It was quite a painful race and not a very enjoyable one. At the start I had a good jump, but then I had to back off and this cost me a few places. After the pit stop the car was pretty fast and the feeling was good; at that point we were behind, but I could see the other cars at the end of the straight. The safety car helped us, at that time we had fresh tires. I would say it took us back in the race. In the end I had a decent speed with the Mediums against the guys that were on the same tires, but getting close to them and try to follow was really tricky. For sure we were faster than Valtteri, but when you get close it becomes more difficult, you lose so much grip in the process and lose so much downforce, especially in this kind of circuit. I just couldn’t get enough of a run on him. Today we take the third place, but obviously when you start from the first row it’s far from ideal. We’ll try to do better next time.
Q: Kimi, wow, it looked like you were a bit out of position. It looked like you were struggling a bit. They kept you out a long time before the pit stop. Then the safety car played into your hands and you had great speed and you got yourself back onto the podium.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, I think we made a good start and then got, unfortunately, blocked a bit and passed in the first corners. I struggled a little bit following people in the beginning. On my own I wasn’t too bad, but far from ideal at the start of the race and then obviously we stayed very long out. A little bit of luck with the safety car. I had good speed on the mediums but in the end we would have needed the soft tyres to really go for it. But I think I was kind of OK in the end, but once I got close I had much more speed than Valtteri but once you get close it’s so difficult to follow people, to get a good run you need much better tyres to get that proper run and you can kind of offset yourself. But I’ll take what I got, because at one point it didn’t look good at all.
Q: Kimi, can we get your thoughts on the pecking order now. Because Ferrari were so quick in qualifying yesterday, yet here you are in third place.
KR: It’s very hard to say. I think if you ask anybody, it’s a bit tricky to give you an answer. I think today a lot of the end results depended on whether you had better tyres than others, when you could offset yourself to the others. Obviously, it’s part of the game. A big part of the game. And here it made a big difference. And the safety car playing in there. So, like pure speed, with everybody on the same tyres… it’s difficult, very difficult to say in a race. I think it’s nice like that, for everybody to watch, because nobody really knows, everybody would love to know, nobody really has because it changes from race to race. And such a small difference makes a big difference in the end results. I think you just have to wait and see. I think it might change from race to race and who runs what tyres.
Q: (Keren Wang – Top Driver) Daniel, why didn’t you share your shoey with Valtteri and Kimi?
DR: To be honest, actually I don’t know if I’ve ever offered it to Kimi but to be honest I sprayed most of the champagne so I didn’t have that much more and obviously I saw my number one mechanic Genty (Chris Gent) and he was the priority at the time. There wasn’t enough to go round today unfortunately. Hopefully there’s plenty more opportunities.
Q: Kimi, would you accept a shoey?
KR: Lucky for us…
DR: Maybe next time. It’s a privilege.
Formula 1: Kimi Raikkonen unsure why he lost China pole to Vettel
Kimi Raikkonen has no explanation for losing Chinese Grand Prix pole position to Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Sebastian Vettel at the last moment in qualifying.
Raikkonen was quicker than Vettel in Q2, on provisional pole after the first runs in Q3 and posted the fastest first and second sectors of the session on his final lap.
The Finn failed to improve in the final sector and only marginally lowered his best time, while Vettel overturned the deficit from the first two sectors to snatch pole by less than a tenth.
Asked by Autosport what happened in the final sector, Raikkonen said: "Nothing really happened. I lost some time, but I don’t know. It wasn’t like I did some big mistake.
"It was close [to Vettel], close enough to make a difference. Not ideal. Tomorrow’s the day, we’ll see what happens."
Vettel said he knew he would be able to make a decent improvement after lapping 0.161s slower than Raikkonen on the first runs.
He was "too keen" exiting Turns 3 and 6 on that lap but said the car had been "unbelievable" throughout qualifying and peaked in Q3.
"Right from the first lap in the first part of qualifying I was really happy," Vettel said.
"We didn’t really do much on the car, I didn’t have to fight to find [the right set-up]. Usually you change quite a lot.
"I knew I had a bit more and the last lap I got it all together."
Valtteri Bottas qualified the best of the Mercedes third, more than half a second off the pace.
Vettel said the gap was a surprise but expects a "long, tough race" between Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull, which was slightly slower than Mercedes and locked out the third row.
"To have that much of a gap is a surprise," said Vettel.
"It’s also a track where you need to find that sweet spot and if you are a little bit out you easily drop a little bit of time.
"I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow that gap disappears and it’s a very tight race.
"Obviously, I wouldn’t mind if it stays there, but I think it will be a tight race among the top three teams."
Kimi and Seb comment on free practice in China
Shanghai – Practice at the Shanghai International Circuit was ended prematurely by drizzle when Kimi and Seb had nearly concluded their long-runs, after setting second and fourth best times on the timesheet. Nearly all drivers set their best times on the Ultrasoft compound, while various types of rubber were tried in race trim simulations. The Chinese track is 5.451 Kilometers long and features a total of 16 challenging corners, but it looks like the fight for tomorrow’s qualifying session will be as close as ever.
“It was a pretty good Friday”, said Kimi “and I’m quite happy with the feeling of the car. I think we have a pretty good base line to start from, it looks pretty good. The car has been quite straightforward since the beginning, so it easy to fine tune things. On one lap we had some traffic, I’m sure we could have gone faster. In the long run we never really got a proper idea due to the conditions: it started to rain and we had limited running, so it’s a bit tricky to know where we are. Today it was close, but then tomorrow who knows what the weather will be; things can change a lot from one day to the next”.
Sebastian Vettel wins Bahrain GP in tense finish with Valtteri Bottas
Sebastian Vettel resisted a late charge from Valtteri Bottas to win a fascinating Bahrain Grand Prix and make it two wins from two races in the 2018 Formula 1 season.
The Ferrari driver held on in a grandstand finish as Bottas, on mediums to Vettel’s fading soft tyres, just failed to steal the victory.
Lewis Hamilton recovered from a grid penalty to complete the podium after Kimi Raikkonen’s hopes were dashed during a pitstop that left a Ferrari mechanic hurt and forced him to retire.
Vettel held the lead at the start as Bottas mugged Raikkonen into Turn 1, and Vettel built a lead of more than three seconds over the first stint.
Bottas began to claw back time and was just two seconds back when Ferrari brought the race leader in for a change of tyres.
Vettel switched to softs and Raikkonen pitted a lap later as Bottas continued for two more laps, with the Ferraris benefiting from the power of fresher rubber.
When Bottas finally stopped, taking on mediums, Vettel’s lead was north of eight seconds and Raikkonen had closed back in on the Mercedes.
The lead trio held station for several laps, only really disrupted when Vettel caught the longer-running Hamilton – who had risen from ninth – and had to wait to pass the Mercedes.
Raikkonen then made a second stop that threatened to inject a strategic variable into the lead fight but ended up removing him from the picture.
The Finn pulled away before the left-rear had been changed and struck a mechanic’s leg, while Raikkonen stopped in the pitlane with three new tyres and the unchanged old one on his car and retired.
On-track Vettel appeared to be preparing for a two-stop race but his commitment to a one-stop became clear as his pace held up and Bottas failed to make significant inroads.
The gap dipped below five seconds heading towards the final 10 laps, and suddenly Vettel’s lead began to quickly diminish.
Bottas entered DRS range with two laps to go but a half-hearted look at Turn 1 on the final lap was as close as he got.
Hamilton finished 8.5s adrift of the lead duo in third, with Red Bull the only missing ingredient after both its driver’s races imploded in the first couple of laps.
Max Verstappen squeezed Hamilton too hard exiting Turn 1 after passing him at the start of the second lap damaged his left-rear wheel, which caused a puncture.
He got back to the pits and had the tyres changed, but parked up shortly after with a differential problem.
Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo’s race ended shortly after Verstappen picked up a puncture when his car shut down exiting the Turn 8 hairpin.
Red Bull’s junior team afforded it reason to be cheerful though: Pierre Gasly was an incredible fourth place for Toro Rosso on only the team’s second start with Honda power.
Gasly kept clear of the squabbling Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg, who clashed through Turn 2 over sixth on the opening lap but somehow escaped without damage, and was faultless for the remainder of the grand prix to bank his first points in F1 in style.
Magnussen then survived a near-miss with team-mate Romain Grosjean, who was out of sync on old tyres, at Turn 2 in the second half of the race to finish fifth.
Fernando Alonso leapt from 13th to ninth on the opening lap and drove a strong race after McLaren’s "astonishing" poor performance in qualifying.
He caught Hulkenberg’s Renault in the closing stages but had to settle for seventh, ahead of team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne who used medium tyres to good effect to climb to eighth after his second stop.
Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson banked his first points since the 2015 Italian Grand Prix in ninth place after running an extremely long first stint on softs and switching to mediums to execute a one-stop strategy to good effect.
Esteban Ocon completed the points finishers in 10th.
|4||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m02.234s||57|
|7||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Renault||1 Lap||56|
|8||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Renault||1 Lap||56|
|9||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap||56|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap||56|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Renault||1 Lap||56|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap||56|
|13||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||1 Lap||56|
|14||Charles Leclerc||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap||56|
|15||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||1 Lap||56|
|16||Lance Stroll||Williams/Mercedes||1 Lap||56|
|17||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams/Mercedes||1 Lap||56|
|–||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||Collision||3|
|–||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||Electrical||1|
Ferrari F1 mechanic suffers broken leg in Kimi Raikkonen pit incident
Ferrari has confirmed the Formula 1 mechanic who was hit by Kimi Raikkonen’s car in the botched pitstop at the Bahrain Grand Prix has suffered a broken leg.
The pitcrew member was tasked with fitting a new left rear tyre to Raikkonen’s car but, following a problem with the removal of the wheel already on it, he was still in position and had not moved when Raikkonen was released.
The mechanic was thrown to the ground, and was immediately attended to by paramedics before being taken to the track’s medical centre.
A tweet from Ferrari later said the mechanic has suffered two fractured bones.
Ferrari tweeted: "Apparently a shinbone and fibula fracture, our thoughts are with Francesco, stay strong #BahrainGP"
Speaking after the race, Raikkonen said he was unaware there had been a problem at the stop until he was told over the radio to bring his car to a halt.
"I go when the light is green and I don’t see what happens behind," said Raikkonen, who stopped his car in the pitlane straight after the incident and retired from the race.
"Unfortunately he got hurt. But you know my job is to go when the light changes – more [than] that, I don’t know really. Hopefully he’s OK."
Seb and Kimi secure front row lock-out: “The team deserves this result”
Sakhir – At the end of a tense qualifying session, Seb Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen flashed through the finish line of the Bahrain International Circuit to take first and second spot on tomorrow’s starting grid. It is the 214th pole position for Scuderia Ferrari and the 59th front row lock-out since 1950, while Sebastian claimed his sixth pole for the Cavallino squad and 51st overall. On a track that calls for power, traction and tire management, the two SF71Hs proved their worth and the whole team gave their best.
Kimi’s last qualifying attempt was slightly hampered by traffic, but nonetheless was good enough for second: “My last run was far from perfect; there was traffic and we couldn’t improve. We did not give ourselves a proper chance to do the best we could. The car had a lot of speed, but we did not take full advantage of that. I’m sure there was a lot more to come. Anyway, we start the race in a good position, so I’m a bit disappointed today but that’s how it goes.. Tomorrow is another day and we should have a good car; we hope for a better result. The key point will be tire management; it will be tricky for everybody. We’ll try to make the best of it, and I’ll go as fast as I can”.
Formula 1: Raikkonen escapes grid penalty as Ferrari is fined
Kimi Raikkonen has escaped a grid penalty at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite his Formula 1 car being released with a loose wheel after a practice pit stop error.
The Finn set the pace in FP2 at the Sakhir circuit before stopping in the pits for a practice stop near the end of the session.
But a problem with the right front corner meant the wheel was not properly attached as he was released back out on to the track.
The FIA is strict when it comes to cars being allowed back on track with loose wheels in practice sessions – and the normal procedure is for a grid penalty to be imposed.
However, following a stewards hearing, it was decided that such a harsh sanction was not needed on this occasion because Ferrari had done everything possible to minimise the risks of the wheel coming off.
Instead, the FIA handed out a €5000 fine to the Maranello outfit.
An FIA statement said: "The stewards reviewed the video of the pitstop of Raikkonen at 19:14 and heard from the team representatives.
"The stewards determined that the car was released in an unsafe condition in breach of Art. 28.13.b, that the team ordered the car stopped immediately, and that the driver stopped as fast as he safely could.
"Consistent with previous instances where a car was stopped on track, the stewards decide that the mandatory grid place penalty could not be applied where the team took all appropriate actions, the stewards fined the team €5,000."
Speaking after the session, Raikkonen played down the tyre drama – and was not getting too carried away with his promising Friday form.
"I felt some vibrations and it was loose and we had to stop," he said.
"It’s impossible to say what everybody is doing but not too bad.
"There’s things we have to improve but it’s a normal Friday when you try things to test you try to learn from them."
Kimi and Seb look ahead to the remainder of the weekend
Sakhir – Topping the timesheets on Friday does not bring any points, and Scuderia Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel are well aware that the Bahrain weekend has just begun. Nevertheless, their comments after the first day of practice reflected the hard work that the whole team had carried out. Kimi had to pull off the track and stop the car right at the end of the session due to a loose front right wheel, when his pitwall promptly informed him that something wasn’t right.
“It was a pretty straightforward day and the car felt ok”, said Kimi. “As on any Friday, we tried different things, tested and learned as much as possible. The feeling was pretty much the same everywhere, but in certain zones of the track we want to do better. If we look purely at lap times it was OK, but that doesn’t tell you much; It’s only the first day and it’s impossible to know what the others were doing. At the end of the second session, right after the pit-stop, I felt some vibrations in the car and the team told me to slow down and park the car. We found out that the front wheel was a bit loose, so we had to stop. For sure we still have to improve; tonight we’ll put all the data together to try and do even better”.
Why Ferrari’s 2018 F1 car’s front end is helping Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen’s resurgent form in Formula 1 has been helped by Ferrari’s decision not to pursue a complicated suspension set-up with its SF71H, suggests Motorsport TV’s technical analyst Craig Scarborough.
The Finn enjoyed a strong start to the season in Australia, qualifying on the front row and being Lewis Hamilton’s main challenger for much of the race before Sebastian Vettel’s pitstop strategy – made effective by a virtual safety car period – helped him jump from third to first.
Scarborough believes that Ferrari’s layout at the front of its car explains why Raikkonen’s campaign started so encouragingly in Australia.
"Ferrari, compared to any other front team, have the most conservative front suspension," said Scarborough in the latest episode of the Motorsport Show.
"Other people are playing around with the angles of the suspension with these upper arms, lifting them up for aero reasons, and for geometry reasons.
"Ferrari keep that and that gives them quite a good front end.
"And for somewhere like Melbourne that was really helping, and for a driver like Kimi Raikkonen that is really important as well, that they have that confidence in the front end.
"There are lots of factors when you make these decisions and certainly it seems to work for Ferrari."
Scarborough also suggested the suspension layout could give the team an advantage over rivals who have gone for more complicated designs.
"It is one of the trump cards for Ferrari and you wonder how that will start to play out with tyres as we go to different sorts of tracks, different temperatures and different compounds," he added.
In the same analysis, Anthony Rowlinson, Editor-in-Chief of F1 Racing, also examines the back end of the car.
"It’s interesting, I think, in the context of what Ferrari haven’t done at the front, that Sebastian Vettel to date has not found the grip he wants for the rear," said Rowlinson.