A photo gallery of Kimi before the race…
| Source: fia.com |
PODIUM INTERVIEWS (Conducted by Eddie Jordan)
Q: Kimi, four points off the championship lead at this stage and you’re coming in under the radar so to speak, because nobody is really giving you enough credit for what you’re doing at the moment. How do you respond to that?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: I don’t mind. I’m here only to do as good races as we can and always you want to win and it’s disappointing to finish second but sometimes we have to take what we can get. Like I said, I don’t mind if people don’t notice us. We do our work, be happy what we do and obviously try to achieve in Enstone.
Q: Is the lack of attention possibly helping you?
KR: It makes no difference really to me. We know in the team, and all the sponsors, what we try to achieve and what we are doing and that’s the main thing.
Q: Kimi, we heard you say on the podium there you were disappointed you didn’t win. You had a different strategy to Fernando, doing one stop less than the Ferrari today. Was there a point at which you thought you might have an opportunity to challenge Fernando for the win today?
KR: Maybe half way through. Obviously, we were leading but when we were on old tyres and he had newer tyres, it’s too easy to overtake. There’s no point to really fight against [him] because you cannot hold him behind. I knew if I could somehow stay a bit more closer, even with old tyres, maybe I have some chance, even if I’m already behind and will be with old tyres in the end but you never know. But they were just too fast. He had a good start around the outside of me. I don’t think the end result really was decided there but we just did a different way of doing the race. It wasn’t a winning way today but… We’re never happy if we’re not winning. We’re only here to try to win. But we kind of caught up with Vettel few points and obviously Fernando caught me up [by] some points but we’re still in the hunt and we’ll keep ourselves there and hopefully in the future just try to win a bit more.
Q: Consistency is the key though, isn’t it? It’s the fourth time in five races you’ve stood on the podium, including that win in Australia and as you say you’ve got it down to just five points to Vettel. How do you feel about your championship situation and what comes from here?
KR: Obviously it’s better than before the race now. It will not be easy. We cannot fight against… it’s the same for everybody. Everybody wants to win it, but sometimes you have a bad day. You try to minimise those and make the most out of them and give yourself a chance to be up there and fight for wins. I think if you can do that often it will give a good chance in the end to fight for the championship. It’s only a five race-old season, so there’s an awful lot to be raced. We’ll see what happens. We’ll try to do well and see where we are in the end.
Q: [Paolo Ianieri – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Fernando, historically this has always been a track where it was pretty difficult to overtake but today we have seen that there were many manoeuvres. You made history because nobody every won starting fifth, so how do you feel about it? And also, to all of you, don’t you think it’s too much with these tyres having too many pitstops and there is too much confusion?
FA: I don’t know. I’m happy to win from whatever position to start. Here, I think this historically has been difficult to overtake and starting off the front row was hard for the race but now with this year’s degradation and this year’s tyres we see the races keep changing all the time. Whatever car keeps the tyre alive normally is on the podium at least – or winning the race. So, happy for this. If it’s too much confusion for the spectators? There is no doubt. I think it is impossible to follow one race now. Here it’s good because you have the tower and I think you follow the race on the tower with the numbers and you see who is first, who is second. But in some other circuits, if I’m sitting in the grandstand, without any information: radio, telephone or something, you only see cars passing.
Kimi, your thoughts on that?
KR: I don’t really think it’s any different to last year. Obviously I wasn’t there the year before but they had a lot of pitstops also. So that’s the way it is and it’s the same for everybody. For sure sometimes it’s a bit tricky, even for us, who is where and what is going on if you haven’t seen it as the guy in front, what’s going on. But that’s what Formula One is today. It might change, it might not.
Q: (Pierre Van Vliet – F1i.com) Kimi, in the early part of the race when you had your first pitstop, you came back with new soft tyres and you spent… you lost a few laps behind Vettel. Without that time lost do you think you could have been in front of Fernando on the last stint?
KR: It wasn’t a new, it was used from qualifying. So, I mean obviously I have to overtake and I took maybe a few laps more than I expected but I got past him and I really could pull away but in the end I really don’t think those were the decisions that were the deciding story of the race. I think we had the speed but we should have done it different. Maybe more pitstops, then you can push all the time – but I think this was our best way of doing the race. That’s what we planned and that’s what we did and I think we deserved to be second and not really winning today. It’s OK for the team, the guys did a good job and we go for the next race to try to do better and get the best out of it.
Q: (Leonid Novozhilov – F1Life) Kimi, what do you think about the pit stop strategy in Monaco?
KR: I have no idea. I know what we did here and yesterday. There’s a few weeks to go. We will see what happens, what tyres they bring and how everything plans out. I think it’s usually quite straightforward there. Usually, if you’re not in the front, you start behind somebody else and it’s really difficult to overtake. We will see.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, you have three successive second places and now you’ve managed to catch up Sebastian by six points; was this the most rewarding of these three races, and how do you see your chances to do better in Monaco?
KR: First of all, Monaco is a different place compared to this, so it’s a bit hard to say. Last year I wasn’t very good there. For sure, it should be a bit better but I’ve had some good races there – it’s a dangerous thing to say – but as Fernando said, I think Mercedes will unfortunately be pretty quick there and after that it’s difficult to overtake. The only difference that they have made against most of us is in the last sector where it’s tight so you can really expect, from what they did last year and what they did here, that they should be pretty fast there. We will see what happens there, but gaining the points on Sebastian was nice. If he would have lost more points and still be second it would have been even more annoying, but OK, you also want to win but we cannot still put ourselves in a better position for the championship so at least something good came out of it.
Q: (Jussi Jakala – YLE) Kimi, all top drivers are kind of supermen; did you have time to enjoy the battle that you had with Sebastian?
KR: Yeah, it didn’t last very long. It took a few laps. I maybe had a chance earlier but I didn’t think that I would take him at the end of the straight but actually they were very fast at the start of the straight so I couldn’t catch him there, so it took a bit longer than I expected but then it was quite nice, fair but quite tough fight, but it worked out OK.
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
After a hat-trick of second place finishes, Kimi moves to within four points of Sebastian Vettel at the head of the Drivers’ Championship; he’s not getting carried away just yet though…
Q: P2 for the third consecutive race; how are you feeling?
KR: Unfortunately it’s second place again so it’s not time to celebrate too much. The car felt good and we did pretty much all we could today, but we didn’t have the pace to challenge Fernando [Alonso]. I drove to the maximum and it’s good for the championship that Sebastian finished behind us. It’s nice to be on the podium for me and the team; let’s see what we can do in Monaco.
Q: You achieved your result with a three stop strategy today when many rivals opted for four; talk us through that decision?
KR: That’s the strategy we chose and it worked pretty well for us. Fernando did make four stops, but we didn’t think we could beat him whatever the strategy today as he has looked pretty quick all weekend.
Q: Did you enjoy your battle with Sebastian Vettel?
KR: Yes, but it didn’t last very long; just a few laps. I maybe had a chance to pass a bit earlier but I didn’t think I could take him at the end of the straight; they [Red Bull] were very fast coming on to the straight so I couldn’t catch him there. It took a bit longer than I expected but then it was a good battle – fair, but quite tough – and it worked out okay for us in the end.
Q: Some say your championship challenge is somewhat under the radar; is that a good thing?
KR: I don’t mind if people don’t notice us. We do our work, we’re happy in what we do and we obviously try to achieve the best for Enstone. I’m just here to race the best I can. You always want to win and it’s disappointing to finish second, but sometimes we have to take what we can get.
A strong drive to P2 puts Kimi just 4 points off Championship leader Sebastian Vettel, whilst bad luck sees Romain retire in the early stages at the Circuit de Catalunya…
Pos Driver Team 1. Alonso Ferrari 2. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 3. Massa Ferrari 4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 5. Webber Red Bull-Renault 6. Rosberg Mercedes 7. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes 8. Button McLaren-Mercedes 9. Perez McLaren-Mercedes 10. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 11. Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 12. Hamilton Mercedes 13. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 14. Maldonado Williams-Renault 15. Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 16. Bottas Williams-Renault 17. Pic Caterham-Renault 18. Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 19. Chilton Marussia-Cosworth DNF Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari DNF van der Garde Caterham-Renault DNF Grosjean Lotus-Renault World Championship standings, round 5: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Vettel 89 1. Red Bull-Renault 131 2. Raikkonen 85 2. Ferrari 117 3. Alonso 72 3. Lotus-Renault 111 4. Hamilton 50 4. Mercedes 72 5. Massa 45 5. Force India-Mercedes 32 6. Webber 42 6. McLaren-Mercedes 29 7. Di Resta 26 7. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 8 8. Grosjean 26 8. Sauber-Ferrari 5 9. Rosberg 22 10. Button 17 11. Perez 12 12. Ricciardo 7 13. Sutil 6 14. Hulkenberg 5 15. Vergne 1
Video: SkySports interview
When asked if he thought that victory had been possible, Lotus driver Raikkonen replied: “Maybe halfway through, when we were leading, but we were on old tyres and [he had] newer tyres.
“It is too easy to overtake, so no point to really fight again because you cannot hold him behind.
“I knew if I could somehow stay a bit closer, maybe I had some chance, even if I am already behind them with old tyres. But in the end, they were just too fast.”
Raikkonen pointed to his poor opening lap, when he dropped a place to Alonso at Turn 3, as a moment that shaped his race.
“We didn’t have a good start, but I don’t think the end result was decided there. It wasn’t the win, and we are only happy with the win, but [in terms of the championship, with Sebastian] Vettel we are close and Fernando has caught me, but we are still in the hunt and hopefully we can try and win a bit more.”
Raikkonen is now just four points behind Vettel in the championship, and is looking forward to future battles as he aims to win his second world title.
“Sometimes you have bad days and make the most out of them and give yourself a chance to fight for wins,” he said.
“If you can do that often you will have a good chance in the end to fight for the championship. Only five races done… we will see what happens and see where we are at the end.”
Kimi Raikkonen – 2nd: “Unfortunately it’s second place again so it’s not time to celebrate too much. The car felt good and we did pretty much all we could today, but we didn’t have the pace to challenge Fernando [Alonso]. I drove to the maximum and it’s good for the championship that Sebastian finished behind us. It’s nice to be on the podium for me and the team; let’s see what we can do in Monaco.”
Romain Grosjean – DNF: “I made a poor start but after that I was on the pace and we know we’re able to produce good race strategies, so there was potential for a strong result today. The car was feeling pretty good until we had an issue with the rear suspension which meant I had to return to the pits and retire from the race, which is a great shame. It’s always disappointing for everyone when something like this happens but there’s no-one to blame; it’s just a part of motor racing.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “We’re very happy with a podium. Losing out to Fernando in the first corner was a blow, and being held up behind first Lewis [Hamilton] then Sebastian certainly hampered our progress, but even so I don’t think we quite had the pace to take the win today. Unfortunately for Romain, and through no fault of his own, a rear suspension failure curtailed his race very early on. The cause of this has yet to be determined and we’ve completed many, many kilometres with this suspension configuration, so it’s difficult to pinpoint what might have occurred. We’ll be sending the parts back to Enstone to have a good look at what went wrong and avoid any recurrence.”
@f1zone Kimi: “But we gained points on Sebastian today so it’s good. But we need to finish higher up more.” @KimiFanPage Kimi: ”We choose to do that (three stops). It gave us second place. We gained points on Sebastian, something good came out of today.”
| Source: yallaf1.com |
In the end he finished second, but Kimi Raikkonen was almost not well enough to start Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Finnish sources MTV3 and Turun Sanomat report that the Lotus driver was late for the pre-race driver parade because he was suffering from an allergic reaction.
“He gets it 3 or 4 times a year,” the 2007 world champion’s trainer Mark Arnall admitted.
“We have no idea where it came from just before the race, but it affects mainly his skin, and not so much his eyes.”
Arnall said Raikkonen was treated with antihistamines.
Lotus engineer Alan Permane said: “Considering he (Raikkonen) was suffering before he started the race, it was a very impressive performance indeed.”
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
Four races, three podiums and some classy drives for the Iceman so far in 2013. As always though, he’s wanting more…
Q: After a difficult day yesterday, are you satisfied with today’s result?
KR: You’re never really happy if you don’t win, but I suppose second place is as close as you can get. We could maybe have been a few places higher in in qualifying which would have made things easier, but I drove to the maximum and luckily we found the pace in the car that was missing yesterday. We didn’t have the speed to challenge Sebastian [Vettel] today, but we did have the pace to get both cars on the podium so I’m happy for the team.
Q: After a tough start, did you believe this result was on the cards?
KR: I got off the line ok but then got a bit caught in the traffic so it wasn’t an easy start for sure. After the first stop I thought we had a good chance to make the podium, but we were on a different strategy to most of the others so it was difficult to tell where we were. In the end it worked out pretty well.
Q: There seemed to be a bit of contention over your first stop…
KR: We stopped pretty early the first time and you don’t want to run a set of tyres too long as you then have to look after them a bit more and they start to get more tricky with every lap. It was a bit of a change from our initial plan but that’s pretty normal and I wasn’t worried; our tyre wear was never a problem and they still felt fine at the end.
Q: Yourself and the team currently occupy P2 in both Championships; are you pleased with how things are going?
KR: For sure it’s an ok start and we’re in a better position that this time last year, but there’s a long season ahead and it’s too early to say if we can fight for the Championship right to the end. It’s going to be hard to catch Sebastian [Vettel] if he keeps taking good results so we need to start taking more points from him, but you never know what can happen. We’ll keep pushing to improve the car and see where we end up.
| Source: autosport.com |
PODIUM INTERVIEWS (Conducted by David Coulthard)
It was a great race. If I could come to our second-placed finisher here: they call him the Iceman but they should really call you Mr Consistency. Another podium. Tell us about your strategy today. On reflection do you think that was the right one? Was second place the best you could hope for?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Yeah, I think yesterday wasn’t ideal. We planned to… I wanted to already, Friday, try to do a two-stop because it felt OK and today it worked well so we gained a lot of places. I didn’t have a very strong first or second lap, so I lost two places. After that the car started to come to me and I could start pushing more and more, and in the end it was OK.
Q: Speaking of strategy, Kimi, you said you wanted to make a two-stop strategy work. You felt that was the right way forward. But did you need to be five, six places further up on the grid? Was it qualifying that cost you a chance of the win today?
KR: I think it didn’t help but I think overall we would not have had the speed for beating Red Bull in here this weekend. And even if yesterday we could have been a few places better but still we couldn’t have challenged on speed whatever we would have done to the front. So, I mean, I don’t think on the speedwise we could really have challenged for the win. But I would say then second was the best that we could achieve and also third for the team so a good result.
Press Conference - QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, you have been on the podium six times here in Bahrain; which has been the best of these six races?
KR: I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter. Second is obviously better than third place but we haven’t won and that’s what we try to do. Today we got good points, we didn’t lose too many to Sebastian but obviously it doesn’t help to finish second if he’s winning all the time. So we try to find something but all of them have been improved, in a way.
Q: Kimi, how much different is it to seven, maybe eight years ago?
KR: First of all, I don’t think Pirelli could please everybody, whatever they would do. There’s always somebody who will complain, even if they changed and made them happy then I’m sure there will be people who want something different and not happy so I don’t think it’s their job to try to always change things if somebody’s complaining or doesn’t like it. Even in the past, if we would have put the same amount of fuel in the cars, we couldn’t have run at full speed all the time, because the tyres would have gone off so I don’t really think it’s all that different now. We just made more stops and ran less fuel in those days. I would say that’s really the biggest difference. I’m sure the tyres wouldn’t have lasted long in those days.
Sebastian Vettel breezed to his second victory of the 2013 Formula 1 season in the Bahrain Grand Prix. The world champion thrust his Red Bull to the front amid spectacular early dicing, then left the action behind. In a repeat of the 2012 Sakhir podium, Lotus duo Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean made it through the field to second and third, the latter denying Paul di Resta a maiden F1 podium with just six laps to go.
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 57 laps 2. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 9.1s 3. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 19.5s 4. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 21.7s 5. Hamilton Mercedes + 35.2s 6. Perez McLaren-Mercedes + 35.9s 7. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 37.2s 8. Alonso Ferrari + 37.5s 9. Rosberg Mercedes + 41.1s 10. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 46.6s 11. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1m06.4s 12. Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari + 1m12.9s 13. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1m16.7s 14. Bottas Williams-Renault + 1m21.5s 15. Massa Ferrari + 1m26.3s 16. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap 17. Pic Caterham-Renault + 1 lap 18. Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap 19. Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap 20. Chilton Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap 21. van der Garde Caterham-Renault + 2 laps Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 16 Fastest lap: Vettel, 1m36.961s World Championship standings, round 4: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Vettel 77 1. Red Bull-Renault 109 2. Raikkonen 67 2. Lotus-Renault 93 3. Hamilton 50 3. Ferrari 77 4. Alonso 47 4. Mercedes 64 5. Webber 32 5. Force India-Mercedes 26 6. Massa 30 6. McLaren-Mercedes 23 7. Grosjean 26 7. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 7 8. Di Resta 20 8. Sauber-Ferrari 5 9. Rosberg 14 10. Button 13 11. Perez 10 12. Ricciardo 6 13. Sutil 6 14. Hulkenberg 5 15. Vergne 1
News & Quotes:
“I think overall we did not have the speed to beat Red Bull this weekend. Yesterday we could have been a few places higher but we could not have challenged their speed at the front. So it was a good result. Today we got good points and didn’t lose too many to Seb. Yesterday wasn’t ideal, but we already planned on Friday to try to do two stops because it felt OK. Today it worked well. We gained a lot of places. I didn’t have a great start or first or second lap. But after that, the car started to come to me and I could start pushing more and more.”
Kimi Raikkonen – 2nd: “You’re never really happy if you don’t win, but I suppose second place is as close as you can get. I drove to the maximum and the car had the pace that we missed in qualifying yesterday so it was a pretty good result. We didn’t have the speed to challenge Sebastian [Vettel] today but we did have the pace to get both cars on the podium so I’m happy for the team.”
Romain Grosjean – 3rd: “It’s great to be back on the podium and it’s a fantastic result for the team. It hasn’t been an easy start to the season for me, but we made good progress through the weekend and are now back to where we should be. I felt much more comfortable in the car and the result today is a deserved reward for everyone after all our hard work. It was a really enjoyable race with a lot of overtaking and a couple of tense moments along the way, so to come from P11 through to the podium is really satisfying. We’ve had consistency already, finishing every race in the points, but now it’s the big results we’re chasing and this is a very good start to that challenge.”
Eric Boullier, team principal: “Here we are again, just like in 2012! This time around though it was much more difficult – especially after a qualifying performance which fell below our expectations – but we’ve shown flashes of pace throughout the weekend and confirmed that speed when it mattered today. The win was not quite within our reach after the start we made, but to come away with a double podium when the top six would maybe have been a more realistic pre-race target was a great performance from everybody involved. I’m delighted for the whole team here in Bahrain and back at Enstone; it’s a well-deserved result.”
Alan Permane, trackside operations director: “Both drivers did a fantastic job today. We know our car is kind on tyres so we were able to play to those strengths and rectify the disappointment of qualifying yesterday. We chose an aggressive strategy with Romain, opting for a three-stop race from eleventh on the grid, and it worked perfectly. He was able to drive aggressively when asked and conserve his tyres when needed, so we are very happy as he delivered everything we wanted from him. With Kimi we used a two-stop strategy and relied on our long run pace. Considering he was suffering from an allergic reaction before he started the race it’s a very impressive performance indeed.”
Video: Team radios, Sky Sports interview
| Source: f1zone.net |
Rumours are swirling in the Shanghai paddock that the Finn, who is Sebastian Vettel’s closest friend in F1, has been earmarked as the successor to Mark Webber.
“There is so much talk that I’ve agreed a contract for next season,” Raikkonen exclaimed to Germany’s Bild am Sonntag.
“First I’m trying my best at Lotus, then I’ll think about my future.
“It is of course flattering, what Red Bull have said, but why is there all this talk if there is nothing (signed) on paper?” the 2007 world champion added.
The answer, of course, is that given Red Bull’s obvious interest, Raikkonen’s move would make sense.
He would work harmoniously with Vettel, and it would also be a good next move for the 33-year-old, who won 19 grands prix for McLaren and Ferrari before taking a two-year sabbatical in world rallying after the 2009 season.
“About the future, I am clear,” Raikkonen said. “I want to work with a good team and sit in a good car.
“Red Bull is a good team, they have been world champions and won everything in the past years.
“Basically, there are not many top teams to think about. With Lotus, we are not yet where Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull are.”
Speaking against the move, however, are equally-heard rumours in the paddock that Raikkonen is no longer serious about his trade: that he only returned to F1 for the money.
“Do you really think I would be here if it was just about money?” Raikkonen hit back. “I do enough fun things in my spare time than to have to listen to this bullshit.
“And I’m not exactly broke,” he added.
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
Bruised, battered and brilliant; Kimi clinched a hard-earned P2 in today’s Chinese Grand Prix, and is aiming to stay right at the sharp end throughout the season ahead
Q: Another podium after a tough race; are you pleased with the result?
KR: Second wasn’t quite what we wanted, but in the circumstances it was the best that we could manage today. I’m not 100% happy because we didn’t win, but it is what it is and second place is a good result after a bad start and the incident with Sergio [Perez].
Q: What was your view on that incident?
KR: I was moving alongside him and thought there was enough space, but in the end there wasn’t and I got pushed onto the grass. Maybe he didn’t see me and I tried my best to avoid him, but unfortunately I couldn’t so I hit the rear of his car which damaged my front wing. Luckily there was still the kerb there so I found some grip to stay on the track and carry on.
Q: How tricky was the car to handle with the damage?
KR: It was quite difficult out there. Obviously the car is not designed like that otherwise we would use it all the time, but I was surprised how good it was still. Of course there were some handling issues and quite a lot of understeer which was not ideal, but we just had to try to live with it. We could have changed the wing but we would probably have lost more time overall and we still had pretty ok speed even with the damage.
Q: You’re second in the Championship, just three points off the lead; are you pleased with your start to this season?
KR: For sure it’s not a bad start and we’re in a better position than this time last year, but we’ve only had three races so it’s too early to say. We just have to keep doing our best at every race, make sure we still pick up points if sometimes we don’t have such a good weekend and hopefully we can stay in the hunt.
Q: You needed an entourage to make it back through the paddock today; how does it feel to have such fanatical support?
KR: It’s great to see so many fans and there was a lot of noise up on the podium. Hopefully I can keep giving them some good results.
| Source: fia.com |
PODIUM INTERVIEWS (Conducted by David Coulthard)
Q: Kimi Raikkonen, that’s your 20th consecutive finish in Formula One. You’re certainly Mr Consistency. You had to work hard for that second place today. You had some damage to the front wing of your car after some contact, so tell us about that and also how it affected the balance?
KR: I think in the end it was a pretty okay result. Obviously we want to win but after a bad start the car wads handling well but then overtaking Perez, I was next to him and he just pushed me on the kerb but I tried to avoid him but I went on the grass and hit him on the rear I think and damaged the front. That didn’t help but luckily it didn’t affect so much the handling, it was just a bit too much understeery but we could still fight for second place. For sure without the damage we could have been quite a bit faster. Anyhow, good points and we try to do better next time.
Q: Kimi, obviously a bit of a problem at the start there, tell us about that, and also how much pressure was there at the end as well?
KR: I think we just had wrong settings. The practice start was very good but then it was really bad the real start and we lost some positions and after that the car was okay, but I had a little accident, some problems with Perez and we damaged the nose and the front wing. I was surprised there was no more damage because I hit him quite hard. Also bit surprised that we didn’t have any more problems after that. A bit too much understeer and destroying the front tyre because of that but we still could fight for second place and get quite a good result in the end. Obviously we wanted to try to win but today with all the issues it was not possible.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Kimi, how much lap time did the problem with the nose and front wing cost you and did it compromise your strategy, would you have gone for or tried a two stop strategy without it?
KR: There’s no way to tell or not how much the front wing damage affected the whole race but obviously the car is not designed like that so it’s not going to help. But I cannot tell you if it’s a tenth or half a second per lap. I was surprised how good the car was, even with quite a lot of damage. It was unfortunate, but I think we also have to be a bit lucky not to lose more. Hopefully next race we can have a normal race and be up there again fighting for a win.
Q: Was it your decision not to change it?
KR: Actually I wanted to change it and wasn’t sure if they changed it because… I think they looked at the wing at the first pit stop but they probably thought that it would take too long or… I don’t know really. I haven’t talked to them. Also, the reason why they probably didn’t change it was that the car was reasonably OK, I could still overtake people.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) Kimi, can you please describe your view of the incident with Perez?
KR: I got the better run out of turn three and was on the outside on that little kink through to corner four. I thought that he would leave me enough space but he just pushed me off the circuit. I tried to avoid him but there was first grass and then the kerb and then the kerb saved me, I got grip but I couldn’t slow down and I hit him at the rear. I don’t know if he didn’t see me or what happened, but there was no way for me to avoid him any more because I was there next to it and I ran out of road.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Kimi and Lewis, in your mind, with this tyre situation, is the most serious candidate for the title now Fernando and no longer Vettel?
KR: He didn’t get it but he has the same challenge. But as Fernando said, from race to race, one team is a little bit stronger at one race and the next race is a bit of a different story. I think all four teams are close to each other so whoever gets it best on Sundays and Saturdays I think will win, so it will be interesting.
Fernando Alonso gave Ferrari its first victory of the 2013 Formula 1 season as his tactic of starting on soft tyres proved the right one in a strategy-defined Chinese Grand Prix.
Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton used the same strategy to fill the podium, as Sebastian Vettel’s tactics could only give him fourth place, just inches behind Hamilton in a thrilling finish.
And as for that Finnish guy who was as quick in a damaged E21 as he was in a clean one: just superb.
Kimi: “For sure without the damage we could have been faster but good points. Pretty okay result. Good points and we try to do better next time.”
Pos Driver Team Time 1. Alonso Ferrari 1h36:26.945 2. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 10.100s 3. Hamilton Mercedes + 12.300s 4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 12.500s 5. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 35.200s 6. Massa Ferrari + 40.800s 7. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 42.600s 8. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 51.000s 9. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 53.400s 10. Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari + 56.500s 11. Perez McLaren-Mercedes + 1m03.800s 12. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1m12.600s 13. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1m33.800s 14. Bottas Williams-Renault + 1m35.400s 15. Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap 16. Pic Caterham-Renault + 1 lap 17. Chilton Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap 18. van der Garde Caterham-Renault + 1 lap Fastest lap: Vettel, 1m36.808s Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Rosberg Mercedes 22 Webber Red Bull-Renault 16 Sutil Force India-Mercedes 6 Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 5 World Championship standings, round 3: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Vettel 52 1. Red Bull-Renault 78 2. Raikkonen 49 2. Ferrari 73 3. Alonso 43 3. Lotus-Renault 60 4. Hamilton 40 4. Mercedes 52 5. Massa 30 5. Force India-Mercedes 14 6. Webber 26 6. McLaren-Mercedes 14 7. Button 12 7. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 7 8. Rosberg 12 8. Sauber-Ferrari 5 9. Grosjean 11 10. Di Resta 8 11. Ricciardo 6 12. Sutil 6 13. Hulkenberg 5 14. Perez 2 15. Vergne 1
News & Quotes:
All 8 drivers under DRS investigation summoned to the stewards at 18:15 local time
Still awaiting ruling on DRS usage. Vettel, Webber, Button, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Bottas, Ricciardo, Chilton are the drivers involved
Official confirmation: no further action for all drivers alleged to have used DRS under yellow flags
“I got a better run out of corner three and thought he would leave me enough space but he pushed me off the circuit. I tried to avoid him but then was on the grass and kerb. The kerb saved me as I had grip. I couldn’t slow down and hit him in the rear. I don’t know if he could see me or how it happened, but there was no way for me to avoid it anymore as I was there next to him and ran out of road.”
“I wanted to change it,” he admitted. “I think they looked at the wing at the first pitstop and probably thought it would take too long. I don’t know. The car was still OK.”
“I was surprised there was not much damage as I hit him quite hard. I was also a bit surprised that we didn’t have more problems, just a bit too much understeer and destroying front tyres because of that.”
Kimi Raikkonen – 2nd: “Second wasn’t quite what we wanted, but in the circumstances it was the best that we could manage today. I’m not 100% happy because we didn’t win, but it is what it is and second place is a good result after a bad start and the incident with Sergio [Perez]. It was quite difficult out there; obviously the car is not designed like that otherwise we would use it all the time, but I was surprised how good it was still. Of course there were some handling issues which was not ideal, but we just had to try to live with it and we still had pretty okay speed.”
Romain Grosjean – 9th: “It was a long, tough race and again we not able to make it work quite as well as we wanted. I’m definitely not happy with ninth place; we started P6 and thought we had a good chance to end up within the top five, but unfortunately we could not manage it. I did as much as I could, but I couldn’t get the performance I wanted and being in traffic of course affects this. It was good to score some points for the team, but I want more in Bahrain for sure.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “It’s a good result for the team today. Kimi showed once more why he’s one of the very best drivers in the world by being one of the fastest on track despite sustaining damage to his car. As a team we were able to give him a good strategy allowing us to beat Lewis [Hamilton] and Mercedes in a close battle. Romain had a more difficult day, but he scored points in another race which is positive and we feel he’s reached a turning point now where things will start coming together. Without the poor start and without the incident for Kimi then we definitely would have fought for a win today.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director (full interview): “It was an eventful race and good fun too. We had an interesting start with Kimi dropping back, but once we got onto the prime tyres things went pretty smoothly. There was no way we could get past Lewis on track; even though we had very similar pace and were even perhaps quicker than him. This meant we had to achieve it during the pit stops which worked perfectly. Kimi lost quite a bit of downforce with his front wing damage, otherwise he should have been able to challenge Fernando [Alonso] for the lead. We lost around 0.25 seconds per lap due to the damage to Kimi’s car. It was a more difficult day for Romain who was struggling a little bit with his tyres, but overall for the team we had both cars in the points which is great.”
Videos: Onboard start, team radio on incident with Perez, SkySports interview
| Source: kimiraikkonen.com |
Minimizing the loss
The first two races are done, I’m back in training at home, and getting ready for the next double in China and in Bahrain.
We got the best result in Australia, but not that good in Malaysia. As I said after winning in Melbourne, the main target for the championship fight is to get strong points and if that is not possible, to minimize the not that good results while time being.
It’s was a race to minimize the loss. Well, we lost a piece of the front wing in the first lap, then we had some tight moments with a couple of drivers, and finally managed to finish the race in P7 and take six points with us.
Afterwards it didn’t feel too bad. We still got some points, we had a good feeling with the car on Friday, we know more or less what went wrong and we should be able to fix it for the next race.
Obviously, it doesn’t mean anything right now which position we have in the championship, but still it’s better to be closer to the top like this compared what we had done last year after a few races.
| Source: ts.fi | Translation courtesy of Nicole |
Kimi Räikkönen’s Lotus lost it’s victorious speed in one week – or rather in one night. Kimi was still the fastest man on the track on Friday in Malaysia. On Sunday Räikkönen whipped his Lotus into 7th and got only the 13th fastest laptime in his names.
The 56-lap long squeeze with a car that lost traction was a tough experience for Kimi.
When a dehydrated Räikkönen took another drinking bottle again from the team’s fridge, it fell on the floor right away.
“I can’t keep anything in my hands. That’s how tough it was to squeeze during the whole race,” Räikkönen laughed to Turun Sanomat.
“I was expecting us to be much more behind the lead when comparing it to how difficult our car proved to be in the race.”
The car munched downforce
The race started on a wet track with the same mid-term tires Lotus lost their grip with in qualification. Did it bug you when the weather was was like that right from the start?
“The rain didn’t bug me, what bugged me was the car not working. For some reason we lost more and more downforce during the whole race. It actually munched it. What can you do… We tried to do what we were able to do. The main thing is that we pulled off at least a few points from all of this.”
Räikkönen got even more difficulties after an accident in the start.
“I hit someone’s rear tire and my front wing lost a piece. It didn’t exactly help the speed.”
Räikkönen managed to make four overtakes, but he spent a lot of time in the so called dirty air behind McLaren’s Sergio Perez and Sauber’s Nico Hülkenberg.
“If the car would have been in a better ‘oxygen’ (lol, he means ‘stitch’ but couldn’t resist translating it), then I would have passed them quickly. But it became more and more difficult when losing downforce.”
Flaws found that need to be fixed
It’s clear that Lotus has to improve the car to the next race in China.
“If we get it to work in China like it worked on Friday in Malaysia then we have nothing to worry about. I guess we already know why the traction vanished, but it’s difficult to say for sure. On Saturday evening we found a few other flaws also. All the flaws should be fixed to China.”
Lotus had once again one pitstop less than the other top teams, but now the strategy didn’t work like it did in Australia.
“I don’t think that our position would have changed even if we had made one more pitstop. And I don’t think it would had happened in Australia either. With one more pitstop we could have raced flat out all the time and it wouldn’t had affected speed-wise at all when comparing to others.”
Crash course with Hülkenberg
Räikkönen clashed hard especially with Hülkenberg. They nearly crashed during the pitstop and then they clashed in a racing incident.
“These days you can basically come to the paddock lane as long as you leave some room, but he should not drive at me on the straight lane. Even if it didn’t change the end result in any way,” Räikkönen pulled Nico’s hair.
Hülkenberg defended himself by saying that he didn’t see properly when the fluid-tube had exploded inside his helmet which hindered the visibility.
In the end Räikkönen finally overtook Hülkenberg and made three other successful overtakes which required a lot of struggling.
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
After a flying start to the weekend, Kimi had to dig deep to pull off a fighting seventh place in today’s Malaysian Grand Prix. Although a far cry from the heroics of Australia, the Iceman is taking the positives from a solid result.
Q: It all started so well this weekend, but not quite the ending you would have liked…
KR: For sure it’s not what we expected, but sometimes that’s how it goes. Although the car felt very good on Friday, yesterday and today have been pretty difficult. Since Saturday morning it has not been behaving as we wanted for some reason, especially in the wet where we really struggled for grip.
Q: How did you see the race from inside the cockpit?
KR: It was a tough race. The start was not good and then I lost part of my front wing on the first lap. The car didn’t handle too well after that and with the wet conditions it was pretty tricky. The pace wasn’t too bad, but it could have been a lot better when you look at our times on Friday.
Q: You had some close tussles out there, particularly with Nico Hulkenberg…
KR: There were a few times where it got pretty close. There are things you should and shouldn’t do but this is racing and at the end of the day I don’t think it changed our result too much.
Q: What positives can we take from today?
KR: It wasn’t the best weekend for us in the end but at least we scored a few points which is better than coming away with nothing. If we can get the car back to how it was in Australia then I’m sure we’ll be at the front again.
Sebastian Vettel defeated Mark Webber in a ferocious Red Bull intra-team battle to secure Malaysian Grand Prix victory.
Just behind them, a similar scenario was playing out between the Mercedes team-mates, before Lewis Hamilton – who had been a lead threat for a spell – led home Nico Rosberg.
Fernando Alonso’s bid for victory ended early, when he crashed out having sustained wing damage nudging Vettel.
Lotus claimed sixth and seventh with Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen, the latter having an uneventful afternoon that included trips off the road and a bitter battle with Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg, who took eighth.
Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 4.298 3. Hamilton Mercedes + 12.1 4. Rosberg Mercedes + 12.640 5. Massa Ferrari + 25.6 6. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 35.5 7. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 48.4 8. Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari + 53.0 9. Perez McLaren-Mercedes + 72.3 10. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 87.1 11. Bottas Williams-Renault + 88.6 12. Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap 13. Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap 14. Pic Caterham-Renault + 1 lap 15. van der Garde Caterham-Renault + 1 lap 16. Chilton Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps 17. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 18. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 19. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 20. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 21. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 22. Alonso Ferrari + Fastest lap: Perez, 1m39.199 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap World Championship standings, round 2: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Vettel 40 1. Red Bull-Renault 66 2. Raikkonen 31 2. Lotus-Renault 40 3. Webber 26 3. Ferrari 40 4. Hamilton 25 4. Mercedes 37 5. Massa 22 5. Force India-Mercedes 10 6. Alonso 18 6. McLaren-Mercedes 4 7. Rosberg 12 7. Sauber-Ferrari 4 8. Grosjean 9 8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1 9. Sutil 6 10. Di Resta 4 11. Hulkenberg 4 12. Button 2 13. Perez 2 14. Vergne 1
Video: Onboard start with Kimi
Kimi Raikkonen – 7th: “Although the car felt very good on Friday, yesterday and today have been pretty difficult. Since Saturday morning it has not been behaving as we expected for some reason, especially in the wet where we really struggled for grip. It was a tough race and I lost part of my front wing at the start which didn’t help, but at least we scored a few points which is better than coming away with nothing. If we can get the car back to how it was in Australia then I’m sure we’ll be at the front again.”
Romain Grosjean – 6th: “I think we can be quite happy with the result today. It was a tough race, starting wet and finishing dry, but that’s what you expect in Malaysia. I spent a lot of time stuck behind Felipe [Massa] in the middle phase of the race and I’m sure if I could have passed him earlier then I would have stayed ahead, but by the end my tyres were finished so it was best just to let him through. It’s not the result we would have wanted at the beginning of the weekend, but at the end of the day it’s more points for the team and we’ll try to come back stronger in Shanghai.”
Eric Boullier, team principal: “It’s not been the best day for us, but when you take into account our qualifying positions and the difficult start for both drivers I think the points we take for sixth and seventh is a solid result. Unfortunately with the conditions today we didn’t see the full potential of the car, and the time we lost at the start was always going to be difficult to catch up. To finish within a reasonable distance of the leaders was a good effort from both drivers and also the team in terms of our strategy. With a normal weekend I’m sure we can expect some stronger results.”
James Allison, Technical Director: “This weekend feels like a case of what might have been. We had a car on Friday which looked extremely promising, but unfortunately that didn’t translate into the sort of result we’d expect. Qualifying 10th and 11th – particularly in the wet – was not an ideal start, with the consequence that within seven laps we were around thirty seconds from the front. Our progress thereafter was actually quite respectable so it’s frustrating to have lost touch with the race at such an early stage, but I’m confident we’ll be delivering some stronger results in the coming races.”
| Source: kimiraikkonen.com |
Great way to start
Obviously, winning the race as soon as the season starts, netting 25 points in the championship and getting the fastest lap time, feels good. I could not have asked for more.
The main reason to be happy with the first weekend of the racing season was, however, the feeling I had with the car. As I thanked the team in the radio after the race, I really meant it: We have a good car!
In Australia the race went very well, but we could have done better in the qualifying. It was a strange session split in two days. I had done the qualifying on Sunday morning only one before long time ago in Japan, and, while it’s the same for everybody, it was still quite tricky to get the lap together in those conditions.
After qualifying everything went as we planned. We had decided to go for two stop strategy after Friday practise and it was exactly the right way to go. I didn’t have any kind of issues with the tyres and the win must be one of the easiest I’ve ever got in F1.
Now we head for the Malaysian Grand Prix. I’ve got nice and not that nice memories from Sepang circuit. We have won there twice and it was ten years ago, while I did it for the first time in my F1 career.
The circuit is very challenging. It’s not my favourite place, while it’s always that hot, but it’s always a great circuit to race a F1 car. This time we should have a good car for the hot track temperatures, as well, but we have to wait until Friday practise, to find out more precisely.
Obviously, we do our very best to get it right at Sepang, and, hopefully net some good points again.
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
The Age: “Iceman Burns Them Off”
“Kimi Räikkönen is a man of few words, who prefers to let his actions do the talking. In that vein, it’s fair to say that the Finn began the 2013 Formula 1 season shouting through a megaphone as he showed his class and experience to take the Australian Grand Prix for a second time. On a day when the temperatures dropped and cool autumnal showers threatened to turn the Australian Grand Prix into a lottery, Räikkönen and Lotus excelled in the strategic chess game that unfolded; stopping just twice to change tyres while Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari was harder on its rubber and had to make three stops. It’s too early to tell if the volatility of the first seven races of last season – which produced seven different winners – will be repeated, but Räikkönen and Lotus’ ascension is a hopeful sign that they will challenge Vettel and Red Bull, Alonso and Ferrari for the Word Championship”
“In one of the great races staged at Albert Park, Kimi Räikkönen delivered a brilliant performance in his Lotus to upstage German superstar Sebastian Vettel. A parochial crowd of 103,000 were treated to an action packed Albert Park race as the ‘Flying Finn’ sped past the chequered flag 12 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.”
The Australian: “Lotus Position as Finn Puts Party Back into Formula 1”
“Kimi Räikkönen and his Lotus team outsmarted their rivals to claim the Australian Grand Prix. The famously taciturn Finn has never been one for expansive oratory, but his near flawless drive was the talk of the track as he found the secret of unlocking more mileage than anyone from the prescribed Pirelli tyres. The big questions heading into the start of another Formula 1 season were whether a driver would emerge to challenge Sebastian Vettel and his run of three consecutive World Championships, and which teams would best come to grips with the softer tyre compounds on offer from Pirelli. Räikkönen and his team appear to have answered both in the first two hours of racing.”
“Kimi Räikkönen drove a brilliant race to win the Australian Grand Prix for Lotus – a 20th career win that equalled the tally of retired double champion and compatriot Mika Häkkinen – as the new Formula 1 season opened with an absolute thriller at Albert Park. Finland’s 2007 World Champion made the most of having to make just two pit stops and was pulling away from his rivals – having just set the fastest lap time of the race – when he crossed the line 12.4 seconds clear of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.”
“In a daunting message to his World Championship rivals, Kimi Räikkönen said it was “easy” for him to conserve his tyres after running a two-stop strategy to winning effect in the season-starting Australian GP. Simply faultless throughout the race, Räikkönen was able to secure a resounding – and largely unexpected – victory with just two visits to the pitlane over the course of the 58 laps around Albert Park. The E21’s ability to conserve its tyres didn’t just rip up the form book at Melbourne – with Räikkönen winning from just seventh on the grid – but threatens to make the Finn a formidable contender as he chases a second World Championship. It was certainly telling that – despite Räikkönen’s final stint being the equivalent of seventeen miles longer than Alonso’s – the Finn was still able to set the race’s fastest lap in the final stages. Playing down their race-one victory Räikkönen may have been, but having been so comprehensively trumped by Lotus’ victorious strategy, the manner of the Finn’s win will surely cause Ferrari and Red Bull some sleepless nights ahead of next week’s race at Sepang.”
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
Kimi’s 2013 World Championship challenge got off to the perfect start in Melbourne this afternoon; a sublime performance at the Albert Park circuit granting the Finn his twentieth Grand Prix victory and second for the team.
Q: What a way to start the season! How are you feeling?
KR: I’m happy for the team and for myself also. Qualifying wasn’t the easiest for us and maybe we should have been a bit further up the grid, but I made a few places at the start and then had a good battle with Lewis [Hamilton] before I eventually managed to get past. After that it was quite simple; probably one of my easiest wins.
Q: Your pace looked strong throughout the race; how did it feel from inside the cockpit?
KR: We were happy with the car in Barcelona, but knew there was more to come from it and we found that through this weekend. I didn’t do many laps during the winter after the issues we had, so Friday was really my first proper long run and it felt good straight away. We’ve had a quick car all weekend and there were no issues with it either, so we could just focus on trying different things and getting the setup how we wanted. I’m really pleased with how the car performed here; I felt like I could push when I wanted to and it was never too difficult to find the speed.
Q: You made the tyres last better than anyone else out there; how difficult was it to keep them going?
KR: I had a good feeling that we would be ok with the tyres after practice; although it wasn’t 100% straight away we made some changes which worked well so that’s a big positive as you never know what they might be like in the race or how the other teams will cope with them. The team got the strategy perfect; apart from maybe Force India I don’t think the others looked like they could do the same thing.
Q: One race, one win; does this bode well for the year ahead?
KR: You can’t start the season much better than winning the first race and of course we hope we can be fighting at the front of the Championship, but there’s a long way to go still and we need to keep pushing hard all the way through. I think it will be two or three race before we really see where all the teams are. Hopefully we can qualify a bit better at the next race and have a similar performance.
| Source: autosport.com |
Kimi RAIKKONEN: It’s the first race, so you don’t really know how it’s going to go, how the tyres are going to be. I didn’t really do any long runs in the winter. I knew that I had a good car, so I had a feeling that it was going to be a good race but you have to get through the first laps and then go from there.
Q. And you did a 1:29.2, the fastest lap of the grand prix just before the end. Just having a bit of fun?
KR: No, I mean Fernando was catching me at some point, when I was taking it a bit more easy and there was some traffic, so I just wanted to make sure that if the rain comes or something happens we have a bit more gap. I was still taking it pretty easy. Like I said, the car has been very good all weekend and it was a pretty nice race, not so difficult.
Q. One quick word with our winner Kimi Raikkonen: Kimi, you lead the world championship. You had two years away rallying, you came back and won a race last year did a great job but here you are leading the championship again. How does that feel?
KR: It feels good but it’s only after one race. It doesn’t really change our aim and our work for this year. Definitely we are happy with the win but there is an awful lot to still do to try to win the championship. We seemed to have a good car here and hopefully it works well in the next races also.
Q. Kimi, did you believe from that seventh position the win was there for you today?
KR: I was pretty disappointed this morning after the qualifying. Obviously there was only one lap really on the dries and I took it a bit too easy and got a bit of a small mistake in one corner. It was more timing and getting it right than really the maximum speed from all the cars, so not the ideal starting place but it was still ten places better than last year, so not a disaster in that way. I knew that my car is quite good. It’s been feeling good all weekend and when we did the longer run it felt good. We only destroy the front tyres so we knew if we get the front tyres lasting it should be fine. In a way I was pretty confident – but of course you have to get through the start and the first lap and it’s the first race so you never know what’s going to happen with the conditions and the circuit after the rain and with tyres, so there’s a lot of question marks. I felt I had a good car and it turned out to be pretty good.
Q. Alan Permane said to you, on the subject of tyres in parc ferme, “we got it absolutely right today.” Was that just one of the ingredients where everything seemed to fall into place for you?
KR: Yeah, I mean our plan was to do two-stop and it’s always difficult, especially the first races, to really know when to stop, and not doing it too early and not too late. We got it, like he said, exactly right. The team worked very well and we had a good plan, and we follow the plan and it work out perfectly for us. I could save the tyres and I could go fast if I needed and I could really drive very easily. One of the easiest races I’ve done to win the race. Hopefully we can have many more of this kind of races. (more…)
Kimi Raikkonen played a two-stop strategy to perfection to beat Fernando Alonso to victory in an enthralling Australian Grand Prix.
All predictions of tedious Red Bull domination proved way off the mark, as Sebastian Vettel finished third, overshadowed by the Lotus and Ferrari.
Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1h30:03.225 2. Alonso Ferrari + 12.451 3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 22.346 4. Massa Ferrari + 33.577 5. Hamilton Mercedes + 45.561 6. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 46.800 7. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1:05.068 8. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:08.449 9. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 1:21.630 10. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 1:22.759 11. Perez McLaren-Mercedes + 1:23.367 12. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:23.857 13. Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap 14. Bottas Williams-Renault + 1 lap 15. Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap 16. Pic Caterham-Renault + 2 laps 17. Chilton Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps 18. van der Garde Caterham-Renault + 2 laps Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:29.274 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 40 Rosberg Mercedes 26 Maldonado Williams-Renault 25 Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1 World Championship standings, round 1: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Raikkonen 25 1. Ferrari 30 2. Alonso 18 2. Lotus-Renault 26 3. Vettel 15 3. Red Bull-Renault 23 4. Massa 12 4. Mercedes 10 5. Hamilton 10 5. Force India-Mercedes 10 6. Webber 8 6. McLaren-Mercedes 2 7. Sutil 6 8. Di Resta 4 9. Button 2 10. Grosjean 1
Videos: Winning, overtakes, interview
“Our plan was to do two stops and though it’s always difficult in the first races to know when to stop and not go too early, we got it exactly right. We followed the plan and it worked out perfectly for us. I could save the tyres and go fast if I needed. It was one of the easiest races I have done to win. Hopefully we can have many more of these races.”
“Fernando was catching me at some points when I was taking it a bit more easy and I had some traffic, so I just wanted to make sure that if the rain came or anything I had a bit more of a gap. It was a pretty nice race, not so difficult. It feels good but it’s only one race so it doesn’t really change our aim or our work.”
“We’re happy with the win and there’s a lot still to do to try to win the championship.”
Mark Slade on the radio after the race ”absolutely superb, well done mate.’
Fernando Alonso: “Obviously at the end it was a little bit sad not to be able to win the race, but Kimi was fantastic today, the Lotus car as well. We need to congratulate them for a fantastic race. Kimi was driving fantastically all through the race and he managed two stops.”
Sebastian Vettel: “Congratulations to Lotus and especially to Kimi, I think they did the best job today.”
Paul Hembery: “Kimi Raikkonen and Lotus understood the tyres perfectly, making a two-stop strategy work when many of their rivals couldn’t. It was a true masterclass in tyre management… It’s also worth pointing out that Raikkonen drove the fastest lap of the race on lap 56: the penultimate lap, on medium tyres that were 22 laps old.”
Martin Whitmarsh: “Kimi deserves this, he’s done a real great job.”
Eric Boullier : “Kimi drove impeccably all weekend and gave the team his all.”
Jeremy Clarkson: “I am extremely happy that Kimi and his Chipping Norton car won. Really extremely happy.”
David Coulthard: “His victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday was Kimi at his very best.”
Kimi Raikkonen – 1st: “I’m happy for the team and for myself also. We’ve had a quick car all weekend and there were no issues with it either, so we could just focus on trying different things and getting the setup how we wanted. I had a good feeling that we would be ok with the tyres after practice and the team got the strategy perfect. I made a few places at the start and then had a good battle with Lewis [Hamilton] but after that it was quite simple; probably one of my easiest wins. You can’t start the season much better than winning the first race and of course we hope we can be fighting at the front of the Championship, but there’s a long way to go still and we need to keep pushing hard all the way.”
Romain Grosjean – 10th: “Something felt wrong with my car, so I have to sit down with the team and analyse where the issue came from. It felt so good all weekend until the race itself, but in the end the race was long and quite difficult for me. We know that Albert Park can be a tricky circuit and the weather has certainly not helped today. It’s been a great weekend for the team with Kimi’s win so it’s clear there’s pace in the car. Let’s hope I can unlock that pace too next weekend in Sepang.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “I’m very happy. After Kimi’s great start we were hoping that we could achieve a podium finish, then as the race unfolded and we saw the other teams pitting – showing that they were on three-stop strategies – our position became stronger and stronger. It’s a fantastic feeling to open the season in this way. Kimi drove impeccably all weekend and gave the team his all. Romain had a difficult race and we have to analyse what went wrong for him. This win is a further testament to all the hard work which goes on at Enstone and we owe tremendous thanks to each and every employee. We head to Malaysia in the best position we could be. “
James Allison, Technical Director: “It was a splendid thing we saw today. It’s a day like this which make everything about this job worthwhile and that will be true for everyone involved with the team. It’s great. We were a little deflated after qualifying, as we knew the car had better pace than our grid positions suggested. Nevertheless we were confident from the long run pace we’d seen on Friday that we could make a two-stop strategy work. It was lovely to see the lap times ticking off metronomically without any real fear that the tyres weren’t going to go the distance. Hopefully we can repeat Kimi’s fantastic performance again next weekend with both cars.”
It’s been a successful return to Formula 1 for the Iceman, and an eventful final race to cap off the season. Here’s what Kimi had to say after a highly entertaining Brazilian Grand Prix
Q: How was your last race of the season?
KR: It was a busy race and we didn’t have the pace we wanted all the time. There was certainly a lot going on. I went off at the last corner on lap 52 as I couldn’t see well with my visor being dirty and fogged up. Where I went off you can get back on the track by going through the support race pit lane, but you have to go through a gate. I know this as I did the same thing in 2001 and the gate was open that year. Somebody closed it this time. Next year I’ll make sure it’s open again.
Q: Have you met your expectations for the year?
KR: I didn’t really have any expectations for the year, so I think it’s been a pretty good season. We’ve had some good results and we’ve finished every race. Certainly from a race reliability perspective it’s been excellent. In terms of results, it could have been better, but it could have been an awful lot worse. Overall, I’m pretty happy.
Q: You finished every race and scored points in all but one: that’s a pretty impressive stat?
KR: I just tried to do my best and to score points of course you have to finish the race. We had a good car and I didn’t get involved in too many incidents with other people.
Q: What do you plan to do now?
KR: Well I now know I have a trip to Istanbul for the FIA season end awards. Other than that no plans really. Let’s see what happens.
A thrilling Brazilian Grand Prix which had fans and teams alike on the edge of their seats saw both Kimi and Romain suffer various dramas; the Frenchman making an early exit whilst his Finnish counterpoint came home in P10 to secure P3 in the 2012 Drivers’ World Championship standings.
- The race began under light drizzle which became heavier as the opening laps went on
- Kimi started on white marked medium compound Pirelli tyres, Romain on the silver marked hards; both making a clean getaway
- Yellow flags emerged on the first lap after an incident involving a number of cars at T5
- Romain crashed heavily at T11 on lap 6 to bring out further yellow flags; thankfully emerging unscathed
- Conditions varied between wet and dry throughout, forcing multiple tyre changes
- The race finished under safety car conditions after DIR collided with the pit straight wall on the penultimate lap
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Fastest Lap: 1:19.444 [Lap 34]
Pit Stops: 3 [Lap 5, 19, 53]
Lap 01: Loses a position to HUL through T1, then forced to move off track at T4 to avoid VET; eventually ends the first lap in his starting position
Lap 04: Drops to P10 as rain becomes heavier; suffering from lack of grip on slick rubber
Lap 05: Pits for intermediates
Lap 19: Drops into the box for a fresh set of medium tyres; enough of a dry line now emerging to allow for slicks
Lap 37: Up one spot as DIR spins trough T12
Lap 38: Back into the points; great move around the outside of MSC into T1, superb close driving by both
Lap 52: An off-track excursion and ill-fated detour up the slip road at T15 to fall outside of the points
Lap 53: Back onto intermediate rubber as the rain intensifies once more
Lap 65: Steady progress through the field to regain a top 10 slot
Lap 71: Chequered flag; P10 and a single point to clinch P3 in the Drivers’ World Championship
Kimi knew where he was going: “I went off at the last corner on lap 52 as I couldn’t see well with my visor being dirty and fogged up. Where I went off you can get back on the track by going through the support race pitlane, but you have to go through a gate. I know this as I did the same thing in 2001 and the gate was open that year. Somebody closed it this time. Next year I’ll make sure it’s open again…”
Pos Driver Team Time 1. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1h45:22.656 2. Alonso Ferrari + 2.754 3. Massa Ferrari + 3.615 4. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 4.936 5. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 5.708 6. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 9.453 7. Schumacher Mercedes + 11.900 8. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 28.600 9. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 31.200 10. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 1 lap 11. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap 12. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap 13. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap 14. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap 15. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap 16. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps 17. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps 18. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps 19. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 3 laps Fastest lap: Hamilton, 1:18.069 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 55 Grosjean Lotus-Renault 6 Maldonado Williams-Renault 2 Senna Williams-Renault 1 Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1 World Championship standings, round 20: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Vettel 281 1. Red Bull-Renault 460 2. Alonso 278 2. Ferrari 400 3. Raikkonen 207 3. McLaren-Mercedes 378 4. Hamilton 190 4. Lotus-Renault 303 5. Button 188 5. Mercedes 142 6. Webber 179 6. Sauber-Ferrari 126 7. Massa 122 7. Force India-Mercedes 109 8. Grosjean 96 8. Williams-Renault 76 9. Rosberg 93 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 26 10. Perez 66 11. Hulkenberg 63 12. Kobayashi 60 13. Schumacher 49 14. Di Resta 46 15. Maldonado 45 16. Senna 31 17. Vergne 16 18. Ricciardo 10
Video: Raikkonen overtakes Schumacher, Kimi goes off track
Kimi Raikkonen – 10th: “It was a busy race and we didn’t have the pace we wanted all the time. There was certainly a lot going on. I went off at the last corner on lap fifty-two as I couldn’t see well with my visor being dirty and fogged up. Where I went off you can get back on the track by going through the support race pit lane, but you have to go through a gate. I know this as I did the same thing in 2001 and the gate was open that year. Somebody closed it this time. Next year I’ll make sure it’s open again.”
Romain Grosjean – DNF: “I’m a little bit shaken but otherwise not too bad. Everything was nicely under control at the start of the race then it all ended very suddenly at turn eleven. It was a strange one; I could see it was raining a bit more so I was taking it even easier than on the lap before, then suddenly the car just went from underneath me and that was it. I’ve not had much luck this weekend and that’s definitely not the way I wanted to end the season, but overall it’s been a good year and hopefully there will be many better days to come.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “That was obviously a very dramatic race to end the season; not the one we would have expected and not really the one we would have wanted on track. The conclusion of the championship is good; fourth was our target and we’ve achieved that by a considerable margin. On top of that we’ve been fighting with the leading teams right to the end of the year. For Kimi to take third in the Drivers’ Championship is a really great achievement after being away for two years and a testament not only to the car we gave him, but to the team for their support. We scored our first win with the Lotus name and achieved a good number of podiums over the year, so overall it’s been a very good season. I can only thank everyone at Enstone and everyone at Renault; I’m very proud to be a part of this effort. Our progress is very promising for next year. With the continuity and stability we have I’m sure we’ll be fighting for podiums again in 2013.
“In terms of the bigger picture, we must of course send our congratulations to Sebastian Vettel who joins the sport’s greats as a triple World Champion. A mention also for the fine efforts of another former Enstone champion – Fernando Alonso – who drove superbly all season. Finally, we say a very fond farewell to another of the finest drivers around in Michael Schumacher. It’s always a big thing when a multiple champion leaves the sport, and Michael has achieved great things over many years, including two Drivers’ Championships for Enstone. We wish him all the very best for the future”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “It was an incident-packed race which ended early for Romain who spun off very early in the damp conditions. Kimi had a very tricky race including a couple of spins and problems with his visor, so not the ideal day and a tough weekend overall. Looking at the season, we’re happy with P3 in the Drivers’ Championship for Kimi and P4 in the Constructors’ Championship for the team. Our target was fourth and we’ve easily achieved that, but perhaps even more encouraging is that at one stage it looked as if we could challenge for third or maybe even higher. I’m sure Kimi would have rather won the championship but it was certainly a very respectable comeback.”
Another race and another good haul of points for Kimi in Austin today to maintain P3 in the Drivers’ Championship; a position the Finn will not be relinquishing without a fight with one race remaining…
Q: Kimi, tell us about your race…
KR: It was an okay day, but not a very easy one for us. I got a bad start and then I touched with a Force India at the second corner so I lost a few more places. After that the car was okay and I could get past some of the others. The difficult part of the race was when it became cloudy. It got too cold and the tyres stopped working for me. Then it was sunny and they started to work again, so really we were just depending on the tyres and that’s what made all the difference. I’m still 3rd in the championship and we’ll do everything we can to maintain this position until the end.
Q: You had a pretty exciting battle with Jenson Button…
KR: Yes it was good, but unfortunately at that moment it was cloudy and the tyres stopped working, so it was difficult to hold him off and I knew he would get me at some point. That’s how it goes. As I said, we’ve struggled with the tyres all weekend; we set good times at the start of the race with the softer tyres, but lost the heat with the hards in the middle of the race and then they picked up again at the end.
Q: Give us your impressions of COTA…
KR: The circuit was giving good racing. There were a lot of places to overtake so overall I think it was good. For us the issue was just keeping heat in the tyres.