Kimi Raikkonen had set the fastest lap at one point during qualifying but then things went downhill after that during the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix weekend. Raikkonen failed to reach the podium again in China while teammate, Sebastian Vettel, placed second.
The gap has been questioned by Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne.
“I talked about this with Maurizio,” said Marchionne.
“Maybe they should sit around a table and he should talk to him.
“Today he seemed to be busy with other stuff. Vettel was more aggressive.”
From Raikkonen’s perspective, he felt his race strategy was the issue all along.
“I had the feeling that we probably needed to stop at some point so I would rather do it earlier to get out of the traffic, the cars in front of me, but that didn’t happen,” said Raikkonen, who spent more than 20 laps stuck behind first Verstappen and then Ricciardo.
“That feeling got even stronger on my side but it took a while, the reasons behind it I don’t know right now.
“It’s easy to say afterwards. We should have done a better job out of it.
“After that it was pretty much race over. I caught up with the Red Bull but it was too late.
“The car was behaving pretty nicely with the new tyres, but we lost the front after a few laps and for sure we have some work to be done with the set-up to be happen all the time.
“The speed wasn’t too bad, but not a great result.”
I am sure I am not alone in wondering why Ferrari didn’t intervene when Vettel was stuck behind Raikkonen for several laps as Kimi was clearly struggling. I have spoken to Vettel and I know for a fact that he dislikes understeer fiercely but I have not asked Kimi about his feelings on understeer however I think it may be safe to assume, he doesn’t like it either.
Whether it was a setup issue or a knock-on effect of following other cars closely, I’m not 100% sure. Perhaps a combination, but Kimi was very vocal on the radio about pitting for new tires. It reminded me of Hamilton in Australia, when your tires are gone, you desperately want to pit for new ones but the strategy is not quite that easy.
“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,” he said.
“The situation with the no running on Friday didn’t make it any easier. There’s a lot of potential but we just have to make a better job.”
For Kimi, getting the car sorted is critical and it did seem like he was having some engine, power or software issues or a combination of those elements during the race. He was on the radio asking why he had no power. While Marchionne believes Kimi may need a talking to, it could be that things aren’t 100% in his car from a power unit standpoint or car setup. I suspect if team boss, Maurizio Arrivebene, does call Kimi, that’s what he’ll hear as a defense.
Hat Tip: Autosport