Report – Nico Rosberg was fastest in the second free practice session just ended at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit, home to the first round of the Formula 1 World Championship. Behind the German Mercedes driver, who posted a 1.27.697, came his team-mate Lewis Hamilton (1.27.797) and the two SF15-T of Sebastian Vettel (1.28.412) and Kimi Raikkonen (1.28.842.) Both Scuderia Ferrari drivers worked on set-up, running different aero downforce levels and comparing the Medium and Soft compounds chosen by Pirelli for this track. Raikkonen, just over seven tenths slower than his team-mate, admitted over the radio that it was “not a very good lap”. FP2 Times:
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m30.016s||2.319s||27|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m30.071s||2.374s||41|
|10||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m30.473s||2.776s||30|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m30.980s||3.283s||32|
|14||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m31.395s||3.698s||6|
— KimiRäikkönenSpace (@EvenstarSaima) March 20, 2015
Report – The Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finished the opening free practice session of the Australian Grand Prix in fifth and eighth places respectively, to get the 2015 season underway. Vettel completed 13 laps in his SF15-T with a best of 1.31.029, while Raikkonen did 14, the fastest being a 1.31.310. Both drivers used the Medium tyres, working on a programme featuring aero testing and set-up work to suit the car to the semi-permanent Albert Park circuit, which was still too dirty for any more in depth work. FP1 Times:
|4||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m31.014s||1.457s||32|
|6||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m31.067s||1.510s||31|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m31.570s||2.013s||9|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m32.073s||2.516s||18|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m32.247s||2.690s||22|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m32.261s||2.704s||19|
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a typical Friday of free practice. In the first session I could not drive very well and it was difficult to put a good lap together. So, for the second session, we made some changes to the car before the long-runs and, in the end, the feeling was better. Now if we can put everything together and find a good lap, we should be OK. It was a positive day overall, and the feeling hasn’t changed since winter testing: I think the whole package has improved. On the other hand, it’s only Friday, and we know we still have a lot of work to do”.
Shortly after his team-mate Sebastian Vettel had taken part in the inaugural FIA press conference, Kimi Raikkonen also met the media, at the back of the Scuderia Ferrari garage in Melbourne’s Albert Park paddock.
“It’s a new season, a new year and we start from zero,” was the Finn’s opening remark. “We will see how it goes. Over the winter the team has done a very good job to improve the package. The new car is better in all areas. As a team, everyone is working well together and it’s been a good winter. We feel better overall and I’m sure we are much better prepared for this year. But will we always get what we want? Only time will tell. We still have a lot of work to do to be where we really want to be, but we have to be happy with where we are after testing, compared to where we finished last year.”
Kimi would not be drawn on just how competitive he might be this year. “We must wait and see on Sunday,” he insisted. “I have no interest in starting guessing and in a couple of days we will at least get an idea where we are here. Then we can wait and see how we go in different races at different circuits.”
As for this first weekend, Kimi stressed that Albert Park is not representative of the majority of tracks. “It’s not like a normal, traditional circuit, it’s the first race of the season, so usually quite a lot happens in the race. The weather can also be a bit funny here, but hopefully everything will go smoothly for us and we can do our maximum in the race and then see where we end up. Tomorrow, we will see what the car feels like and then we can go from there. I hope we have a similar feeling here to what we had in testing and have no issues. That way we should get an okay result, but exactly where we will be is hard to say.”
Finally, he was asked for a thought on the fact that his former team-mate, Fernando Alonso, is having to miss this race, after his testing accident. “It’s not ideal for him and you never like to see anyone get hurt and I hope he will be back soon,” concluded Kimi. “But that’s part of the game; you can get hurt or have problems and miss a race.”
“We feel better overall as a team and I’m sure we are much more ready for this year,” said Raikkonen, who finished a career-worst 12th in the drivers’ standings last season. We are in a much stronger position. We still have work to do to get to where we want to – but that’s part of the game. I think we have to be happy with where we are in testing and comparing where we finished last year. We have done a good job, but we have to wait and see if it is good enough or how far away we are.” [autosport.com]
A journalist asked if Seb’s relationship with Kimi might suffer now they are team-mates. “I have known Kimi for a while now and we respect each other,” he responded. “He is very straightforward and honest. We will be trying to beat one another on the track, which is normal and if there are ever some issues we will be able to sort them out.”
There was a truly exceptional setting for this morning’s special event, put on by Shell for the first Grand Prix of the season and featuring special guests, the Scuderia Ferrari drivers, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. Kimi and Sebastian took on the unaccustomed role of assistant chefs at a well known Melbourne restaurant. There, they helped chef Guy Grossi create a special dish, intended to reflect similarities with the ingredients used in the Shell V-Power fuel.
View the full gallery here.
— KimiRäikkönenSpace (@EvenstarSaima) March 12, 2015