[…] Adesso viene il bello, o il brutto, comunque il difficile. Perché la Ferrari non è la Sauber e un weekend di gara non è un test. Tutti oggi parlano del confronto con Vettel, che fisiologicamente ci sarà. Ma c’è un altro confronto che attende Charles: quello con Kimi Raikkonen. Sì, perché agli ingegneri, ai tecnici, ai meccanici che siederanno con lui nelle riunioni, verrà quasi spontaneo, almeno all’inizio, paragonare il nuovo pilota con quello vecchio. E non crediate che l’esito sarà scontato. Di certo Charles userà, per spiegarsi, un inglese un po’ più formale e un po’ meno creativo del raikkoniano. Di certo avrà modi più gentili e meno borbottanti del suo predecessore. Ma attenzione: Kimi Raikkonen, nel suo isolamento quasi autistico, sapeva spiegarsi e sapeva soprattutto ascoltare, anche se faceva finta di niente. E dai suoi uomini aveva ottenuto, pur con gli inevitabili alti e bassi, rispetto, stima e anche ammirazione per il suo modo di essere, di fare e di guidare. Leclerc, certo, parte ben attrezzato: già l’anno scorso in Sauber pendevano dalle sue parole di debuttante. Quando Raikkonen aveva esordito in F.1, sempre con gli svizzeri, dovettero rimproverarlo perché nei briefing parlava poco, male e non prestava attenzione. Lui, Kimi, si scusò e, sempre a modo suo, imparò anche questa parte del lavoro di un pilota. Ora spetta a Leclerc guadagnarsi il rispetto della Ferrari. E badate che questo è un mondo che non fa sconti.
Ferrari, Raikkonen saluta Vettel: “È stato bello lavorare con te amico!”
Il finlandese ha inoltre scambiato il casco con l’ormai ex compagno di squadra
Pochissime parole ma cariche di significato. Kimi Raikkonen, con un post pubblicato sul proprio profilo Instagram, ha voluto salutare Sebastian Vettel con il quale ha condiviso il box Ferrari nelle ultime quattro stagioni.
Il finlandese infatti dal prossimo campionato difenderà i colori dell’Alfa Romeo Sauber, dove ha preso il posto di Charles Leclerc che invece ha seguito il percorso inverso approdando a Maranello.
“È stato bello lavorare con te amico!”, ha scritto Raikkonen. Il messaggio è stato accompagnato da una foto, che ritrae i due dopo lo scambio dei rispettivi caschi.
Un gesto che rimarca l’amicizia venutasi a creare tra il finlandese e il tedesco fuori dalla pista.
Un pilota arriva e un altro se ne va. Dopo 5 stagioni passate insieme, 8 se si considera anche il primo approdo a Maranello tra il 2007 e il 2009, Kimi Raikkonen lascia la Ferrari per tornare in Sauber. Con la squadra italiana, Kimi Raikkonen ha conquistato il titolo mondiale nel 2007 ed il cuore di milioni di tifosi, che ancora oggi lo rende uno dei piloti più apprezzati ed amati nel paddock. La sua seconda parte di carriera in Rosso non è stata particolarmente semplice, ma è stato un crescendo, dalle difficoltà incontrate nel 2014 per una vettura che non si adattava al suo stile di guida, fino al ritorno alla vittoria ad Austin quest’anno. La stagione 2018 è stata probabilmente una delle migliori della sua carriera, dove seppur sia arrivato un solo successo, il finlandese si è dimostrato molto costante in termini di prestazioni e di risultati, conquistando ben 12 podi nonostante diversi ritiri a causa di problemi alla vettura o incidenti in cui non era responsabile. Prima di chiudere il capitolo Kimi in Rosso, però, Maurizio Arrivabene ha voluto ricordare ancora una volta il pilota finlandese e ringraziarlo per gli anni passati insieme: “È molto difficile descrivere Kimi Raikkonen per le persone che non lo conoscono. Mercoledì sera la squadra ha organizzato una festa ad Abu Dhabi per ringraziarlo. Io dovevo fare delle telefonate importanti e all’improvviso vicino a me vedo Kimi, non dice una parola, ma è il suo modo di dirti grazie, per dirti sono qui” – ha raccontato il manager bresciano”.
“Sono una persona fortunata ad aver conosciuto ed aver lavorato con un pilota e con uomo come Kimi, al dì là dei suoi meriti di pilota è una persona umanamente straordinaria, che non ha bisogno di parlar molto. Lui vede attraverso i muri, sa pesare le persone, sa dare il giusto valore alle situazioni e poi quando è il momento di parlare non sta zitto, dice le cose che deve dire. È una persona di un’umanità pazzesca, quindi oltre a ringraziarlo per avermi fatto l’onore di lavorare con lui, ma soprattutto di onorarmi della sua amicizia, devo dirgli davvero grazie Kimi, sei un grande” ha poi concluso il team principal della Ferrari.
Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari exit sad for Formula 1 – Mercedes’ Wolff
Kimi Raikkonen’s departure from Ferrari at the end of this year has been labelled by Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff as a "blow" to everyone in Formula 1.
After five years at Maranello, Raikkonen is moving to Sauber for 2019 because his bosses elected to take Charles Leclerc instead.
Raikkonen had a stronger season in 2018 than recent years, taking pole position in Italy and a win in the United States, and remains one of the most popular drivers on the grid.
Wolff therefore thinks F1 will suffer from not having him in frontrunning machinery.
"I think it changes a lot for F1 that Kimi is not in Ferrari anymore in a car that is able to win races," said Wolff, in an interview with selected media including Autosport.
"He is a formidable character. He is one of the very few people in this day and age, with social media and the ego getting out of control, that stays true to himself.
"He has his values and stays true to his values, and he is authentic. That is what the fans love. So Kimi not in a Ferrari is a blow for all of us.
"But at least he is not out of it completely. He is in Sauber and it is shame that, with Fernando [Alonso] going completely and Kimi changing from Ferrari to Sauber, we are losing two unbelievable personalities in some way. Kimi and Ferrari as a combination was attractive."
Although Sauber is a competitive step down for Raikkonen, Wolff is convinced that the 2007 world champion has done the right thing in choosing to stay on in F1.
"Kimi says he is coming to enjoy things with Sauber, but the Sauber proved to be a best of the rest car," explained Wolff.
"It is also just 40 minutes away from home, so he is able to stay at home. I think with Fred [Vasseur, team boss] they have a racers group that is coming together, and a strong relationship with Ferrari, so why would he not continue to do what he enjoys doing?
"We were too much driven about what should he do: should he leave F1 because it is not a winning car anymore? But we are all here to be happy and we are all here to enjoy ourselves, and if driving is something that he truly enjoys then he is right to follow his passion."
Abu Dhabi F1 test: Sebastian Vettel fastest for Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time in Formula 1’s post-season Pirelli tyre test in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, as Kimi Raikkonen’s Sauber reunion day ended with an on-track stoppage.
Vettel, who had caused a brief red flag with a minor crash at Turn 1 in the morning, overhauled morning pacesetter Valtteri Bottas early in the afternoon to end the nine hours of running with a best time of 1m36.812s on the 2018 version of the hypersoft tyres.
Bottas’s early benchmark of 1m37.231s was enough to remain second-fastest. He had used what Pirelli labelled as ‘compound 5’ – the softest of the 2019 types on offer.
Raikkonen’s late stoppage ended a productive first day with Sauber since 2001 prematurely.
The 2007 world champion came to a halt inside the final hour when an unknown technical problem caused his Sauber to stop on track after he had completed 102 laps, and the recovery time meant the session was extended by 15 minutes.
Lance Stroll used 2018 hypersofts to jump to third for Racing Point Force India once the session resumed, having made his debut for the team he has not yet been announced as a 2019 race driver for.
In the final hour Stroll set a 1m37.909s that edged him ahead of both Max Verstappen, who did not improve from his early time on current ultrasofts, and Force India’s morning driver Sergio Perez.
Lando Norris jumped to sixth in the afternoon for McLaren, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg.
The Renault driver was back behind the wheel fewer than 48 hours after barrel-rolling out of Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Both Perez and Norris set their times on ‘compound 5’, with Hulkenberg running 2018 hypersofts.
F1 test debutant Pietro Fittipaldi caused a red flag early in the day when his Haas stopped on track, and it was several hours before he rejoined as the team changed his Ferrari engine.
Fittipaldi made a series of improvements when he hit the track again just before the final hour and – after an interruption because of a red flag caused by Raikkonen – hauled himself to eighth.
Robert Kubica took over from 2019 Williams team-mate George Russell for the afternoon and bested the Formula 2 champion’s time by three tenths to finish ninth.
Various improvements shuffled Raikkonen back to 11th, ahead of only Toro Rosso’s Sean Gelael.
The test will conclude on Wednesday as teams get their final chance to evaluate Pirelli’s 2019 compounds and compare them with the ’18 versions.
No information is held back at this test, unlike blind tyre comparisons that take place at tests during the compound development phase, and set-up changes are open.
On Wednesday Charles Leclerc will drive for Ferrari for the first time since being confirmed as a 2019 race driver, as will Pierre Gasly for Red Bull and Carlos Sainz Jr for McLaren.
Daniil Kvyat will also make his Toro Rosso track return on the second day.
Tuesday test times
|3||Lance Stroll||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.415s||0.603s||56|
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m37.947s||1.135s||133|
|5||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.976s||1.164s||67|
|12||Sean Gelael||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m40.435s||3.623s||150|
Expected Wednesday test line-up
Mercedes: Valtteri Bottas
Ferrari: Charles Leclerc
Red Bull: Pierre Gasly
Renault: Artem Markelov
Haas: Louis Deletraz
Force India: Lance Stroll
McLaren: Carlos Sainz Jr
Sauber: Antonio Giovinazzi
Toro Rosso: Daniil Kvyat
Williams: Robert Kubica/George Russell
Kimi Raikkonen has first Sauber F1 run since 2001 in Pirelli test
Kimi Raikkonen has returned to the wheel of a Sauber Formula 1 car for the first time in 17 years.
The Finn will race for the Swiss team in 2019 after ending his second spell with Ferrari this season.
Raikkonen, reunited with the team he made his F1 debut with in 2001, is getting his first experience of Sauber’s current set-up in this week’s Pirelli tyre test in Abu Dhabi.
He is driving Sauber’s C37 on Tuesday and completed a first installation lap as soon as the test started at 9am local time.
Raikkonen, who is not wearing Sauber team gear, quickly returned to the track and completed 10 laps by the end of the first hour.
He has an unbranded race suit and a black-and-white, simplified crash helmet design like he used at Lotus in 2012.
After three hours of running Raikkonen was ninth-fastest of the 10 drivers who appeared on the first morning of the test and had covered 30 laps.
He had improved to a 1m41.371s shortly before the end of the third hour to lift himself above 10th-placed Pietro Fittipaldi, who caused a red flag when his Haas stopped on track with a suspected engine problem.
The 2007 world champion is not the only driver getting experience of his 2019 team early.
Formula 2 champion George Russell has appeared with Williams for the first time ahead of his graduation with the team next year.
Russell’s F2 rival Lando Norris is at the wheel of the McLaren again.
Fittipaldi is making his F1 testing debut with Haas. The grandson of two-time world champion Emerson has landed a development role with the American team for 2019.
Also driving in the test on Tuesday are Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Sergio Perez (Force India), Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) and Sean Gelael (Toro Rosso).
Other drivers set to appear on Wednesday include Pierre Gasly (Red Bull), Antonio Giovinazzi (Sauber) and Carlos Sainz Jr (McLaren).
New Toro Rosso 2019 recruit Alexander Albon is not scheduled to drive at all.
Lewis Hamilton wins 2018 F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton ended his title-winning Formula 1 season by dominating the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which featured a dramatic first-lap crash for Nico Hulkenberg.
Hamilton ran the longest second stint of any driver after pitting under an early virtual safety car period, but he remained comfortably clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to the end.
Max Verstappen overcame an early engine scare and resisted his charging Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo to finish third and deny the Australian a podium on his final race for the team before switching to Renault next season.
Hamilton held his advantage from pole but the race was neutralised after only half a lap thanks to Hulkenberg’s accident.
The Renault driver attacked Romain Grosjean into Turn 9, the left-hander at the end of the first long back straight, but Grosjean hung on around the outside as he was forced to the edge of the track.
Hulkenberg turned in to the apex of the right-hander that immediately follows and was hit Grosjean’s front-left, which pitched the Renault into a barrel roll.
It came to a rest upside down against the outside barrier, briefly caught fire, and the unhurt Hulkenberg had to wait for trackside staff to arrive and reposition the car before he could extract himself.
Hamilton nailed the restart at the end of the fourth lap to lead team-mate Valtteri Bottas by more than a second over the line.
The leader stopped early, on lap seven of 55, when Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari switched off exiting the final corner and stopped on the start-finish line, sparking a virtual safety car.
Bottas and Vettel stayed out, with only Charles Leclerc – running a stunning fourth after jumping both Red Bulls on the opening lap and passing Raikkonen’s ailing Ferrari – and seventh-place man Romain Grosjean following Hamilton into the pits.
Bottas, Vettel and Ricciardo extended their stint on ultrasofts and Verstappen tried to make his hypersofts last as long as possible.
Ricciardo and Verstappen were given engine warnings early on by Red Bull but these passed and were traced to "unexpected power unit protection", suggesting a failsafe had briefly been erroneously activated.
Bottas pitted nine laps after Hamilton and rejoined nine seconds adrift, and although Hamilton complained about his tyres the Briton maintained a relatively comfortable gap.
Hamilton was still six seconds or so clear of Bottas when his team-mate lost his grip on second place thanks to some problems under braking.
A lock up at Turn 5 and then the end of the first long back straight allowed Vettel to steal second on lap 35, and then three laps later a smaller mistake at the same place let Verstappen get a run on Bottas down the second back straight and pass him – with a bit of wheel bumping – through the little chicane that follows.
One lap later Bottas lost another place to Ricciardo, who had led for a while thanks to extending his first stint to lap 33, and Mercedes decided to pit Bottas for fresh tyres after spotting a possible problem after the Verstappen contact.
Though Bottas’s troubles freed up Vettel to attack Hamilton, and hack the gap down to 2.5s at the flag, he never got close enough to trouble the leader.
Victory was Hamilton’s 11th of the season, matching his best-ever haul from a single campaign.
By keeping Ricciardo at bay for third, Verstappen was able to nick ahead of Bottas for fourth in the drivers’ championship.
Bottas finished his winless season with a distant fifth, ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr.
Sainz ended his time with Renault with a best-of-the-rest victory earned by virtue of a long first stint, that allowed him to overhaul Leclerc’s Sauber.
Leclerc had to survive pressure from Racing Point Force India driver Sergio Perez to hold onto seventh, while Haas duo Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen completed the top 10.
Fernando Alonso finished just outside the top 10 on his likely final F1 appearance, despite picking up two five-second penalties late on for a track limits offence when he cut the chicane at the end of the first backstraight.
Three drivers joined Hulkenberg and Raikkonen in not making it to the finish.
Marcus Ericsson’s stint with Sauber ended in retirement after running in the points early on, before Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly retired within two laps of each other with smoke coming from their respective cars.
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||55||12.706s|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||55||15.379s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||55||1m31.275s|
|9||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||54||1 Lap|
|10||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||54||1 Lap|
|11||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Renault||54||1 Lap|
|12||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||54||1 Lap|
|13||Lance Stroll||Williams/Mercedes||54||1 Lap|
|14||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Renault||54||1 Lap|
|15||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams/Mercedes||54||1 Lap|
|–||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||46||Oil leak|
|–||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||44||Oil leak|
E’ chiaro che sono un po’ deluso, non è così che avrei voluto che finisse la nostra ultima gara insieme. Volevamo un buon risultato e penso che avessimo la macchina giusta per farlo. Purtroppo abbiamo avuto un problema elettrico: nel rettilineo opposto ai box ho sentito che mancava potenza e poi si è spento tutto. E’ un peccato, ma è così che vanno le corse a volte. E’ stata una stagione più che discreta, ma i quattro ritiri non erano previsti e non hanno certo aiutato; volevamo di più, questo è certo. Vorrei ringraziare tutti i tifosi della Ferrari che mi hanno sempre dato un grande sostegno. Assieme abbiamo vissuto momenti belli e brutti, e questo rende le cose anche più interessanti. Avremmo voluto finire meglio ma anche questo fa parte dello sport. Conserveremo per sempre il ricordo del mondiale Piloti e dei due titoli Costruttori vinti assieme.
Kimi Raikkonen gets green light for early test with Sauber F1 team
Sauber’s new Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen will drive the team’s 2018 car in post-season Pirelli testing in Abu Dhabi.
Raikkonen, who signed a two-year deal with Sauber earlier this year, had a seat fitting with the team in September.
Team principal Frederic Vasseur has now confirmed that the 2007 world champion will be permitted by his current Ferrari team to drive for Sauber during the November 27-28 test.
Sauber is yet to reveal its exact programme for the test, which will mark Raikkonen’s first laps back with the team he was a race driver for when he made his F1 debut in 2001.
Raikkonen’s 2019 team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi drove for Sauber again in Friday practice at Yas Marina and is expected to also be involved in the test.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will mark 39-year-old Raikkonen’s 151st and final start for Ferrari, for which he has competed across two different multi-year stints.
Speaking ahead of the weekend, Raikkonen insisted he saw no reason to feel down ahead of his last outing with the Scuderia.
"Obviously I had practice leaving them once already so it’s not a new thing," he joked.
"I’m not sad because I don’t see why we need to be sad. We will stay as friends.
"We’re going to see a lot of us anyhow in the paddock so not an awful lot changes.
"We’ll both go for new things and I think it’s exciting, but we’ve had good times with the team, great people.
"We’ve had some difficult times, but that’s part of business and I think that’s how it should go: sometimes it needs to be a bit hard.
"Obviously I won the championship with them as a driver and we won twice [the teams’ championship] so I’m very happy to be part of it because there’s not many people who have done it.
"We will happily go different ways. We’re not that far away from each other and we will keep doing what we do."
Raikkonen, who was seventh in first practice on Friday, is 14 points ahead of Valtteri Bottas and 17 ahead of Max Verstappen in the fight for third place in the 2018 standings, but said he was not fussed where he finished the year.
"I don’t think it changes my world any way," he said.
"If I end up third, I think I need to go wherever the prizegiving is, so it is a negative thing in the end, more travelling."
Q: All the best. Kimi, late pressure from Daniel coming in, but a good race from you?
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, it was good. Not easy, but there was some battling, so it was fun. Obviously we hoped for better but not the easiest.
Q: Ferrari’s tyres choice didn’t look like it worked out in the end, these guys looked very strong at the beginning, certainly Max on the supersoft. Do you think that was wrong?
KR: I don’t know. My tyre was good, but it was difficult to pass and it took too long to pass. You cannot replay on other tyres, so we don’t know.
KR: Nothing to add, really. Formula E looks nice but…