Report – Sixth and ninth places for the Scuderia Ferrari drivers in the inaugural Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso got a great start, while Kimi Raikkonen fought tooth and nail to defend a points place finish to the very end.
Fernando got away perfectly, making up two places, while Kimi, who also got off the line well, then saw his efforts thwarted as he was squeezed against the wall.
Fernando was a front runner in the early stages even fighting for a podium place, but the switch to the Medium tyre meant he was unable to match the pace of the five Mercedes powered cars that would finish ahead of him. A bit further back, after his pit stop, Kimi fought off Sergio Perez in the Force India and Felipe Massa in the Williams, to successfully hang on to ninth place, these two also Mercedes-powered.
Lewis Hamilton won the race thus equaling Nigel Mansell’s total of 31 victories, while his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg was second ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the Williams. Next up were the two McLarens of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen and then behind Alonso came the Red Bull duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel. Sergio Perez took the last point on offer behind Raikkonen. The next round is the United States Grand Prix on 2 November.
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||-||23h28m09.s|
|8||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||-||23h28m09.s|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||-||23h28m09.s|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||-||23h28m09.s|
|13||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||-||23h28m09.s|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||-||1 Lap|
|15||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber/Ferrari||-||1 Lap|
|16||Adrian Sutil||Sauber/Ferrari||-||1 Lap|
|17||Romain Grosjean||Lotus/Renault||-||1 Lap|
|18||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus/Renault||-||1 Lap|
|19||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham/Renault||-||2 Laps|
Kimi: start compromised race – “It was a pretty normal race. Obviously it was pretty difficult to overtake for us and after the start I got a pretty good jump off the line. But then I had to back off because of a Toro Rosso coming left more and more. I had nowhere to go and lost a lot of places. After that it was just following people and not really having a chance on a straight line. But the car felt okay. It was just slow. In the end I had to fuel save for most of the race and a lot more near the finish. The car felt good, but when you fuel save you cannot push a lot. I thought that the car was behaving pretty well since Saturday. [But] it is the lack of speed that we have on a straight line, I think, that cost us a lot of lap time. In the end though this is the result and hopefully the next race suits us a little bit better.”
Kimi Raikkonen – “We knew we could expect a very demanding race and that starting from far back it would not be easy to move up the order, but at the start we did very well. Unfortunately a Toro Rosso squeezed me towards the wall once we were on the straight. Because I had to brake hard, various cars passed me and I lost any chance of having a good race, because from then on I was always stuck behind other cars. The car handled well and with a clear track I had a good pace, but we lacked top speed with which to try and overtake on the straight and having to save fuel meant I couldn’t push as hard as I wanted to. We are aware that this year it’s hard to fight for the top places, but all the same, we will continue to try our best, starting with the very next race in Austin. That track is very demanding and interesting and I hope I don’t have the same problems I had here, so that I can aim for a good result. However, what I wish for most is that all our prayers help Jules at this difficult time.”
Marco Mattiacci: “Once again, we find ourselves confronting a result that is a long way off our goals, but today, we must congratulate Mercedes who, after five years of hard work, have taken a well deserved Constructors’ title. The back-to-back Japan-Russia trip has been a difficult one for our team, both on and off the track. In both races, we have learned a lot that will be useful for the future, in terms of how to improve on a technical level, but also when it comes to safety. I’m sure the final three races will provide an opportunity to try and get the most out of the team and the car, in order to end the season achieving better results. While my thoughts and those of everyone are still with Jules, today I would like to thank Luca di Montezemolo, at what has been the final Grand Prix under his Presidency at Ferrari. I think we have been fortunate to work with a great manager like him and it will be exactly the same with a successor of the calibre of Sergio Marchionne.”
Kimi Raikkonen says conditions are never likely to be 100% safe but believes the Japanese Grand Prix was not run dangerously.
Jules Bianchi suffered a severe head injury after he spun off track and hit a recovery vehicle in increasingly wet conditions at Suzuka, with the FIA’s decision not to stop the race earlier being questioned. However, Raikkonen believes the track was good enough to race on and says it’s impossible to have a definitive point when conditions stop being safe.
“I didn’t think that [conditions] were so bad,” Raikkonen said. “Obviously it had started to rain a bit more on intermediates but it was still OK. It didn’t look so bad, obviously some places got a little bit more wet but it depends on how old your tyres are what your car is doing.
“Obviously it started to rain a bit more and it gets wet there. If you stay on line it’s a bit better but I can only speak for myself. For sure it was close to having to change the tyres, we changed the tyres but I don’t know because obviously there was a safety car and yellow flags there.
“Was it safe? Is it safe ever? You cannot say that now it’s safe and one lap later it’s not safe. We knew the conditions were tricky and getting a bit more rain with the used tyres is a bit more tricky always.”
And Raikkonen said a driver can still go off in certain conditions regardless of the speed he is doing, with Bianchi having crashed under yellow flags while Adrian Sutil’s Sauber was removed after having an accident at the same corner.
“It was yellow flags which means slow down but sometimes it doesn’t matter. At the beginning of the race we had the safety car, we drove at 100kph and we had aquaplaning. So even if you slow down you might get in to trouble, even if you slow down a lot you can still go off if there’s water. It’s as simple as that.”
[ Source: crash.net ]
Lewis Hamilton extended his narrow Formula 1 world championship lead by defeating Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to victory in a Japanese Grand Prix shortened by an accident for Jules Bianchi.
Having lost out to Rosberg in an all-silver battle for pole in the dry on Saturday, Hamilton turned the tables in the wet Suzuka weather of Sunday with a brilliant round-the-outside passing move on his bitter F1 title rival.
Red Bull deliberately compromised its dry qualifying pace by setting the RB10 up for the wet, and its drivers used this to good effect to finish third and fourth.
Ferrari-bound reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel completed the podium, despite a trip through the gravel at the Esses, while team-mate Daniel Ricciardo overcame Jenson Button’s McLaren to finish fourth.
Button held third spot for most of the first half of the race, after being the first driver to pit for inters, but he lost time to a steering wheel change at his second stop, which dropped him behind Vettel, before Ricciardo further demoted the Brit with a firm pass on the inside of the hairpin on lap 43 – a lap before the result was taken.
Williams pair Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa started third and fourth, but both struggled badly in wet conditions and trailed home sixth and seventh.
Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India stopped at the end of the pitlane as the race was red-flagged for the final time, but he finished eighth on countback, while Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne charged from the back of the grid to claim two points for ninth.
Ferrari took zero points from the race. Kimi Raikkonen finished 12th, while Fernando Alonso retired with a mechanical problem under the safety car before the race began properly.
Final Results: 44 Laps – Red Flagged
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1h52m12.143s||29.122s|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1h52m21.839s||38.818s|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1h53m38.969s||1m55.948s|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1h53m50.659s||2m07.638s|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||-||1 Lap|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||-||1 Lap|
|12||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||-||1 Lap|
|13||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber/Ferrari||-||1 Lap|
|14||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren/Mercedes||-||1 Lap|
|15||Romain Grosjean||Lotus/Renault||-||1 Lap|
|16||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus/Renault||-||1 Lap|
|17||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham/Renault||-||1 Lap|
|18||Max Chilton||Marussia/Ferrari||-||1 Lap|
|19||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham/Renault||-||1 Lap|
|20||Jules Bianchi||Marussia/Ferrari||-||Spun off|
|21||Adrian Sutil||Sauber/Ferrari||-||Spun off|
NEWS & QUOTES
Bianchi taken to hospital after crash – Marussia Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi has been taken to hospital unconscious following an accident during the Japanese Grand Prix, when he went off at the scene of a previous crash for Adrian Sutil.
Kimi Raikkonen – “Overall, this was a very disappointing weekend. I had set-up problems right from the first day and again today in the race I didn’t manage to drive the way I would have liked. After the start behind the safety car, the track conditions were pretty atrocious and visibility was very poor, but my car was handling okay. Then, when the rain eased, I fitted the intermediate tyres, but after a few laps, they were no longer up to temperature and they began to give me problems at the front end, which meant I had to slow down. Now, we will try and resolve this problem as quickly as possible and aim to improve, starting with the very next race, but more importantly right now, let’s hope we get some good news about Jules Bianchi soon.”
Marco Mattiacci, Ferrari team principal – “For our team, this weekend was unfortunately characterised by reliability problems, yesterday on Kimi’s car and today on Fernando’s. With Kimi, we paid the price for not having been able to get his car configured as well as possible in the third free practice session. That meant he suffered with balance problems throughout the race. Today, with Fernando, we had a bit more of a chance and what happened today just underlines the fact that we must improve the car. However, at the moment, all this is of secondary importance and all our thoughts are only with Jules Bianchi.”
Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director - “It’s disappointing to finish the weekend without scoring points, but our biggest concern tonight is what happened to Jules Bianchi. We still don’t know much but it looked very serious. As for our race, Fernando’s only lasted a couple of laps, probably because of a problem with the electrical system, however we will need to wait until we have the car back for confirmation. Kimi’s main problem was graining on the front tyres. At the pit stop he lost valuable time because of a problem with the front right, but even without that, I think his finishing position wouldn’t have been that much different. Today’s conditions were definitely not easy and what happened here highlights just how important it is to work on the reliability of the car.”
Report – Fernando Alonso finished just off the podium in fourth place after a great battle with the two Red Bull drivers, while his Scuderia Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen finished eighth, losing two places on the last two laps having to deal with seriously worn out tyres.
There was drama before the start, as Nico Rosberg failed to get off the grid on the formation lap and had to start from pit lane. When the lights went out, Alonso got away very well, going second in the first corner. However, the Spaniard overshot as the track went left and therefore had to cede the place to Sebastian Vettel.
Before half-distance, Fernando’s situation improved as he moved up to second behind Hamilton, the clear leader. However, after a collision between Sergio Perez and Adrian Sutil brought out the Safety Car, this worked against the two Ferraris, who unlike the Red Bulls, were still on the Supersofts and had to bring forward their stops to make the most of the situation.
For the final 24 laps, Fernando found himself between Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, with no way of getting past them. Further back, Raikkonen moved up to sixth before being overtaking by Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) and Sergio Perez (Force India) who were on fresher tyres. The Finn therefore came home eighth. Lewis Hamilton took the 29th win of his career and thus moves into a 3 point lead over Nico Rosberg. The next race is in Japan in a fortnight’s time.
|2||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||13.534s|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||14.273s|
|6||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||56.801s|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||59.038s|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m01.661s|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m12.008s|
|17||Max Chilton||Marussia/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|-||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham/Renault||Not started|
Raikkonen rues “fucking up my tyres” – “Most of the race I got stuck behind the Williams. It was mainly Massa but then in the end with Bottas. I think we had a bit more speed than them but obviously you can’t get past and then just driving behind it seems to affect us a lot. We even noticed in the past races that when you get close you lose all the downforce at the rear and you just destroy your tyres. First of all you can’t get close enough at the faster places to try to attack and then it ruins your tyres. I just kept following the Williams the whole race – first [Massa] and then the other one – just f***ing up my tyres so that was quite disappointing. It’s hard to overtake them. I got close to them a few times but coming out of the faster corners I just lost the grip. If you don’t get the proper jump on them you will never pass them in a straight line. It’s a strong point of their car and here when you only have a few places to overtake it’s very hard to get past them.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Today’s race was really frustrating, because despite the fact we were quick, we weren’t able to finish where we wanted. My start was good, I moved up a few places and everything was working perfectly. After the first stop, I lost a place to Felipe and from then on, I found myself stuck behind a Williams for the entire race. Unfortunately, every time I managed to get close, I lost aero performance on the rear and on top of that, tyre degradation was very high. It’s a real shame I was never able to run my race, even if we already knew that straightline speed is our opponents’ strong point. I’m not happy with eighth place, but on the positive side, we have seen improvements this weekend. I’m sure that if, from now on, we don’t have problems, things will go better.”
Pat Fry: “Here in Singapore, the performance of the two F14 Ts was a pleasant surprise, as we have never been as close to the front runners this season. The technical characteristics of the track, our development work, the talent of our drivers and the way our car worked on the softer tyres are just some of the elements that explain our good form this weekend. While very encouraging, it was still not enough to achieve the team’s objectives and it was a real shame to see second place slip from our grasp with Fernando because of the Safety Car. Unfortunately, with Kimi we didn’t manage to get the most out of the car: he had the potential to get a better result, if hadn’t been for Massa undercutting him and then, even though he was on fresher tyres, he did not have the top speed to pass Bottas on the straight. Like Monaco, this is a track where it’s hard to overtake and the arrival of the Safety Car can jumble up the order. Now, in Suzuka, we will have another opportunity and once again, we will try and fight the Red Bulls and especially the Williams in the Constructors’ Championship.”
Marco Mattiacci: “Today’s race could have delivered us a better result, because thanks to a quick response from the team after the disappointing outcome of the Grand Prix in Monza, we were competitive all weekend long. Our pace was good and thanks to the strategy, with Fernando we managed to run second, but it later slipped from our grasp during the course of the race. Kimi was held up by traffic and slowed with tyre degradation and, although he got a good start, he was unable to retake the places he had made up. The variable of the Safety Car altered our strategy projections, affecting the outcome of the race. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that the only strategy for winning is to be able to count on a competitive car. Now we leave Singapore having shown signs of progress: on this front, Suzuka will provide a very interesting test bench, because it will allow us to go deeper into our development work in areas in which we want to improve.”