La pole di Kimi e il silenzio degli innocenti
Forse è meglio lo scriva tre volte di seguito.
Kimi in pole a Montecarlo.
Kimi in pole a Montecarlo.
Kimi in pole a Montecarlo.
Giusto ieri, venerdì, battibeccavo affettuosamente su Radio 24 con Ivan Capelli, pronto a sostenere che la Ferrari ha bisogno accanto a Vettel di un partner più competitivo di Raikkonen.
Ah, sì? E comunque Ivan è un amico, vale come simbolo di un esercito (spero in rotta) di detrattori in servizio permanente effettivo del Santo Bevitore.
Ma poi mi fermo qui, perchè diceva il Poeta che del doman non v’è certezza e in certe occasioni conviene godere muti.
Il silenzio degli innocenti.
Quindi, parlerò d’altro.
Ferrari stellare. Bravo Arrivabene, bravo Binotto, brava l’intera squadra.
Del resto, era dal 2008 che non c’era una prima fila tutta Rossa a Monaco.
Finì a schifio la domenica.
I punti si prendono la domenica (Schumi dixit).
Hamilton è stato sfortunato causa Vandoorne ma la pole mai l’avrebbe fatta e in fondo era giusto, non poteva eguagliare le 65 partenze al palo di Ayrton proprio nel Principato. Vediamo cosa riesce a combinare in rimonta.
Gara tutta da definire, Mi ricordo sgradevolmente di Sochi, eh. Bottas non va piano, sgrattaando sgrattando abbiamo da ferraristi una grande attenzione, ma chi se ne frega.
Vettel sa cosa fare.
Io so che volti guardare questo sabato e che parole ascoltare o andare a leggere.
Il tempo è galantuomo, per chi è in buona fede.
FIA post-qualifying press conference – Monaco
Drivers: 1 – Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), 2 – Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), 3 – Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes).
Q: Kimi, what a fantastic job, your second pole here in Monaco but perhaps more importantly, you first pole since France 2008, which is 128 races ago – it established a new record for the gap between pole position. Clearly there’s plenty of life still within you yet. How excited are you to be starting on pole in Monaco, and where did it come from today, this performance?
Kimi Raikkonen: Obviously it’s the best place to start for tomorrow, but it doesn’t guarantee anything for tomorrow. Nevertheless I’ll happily take it. It’s been all weekend quite OK. We’ve been struggling a little bit in certain places and we’ve been working and trying to figure it out and in qualifying it was better, by no means perfect, but it’s never going to be perfect. It was good enough and I was very happy with the car in there. If you look you can always go a bit faster here and there but that’s normal, it’s a never-ending story like that. We had a good timing when we went out. I felt good, so I was able to push and it was quite a nice straightforward qualifying. So happy for myself, happy for the team. Obviously we have two cars in the front tomorrow so let’s try to make the best out of it.
Q: (Pete Farkas – Auto Motor) It was quite interesting to see that during free practices Sebastian seemed to be a bit more confident on track than Kimi, but throughout qualifying it was the other way round. Has something changed – maybe it was because of the conditions, maybe the very high track temperatures – or maybe it was nothing in particular?
KR: No, I don’t think so. I think it’s the very fine details that make a difference here. If you have just a little bit of an off feeling with the tyres or something like that in one place, it limits you to go fast and obviously in those low-speed corners you can lose a lot of time for basically nothing. It’s tricky to put the good laps together. You try to kind of, in the practice, take it a bit easier, not to destroy the car, because then you are going to lose a lot. Then you push and hopefully you get it right. But I think it’s such small differences. It’s nothing to do with conditions or anything else, it’s just whoever gets the best feeling and being able to push.
Q: (Louis Dekker – nos.nl) For all the drivers, can you say if the circuit, with these new cars, is easier or more difficult?
KR: I don’t think it’s any easier. We end up going faster but then the same difficulties are there to go fast. It’s always tricky here, like it is in any place, especially here because you have to get very close to the kerbs and the walls and everything and there’s no chance to make mistakes. I think the resurface has improved a lot the circuit. It’s less bumpy, so it makes it a bit more nicer – but I don’t feel it’s any easier because the cars are faster and how more downforce. Everything happens a bit faster.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) To Kimi. Kimi in spite of being the sixth round of the Championship there is an important difference in points between you and Sebastian. In the case you and Sebastian are fighting the first bend after the start, how will you react?
KR: No different to any other point this year, last year. We know what we are doing, we are racing for the team and y’know, we have certain rules and respect against each other. We are allowed to fight but obviously, we have to do it as clean as we can and not take each other out.
Q: (Ottavio Daviddi – Tuttosport) To the Ferrari drivers. You are in the first row, I think that the first corner will be very important. I would like to know if it is necessary to discuss about Ste. Devote between you with doors closed tonight, or not?
I think Kimi’s half-answered this already…
Q: And Kimi, you will presumably have a briefing before the race in which it will…
KR:… I don’t know why people expect that it is something different tomorrow than it’s been the last two years. Nothing has changed. Just try to make a stupid story out of nothing.
Q: (Luigi Perna – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Kimi, this pole position, during the last nine years, it’s important for you to have done it in such a selective track as Monte Carlo?
KR: No, I would have happily taken any other place also but it just happens. We’ve been close a few times lately but it’s something we haven’t really got in the last race. But if you take any circuit, here it’s the most important to be in front but it doesn’t automatically give you a win or a good result. There are so many things that can happen in a race that are nothing to do with you. You might be doing and the team might be doing a perfect job but actually there are absolutely other things which might destroy the whole race so it’s going to be a long difficult race but we have two cars in the best possible positions so that’s the main thing.
Raikkonen happy, but pole ‘guarantees nothing’
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen says he will be taking nothing for granted in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, despite admitting his delight at being on pole for the first time in almost a decade.
Raikkonen looked imperious throughout Saturday’s Monte Carlo qualifying, finishing less than a tenth of a second ahead of team mate Sebastian Vettel who will join him on the front row.
“Obviously it’s the best place to start for tomorrow but it doesn’t guarantee anything for tomorrow,” said the Finn, who won the famous street race for McLaren back in 2005.
“Nevertheless I’ll happily take it, and it’s been quite okay all weekend. We’ve been struggling a little bit in certain places and have been working to try and figure it out.
“Qualifying was better – it wasn’t perfect, but it’s never going to be perfect. It was good enough and I was very happy with the car.
“You can always go a bit faster here and there – it’s normally a never-ending story like that – but things went well. We had good timing with when we went out and I felt good, so I was able to push and it was a quite nice, straightforward qualifying.”
Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene was quick to praise the efforts of Raikkonen, who took the title with Ferrari in 2007 – but who has not won a race for them since Belgium 2009.
“I’m really happy for him because he deserves it – the champion is coming out sometimes,” said Arrivabene. “It’s a pity for Sebastian that he made a little mistake in Turn 5, but having two cars up there is good.”
The qualifying result means Ferrari’s second front-row lockout of the year, the last one being in Russia where they were then beaten to victory by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
“I’m happy we find the pace now, but we have to remember the last one in Sochi, be careful and think about tomorrow,” added Arrivabene.
With the prospect of a 21st career victory firmly on the cards, Raikkonen concluded: “Happy for myself, happy for the team and obviously we have two cars on the front tomorrow so we’ll try to make the best of it.”
Raikkonen takes Monaco Grand Prix F1 pole, Hamilton goes out in Q2
Kimi Raikkonen claimed his first Formula 1 pole position since 2008 in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, as Lewis Hamilton failed to make the top-10 shootout.
Raikkonen’s Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel had set the pace in Thursday practice, and in final practice on Saturday morning in Monte Carlo, but Raikkonen moved ahead in Q2 and stayed there, eventually claiming the top spot by just 0.043 seconds as Vettel just fell short in Q3.
Valtteri Bottas was third in the best of the Mercedes, just 0.002s behind Vettel, while team-mate Hamilton was forced to watch from the sidelines.
Hamilton struggled for speed throughout Q1 and Q2, and almost crashed twice after losing the rear end of his Mercedes at Massenet and Casino Square.
The triple world champion was down in 14th place in Q2, as Ferrari set the pace, but looked on a lap good enough to make Q3 before Stoffel Vandoorne crashed his McLaren-Honda at the Swimming Pool.
That forced Hamilton to abandon his lap and means he will start the Monaco street race mired in the midfield.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified fourth in Hamilton’s absence, well clear of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo behind.
A late improvement from Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr in Q3 lifted him to a season’s best sixth, ahead of Sergio Perez’s Force India and Romain Grosjean’s Haas.
Jenson Button qualified ninth on his return to F1 in place of Fernando Alonso, but Button’s McLaren-Honda will drop to the back of the grid thanks to a 15-place penalty for engine component changes ahead of final practice.
Button’s team-mate Vandoorne rounded out the top 10, though he failed to participate in Q3 after that Q2 crash.
He will drop three places on account of a penalty for clashing with Felipe Massa at the previous race in Spain.
Vandoorne’s shunt also prevented the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat from improving at the end of Q2, so one of the stars of Thursday practice wound up only 11th fastest in qualifying.
Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault was 12th, ahead of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas (which wasn’t affected by the yellow flags), Hamilton and the Williams of Massa, who also hadn’t set a representative time before having to abort his final flying lap thanks to the Vandoorne incident.
A last gasp effort from Grosjean knocked Esteban Ocon out in Q1.
Grosjean spun at Mirabeau in the early stages of that session, but ultimately did enough to progress.
Force India repaired Ocon’s car following his morning practice crash in time to complete the final 10 minutes of Q1, and Ocon looked safely through to Q2 until Grosjean’s late show.
Ocon missed the cut by 0.202s but was well clear of the second Renault of Jolyon Palmer, who complained of too much understeer as he struggled to the 17th fastest time.
Lance Stroll’s Williams was almost two tenths slower in 18th, the Canadian having to cut short his run thanks to a hydraulic leak.
He ended up ahead of only Sauber pairing Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson, who clouted the barrier at the Nouvelle chicane on his final Q1 lap and had to pull off into the escape road with a broken left-rear wheel.
PROVISIONAL STARTING GRID:
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m12.496s||0.318s|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m12.998s||0.820s|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m13.162s||0.984s|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m13.329s||1.151s|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m13.516s||1.338s|
|15||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m14.101s||–|
Monaco Grand Prix: Vettel leads Ferrari one-two in final practice
Ferrari Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel was quickest again in the Saturday morning practice session of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.
The four-time F1 champion ended the hour-long session 0.345 seconds clear of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in a Ferrari one-two.
Just like both of Thursday’s practice sessions, the ultra-soft-dominated practice three provided another fastest-ever lap of the Monte Carlo track, Vettel’s 1m12.395s a three-tenth improvement on his own previous record.
After an initial flood of installation laps in the opening minutes, Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was first of the frontrunners to kick off a proper run, the Finn quickly establishing himself at the top of the timesheets.
But compatriot Raikkonen’s first effort dethroned Bottas immediately, the Ferrari man posting a 1m13.568s as Bottas himself then came up 0.053s short.
Despite causing a brief yellow flag as he stopped just short of the barriers at Antony Noghes, Raikkonen lowered the session benchmark further with his next proper effort – a 1m13.379s.
Lewis Hamilton briefly returned Mercedes to the top spot, but was relegated behind the two Ferraris in no time, Vettel now edging ahead of Raikkonen via a 1m12.890s lap.
The other Mercedes of Bottas was shuffled down even further at the conclusion of his first run, with the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat splitting the two Silver Arrows.
As the session passed its halfway point, Verstappen broke up Ferrari’s one-two at the top of the timing screens, lapping 0.050s off Vettel 12 laps into his ultra-soft stint.
But Ferrari was soon back in formation at the front, Vettel finally beating Thursday’s best lap with a 1m12.558s effort a few seconds after Raikkonen had overtaken him and Verstappen.
Vettel then went even quicker, stringing together three purple sectors for a 1m12.395s – and going just 0.003s slower with his next flying lap.
By that point, Mercedes now had its first sub-1m13s lap of Monaco courtesy of Bottas, who emerged as best of the rest behind the Ferraris heading into the final few minutes.
But the running in what had been a largely incident-free session was then disrupted when Esteban Ocon hit the guardrail on the entry to the Swimming Pool section, damaging his Force India’s right-front suspension and going nose-first into the barriers.
This triggered a virtual safety car as the Force India was removed from the track, leaving less than four minutes for those seeking to do a last-gasp qualifying run.
Improvements were few and far between in the hectic final minutes, leaving Ferrari with a comfortable one-two out front.
Bottas took third ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton, with Daniel Ricciardo in sixth after a suspected brake failure at the chequered flag left him stranded at the escape road at Sainte Devote.
Toro Rosso maintained its strong form from Thursday, Carlos Sainz Jr leading team-mate Kvyat in seventh.
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, who had drawn the ire of Ocon for holding him up in the final sector, was ninth, while McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne made up the top 10.
PRACTICE THREE RESULTS:
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m12.940s||0.545s||27|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m13.392s||0.997s||24|
|7||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m13.400s||1.005s||27|
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m13.563s||1.168s||23|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m13.936s||1.541s||23|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m14.072s||1.677s||21|
Raikkonen must ‘drive better’ after Spanish F1 qualifying ‘mess’
imi Raikkonen says he needs to "drive better" after making "a mess" of his Spanish Grand Prix Formula 1 qualifying session.
The Finn outpaced team-mate Sebastian Vettel in all three practice sessions in Spain, topping the third one, but made a series of "small mistakes" when it counted in qualifying.
Raikkonen felt pole position was possible but ended up fourth quickest, 0.290s off the pace of Lewis Hamilton, who pipped Vettel by just 0.051s.
"[I need to] drive better – don’t make those mistakes," said Raikkonen.
"I struggled for whatever reason to put a decent lap, all the corners together in qualifying.
"I thought I had a lot of speed but I never really managed to make a good lap out of it.
"I ran wide already in Turn 1, but I managed to get out of it and I was still fast.
"Then in Turn 4 and 5 I just ran really wide and lost quite a bit of lap time there.
"Without those [mistakes] there was, for sure, enough lap time to challenge for the first place.
"It’s a bit disappointing to make a mess out of it but we’ll try tomorrow."
Despite missing out on his first pole since the 2008 French Grand Prix, Raikkonen is encouraged by Ferrari’s pace and the performance of its Barcelona upgrade.
"Definitely we are close," said Raikkonen. "The car has been good.
"We have done our own stuff [update] – we have no control over what the others are doing.
"We have a solid package that we try to improve and bring small things here and there.
"Sometimes when it looks a lot different it doesn’t mean you are one second faster.
"We’ve been quite happy with where we’ve been, especially with these conditions – usually it’s not our strongest point so it was a good result today."
Spanish GP: Hamilton beats Vettel to F1 pole by 0.051 seconds
Lewis Hamilton beat Formula 1 title rival Sebastian Vettel to pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix by less than one tenth of a second after a thrilling qualifying battle.
Ferrari had set the pace in final practice at Barcelona’s Catalunya circuit, but Hamilton’s Mercedes held the advantage in qualifying after the first runs in Q3, setting a 1m19.149s time that would eventually stand for pole when Hamilton failed to improve on his second run.
Vettel suffered from a de-rating of his Ferrari’s energy recovery system during his first Q3 run, and was a distant fourth quickest as a result, but he was lapping comfortably faster than Hamilton’s pole time on his final run before locking up at the final chicane.
Vettel eventually cut the timing beam in 1m19.200s, half a tenth down on Hamilton, apologising to his team for the mistake.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was third fastest, recovering from a wild slide exiting the chicane on his first Q3 run to ultimately lap 0.173s slower than Vettel with a small improvement on his second run.
Bottas described his performance as "not good enough", but it was enough to confine the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen to fourth.
Raikkonen suffered an oversteer moment at Turn 12 on his first Q3 run and lost time in sector two on his final effort.
Max Verstappen was well clear of Daniel Ricciardo in the private battle between Red Bulls to be fifth, while Fernando Alonso produced a superb performance to haul McLaren-Honda into Q3 for the first time this season and qualify seventh fastest.
Force India got both its cars into the top 10 again, sandwiching Felipe Massa’s ninth placed Williams.
Sergio Perez was eighth and Esteban Ocon 10th, Ocon feeling he lost two tenths after failing to engage DRS at a crucial moment.
Kevin Magnussen missed out on making the top 10 by less than a tenth, while Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean wound up down in 14th after losing the rear end of his car and going off at Turn 13 and the chicane on his final Q2 lap.
Carlos Sainz Jr looked in excellent shape through Q1 and the initial runs in Q2, where he was always inside the top 10, but he only found 0.015s on his final Q2 run so ended up 12th.
The Spaniard felt he extracted the maximum from the heavily updated Toro Rosso, finishing just ahead of Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault, which failed to make Q3 for the first time since the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, provoking an angry response from Hulkenberg on team radio.
Pascal Wehrlein’s Sauber was 15th fastest, having done very well to win a tight scrap to escape Q1.
Less than a second covered 14 cars in that fight, with Perez’s Force India the only car outside the top six not required to make a second run.
Wehrlein edged out Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson by just 0.005s to make the cut, while Jolyon Palmer’s Renault, Lance Stroll’s Williams, Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren and Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso all missed out.
Hulkenberg and Massa also scraped through in this segment, but Kvyat and Vandoorne qualified well adrift of their team-mates, with Sainz’s Toro Rosso ninth fastest in Q1 and Alonso’s McLaren 12th.
SPANISH GP GRID
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m19.706s||0.557s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m20.175s||1.026s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m21.070s||1.921s|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m21.272s||2.123s|
|12||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m21.371s||2.222s|
|20||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m22.746s||3.597s|
Raikkonen leads Ferrari one-two in final practice for F1 Spanish GP
Kimi Raikkonen led a Ferrari one-two in final Formula 1 free practice for the Spanish Grand Prix.
After a subdued Friday dominated by Mercedes, Raikkonen posted a 1m20.214s on soft tyres to outpace Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel by 0.242s.
But Vettel’s day was not without trouble, as his session came to an early end after stopping in the pitlane with 10 minutes remaining.
Lewis Hamilton, who had topped both of Friday’s sessions, had to settle for third place ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who managed just seven laps.
Bottas’s day got off to a difficult start as Mercedes worked on his car following an electrical issue that made the team break the curfew.
As a result, the Russian GP winner was then forced to revert to an older-spec engine for the rest of the weekend after a water leak was found. He spent the majority of the session in the garage.
Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth and sixth as the usual order was restored at the front of the field.
Nico Hulkenberg continued to shine in the Renault with the seventh fastest time, ahead of Felipe Massa’s Williams and local heroes Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso) and Fernando Alonso (McLaren).
Alonso, aiming to make up for the lost time on Friday, was the first driver to register a time early on, but was soon demoted by Esteban Ocon in the Force India fitted with medium tyres.
Raikkonen was the first of the frontrunners to complete a timed lap, the Finn posting a 1m22.494s using mediums at the 15-minute mark. Vettel slotted into second a few seconds later.
With 36 minutes to go, Hamilton moved to second with his first run on medium tyres, the Briton over three tenths slower than Raikkonen despite setting the fastest time in the middle sector.
Verstappen only set his first time of the day at the halfway point after a slow start, jumping to third in the medium-shod Red Bull.
He improved his time, but not his position, on the second lap of his run, but was still over six tenths of Raikkonen’s pace.
With 22 minutes left on the clock, Raikkonen improved to a 1m20.214s as he ran with Pirelli’s soft tyres, opening a gap of over 2.5 seconds to his closest rival before Vettel used the yellow-marked rubber to jump up to second, 0.242s off the pace.
The German had to return to the pits without completing the planned second flyer, however, as Ferrari detected a problem with his car and called him in.
Hamilton’s first run on softs with 17 minutes remaining produced the third quickest time, 0.381s behind Raikkonen.
Vettel attempted to return to the track for a final run with 10 minutes remaining when he stopped while driving up the pitlane. After he was dragged back to the garage, the team began working on the car but it did not return to the track.
PRACTICE THREE RESULTS:
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m21.025s||0.811s||14|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m21.249s||1.035s||15|
|9||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m21.835s||1.621s||19|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m22.237s||2.023s||19|
|14||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m22.297s||2.083s||22|
|15||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m22.391s||2.177s||15|
Russian GP: Raikkonen bemoans traffic and tyres for lost pole
Kimi Raikkonen believes traffic on his outlap and the resulting loss of tyre temperature cost him a shot at his first Formula 1 pole position in nine years.
The Finn held provisional pole position after the first runs in Q3, but failed to improve on his second attempt and was jumped by Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel after making a mistake at the final corner pushing to make up for lost time.
The gap between the pair was just 0.059s at the end of qualifying, meaning Raikkonen could have taken pole with even a slender improvement had the tyres been as good as they were on the first run.
"We just had traffic on the outlap on the last set and couldn’t make the tyres work as well as the first run," said Raikkonen, who has not started on pole since the 2008 French Grand Prix.
"It was a bit more tricky. I tried to get it back in the last corner and it didn’t pay off.
"I am happier than previous qualifying [sessions], but we had all the tools to be in the front today.
"One-two for the team is not bad."
The French round in 2008 was also the last time Ferrari locked out the front row.
Vettel admitted that he had an untidy run on his first attempt in Q3, which put the pressure on for his second run as he attempted to improve on third place.
"I had a good start to the session and was feeling reasonably comfortable, and in Q2 lost lost the rhythm on my final run, which would give me the idea for the first of Q3," said Vettel.
"I locked up, and on my first run in Q3 it wasn’t tidy, so I made up for it in the second run.
"I knew we could do well and the car was good, but didn’t know what they [Mercedes] might be able to find in the last bit of qualifying.
"I knew we were strong, I knew we could do it, but didn’t know how strong in relation to them."
Vettel accepted that the Mercedes tyre troubles and the track configuration had potentially helped Ferrari’s qualifying pace.
In the previous three races of 2017, Mercedes had the edge in qualifying, and Vettel admitted Mercedes looked strong heading into the Russian Grand Prix weekend.
"Coming here, on paper they looked very strong and they were strong yesterday, but as Valtteri [Bottas] said maybe they were not comfortable with the tyre treatment and temperatures," said Vettel.
"I think the track, the layout, is not bad for us. Last year we were strong here.
"We didn’t have any problems, we had smooth sessions so far this weekend and the car felt very good."
Q: Many congratulations. Coming to you Kimi, your second place gives Ferrari it’s first front row lock-out since the French Grand Prix in 2008. You were so close to Sebastian. How frustrated are you to be on pole?
Kimi Raikkonen: Obviously the aim is to be on the front. The feeling has been more better this weekend and now we just got some traffic on the pout lap on the last set and couldn’t really make the tyres work as well as the first run and it was a bit more tricky. It was thereabouts and then I just got it back in the last corner but it didn’t pay off. I’m happier than previous qualifyings but obviously I think we had all the tools to be in the front today but a one-two for the team is not bad.
Q: Kimi, different strategies for Ferrari and Mercedes during that session, you guys going out on the supersoft tyres at the start of Q1. Just talk us through how the whole qualifying session played out.
KR: It played out as we planned it. We did what we planned to do and obviously the end result turned out to be pretty OK for the team. We’ve seen often people run different tyres in the first qualifying. Doesn’t really matter which tyres you run most of the time. That’s what we chose to do and then just go from there.
Q: How’s the race pace of the Ferrari?
KR: I think it was good yesterday but obviously tomorrow is the race and we have to see. I’m sure it’s going to be a close fight and we have to make a good job out of it, so let’s see.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) I have a question for Sebastian and Kimi. Sebastian, do you feel that you are in the same condition you were in at Red Bull during their dominant era. Is Ferrari starting a new dominant era like Red Bull when you were there. And for Kimi, if you think this Ferrari seems very close to the Ferrari in that fantastic years 2007-2008.
KR: They’re all different cars. There’s no way that we can compare. It’s ten years ago so different rules, different tyres, different a lot of things. So, maybe we have a good package. Estimating how does it feel comparing to the old cars… doesn’t really matter how that plays out as long as we can be faster against the cars that we are racing now.
Q: (Kiril Zaytsev – 66.ru) Question for both Ferrari drivers about team orders. Seb, if tomorrow will be in front of you, will you ask the team to pass, and Kimi, will you let Seb pass you without fighting?
SV: I think it’s simple. If I’m in front then he wants to pass me, if he’s in front I want to pass him. I don’t think it makes any sense to ask for help from outside. We know that we’re free to race and that’s what I believe and I know we’re both here to do. Today obviously was very close, I expect it to be very close tomorrow and we see how the race goes.
KR: No more to say about it. We know what we do and we race for Ferrari and that’s it.
Q: (Jelena Leppanen – Ilta-Sanomat) Question to Kimi, you said already yesterday that you’re pretty happy with how the car works out. In which way does it feel better compared to the previous races?
KR: It’s always specific for each circuit so you cannot really compare how it is in one place – because what you need in other circuits might be a completely different story. Overall it’s just been more easy to… normal to drive. I think we started well, in the correct areas, so it’s always more easy to go from there. That side has been much better this weekend so I’ve been happy and doing some changes and improving. Small things but it makes a big difference in the end.
Q: (Slava Karpov – Radio Sport) Kimi, you are a favourite driver among the Russian fans; what do you think of this and do you feel this support?
KR: Obviously I’m happy to have the fans here or anywhere around the world. I must say it’s nice to come here. There are not many places that have beautiful mountains behind and snow. The weather is perfect this weekend so it’s a great place to come in my view and the circuit is fun. Like I said, I will take any fans that I have, here or anywhere else.
Q: (Kiril Zaytsev – 66.ru) To both Finnish drivers: why are you so successful on this track? We remember Valtteri was on the podium in Sochi, Kimi has been on the podium in Sochi. Why are you so successful here, maybe because it’s slippery asphalt and Finnish people love sliding and slipperiness?
VB: It’s not actually that slippery asphalt compared to Bahrain, for example. I think we have had more grip here so that’s not the explanation. Obviously you like some tracks more than the others but I think in the past, for Williams, this used to be a good track in general and I don’t know if I can explain it more than that. I think the track is nice and I enjoy it.
KR: I don’t think I have had very good results here. In the past years it’s been very slippery, at least for me, but this year the rules and conditions are better. It’s not really any different here to any other place.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) To the two Ferrari drivers: the only negative – if you can say that it’s negative – point of this weekend is that you have to again change the turbocharger and it’s the third element. Do you believe that it will be an issue for the end of the season?
KR: You’re always very good to always find negative things about us.
SV: He’s Italian, he should be over the moon. Everybody in Italy I’m sure is very happy now and you’re the only Italian in the world that finds a reason to be negative. You should be ashamed.
KR: It’s a planned change and I’m sure we’ll be fine with it. Obviously I’ve had one failure that we will not be able to use but the others are still fine and we will run it as we want and they are there to be used and re-used whenever you feel like it.
SV: Maybe I think you will have a great chance to get a German passport because usually Germans always find a reason to complain. If there’s a hard time when you get back to Italy you’re welcome to Germany.
Sebastian Vettel keeps Ferrari on top in final Russian GP practice
Sebastian Vettel continued Ferrari’s dominance at Sochi as he set the pace in final practice for Formula 1’s Russian Grand Prix.
The German clocked a 1m34.001s on the ultra-soft Pirelli tyres, 0.337 seconds quicker than team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
Valtteri Bottas was Ferrari’s closest challenger, 0.363s adrift in third and two tenths ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Ferrari and Mercedes set out on the ultra-soft compound early in the session as they battled to understand how to use their tyres in the most effective away ahead of qualifying.
After the first runs, Hamilton was quickest, 0.105s faster than Vettel with Bottas third, a further tenth-and-a-half adrift.
With 20 minutes to go, Mercedes headed back out first with Bottas going quickest with a 1m34.681s on his second timed lap, having done a build-up lap to get heat into the tyres.
Hamilton was on course to go quicker, using the same warm-up strategy, but made a series of mistakes in the final sector.
Raikkonen then put Ferrari top with a 1m34.338s before Vettel clocked the fastest-ever lap at Sochi with a 1m34.001s.
He was on course to go even quicker and break the 1m34s-barrier, but lost two tenths in the final sector.
Both Mercedes drivers improved on their second flying laps, but they stayed in third and fourth respectively.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was best of the rest in fifth, but he was 1.451s off the pace, a few thousandths clear of Felipe Massa.
Verstappen’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who momentarily stopped on track in the closing minutes of the session before getting going again, was seventh ahead of Nico Hulkenberg.
Carlos Sainz Jr and Kevin Magnussen completed the top 10.
Jolyon Palmer was the only driver who failed to set a time with his Renault team deciding to change his engine ahead of qualifying.
That came after its mechanics worked well into the night to complete a precautionary chassis change for the Briton after an exhaust leak on Friday.
PRACTICE THREE RESULTS:
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.452s||1.451s||21|
|8||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.830s||1.829s||24|
|9||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m36.164s||2.163s||20|
|12||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m36.676s||2.675s||22|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m36.846s||2.845s||18|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m36.962s||2.961s||21|
Russian GP: Vettel leads first all-Ferrari front row since 2008
Sebastian Vettel claimed Ferrari’s first pole position of 2017, as both he and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen defeated the Mercedes drivers in a tight Russian Grand Prix qualifying battle.
Ferrari had led the way throughout free practice, but trailed Mercedes through Q1 and Q2, when both Vettel and Raikkonen made an extra run compared to Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the latter segment.
But Ferrari turned things around in Q3, when Raikkonen sat on provisional pole after the initial runs, just ahead of Bottas and Vettel, with Hamilton trailing in fourth after twice snatching the inside front brake on his hot lap.
Raikkonen looked set to claim his first pole since the French GP of 2008, which was also the last race Ferrari locked out the front row, but went wide at the final corner on his last lap so failed to improve.
That allowed Vettel to snatch pole by just 0.059 seconds with a last-gasp effort of 1m33.194s.
Bottas also failed to find time on his final run, but his earlier lap was still good enough for third on the grid, just 0.036s adrift of Raikkonen – albeit slower than he went in Q2.
Hamilton’s first run in Q3 was compromised by a track position squabble with Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault. Hamilton improved on his final run, but dropped a lot of time in the final sector and ended up almost half a second slower than the sister Mercedes of Bottas.
Daniel Ricciardo was fifth in the best of the Red Bulls, over a second slower than Hamilton, while Felipe Massa squeaked his Williams into sixth, just 0.051s ahead of the second Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
Hulkenberg was eighth in the best of the works Renaults, just over a tenth further back, while the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon completed the top 10.
Both Force Indias made Q3 for the first time this season, Ocon claiming the final spot in the top-10 shootout by 0.219s from the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr, who complained of a "very strange" lack of grip on his final set of tyres.
The second Williams of Lance Stroll split Sainz from his Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat, as all three drivers lapped within 0.020s of each other.
Kevin Magnussen’s Haas was less than half a tenth further back in 14th, well clear of the underpowered McLaren-Honda of Fernando Alonso, who maintained his 100% record of getting McLaren-Honda into Q2 at every race so far this season.
Renault’s Jolyon Palmer missed the cut by less than a tenth, but had already failed to improve on his final run before crashing heavily at Turn 4 after clipping the inside kerb.
Stoffel Vandoorne, who will start last after a grid penalty, found time on his final run but it was nowhere near enough to escape Q1. He wound up 17th fastest and six tenths away from the Q2 cut off.
Pascal Wehrlein was 18th in the best of the Saubers, lucky to survive a spin unscathed at Turn 13 at the end of Q1.
Team-mate Marcus Ericsson was just under two tenths further back, while Romain Grosjean’s Haas brought up the rear of the grid.
Grosjean struggled with the brakes and balance of his car throughout free practice, and was also unhappy at the start of qualifying, but was on a better lap before Palmer’s crash nullified the end of the session.
RUSSIAN GP STARTING GRID:
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1.711s|
|7||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1.967s|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||2.143s|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||2.236s|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||2.774s|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||2.754s|