn’t get a very good positions and lost some places," he explained.
"Then I gained some positions and was catching people, but then I got a puncture at the last corner so I had to do the whole lap. Luckily we had a safety car so that helped.
"But then I don’t know what the guys in front of me were doing because they were not going full speed to catch up so we were like one straight behind.
"I was asking if I could pass them but there was some confusion with the Sauber in front of me. That didn’t help either.
"Obviously for the team it’s a pretty good result. It could have been better but I think we did the maximum with what we had today."