Kimi Raikkonen’s ‘awful’ Bahrain GP first lap masked better race
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen says his "awful" opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix disguised a race that was "a lot better" than he has experienced so far in 2017.
Raikkonen, who qualified more than three tenths down on team-mate Sebastian Vettel on Saturday, slipped from fifth on the grid to seventh early on.
As Vettel went on to win the grand prix, Raikkonen eventually recovered to fourth, and the Finn says he was happy with his in the race, despite the "disappointing" outcome.
"The car was working pretty nicely and, to be honest, I expected that. Not much complaints on that side," he said.
"[I had a] shit start and then an awful first few corners because of that. Obviously, after that, played catch-up.
"A lot of good things, in a way, happened but obviously the end result is still disappointing, in my book at least.
"The overall feeling is a lot better and I feel that I can go fast but obviously the start didn’t help."
Raikkonen, who was stuck behind the Williams of Felipe Massa early on overtook him on lap eight, feels he was then unfortunate to end up behind the Brazilian again thanks to the timing of the safety car.
"I got reasonably quickly past Massa – then I was a bit unlucky with the safety car and lost a place again back and then tried to get past him again, and obviously at that point I was a bit behind," he said.
"He seemed to be very fast in certain places and already first time around was quite tricky to pass him, it felt a bit more difficult the second time.
"I managed to pass him in the end but it just takes a long time, they’re usually very fast in a straight line, Williams."
Summing up the race, Raikkonen added: "The first lap obviously was not the ideal position, and the safety car… it’s unfortunate how it went, we had some good speed."
Bahrain Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel beats Lewis Hamilton to win
Sebastian Vettel claimed his second win of the 2017 Formula 1 season in the Bahrain Grand Prix, assisted by a five-second time penalty for Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.
Vettel crossed the line 6.660s ahead of Hamilton, who had slashed his advantage from 20s after making his second pitstop, with the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas taking third.
Bottas held the lead at the start, with Vettel making a better getaway than Hamilton to draw alongside him on the run to the first corner and then sweep around the outside on turn-in to run second.
Vettel then pressured Bottas in the early laps, the Mercedes driver struggling for rear grip thanks to high rear tyre pressures caused by a faulty generator used to help set them on the grid, with Hamilton just behind and keeping the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo just behind him.
With Hamilton eventually slipping out of DRS range of Vettel, the Ferrari driver became the first of the frontrunners to stop on lap 10 and committed to a two-stop strategy by taking a second set of super-softs.
Verstappen followed Vettel into the pits a lap later, but suffered a brake problem on his outlap and went off at Turn 4, his race ending in the barrier.
The safety car was deployed on lap 13, when Williams driver Lance Stroll was hit by Carlos Sainz Jr’s Toro Rosso.
Sainz had just made his first pitstop, but closed rapidly under braking for Turn 1, hitting Stroll’s sidepod as the Williams took the apex.
The contact put both out of the race, and triggered a flurry of pitstops that allowed Vettel to take the lead.
Mercedes had to pit both Bottas and Hamilton under the safety car, with both having slow stops lasting just over six seconds, and Ricciardo able to emerge from the pits between them.
Hamilton, who knew he would have to queue behind Bottas, slowed on the entry to the pitlane and delayed Ricciardo, leading to a stewards’ investigation and subsequent five-second penalty.
Vettel led from Bottas at the restart on lap 17, with Hamilton jumping Ricciardo for third on the run to the first corner, followed on the run to Turn 4 by Williams driver Felipe Massa.
Bottas, who opted for super-softs at his previous stop, made his second stop to take softs 13 laps later, emerging seventh behind Sergio Perez’s Force India and quickly moving ahead of both the Mexican and Massa to run fifth.
While Vettel gradually extended his lead to over six seconds from Bottas, Hamilton chased his team-mate before taking second place up the inside into Turn 1 on lap 27.
At that point, Vettel had a 6.3s lead, but Hamilton had cut that advantage to just under four seconds when the Ferrari driver pitted for softs at the end of lap 33.
Vettel emerged from the pits in third place, 17 seconds behind Hamilton and three behind Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
Three laps later, Vettel passed a compliant Raikkonen. At that point, he was 15.5s behind Hamilton on the road, but in real terms just 10.5s thanks to Hamilton’s penalty.
Vettel had closed to just 9.5s behind Hamilton on the road when the Mercedes driver made his second stop with 16 laps to go, including a five-second hold to serve the penalty, and returned to the track on soft rubber.
Hamilton re-emerged in third, 10.5s behind second-placed Bottas, with Vettel 20s clear, but with fresh softs he had a significant pace advantage of the two cars in front.
It took Hamilton just five laps to catch and pass Bottas, diving up the inside of his team-mate at Turn 13.
At that point, Vettel’s advantage was 13 seconds, and although Hamilton was able to lap faster than the Ferrari he never got within five seconds of the leader.
Bottas had a comfortable advantage over Raikkonen, and even though the gap was just two seconds at the flag he was never under serious threat.
Raikkonen started fifth and was shuffled back to seventh behind both Verstappen and Massa at the first and fourth corners respectively, but recovered to fourth.
He passed Massa shortly after the restart following the safety car, finishing 16.8s ahead of Ricciardo.
Massa was best of the rest outside of the big three teams, with Force India driver Sergio Perez finishing seventh despite starting 18th.
After a good first stint, Perez jumped to seventh under the safety car and maintained control of the position to the end on a two-stop strategy.
Haas driver Romain Grosjean claimed his first points finish of 2017 in eighth place, making his second pitstop before Nico Hulkenberg to undercut his way past the Renault driver.
Force India’s Esteban Ocon finished 10th for the third race in succession, with an advantage of 24.2s over Sauber returnee Pascal Wehrlein, who held off Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso’s attacks in the closing laps of the race.
Renault’s Jolyon Palmer was the final driver running at the finish in 13th place, with McLaren driver Fernando Alonso, who was part of a close three-way battle with the pair for much of the race, classified 14th despite pulling into the pits with two laps remaining.
Marcus Ericsson retired the other Sauber in the closing stages of the race, while Haas driver Magnussen also joined Sainz, Stroll and Verstappen on the retirements list on lap nine when he pulled off with a mechanical failure.
Stoffel Vandoorne was unable to start the race thanks to what is suspected to be a problem with the MGU-H on his Honda engine.
BAHRAIN GP RESULT
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||57||39.346s|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||57||1m02.606s|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||57||1m35.711s|
|11||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber/Ferrari||56||1 Lap|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||56||1 Lap|
|13||Jolyon Palmer||Renault||56||1 Lap|
|14||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Honda||54||3 Laps|
|–||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||12||Collision|
|–||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||11||Brakes|
|–||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Honda||0||Not started|
Gran Premio del Bahrain – “Bravi ragazzi, ottimo lavoro”
Kimi contento che la squadra abbia riparato la macchina per la P2
“E’ davvero presto per dire come potremo andare qui, e oggi le condizioni sono state difficili. Abbiamo avuto un problema che ci ha fermato verso l’inizio della prima sessione: niente a che vedere con il motore, ma piuttosto nella zona del turbo. I ragazzi sono stati molto bravi a riparare il danno e a essere pronti per la seconda sessione. Poteva essere una giornata un po’ migliore, ma è andata così. Questa pista mi piace, ma non è che ci sia qualcosa di più ‘speciale’ rispetto ad altri circuiti. Naturalmente fa molto caldo e questo può creare difficoltà con le gomme. Come al solito al venerdì, ci sarà tanto da fare per essere pronti domani.
Ferrari hopes to salvage engine from Raikkonen’s Bahrain failure
Ferrari is hopeful it can salvage the engine that stopped Kimi Raikkonen on track during the opening Formula 1 free practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Raikkonen pulled over to the side of the track with smoke coming from the back of his car in FP1, having been ordered by his team to slowly make his way back to the pits.
Ferrari later said it was a turbo problem that stopped him, and it changed the internal combustion engine, turbo and MGU-H on his car for FP2.
"We had a power unit issue with Kimi – it was quite obvious," said Ferrari technical director Mattia Binotto.
"We changed it for the afternoon just as a precaution, it was important for us to make sure Kimi could run the afternoon trouble-free.
"What happened is still to be fully understood. We analysed all the parts and hopefully all the elements of the power unit can be used again once they are sorted out."
Raikkonen, who was fourth fastest when he did get out in practice two, played down the significance of the problem in the first session.
"It was nothing to do with the engine, it was some control issue with the turbo," he said.
"It stopped us in the early part of practice so the guys did a good job to fix the car and be ready for second practice.
"It could have been better but that’s how it goes."
F1 Bahrain GP: Ferrari’s Vettel fastest again in second session
Sebastian Vettel topped the second free practice session for Formula 1’s Bahrain Grand Prix, although what he called a "complete shutdown" of his Ferrari cost him running.
Vettel had earlier set the pace in first free practice and, after bolting on a set of fresh super-soft Pirellis shortly before the half-hour mark, set a time of 1m31.310s to top the floodlit second session.
This was despite saying he struggled with the brakes during the second half of the lap.
But early on in what was expected to be a long run to evaluate race performance, Vettel’s car suffered what he called a "complete shutdown" over the radio.
Initially stuck in fourth gear and without power, he leaned forward to hit the neutral button in front of the cockpit.
That allowed the Ferrari to freewheel and was able to roll around the final corner before pulling over short of the pit entry after running out of momentum.
He was then given a push by marshals into the pit entry under yellow flags, which meant he could be recovered to the Ferrari pit with just over 35 minutes remaining.
Vettel returned to the track shortly afterwards, although he ultimately lost just over 15 minutes of running in the 90-minute session.
By then, the leading drivers had all completed their qualifying simulations, with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas slotting into second place by 0.041 seconds shortly after Vettel went top.
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest and only 0.066s off Vettel.
Kimi Raikkonen was a tenth further back in the other Ferrari having had a new engine, MGU-H and turbo fitted after his problem in the first session.
Lewis Hamilton was only fifth in the other Mercedes, but his fastest lap was set on his third attempt at a qualifying simulation and left him 0.284s off the pace.
He aborted his first attempt and backed off after a big oversteer moment in Turn 1, and on his second try he ran off the track at Turn 10 after locking up trying to get around Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault.
Hamilton was unhappy with Hulkenberg being in the way while on a slow lap, saying "these drivers are just so dangerous," over the radio. The stewards will investigate the incident after the session.
Hulkenberg ended up sixth fastest and just 0.573s off the pace, having set his time shortly before the incident.
That put him ahead of Felipe Massa and Max Verstappen, the latter suffering a floor problem that interrupted his running and compromised his ultimate pace.
Romain Grosjean and Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top 10, which was covered by 1.4s.
Fernando Alonso was the quicker of the McLarens in 15th, 1.587s off the pace, but team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne had a late start to the session.
After suffering an MGU-H problem in Friday’s first session, McLaren opted to change his whole power unit – except for the battery and control electronics – to save time and he was able to get on track shortly after the halfway mark.
Vandoorne ended up slowest, having focused on long-run evaluation rather than going for lap times.
That put him just behind Carlos Sainz Jr, who pulled off at the end of the back straight after just 15 minutes with smoke emerging from his car, and Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein, who is returning to F1 action after missing the Australian and Chinese GPs and completed 29 laps.
PRACTICE TWO RESULTS:
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m31.376s||0.066s||28|
|8||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m32.245s||0.935s||18|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m32.707s||1.397s||35|
|12||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m32.875s||1.565s||38|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m33.319s||2.009s||34|
|18||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m34.072s||2.762s||5|
Bahrain GP FP1: Sebastian Vettel fastest ahead of Red Bull drivers
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel topped the first Formula 1 free practice session for the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix.
While Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was slowest after stopping on his seventh lap with smoke coming out of the rear of the car thanks to a problem the team suspected was related to high engine temperature, Vettel had no such trouble.
Vettel’s best time of 1m32.697s, set with 31 minutes of the session remaining, was enough to guarantee top spot by four-tenths of a second ahead of Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo.
During the early running with each driver using their first set of tyres, which can only be used during the first 40 minutes, Valtteri Bottas was fastest for Mercedes after setting a time of 1m35.002s.
That put him 1.077s faster than Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr, as the pair were the only drivers to opt for the soft Pirellis for their first sets.
Hamilton was the quickest of those who used mediums for their early running, 1.7s slower than Bottas, but he was the first of them to switch to softs.
This allowed him to hit top spot 37 minutes into the session with a lap of 1m34.636s, as none of his leading rivals took a second set of tyres so early.
As the rest of the field switched to softs, Williams driver Lance Stroll, with a 1m34.895s, and then Force India’s Sergio Perez, with a 1m34.322s, both had stints at the top of the timesheets.
Vettel, who was fourth fastest during the first 40 minutes, then banged in his quickest lap of the session to take a top spot he would never lose.
Ricciardo and team-mate Max Verstappen slotted into second and third respectively shortly after Vettel set his time, with almost half-a-second separating the Red Bull pair.
Perez’s time was good enough to end the session fourth ahead of Williams driver Felipe Massa, who had jumped ahead of team-mate Stroll moments after the Canadian had been knocked off top spot.
Massa had a dramatic spin at Turn 13 late in the session as a result of a major lock-up thanks to a problem with the brakes, but was able to recover to the pits.
Esteban Ocon was seventh fastest for Force India ahead of Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean, with Hamilton ending up the best-placed of the Mercedes drivers down in 10th place.
Daniil Kvyat was 11th fastest despite complaining about understeer, and was just under a tenth faster than Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, who ran wide and off the track at the final corner on his quickest lap of the session.
McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne was 13th, but his session came to a premature end with 21 minutes to go after, according to the Belgian, "the engine stopped".
Bottas, who concentrated on long runs for much of the session, was down in 15th and 2.305s off the pace.
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson were 16th and 17th ahead of Pascal Wehrlein.
The Sauber driver, in an F1 car for the first time since Friday practice at last month’s Australian Grand Prix, completed 23 laps during the session and was only 0.7s off his team-mate.
By the end of the session, Sainz had been shuffled down to 19th after not improving on his early soft-rubber pace, ahead only of Raikkonen.
BAHRAIN FP1 TIMES
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m33.097s||0.400s||22|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m33.566s||0.869s||23|
|4||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.095s||1.398s||22|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.332s||1.635s||23|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m34.838s||2.141s||13|
|19||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m36.079s||3.382s||16|
Ferrari F1 driver Raikkonen has a plan to fix tough start to 2017
Kimi Raikkonen insists that he and Ferrari have solutions for the causes of his "painful" start to the 2017 Formula 1 season.
While his team-mate Sebastian Vettel shares the world championship lead with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton after a win and a second place in the year’s first two grands prix, Raikkonen is yet to get on the podium.
His performances have already prompted Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne to urge team boss Maurizio Arrivabene to sit down with Raikkonen to discuss the situation.
Raikkonen admits he is unhappy with how his season has started, but believes making better set-up decisions can help him turn the corner.
"It’s always painful when you don’t have a good result," said Raikkonen, who was fourth in Australia and fifth in China.
"I’ve been in the sport long enough and it’s not very often that it’s all smiling and happy.
"It’s a part of the job. It’s frustrating. But I know what we need and we have a very clear picture of what we want to do."
Raikkonen’s hopes of tuning his car more to his liking were not helped by Friday’s running in China being a washout, but he says he cannot use that as an excuse.
"The not running on Friday was a bit of bad timing, but that’s how it goes," he said.
"I’m confident that we can get where we want to be.
"We need to start scoring bigger points to stay in the fight, but it’s going to be a long year.
"It’s disappointing to finish fifth, but I’ll take those points and hopefully be in a better position next race."
Raikkonen’s podium hopes in China were not helped by Ferrari’s decision to leave him out longer than was ideal before his second stop, which left him behind the Red Bulls in the final stint.
"Obviously it’s not great to not get past [Daniel Ricciardo] but we struggled a bit to really try to pass," he said.
"A lot of small things could have come better, and the result could have been a lot better, but this is how it was.
"I’m not very happy about it but it’s racing and there’s still many races to go.
"We have certain things to improve.
"It was better here than it was last race, but the result shows we still have improvements to make in the set-up, but I think we know what we want to do.
"There’s a lot of potential but we just have to make a better job."
Lewis Hamilton wins Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix for Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton converted pole position into a controlled Formula 1 race victory in a mixed-conditions Chinese Grand Prix.
Hamilton and his Mercedes team bounced back from defeat against Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in Australia, the German failing to present a major challenge this time around, not helped by losing time in traffic after making an early pitstop.
Vettel did finish the race a clear runner-up, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen completing the podium from 16th on the grid, holding off a strong late challenge from team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
While the Shanghai track was drying quickly after morning rain, all but two cars – the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz and the Renault of Jolyon Palmer (which pitted at the end of the formation lap) – had intermediate tyres fitted.
When the lights went out, poleman Hamilton eased towards Turn 1 in the lead, whereas fellow front row starter Vettel only just kept the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas at bay.
There was progress for Red Bull, with Ricciardo picking off Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen for fourth after the opening sequence of corners and Verstappen powering through to seventh by the end of the opening lap, having made up nine places.
Midway through the first lap, Lance Stroll, who had made his first Q3 appearance on Saturday, was punted off by Force India’s Sergio Perez, the Canadian rookie’s Williams beached in the gravel and forcing an appearance by the virtual safety car.
That remained for a couple of laps, with Hamilton now enjoying a healthy advantage and a number of drivers, including Vettel, opting to switch to slicks.
Most of the frontrunners were on intermediates as green flags waved again, but there was another crash moments later as Antonio Giovinazzi lost his car on the main straight, slamming into the pitwall and leading to a full safety car period.
When the race restarted on lap seven, the whole field was now on slicks, with Ricciardo Hamilton’s closest rival, as Vettel lost ground through the earlier stop and Bottas spun under the safety car when trying to warm up his tyres.
In green-flag conditions, a surging Verstappen quickly passed Raikkonen for third, before picking off Ricciardo a few laps later with a dive into Turn 6.
Hamilton pulled away at the front, with Ricciardo quickly dropping off the pair and instead working to keep the Ferrari duo at bay.
Vettel picked off Raikkonen first, and he needed little time to pull off a superb outside move on Ricciardo.
As Vettel applied pressure to Verstappen, the Red Bull driver locked up into the hairpin at the end of the lap, allowing the Ferrari through before pitting shortly after.
Upon rejoining, Verstappen lit up the timing screens and, after he took fifth from Bottas with another late Turn 6 lunge, all the drivers ahead would make their stops as well.
Eventually, this left Hamilton seven seconds clear of Vettel, and the gap between the pair remained around that point for the rest of the grand prix, eventually ending up at 6.250s at the chequered flag.
It was much closer in the fight for third, as the final laps of the race featured a tense fight between Verstappen and Ricciardo.
Verstappen was frustrated at the Haas of Romain Grosjean running ahead a lap down, but whatever interference the Frenchman caused was not enough for Ricciardo to capitalise.
Ricciardo tried a last-lap lunge at the hairpin, but came up short, having to settle for fourth place, while Raikkonen led recovering compatriot Bottas in fifth.
Sainz was best of the rest for Toro Rosso in seventh, while Kevin Magnussen scored his first points for his new team Haas in eighth.
He overtook the Force India pair of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, with the duo completing the top 10 as they bagged another double points finish for the Indian outfit.
There were five retirements in total, Stroll and Giovinazzi exiting in incidents and three other drivers foiled by reliability – Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and the McLaren duo of Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso, the latter pulling over with a driveshaft failure after battling Sainz.
CHINESE GRAND PRIX RESULT
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||56||45.192s|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||56||46.035s|
|7||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||56||1m12.893s|
|8||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|11||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||55||1 Lap|
|13||Jolyon Palmer||Renault||55||1 Lap|
|14||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||55||1 Lap|
|15||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||55||1 Lap|
|–||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||18||Hydraulics|
|–||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Honda||17||Fuel pressure|
|–||Antonio Giovinazzi||Sauber/Ferrari||3||Spun off|
Kimi Raikkonen hit by F1 understeer problems again at Chinese GP
Kimi Raikkonen has admitted he continues to struggle with understeer in his Ferrari, after qualifying fourth for Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix.
Raikkonen was a distant fourth in qualifying for the season opener in Melbourne, lapping 0.845s off the pace and going on to finish 22 seconds behind race-winning team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
He conceded then that he suffered with understeer during the Australian GP weekend and that repeated itself in qualifying at Shanghai.
The Finn led the way in Q2 with a late run, but he made only a marginal improvement on his best time in the final segment and ended up almost three tenths down on Vettel.
"The first run in last qualifying was just pretty poor overall, and then we struggled a bit with Turn 3 the whole qualifying – just a little bit still understeering," Raikkonen explained.
"We gave up way too much laptime there, never really got it back. Disappointed, but feeling-wise it was a lot better."
Raikkonen asked on the radio in Q3 if his set up had been changed, but he later explained that his problems were just magnified when it counted.
"There were the same issues, when you push harder and harder, when there’s an issue, it just highlights it," he said.
"You need [grip at] the front in certain places to go fast, and it’s not big, but it’s enough to delay you going on power or carrying speed through tight places.
"It makes enough of a difference to be on the back foot."
Raikkonen said he was running a slightly different set-up to teammate Vettel and lamented the fact that he didn’t get to work on it on Friday, with FP1 run in wet conditions and FP2 cancelled.
"It really probably is the worst time to have a day like yesterday," he said.
"If yesterday we could’ve run, we would’ve made a much clearer [set up] decision. But this is how it is sometimes.
"It’s taking a little while [to solve the problems] and obviously not ideal, but we know the issue and we just need some clear Fridays.
"I’m sure next race we can be a bit more happy.
"Overall it’s not too bad, it’s just the small things, and small things make a big difference in the laptime."