Report: Second and seventh places for Scuderia Ferrari in the second free practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix, in which Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was fastest with a 1.38.315. Fernando Alonso was second in 1.38.456 ahead of Rosberg in the other Mercedes. The Spaniard completed 28 laps.
As for Raikkonen, his session was much more productive than the first, when he only did one lap. This time he did 25, with a best of 1.39.293, good enough for seventh on the time sheet.
Both Scuderia Ferrari men worked on long runs on the soft tyre to check its performance over a good distance. Alonso then ran the harder Mediums only in the final minutes and they were naturally more consistent.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m38.315s 25 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m38.456s +0.141s 28 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m38.726s +0.411s 30 4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m38.811s +0.496s 30 5. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m39.015s +0.700s 31 6. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m39.118s +0.803s 25 7. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m39.283s +0.968s 25 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m39.491s +1.176s 29 9. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m39.537s +1.222s 36 10. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m39.648s +1.333s 26 11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m39.736s +1.421s 30 12. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m39.744s +1.429s 29 13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m39.759s +1.444s 28 14. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m39.830s +1.515s 25 15. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m40.124s +1.809s 32 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.359s +2.044s 32 17. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.395s +2.080s 30 18. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m40.455s +2.140s 12 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m42.327s +4.012s 27 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m43.473s +5.158s 30 21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m43.530s +5.215s 32 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m43.679s +5.364s 32
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a difficult day, that began with a technical problem in the morning session, which meant I only did an installation lap. Once that was sorted out, in the afternoon, we tried to make up for lost time, concentrating mainly on getting the set-up suited to this track, sacrificing some of our race simulation. It’s difficult to give an overall assessment and I definitely missed out a bit because of the lack of track time. This evening we will concentrate on analysing the data we have gathered and tomorrow, we will try and make the very most of the final free practice session to get the car as well prepared as possible for qualifying and the race.”
Pat Fry: “It’s been a particularly demanding Friday, both for the drivers on track and for the guys in the garage. In the first session, Kimi’s car stayed in the garage throughout the session after completing his installation lap. With Fernando we managed to complete several aerodynamic tests and carry out some checks on the power unit. The afternoon ran more smoothly and with both cars we worked on balance and power delivery. Even if we are making progress on all fronts, we are well aware that it’s always hard to know where you stand on a Friday. Today’s low temperatures affected tyre performance and even if we can expect the track surface to be in better condition tomorrow, the rain expected for qualifying could turn the session into a real lottery. But more important than making predictions is to stay concentrated on our work.”
Report: Mixed fortunes for Ferrari in the first practice for the Chinese Grand Prix, as Fernando Alonso was fastest in 1.39.783, the only man under the 1m 40s barrier, beating Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes by four tenths. Third was Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull, in a session where several teams seemed to be playing their cards close to their chest.
In the other F14 T, Kimi Raikkonen failed to set a timed lap, only managing one installation lap before having to spend the rest of the 90 minutes in the garage with a technical problem.
Alonso managed 20 laps working on set-up and tyre evaluation. Towards the end, he also did a first long run on a morning when air and track temperatures were particularly low.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m39.783s 20 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m40.181s +0.398s 16 3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m40.772s +0.989s 23 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m40.970s +1.187s 23 5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m41.175s +1.392s 16 6. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.366s +1.583s 20 7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m41.505s +1.722s 26 8. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m41.560s +1.777s 9 9. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m41.629s +1.846s 19 10. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m41.699s +1.916s 14 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m41.977s +2.194s 23 12. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m42.090s +2.307s 24 13. Felipe Nasr Williams-Mercedes 1m42.265s +2.482s 13 14. Giedo van der Garde Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.615s +2.832s 16 15. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m42.733s +2.950s 13 16. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m43.731s +3.948s 22 17. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m44.038s +4.255s 16 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m44.162s +4.379s 17 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m44.270s +4.487s 7 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m44.782s +4.999s 20 21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m44.835s +5.052s 22 22. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1
In the Ferrari hospitality unit perched above the paddock lagoon, Kimi Raikkonen had his first meeting of the Chinese GP weekend with the world’s media.
Kimi did see signs of progress over recent weeks. “At the last race, the overall feeling I had from the car had improved and the problem in Bahrain was just that we were a bit slow,” he maintained.
“I expect that already here this weekend we will have improvements on some small things. It’s difficult to say when we will be at the level we want, but with new rules there is always the possibility of suddenly finding a big improvement, but sometimes progress can be slow.”
“It’s important that we now have a better understanding of the car after the first races and we have improved a lot since Melbourne, even if it’s hard to see that because others have also progressed. Bahrain was one of the most difficult races for us and hopefully here it will be a bit better.”
Ferrari drivers receive warm reception in Shanghai
A warm and friendly welcome greeted the Scuderia Ferrari drivers on arrival in Shanghai and those sentiments were echoed when they attended a meeting organised by Scuderia Ferrari sponsor Weichai. For its home race the company decided to unveil its new logo which has been on the F14 T since the start of the season.
The drivers were introduced by the President of Weichai, Xuguang Tan who was presented with a bronze Cavallino to celebrate the partnership between the two companies. According to the Chinese horoscope this is the year of the horse and in an exchange of gifts, those from Weichai were also based on sculptures of horses. The drivers answered questions relating to this weekend’s race, which gets underway tomorrow with the start of free practice. Fernando Alonso was particularly complimentary about the Shanghai circuit. “It’s a track the drivers like a lot and winning here last year was a great feeling.”
He also went on to explain that the weather can have a significant effect: “If it was to rain it could overturn the usual order among the teams because driving is much harder in these conditions,” a sentiment Kimi Raikkonen agreed with. “It’s a very demanding track, which depending on the conditions can shake up the field a bit. Of course we will be doing our best to get a good result.” The Finn looked surprised when he discovered he has many fans in this part of the world. “I must say I didn’t know, but I am really happy as it’s always nice to find that so many people appreciate what you do.”
Kimi Raikkonen has admitted Stefano Domenicali’s departure from the Ferrari Formula 1 team took him by a surprise, though he does not think it will disrupt the squad.
Domenicali resigned earlier this week in response to Ferrari’s poor start to the F1 season.
He has been replaced by Marco Mattiacci, formerly CEO of Ferrari’s North American operations.
“I think everyone is a bit surprised but obviously it was Stefano’s own decision as I understand it,” said Raikkonen when asked by AUTOSPORT for his reaction to the shake-up.
“If he felt like that, fair enough. Life goes on.
“He was a great guy. I worked with him for many years and I spoke to him often. But that’s how it goes.
“We can handle this sort of thing.”
Raikkonen said he knew little about Mattiacci – “I don’t know him. We’ve probably met before” – but thinks Ferrari’s management structure will ensure a seamless transition.
“He’s got great people around him to help him so I don’t see that there will be any issues,” he said.
“I’m sure he’ll do everything in his power to push things forward.”
The Finn backed team-mate Fernando Alonso’s insistence that replacing Domenicali with Mattiacci would not have an immediate impact on Ferrari’s form, although he believes steady progress is being made.
“Even if you change things around, you cannot make a miracle because we know where we are and we have to improve. It won’t change overnight,” said Raikkonen.
“In the rules there is quite a lot of space for improvement. We can find quite big things suddenly. But it might be the same thing for other teams.
“We understand things better after a few races and we have already improved a lot since the first race. Obviously it’s hard to see it when everyone is doing the same.
“I think Bahrain was always going to be one of the most difficult races for us. But we have improved.”
Kimi Raikkonen says Ferrari is “not stupid” and knows what it needs to do to close the gap to the frontrunners in Formula 1 this season.
The Scuderia has struggled in the first three grands prix of 2014, managing a best finish of fourth while Mercedes has dominated at the front.
Raikkonen, who won a race for Lotus last season but has yet to finish above seventh this year, said he had confidence Ferrari could turn its poor form around.
“At least on paper [Bahrain] was the hardest track for us but we have some new parts coming and hopefully we improve,” Raikkonen said.
“We know what we have to do. The people are pushing 100 per cent, but it takes time. That’s the fact.
“We are not stupid people, we have good things going on.
“Unfortunately right now it’s not the prettiest thing when you look at the end of the race, but I have belief in the team that we can turn it around.
“I’ve been with this team and other teams having a hard time and I’m sure we can get it right.”
Raikkonen was still happier with the set-up of his F14 T in Bahrain, despite another difficult race in which he was hit twice and complained that racing the Mercedes-engined cars was like being in “a different class”.
“I think we improved the car – it feels nicer,” added Raikkonen, who is missing this week’s in-season Bahrain test, but will drive on both days at Barcelona after the Spanish Grand Prix in May.
“The feeling is better but obviously the results don’t show that.
“We have a lot of work to do and we can only push forward. I’m sure we can be stronger in the next race.”
Ferrari end testing early in Bahrain
The team has been running Raikkonen’s chassis, but believes it may have been damaged during an excursion over a large kerb at Turn 4 during FP1 on Friday. At the time of the incident, Ferrari believed that only the floor had been broken, but it now has found issues with the chassis itself.
As a precaution, Ferrari has suspended its running after just 12 laps for Fernando Alonso on Wednesday and is unlikely to run again. On Tuesday the team was able to complete 69 laps despite causing a red flag in the morning session.
Ferrari is not the only team to have trouble during the test. At the time it stopped running, Ferrari had still completed more laps than both Red Bull (nine) and Lotus (seven).
Report: It always looked like being a difficult race and so it proved for Ferrari in Bahrain. Fernando Alonso brought his F14 T home in ninth place, with Kimi Raikkonen right behind him. This circuit was expected to be the least suitable for the Maranello car in its current state of development. Lewis Hamilton won, ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, with third place going to the Force India of Sergio Perez.
Alonso and Raikkonen had to fight tooth and nail to stay in the points zone, which was the best they could do.
Scuderia Ferrari is fifth in the Constructors’ championship with, Alonso fourth in the Drivers’ and Kimi twelfth. The next round is in China in two weeks time, by when Ferrari will be looking to move forward in terms of performance as it strives for better results.
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h38m42.743 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +1.085s 3. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes +24.067s 4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault +24.489s 5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes +28.654s 6. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault +29.879s 7. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 8. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 09. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 10. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 12. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 13. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 14. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 15. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 17. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes Retirements Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 40 laps Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 39 laps Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 33 laps Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 18 laps Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 17 laps Drivers' standings: 1. Nico Rosberg 61 2. Lewis Hamilton 50 3. Nico Hulkenberg 28 4. Fernando Alonso 26 5. Jenson Button 23 6. Sebastian Vettel 23 7. Kevin Magnussen 20 8. Valtteri Bottas 18 9. Sergio Perez 16 10. Daniel Ricciardo 12 11. Felipe Massa 12 12. Kimi Raikkonen 7 13. Jean-Eric Vergne 4 14. Daniil Kvyat 3 Constructors' standings 1. Mercedes 111 2. Force India-Mercedes 44 3. McLaren-Mercedes 43 4. Red Bull-Renault 35 5. Ferrari 33 6. Williams-Mercedes 30 7. Toro Rosso-Renault 7
Kimi Raikkonen: “I am very disappointed with today’s result, because after how qualifying went, I expected to do better. I didn’t get a good start and immediately lost some places. On the first lap, I was hit by Magnussen, luckily without it doing any damage, but trying to move up the order at this point was very difficult, because the lack of aero downforce and speed on the straight meant overtaking was complicated. We knew this track was less suited to the characteristics of our car than the first two and that the Mercedes would be very quick. Overall, the handling of our car has generally improved compared to the first races and this makes me confident for the upcoming ones. We can expect a lot of work to do and we will make the most of the test days to try and improve already in time for the next race in China.”
Pat Fry: “Today, we could not have asked more of our car and drivers, because here, our most limiting factor was a lack of top speed. That meant we had to run a defensive race and even if in the middle sector, the one with the most corners, the F14 T was competitive, it was not enough to allow Fernando and Kimi to attack our rivals. In Maranello, we are working on solutions to ensure better power delivery and better driveability. We are also trying to improve the efficiency of the car on the aerodynamic front. The data we acquired in today’s race will provide a baseline for the major checking programme we have planned for the test, right here at Sakhir on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
Raikkonen – rivals in different class: “The Mercedes cars seemed to be able to pass us very easily on the straightlines. One Force India got me on the exit of corner eight and it was like a different class. I was surprised. He came out of the pitlane but I had only done a few laps on the tyres. I went OK out of the corner and he just came inside of me and went past; I had no answer. And the next corner he had massive traction also, so it’s not just the horsepower.”
Post-race interview with Kimi, SkySportsF1
- Kimi Raikkonen: Magnussen hit me again!
- Antonio Spagnolo: How are the tyres?
- Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah my left-front is flat-spotted and it’s vibrating quite heavily. And I get some understeer in the right-hand corners.
- Antonio Spagnolo: To go to the end we need 20 gram less every lap. Twenty less every lap.
— F1 Fanatic Live (@f1fanaticlive) April 6, 2014
The above message wasn’t played on the main world feed broadcast or on the pit radio channel, which is where the messages above are from. It was played on the official F1 app.
Report: Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the third and and final free practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix, which is to be run as a night race for the first time this year. The Mercedes driver lapped in 1.35.324 ahead of his team-mate, Nico Rosberg (1.35.439) and behind this pair, qualifying for the third round of the season, which starts at 6pm on the dusty desert track, looks like being particularly closely contested.
Third was Sergio Perez in the Force India (1.35.868.) Fernando Alonso (1.36.454) and Kimi Raikkonen (1.36.772) were seventh and tenth respectively, with both men working on set-up running bth Pirelli compounds, first the Medium then the Soft.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m35.324s 12 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m35.439s +0.115s 12 3. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m35.868s +0.544s 10 4. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m36.116s +0.792s 10 5. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m36.364s +1.040s 8 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.394s +1.070s 8 7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m36.454s +1.130s 12 8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m36.455s +1.131s 11 9. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m36.680s +1.356s 16 10. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m36.772s +1.448s 13 11. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.822s +1.498s 8 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m37.030s +1.706s 11 13. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m37.119s +1.795s 11 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.325s +2.001s 18 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.089s +2.765s 24 16. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m38.400s +3.076s 17 17. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m38.736s +3.412s 15 18. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m38.880s +3.556s 21 19. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m38.971s +3.647s 18 20. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m39.208s +3.884s 17 21. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m39.225s +3.901s 8 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m39.597s +4.273s 14
Report: Fernando Alonso was third this evening, just as he was in the first session in Bahrain. The Spaniard stopped the clocks in 1.35.360, completed 28 laps. Fernando and the entire field managed to improve their times considerably in the second session. That was down to a cleaner track, but most of all to a drop in temperature after the sun set.
Kimi Raikkonen had a more complicated time this evening, still not getting the F14 T to his liking. The Finn’s best time was a 1.36.366, which was good enough for 14th place. Over the final 35 minutes of the 90 available, the Finn, like all the others didn’t bother chasing lap times, but concentrated on a long run, using the Medium tyre to run a comparison with Alonso who used the Softs up the final minutes. Kimi did 33 laps.
Once again Lewis Hamilton topped the time sheet in 1.34.325 ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, who was over three tenths down.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m34.325s 28 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m34.690s +0.365 31 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m35.360s +1.035 28 4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m35.433s +1.108 28 5. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m35.442s +1.117 13 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.528s +1.203 21 7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m35.606s +1.281 29 8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m35.640s +1.315 31 9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.662s +1.337 22 10. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m35.802s +1.477 40 11. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m35.920s +1.595 9 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m35.972s +1.647 32 13. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m35.998s +1.673 18 14. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m36.366s +2.041 32 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.962s +2.637 13 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.975s +2.650 35 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m37.259s +2.934 24 18. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m37.599s +3.274 23 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m37.800s +3.475 15 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m38.247s +3.922 10 21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m38.257s +3.932 33 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m39.136s +4.811 30
Kimi Raikkonen: “Overall, this was a difficult day, because I didn’t feel comfortable with the car in either session. In the first one, I damaged the floor on the kerb at turn 4 and this meant I had to pit. The team did a super job, because they got me back out on track in a short time, but then, because of a problem with the brakes, I was unable to complete the programme. In the second session we concentrated on looking at the two Pirelli compounds and with the Soft it was definitely better than the Medium. Now we will get down to analysing all today’s data, especially regarding the immediate change in the track from day to night and we will try and improve for qualifying and the race.”
Report: Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen were third and sixth respectively in first free practice in Bahrain. Fernando did 17 laps at the wheel of his F14 T with a best of 1.37.953, four tenths off the pace of fastest man, Lewis Hamilton who did a 1.37.502 with his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg second.
Raikkonen’s best lap was a 1.38.783, although he only managed 12 laps.
Finn hit a kerb very hard and had to pit so the floor of the car could be checked. Air temperature was 25 with the track at 45, but that’s likely to change significantly in the second session, which will run in the dusk, seeing the floodlights brought into play for the first time here.
The session starts at the same time as tomorrow’s qualifying and Sunday’s race, so it will be a useful exercise.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m37.502s 14 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m37.733s +0.231s 13 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.953s +0.451s 17 4. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m38.122s +0.620s 10 5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.636s +1.134s 16 6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m38.783s +1.281s 12 7. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.949s +1.447s 15 8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m39.056s +1.554s 24 9. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m39.102s +1.600s 21 10. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m39.389s +1.887s 16 11. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m39.533s +2.031s 11 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m39.862s +2.360s 26 13. Felipe Nasr Williams-Mercedes 1m40.078s +2.576s 14 14. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m40.406s +2.904s 19 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.652s +3.150s 20 16. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m40.793s +3.291s 31 17. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m40.$89s +3.387s 20 18. Giedo van der Garde Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.913s +3.411s 20 19. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m41.036s +3.534s 24 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m41.794s +4.292s 20 21. Robin Frijns Caterham-Renault 1m42.417s +4.915s 35 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m42.711s +5.209s 21
Kimi Raikkonen is keen to get racing this weekend, after early promise in Malaysia was wiped out on Sunday after a first lap coming together with Kevin Magnussen.
“In Malaysia, the car was more or less the same as in Australia, although clearly we learned more from doing a lot of running and of course, the circuit layout in Sepang is different,” the Finn told the media at his usual Thursday press meeting.
“Those factors make a difference and overall, we were much better in Malaysia, even if not quite where we want to be. Then my race was destroyed, which was not my fault, but that’s how it goes. There are a lot of things to improve in all areas, but we have the right people and all the tools we need to fix those things. It will take time, but we will get there. As for this weekend, if we start well as we did in Malaysia, but then don’t have the problems we had in the race there, we can have a better weekend.”
As for how life was going with Fernando Alonso as a team-mate, the 2007 world champion explained he had more pressing matters on his mind. “I don’t know have any real opinion formed yet as I’ve been putting all my effort into sorting out my side of things,” he said. “If I can do that, then we can get the results we want which is our aim. I haven’t given much thought to Fernando, apart from seeing his lap times and data of course. There’s nothing there I would not have expected.”
Asked about whether or not he liked the current Formula 1 so far this season, Kimi was his usual pragmatic self. “It makes no difference if we like it or not, as we do not make the rules. We cannot change it and it is what it is. Sometimes you end up in areas that you would not choose, but you just have to make the best of it. I don’t see the point in talking about the sound of the cars or whether I like it or not.”
“Obviously they have been looking strong over the test and over the first two races, but I am sure we have some big gains that will come,” said Raikkonen.
“I am quite far away in the points, but that can all change with the new rules. And with only two races done, we try to do the best that we can.
“We try to improve but it is not easy to catch up with them. But we don’t give up. We know where we need to improve and I am sure we are going to get there.”
NEW PARTS ARRIVED FOR RAIKKONEN
Raikkonen has endured a tougher start to the season than team-mate Fernando Alonso because he has struggled to get comfortable with the front end of the car.
The team has focused on trying to improve the interaction of its energy harvesting, which has affected braking.
Revised suspension components will be tried out by Ferrari in Bahrain this weekend to help improve the front of the car further.
Despite the arrival of the new parts, Raikkonen is cautious about how quickly his problems will be fully solved, even though there were signs of progress in Malaysia.
“Overall we were much better but we were not where we wanted to be,” he explained.
“There are a lot of things to improve in all areas, but we have all the right people and all the tools to fix those things.
“But those things are not easy to fix and I am sure it will take time. But we know where we want to be and where we are aiming, and we are going to get there.
“Hopefully we’ll get some better results here now if we can start a similar way in the last race, but not having the issues we had in the race.”
When flight attendant Minttu Virtanen moved in with F1 star Kimi Räikkönen she had to adapt herself to the huge house and get used to the fact that in this cohabitation the moments together are rare and it requires a lot of planning. “I’m not leaving my job. It would feel weird to be totally dependent on someone.”
When flight attendant and a fitness model Minttu Virtanen, 27, was introduced to Kimi Räikkönen, 34, with a help of mutual friend last summer, the crush was immediate. It has been a fast-paced relationship; in November Minttu moved in with Kimi in Kaskisaari, Helsinki. The change of home was overwhelming and massive; Minttu lived in a 34m2 house before and in Kaskisaari there is +500m2. “In the beginning I was nervous about being alone in a big house. When I came home from work I checked every room that there is nobody there. I never thought that I would be the type of person who admires the scenery but I’ve noticed that how relaxing it’s just to sit and look at the sea”.
She has brought some new fresh little details to the decoration of the house but nothing massive. “The house was so beautifully decorated already and I’m not that keen on having a really decorated house. It doesn’t matter where I am as long as I have my loved ones close to me. With Kimi in this relationship I feel like I’m in the right place.”
The loneliness strikes when spending the night alone.
She had to get used to the big house as well as to the fact that the year is spent following the F1 calendar. Minttu gives credit to her employer FlyBe as they are really flexible what comes to his new life situation. “We follow and live with the F1 calendar and I try to arrange my timetables in a way that I could support Kimi as much as I can. At least for now the holiday requests have been taken with ease by my employer.”
With both of them going round the world all the time the long-distance relationship has become familiar quickly. The fact is that being together daily is not possible. They connect with each other a lot in the internet and with mobile phones. “In a long-distance relationship reciprocal understanding and trust are the most important things.” “When I’m working it’s easier to cope with it [not being with Kimi] when you have something else to think. But when I’m spending the nights alone at home the loneliness strikes and that makes me sad. At those moments I have to think about the future and comfort myself on the fact that this doesn’t continue like this forever. This is how it is now but one day it will change.”
Minttu admits that in less than a year a lot has happened but the routine life has stayed the same. “My life hasn’t turned upside down although there is some new and fun stuff. My life, job and friends are still here in Finland. I’m not going to give up my job or my independence just because of Kimi and his career taking him around the world. It would feel weird to be totally dependant on somebody, for me it’s important to do my own things.”
LIFE AND LIFE-LONG BAN FOR CANDY
“Own things” really are what Minttu is spending her time in. She has one career as a flight attendant but she also has another occupation, as a fitness model for Bealive. Sports are her passion and there could be a lot of opportunities for her in that category. Minttu has just started a personal training education and she’ll be a qualified personal trainer next fall. “I don’t know whether it could be my number one job but at least it would be something that I could do and go around the world. I also get some depth and education to my own training from it and I am going to design a training programme for Kimi too. He has already said that it’s OK.”
Minttu admits that his attitude towards racing drivers has changed through Kimi. “I understand them who say that driving a car around a track isn’t sport. I couldn’t belive that it’s so physically demanding before I saw the speed and the racing close-by. They need a great bodycontrol and fitness just to stay on the seat in those speeds let alone the blistering heat of some races. My understanding of the sport has changed totally and the I now have a huge respect towards the drivers.”
Minttu mostly enjoys the vigorous focus in her training. It’s something he often experience on the running track or in the gym where she follows a custom-made training programme. “I’ve never been on a diet or exercised just to look skinnier. I think it’s more healthier and eye-pleasing to have a muscular body.”
Kimi’s home in Switzerland has it’s own gym but in Helsinki the couple trains in a private gym close by the Kaskisaari home. “Exercising is self-evident and a intergral part of my life. It’s also essential for mental health. There are only a few things that give feeling like after training. If I don’t have the time to do sports it affects everything, I’m more tired, angry and I can’t eat that well.
What comes to the eating, Minttu has one weakness.
“We can’t have candy at home. I have no self-control over those!”
As a hostess in the home alone Minttu prepares quick meals like salads, chicken and vegetables. On those days when Kimi is at home, he cooks or they go out to eat sushi or a good-old stakes. “I like to keep the home organised and clean but I’m not a cook.”
LOVE FOR KIMI
They fell in love in summer 2013. Minttu has been seen on the paddock but otherwise the couple has lived off the headlines. “Kimi’s calmness made an impact on me. He has this wonderful habit of taking everybody in to account. His personality is full of beautiful characteristics.”
Being a superstar is something Minttu doesn’t noticed in Kimi’s presence. “The ordinariness of him is one of the things that made me fall in love with him. He is also funny as hell.”
In other news, our contributor Ville also reported that Finnish tabloid Seiska shamelessly spied on Kimi’s villa in Kaskisaari with a helicopter! All they noted was that there was a renovation going on on the patio and Kimi has a new car – a 200,000Euro Audi RS.
THE ONLY WAY IS UP
After the preseason testing I had a feeling it won’t be that easy to get all the new things going smoothly right from the beginning of the new season.
Well, that’s what we experienced in Melbourne. We had some teething issues and the whole weekend overall was a very tricky one.
Obviously, while you start the new season with the brand new cars and tyres, the first priority is to get through the race and take the cheaqured flag to finish it. That’s what we managed to do and now we got the first race distance with this car, as well.
In an ideal world you can start your engine and race fine since day one, but this is the real world of Grand Prix racing, and very seldom, hardly never, it happens like in a happy road movie.
I have been around for a long time in this business, so this is not the first time, we didn’t get everything we wanted from the first race weekend. We have certain issues to get solved with setting up the car for me. All in all we managed to get it better day by day, but it was not enough for me to be able to challenge the top guys.
We know what we should do and how to put certain things on the car to get better grip and traction. We know it won’t happen overnight as well. So we have to be patient now and focus on our own work only.
At the same time we are sure, that if we manage to do everything right in the next race weekend in Malaysia, the results are going to be stronger too.
In Malaysia we will get new challenges for these new packages. I am not that big fan of the heat out there. Obviously it is same for everybody and this race weekend will be done in very demanding circumstances as usual.
I like to drive the Sepang circuit. It is a more normal racing track compared to Melbourne, and it differs a little bit from all the other places. I’ve had a couple of wins in Malaysia, but it won’t help us at all, while every race is different from each other.
To be that hot and humid, and to get some heavy showers during the weekend, makes it a rough test for the new cars and powerunits. And it is not only for Ferrari the Malaysian race will be as hard to finish for every team. We have only one way to go and that’s going up!
It’s no big news that Shell are avid fans of Kimi Raikkonen since 2007. They also paid tribute to him after he announced he was leaving Ferrari by this video titled “Thank you Kimi“. Now they are offering fans an exclusive chance to meet the man himself at the Belgian Grand Prix this year, to enter simply watch the video!
Want to meet Kimi Raikkonen and go behind-the-scenes at the 2014 Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix? For your chance to win a VIP F1 experience simply share your car passion at mycar.shell.com or go to Twitter or Instagram and tag a photo or video with #mycar
Formula 1 according to Kimi Raikkonen is throttle, brake, wheel and track. Nothing else matters, including the 21 opponents with whom he finds himself on the track on Sunday. Some he admits to not even know.
The Finn, 34, is the oldest driver. “It’s true – he confirmed – I read it somewhere.” It is not an attempt of humor, it’s him naturally. He came to Ferrari in 2007, won the first World Championship post- Schumacher and left at the end of 2009. He came back this year to the team with Fernando Alonso. “I do not know if he is the strongest teammate I have had. I’ll try to beat him like I did with all the others. And I’ll be disappointed if I don’t succeed.”
The season start in Australia has gone bad, only a seventh place. In 2007 he began with pole position and win.
“2007 has nothing to do with the new rules. This year’s car doesn’t fit me, is not what I want. We’re working on it, but unfortunately we have not yet solved the problem.”
What do you need?
“It’s a matter of setup, I can’t have the car that I like. We have little problems here and there, but if we can put together the things we have learned two weeks ago in Melbourne we should be doing already a big step forward. We drove one race, we should not panic.”
The Mercedes flies, you are not worried?
“No. We want to do better, win races, but it was not a disaster in Melbourne. The disaster is when you don’t score points. With the people we have and which are working hard we can improve. “
In which areas the F14T is weaker?
“There are many little things that can make a big difference. There is not a single problem to be solved.”
In Malaysia in 2003 you won your first race: it feels like a special Grand Prix?
“It’s a race like any other.”
Alonso is the strongest teammate that you ever had?
“It’s hard to say. Every season is different, every car is different. Sometimes a car is more suited to the characteristics of one driver than of another. He is certainly very good but I don’t care to do a ranking. “
He puts pressure?
“No, in my career I have always tried to beat my team-mate, as it’s normal: I want to do well and I’m disappointed if I do not.”
Once he said that Massa is faster than you …
“I do not care what people say.”
If you would have to bet an euro on a driver for the world title, from what we have seen so far, who would you choose?
“Who has won in Australia ( Rosberg, ed) gained the most points and so is the driver to beat but the championship is long. The Mercedes seems strong, we will see in the next races.”
Vettel says that the noise of Formula 1 with the turbo became shit. Do you agree or not?
“It doesn’t seem to me that the noise has changed. It’s just a little lower.”
Speaking of Vettel: do you believe that he will return soon to winning?
“Like us he had problems in the first race but I am convinced that he has a good car and will be able to recover.”
What has changed for the better or for the worse in Maranello compared to your first experience?
“It’s changed little in the team. There are the rules that are different and this has had a big impact on the cars. “
The Ferrari team will be your last?
“I have already said several years ago (laughs). Yes, now that I’m back I’m sure it will be my last team also because I will not go on and on. Then I will start the second part of my life. Meanwhile, I try to do my best.”
Are you thinking about a new challenge after Formula 1?
“I’ll see at the day when I stop. I have not planned anything, I don’t think I will have many occasions to race. I’ll spend the free time like now.”
Is Formula 1 better than rally?
“If I was not happy I would not be here.”
Have you followed the story of Robert Kubica?
“I know how hard it is to drive off the circuits: you pay much more for errors than in Formula 1. If you try to push to the maximum in each curve like on the track, sooner or later something happens to you.”
What is the most enjoyable collateral effect of F1? Women, money, fame?
“The track has so far absorbed the majority of the time of my life. We are paid well, but it is not easy. And then in F1 there are so many things that are neither interesting nor pleasant.”
If you have seen the movie “Rush” you maybe miss that world: your hero is Hunt or Lauda?
“I saw the trailer. The sport has changed, in those days it was more exciting and fun, as well as dangerous.”
Kimi Raikkonen thinks Ferrari will be his last team in Formula One.
“I am glad to be here again and I am sure that I will not change again,” the Finn told Germany’s Sport Bild in Malaysia.
Raikkonen, now the oldest driver on the grid, made his debut for Sauber as a highly-inexperienced 21-year-old, going on to win races for McLaren and the title for Ferrari in 2007.
His mid-contract split from Ferrari at the end of 2009 was partly acrimonious, as he left F1 altogether and enjoyed a two-year sabbatical with rallying and Nascar exploits.
Raikkonen returned to the grid with Lotus in 2012 and, with his pace intact and achieving highly consistent results, he was re-signed by Ferrari to be Fernando Alonso’s teammate in 2014 and beyond.
But, now 34, he told Sport Bild: “I will not drive in Formula One for ever.
“I already said in my first time at Ferrari that this will be my last team,” Raikkonen smiled. “As you can see, I have kept my word.” (via: motorsport.com)
When asked about Michael Schumacher’s condition, Raikkonen said: “It’s a sad thing. I hope he stands as quickly as possible on his own feet again.” (Source: sportbild.de)
Kimi answers fans questions (above quotes)
“I am very disappointed with how this race turned out, because I got a good start, but then the collision with Magnussen damaged my right rear tyre, which meant I had to make an extra stop. That wiped out any chance I had of fighting for a good finish.”
“After the accident, the car’s handling was not the same, as the tyre had caused damage to the floor, which led to a loss of downforce. On my first set of tyres, I had some difficulties and it was only after the final stop, when I fitted the Mediums that it went better, but by then it was too late.”
“Hard to say how things might have gone without that problem, because our rivals were very quick, but maybe I could have finished close to Fernando. It was a really unlucky day, but overall we managed to improve our performance and now we must concentrate on the positive aspects of this weekend and work to improve starting already next week in Bahrain.”
Alonso fourth, Raikkonen out of luck – Not the luckiest of races for Ferrari. Fernando Alonso brought home the points for fourth place, thanks to a gritty second half performance that saw him close on those ahead, taking fourth place off Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India just 4 laps from the flag.
Kimi Raikkonen was very unlucky, as he was clipped at turn 1 in the opening laps by Kevin Magnussen’s McLaren, suffering a right rear puncture. The Finn had to do a whole lap at snail’s pace to get back to the pits, before rejoining in penultimate place. He fought hard, dueling with Daniil Kvyat and Romain Grosjean for a points finish, but it was not to be as he finished twelfth.
It was a one-two finish for Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton taking his 33rd win from Nico Rosberg, with Sebastian Vettel third for Red Bull.
Thanks to the 12 points for fourth, Alonso has the consolation of being third in the drivers’ championship, one point behind Hamilton and not too far off leader Rosberg. Just one week to go before round three in Bahrain (full report.)
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40m25.974s 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +17.313s 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault +24.534s 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +35.992s 5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes +47.199s 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +1m23.691s 7. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes +1m25.076s 8. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes +1m25.537s 9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap 10. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault +1 lap 11. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault +1 lap 12. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +1 lap 13. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault +1 lap 14. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault +2 laps 15. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari +2 laps Retirements: Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 49 laps Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 35 laps Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 32 laps Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 18 laps Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 8 laps Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 7 laps Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 0 laps Drivers' championship: 1. Nico Rosberg 43 2. Lewis Hamilton 25 3. Fernando Alonso 24 4. Jenson Button 23 5. Kevin Magnussen 20 6. Nico Hulkenberg 18 7. Sebastian Vettel 15 8. Valtteri Bottas 14 9. Kimi Raikkonen 6 10. Felipe Massa 6 11. Jean-Eric Vergne 4 12. Daniil Kvyat 3 13. Sergio Perez 1 Constructors' championship: 1. Mercedes 68 2. McLaren-Mercedes 43 3. Ferrari 30 4. Williams-Mercedes 20 5. Force India-Mercedes 19 6. Red Bull-Renault 15 7. Toro Rosso-Renault 7 8. Sauber-Ferrari 0 9. Lotus-Renault 0 10. Caterham-Renault 0 11. Marussia-Ferrari 0
Kimi Raikkonen – Magnussen destroyed race: “I don’t know much about it. All I know his front wing hit me on my wheel but I didn’t feel anything, so I have no idea when it was. Obviously it destroyed our race, not very good for us but I can’t say much as I have not seen it. On Friday and Saturday we have been pretty ok until qualifying, which wasn’t ideal and we weren’t as happy with. We were still in an ok position for the race. I got a pretty good start but then got that issue with the rear tyre. I think how we started was good and for sure we could have been up there with Fernando. It all went down when I got hit so that was that. It is a shame because without it we could have had a pretty ok race. It’s not where we want to be with the guys at the front. They are too fast right now but it is good for what we expected.”
“Hopefully next race we will have some new parts for the car I’ve been asking for and hopefully it makes a change in a nice way. Hopefully the front end will feel nicer. We will have to wait and see how we do on Friday there. I know on the test there was a some difficulties with handling but hopefully the new parts can sort that out. The new updates should make us a bit happier with the front end. It’s a new part and we don’t know if it will do what we expect. We have a good understanding of where we want to go and what to do. I expect if we make that happen we can go much faster, but how quickly we can do that we will see. All the good things we did a lot better here so we are going in the right direction.”
- Magnussen disappointed with himself – The rookie was given a five-second stop-and-go penalty for the crash with Raikkonen, and has been given two penalty points on his licence
- Ricciardo gets Bahrain grid penalty
- Bottas first to get penalty points
- Raikkonen: Grosjean pushed me out track
Onboard with Raikkonen
- Kimi Raikkonen: I have a flat rear tyre.
- Antonio Spagnolo: OK, we see. Box, box.
- Kimi Raikkonen: I don’t know what happened to the tyre, because I didn’t touch anybody.
- Antonio Spagnolo: From the data, it went off immediately. Like debris, or something like this. We pit for medium, new medium.
- Kimi Raikkonen: Very slippery overall.
- Antonio Spagnolo: Lap times are in line with the front people.
- Kimi Raikkonen: It’s raining a little bit on the back of the circuit.
- Antonio Spagnolo: OK, so we stay out. We see how it develops, the weather.
- Antonio Spagnolo: Raikkonen is behind Kobayashi in the Caterham. Use DRS.
Ready For Qualifying – Third and seventh places for the two Ferraris in the final free practice session prior to this afternoon’s qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen was again the best of the two Ferrari drivers, as he had been in yesterday’s two sessions. He covered 13 laps, the best in a time of 1.40.156, while yet again, a Mercedes was quickest, Nico Rosberg posting a 1.39.008, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton behind him.
Alonso did 14 laps, with a best of 1.40.736, around 6 tenths off his team-mate. In the second part of the session, both Scuderia Ferrari men did some practice starts, in preparation for tomorrow’s race.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m39.008s 13 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m39.240s +0.232s 13 3. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m40.156s +1.148s 13 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m40.387s +1.379s 14 5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m40.523s +1.515s 15 6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m40.686s +1.678s 14 7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m40.736s +1.728s 14 8. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m40.781s +1.773s 20 9. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m40.891s +1.883s 20 10. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m41.029s +2.021s 15 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m41.182s +2.174s 18 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m41.441s +2.433s 18 13. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m41.552s +2.544s 15 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.041s +3.033s 17 15. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m42.749s +3.741s 16 16. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m43.539s +4.531s 20 17. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m43.977s +4.969s 16 18. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m44.170s +5.162s 18 19. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m44.457s +5.449s 12 20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m46.015s +7.007s 7 21. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2m05.555s +26.547s 4 22. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 5
Kimi Raikkonen was again second in the second free practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Finn lapped in 1.39.944, which was just 35 thousandths off the 1.39.909 set by fastest man Nico Rosberg for Mercedes. In the other F14 T, Fernando Alonso was fifth in 1.40.103, under two tenths of the fastest time. In the early part of the 90 minute session, both drivers worked on qualifying set-up, before moving on to long runs in race configuration in the second half. While also working on general set up, Raikkonen and Alonso completed 30 and 29 laps respectively, using both the Medium and Hard Pirelli compounds.
Kimi Raikkonen: “This was definitely a positive day and I had a better feeling compared to Friday in Melbourne. I was more comfortable with the F14 T today and even if we had no problems whatsoever, we know there’s still a long way to go and a lot to do. Our programme concentrated on car set-up and on testing the compounds that Pirelli has brought here. The handling seemed to be good even if, as we found on the race simulation, we will have to pay very close attention to degradation, which is particularly high here. Now we will spend the evening carefully analysing all the data we gathered over the day, to try and work out how to improve.”
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m39.909s 30 2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m39.944s +0.035s 30 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m39.970s +0.061s 30 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40.051s +0.142s 32 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m40.103s +0.194s 29 6. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m40.112s +0.203s 34 7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m40.276s +0.367s 29 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m40.628s +0.719s 28 9. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m40.638s +0.729s 35 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m40.691s +0.782s 34 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m40.777s +0.868s 33 12. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.014s +1.105s 20 13. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m41.257s +1.348s 28 14. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m41.325s +1.416s 32 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m41.407s +1.498s 34 16. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m41.671s +1.762s 25 17. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m42.531s +2.622s 14 18. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m43.638s +3.729s 20 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m43.752s +3.843s 29 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m45.703s +5.794s 31 21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 0 22. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 0
Kimi Raikkonen was second and Fernando Alonso was eleventh at the end of the first free practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Sepang track was still quite dirty as Kimi produced a best time of 1.40.843, 152 thousandths slower than Lewis Hamilton who did a 1.40.691 in the Mercedes. Fernando Alonso’s best time was a 1.41.923, on a morning that featured a spin at Turn 8. During the session, both Ferrari men worked mainly on system checks and getting a first look at the balance of the car, the Finn completing 20 laps and the Spaniard 14.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40.691s 19 2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m40.843s +0.152s 20 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m41.028s +0.337s 19 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.111s +0.420s 20 5. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.274s +0.583s 18 6. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m41.402s +0.711s 15 7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m41.523s +0.832s 9 8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m41.642s +0.951s 19 9. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m41.686s +0.995s 23 10. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m41.830s +1.139s 22 11. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m41.923s +1.232s 14 12. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m42.117s +1.426s 20 13. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.365s +1.674s 21 14. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m42.869s +2.178s 21 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.904s +2.213s 23 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m43.825s +3.134s 18 17. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m45.775s +5.084s 24 18. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m46.911s +6.220s 10 19. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m51.180s +10.489s 5 20. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 2 21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 2 22. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 4
Q: Kimi, seventh in Australia and a bulletin from the Ferrari team since then with some quotes from you saying that one of the problems was the brake-by-wire system in particular. Would you give us a bit more detail on that?
KR: Ah, I don’t know where that came from. It’s not the issue. There is nothing wrong with the system. Somebody asked me after the race and I said ‘it’s not that’ – because they kind of said ‘is there some issue?’ It’s not true. But just mainly setup to get the car as I like it, as I wanted to have it and I’m sure once… we’re making some stuff for me, so hopefully once we get those it will get a bit more easy to get a bit more feeling in the front end. But it will take a little while. Obviously not the ideal start for the year, for the team, not what we obviously want to achieve. We want to do much better results but after all the difficulties over the weekend and how difficult it was, how many areas, just the small things. At least we got something out and it’s going to be a long year, so hopefully we can now build on it. We have plenty of good people and they’re working flat out as a group to improve things. So, we still have things to do but I’m sure we can keep progressing.
Q: With the nature of this particular circuit, do you think that you and we will be able to see more of what this Ferrari car is capable of this weekend, perhaps than we did in Australia?
KR: I don’t know. Every circuit is different. Obviously it is very hot, humid here, slightly different tyres here I think, so I have no idea. Even from the past years it was very difficult to say from race to race and especially with this new year with new rules. It will be hard but hopefully we get a bit better feeling and overall have a bit more experience and all the things run the weekend through a little bit more cleanly and hopefully get the better results.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Kate Walker – crash.net) For all of you: we’ve heard quite a lot of negative headlines, negative news reports about the new formula. I’d like to get some positive feedback from you on what these new cars are like to drive and how much fun they are to race.
KR: I don’t think it’s awfully different as a driver, to compare last year’s cars to this year’s. Obviously there are some small detailed issues but it’s the bigger issues that make a difference for me, just to be in a different team. Every team feels a bit different, different cars. It doesn’t really change an awful lot as a driver.
Q: (Adrian Rodriguez Huber – Agencia EFE) Kimi, how has your relationship with Fernando Alonso developed if it has, in any direction, since you guys have become teammates?
KR: It’s good, it always been good. Now, obviously, it’s early days but there was a lot of talk in the media from you guys, different people saying different things, but it’s been good. But the team has been trying to improve things and get the team to where we want to be.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, did you have any temptation to go to drive the simulator to get better settings for you?
Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Sera) Kimi, can we say that Ferrari will be more able to attack Mercedes and the other teams here?
KR: Like I said before, we don’t know how it’s going to be here. I would say it’s a different circuit, it will be very hard for the cars, the heat. We have to wait and see how we can do. Obviously we learned quite a bit on things from the last race but then it’s the same for every team. Hopefully we can be a bit more happy and see where we end up.
Q: So where do you think you are? Second? Third fastest car?
VB: Somewhere there, hopefully. It’s been a good start for us, hopefully we can maintain it because everyone is going to improve a lot, so I would definitely see no reason why we couldn’t find four top six positions.
KR: I think we are more or less where we finished.
NR: I think we look to be the quickest at the moment which is fantastic but we need to be careful with that and the opposition is not asleep, they’re pushing like crazy.
Hi everyone, here is a cool feature on Kimi Raikkonen’s personal helmet artist and designer Uffe Tagstrom from the latest April issue of F1Racing magazine. A nice insight into the helmet evolution of one of the most iconic racing drivers in the world.
The two words that spring to mind after the Australian Grand Prix are patience and work. Scuderia Ferrari’s main aim is clearly to make the F14 T more competitive. The feeling is that many teams used this first GP of the season to get a better understanding of the complicated new cars and that raises the hope that, as the races go by, the spectacle will also improve.
Kimi Raikkonen, one of the most experienced drivers on the grid also believes that patience is the key. “I think that at the start of a season like this one, with new tyres but more than that, completely new cars, the main aim has to be getting to the chequered flag. We did just that and I was finally able to run a full race distance in this car.”
“I’ve been in this game for quite a while now,” continued Raikkonen, “and I can say this is definitely not the first time that I’ve gone through a difficult first race weekend. We identified some general problems which we have to tackle in Maranello and there are other aspects linked to the set-up on my car to do with the brake-by-wire system. Getting this device working correctly is definitely something that contributes to the general feeling from the car, because it has a great effect on corner entry. Having said that, the F14 T improved right through Friday and Saturday and not getting into Q3 was not down to the competitiveness of the car.”
Kimi then returned to the key word of the moment. “First of all, we have to stay calm. The team is united, we know what we have to do and how to go about finding more performance. We also know this development process will not happen overnight and so we must be patient and concentrate hard on our work without watching what the others are doing. However, I’m sure that, if we work in the correct way, then right from the next race in Malaysia, the results can definitely be better.”
MTV Sport’s F1 expert Toni Vilander [24 Hours of Le Mans winner and a close friend of Kimi's] explains the setup problems Ferrari is having with Kimi Raikkonen.
The car’s tendency to push has been causing problems for Raikkonen.
“They’re looking for better settings for the front end. They’re trying to improve the turning of the car and the issues with the locking up of the inside wheel. Kimi is having problems with braking and the fact that the car pushes quite heavily. The front end is weak and Kimi’s isn’t able to get a proper feel of it.”
Teammate Fernando Alonso’s setup is completely different.
“Kimi’s use of the steering wheel and the timing of the braking and the gear change are different. Kimi changes gear fairly late and he keeps a slight pressure on the brake all the way to the middle of a curve. This requires a responsive steering and an inside wheel that doesn’t lock up.”
“Fernando turns fast and rough. For him it’s ok that the car pushes and you’ll be able to force the car inside a curve”, Vilander compares the different driving styles.
(Source: mtv.fi, google-translated)
Melbourne GP: Kobayashi crashed into Raikkonen first
Fernando Alonso insists he is very happy to have a strong opponent in Kimi Raikkonen to fight against at Ferrari this year, and in fact relishes the prospect.
Some believe the Spaniard cannot possibly have supported the team’s decision to replace the subordinate Felipe Massa with the former Ferrari champion Kimi Raikkonen.
But Alonso insists Massa was no pushover.
“Sometimes he was even faster than Michael Schumacher when they were together,” he told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. ”But my four years were fantastic with Felipe, so I expect nothing other than my coming years with Kimi to be fantastic too.”
Finn Raikkonen had a poor race return with Ferrari in Australia, but Alonso tipped him to get up to speed quickly.
“He’s very, very fast, perhaps the fastest of us all, or at least he is considered as such by some,” he said.
“Last year, he battled for the title with a Lotus, an achievement I rate highly because I do not think Lotus are so strong,” Alonso added.
“I have a very strong opponent in the team and I am very happy about that, whether you believe me or not.”
He said all the recent speculation about their relationship was “understandable”, given the new season and a “winter in which nothing much happens”.
“This has become a routine for me, especially since I’ve been with Ferrari, because it was also said it would be very difficult for me with Felipe,” said Alonso.
(Source: Welt am Sonntag Newspaper, via grandprix247.com)
Alonso complains of Raikkonen helmet privileges
Fernando Alonso has complained about Kimi’s use of Bell helmets, while Schuberth is the team’s official helmet provider.
The two-time world champion has asked the team why Raikkonen has such privileges.