Report – There will be an all-Ferrari fifth row on the grid for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when it gets underway at 17h00 (14h00 CET) at the Yas Marina track. Kimi Raikkonen will start from ninth, having qualified around four tenths faster than tenth placed team-mate Fernando Alonso.

Q1 went off smoothly: both drivers did a first run on the Softs, before quickly switching to the Supersofts, for Kimi to go tenth and Fernando twelfth. Life got more complicated in Q2, especially for Raikkonen, who had to use an extra set of Supersoft tyres and only just made it through to the next stage, with a heart-stopping lap in the dying moments of the session. Alonso went through in seventh spot.

In Q3, Raikkonen was only able to make one run, while the others all did two. The Finn’s best lap was a 1.42.236. Alonso’s first run produced a 1.42.866, but he was unable to improve on his next set, when he made a mistake.

Final Times:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m40.480s -
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40.866s 0.386s
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m41.025s 0.545s
4 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m41.119s 0.639s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m41.267s 0.787s
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull/Renault 1m41.893s 1.413s
7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1m41.908s 1.428s
8 Jenson Button McLaren/Mercedes 1m41.964s 1.484s
9 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m42.236s 1.756s
10 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m42.866s 2.386s
11 Kevin Magnussen McLaren/Mercedes 1m42.198s 1.718s
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso/Renault 1m42.207s 1.727s
13 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m42.239s 1.759s
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m42.384s 1.904s
15 Adrian Sutil Sauber/Ferrari 1m43.074s 2.594s
16 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber/Ferrari 1m42.819s 2.339s
17 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Renault 1m42.860s 2.380s
18 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham/Renault 1m44.540s 4.060s
19 Will Stevens Caterham/Renault 1m45.095s 4.615s
20 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Renault 1m42.768s 2.288s


Kimi ‘bit on the edge’ – “It was a bit better in qualifying than in the final practice but it’s still difficult. It feels fine in one place and then the rear is a bit loose in odd places and sometimes a bit tricky with the front end and it keeps changing from corner to corner. It’s a bit on edge all the time, so not ideal. Not exactly what you want but it’s what it is. We know where the issues are and obviously I’m pretty sure next year we’ll have a much stronger package overall and then you get rid of many issues. We are kind of stuck in an area where you try to fix certain things with the set-up but then you create another problem. It’s a bit like you fix one but take another issue with it. We’ll see how we can do tomorrow, hopefully we can have a strong race and we will try to do our best.”

Asked if beating Alonso in qualifying was any satisfaction after being outqualified in the last 13 races, Raikkonen said the actual grid positions make it redundant.

“Not really when we’re fighting around ninth, tenth position, eighth position. In my mind, no, because it’s not where we want to be and where we should be. When you are in the front fighting there in the top positions then yes it’s more nice. Obviously people outside look but for me it doesn’t really make a difference.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “Even before we arrived in Yas Marina, we knew this track would not favour our car and all weekend, we never managed to find a set-up that worked well at every corner. Today, in qualifying, I felt more comfortable, but it wasn’t simple putting a good lap together. I was always on the limit and on some parts of the track the car worked well and in others it tended to slide. Tomorrow it will be a difficult race, but as always, we will do our best to bring home as many points as possible for the team.”

Pat Fry: “Given our performance in yesterday’s free practice, we knew we were facing a complex weekend and, unfortunately, today’s qualifying turned out to be particularly trying. The gap to our competitors is more evident from the second to third sectors where what counts is mainly speed and driveability, two areas we are working on a lot as we know we need to improve. In the opening laps of Q1 we had various problems, especially on Fernando’s car, some down to traffic management, others linked to technical parameters after we changed the power unit. As the sessions went on, track conditions improved significantly and we tried to get the most out of our package. Starting from the fifth row means we will have to attack and so the entire team has to be absolutely concentrated in order to bring home as many points as possible.”



Report – Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will start tomorrow’s 71 lap Brazilian Grand Prix from the fourth and fifth rows of the grid, in eighth and tenth places respectively. Like the previous three sessions, this fourth one took place in the dry, as the threat of rain didn’t materialize. Q1 went off smoothly for Kimi and Fernando, who went through to the next stage in seventh and tenth places, although they immediately had to make use of the Soft tyres. The fight was tighter in Q2, with the Scuderia drivers having to use their remaining sets of the softer of the two compounds. This time, they got to Q3, again in seventh and tenth places. In Q3, they were only able to do one run each, with Fernando posting a 1.10.977 and Kimi a 1.11.099.

Final Times:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m10.023s -
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m10.056s 0.033s
3 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m10.247s 0.224s
4 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m10.305s 0.282s
5 Jenson Button McLaren/Mercedes 1m10.930s 0.907s
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull/Renault 1m10.938s 0.915s
7 Kevin Magnussen McLaren/Mercedes 1m10.969s 0.946s
8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m10.977s 0.954s
9 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m11.075s 1.052s
10 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m11.099s 1.076s
11 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber/Ferrari 1m11.591s -
12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m11.976s -
13 Adrian Sutil Sauber/Ferrari 1m12.099s -
14 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Renault 1m12.037s -
15 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso/Renault 1m12.040s -
16 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Renault 1m12.233s -
17 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault - -
18 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m12.076s -


Kimi Raikkonen: “This weekend, I’ve had a better feeling in the car and, in general, I’ve had no major problems while I also felt more comfortable with the front end. We lacked speed today and even though this was our quickest lap of the weekend, it was not enough to finish higher up the grid. Obviously, I’m a bit disappointed to be tenth and, without having done a race simulation yesterday, we are a bit in the dark like most teams. However, what counts is that finally I feel much more comfortable at the wheel, which means we are making progress.”

Pat Fry: “Qualifying was very tight for us, as it was for Red Bull and McLaren, while yet again in Interlagos, Williams and Mercedes proved to have the best package. That was clear from Q2, when the gaps were very close from fifth to tenth places, with the six drivers split by just one tenth. Kimi and Fernando made no mistakes and, even with these grid positions, we will try and exploit any opportunity tomorrow. The weather forecast is still uncertain and usually it’s difficult to predict here. It will be interesting to see how the tyres perform, given the little long run data we got yesterday because of the numerous red flags. Now we will work on preparing for any conditions, aware that apart from performance, reliability will also play a key role.”

Raikkonen – Better feeling with car: “Not really new parts but it’s just different things that we’ve been running or not been running some things that we’ve had available. It’s not new designs, it’s just trying to run the car differently. It’s been pretty good all weekend. We finished tenth but there were no major issues. I think we were close to our maximum speed unfortunately. Maybe a couple of tenths could have been found but it’s not like something is wrong. It’s been pleasant to drive the car all weekend so that’s a nice thing. Obviously finishing tenth is a different story but we definitely have been making some progress on that side. We have to see how it is in the race because we couldn’t do the long run yesterday with all the red flags but it’s been going in the right direction, for sure. New cars are always different. We tried many things this year in races and it hasn’t worked out and has probably cost us some points, but I want to try things and find out. It’s been such a difficult year anyhow that I would rather try things and if it doesn’t work I’ll pay the price for it, that’s fine. Next year will be different because you have a new car. It’s a different story. I’m sure it will be a lot better car, a lot better package from what we have learned from here. We can improve for sure and like I said this weekend the car has been behaving pretty nicely. There are areas we have to improve, that’s for sure. Yes there was some understeer in qualifying but I don’t think you’re going to get the car right for every lap and unfortunately you make mistakes when you push for the limit. So it’s been a better feeling for sure.”

Kimi: I can easily go a lot faster


Kimi Raikkonen admits his frustrations are growing with recurring issues on his Ferrari because he says he “can easily go a lot faster”.

Raikkonen has bemoaned front end issues throughout this season and said in Austin that it was still a problem for him despite being close to team-mate Fernando Alonso’s time in qualifying. Raikkonen said he knew where the time was being lost and said he still feels a long way off the pace he believes he is capable of.

“I struggled with the first sector all the time because there are some issues,” Raikkonen said. “I know that if we get things right I can easily go a lot faster but this is what we have right now and we have to make the best out of it.

“It’s frustrating to keep having similar stories and issues but we all try to fix it, find solutions and I know that it’s not a disaster like this but it’s far away from what I want. If we get things right I’m sure we can be a lot happier and a lot faster but right now it is what it is and we try to make the maximum. But as always with problems it’s tricky to put one lap together because the high-speed changes of direction it’s not easy to keep the car on the right line when it’s not really doing exactly what you ask.”

While Raikkonen said the problems would not be so pronounced in the race he says the car isn’t really capable of making up for its shortcomings due to a lack of straight-line speed.

“Hopefully [it will be better], but obviously qualifying is very important and we are lacking a bit of speed in some places so it’s not easy to try to gain places. In qualifying you try to push a lot and it kind of doubles the problems because you’re really asking a lot from the tyres and from the car. In the race it’s a bit more calm with the fuel in. [Friday] felt OK on the long run but the race is a different story with other cars around.”

| Source: crash.net |




Report – Scuderia Ferrari secured places on the third and fourth rows of the grid come the end of qualifying for the United States Grand Prix, at the Circult of the Americas. Fernando Alonso will set off to tackle tomorrow’s 56 race laps from sixth place (1.37.610) alongside Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull. The Spaniard will have Kimi Raikkonen right behind him, given that although the Finn qualified ninth in 1.37.804, he moves up one place as Jenson Button (McLaren) has a gearbox change penalty.

Only four cars went out at the end of Q1 and Q2, as there were only 18 cars on track and Fernando and Kimi got through without any particular problems, although in Q2 the Finn had to use an extra set of Soft tyres.

Final Times:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m36.067s -
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m36.443s 0.376s
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m36.906s 0.839s
4 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m37.205s 1.138s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m37.244s 1.177s
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.610s 1.543s
7 Kevin Magnussen McLaren/Mercedes 1m37.706s 1.639s
8 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m37.804s 1.737s
9 Adrian Sutil Sauber/Ferrari 1m38.810s 2.743s
10 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Renault 1m38.467s -
11 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m38.554s -
12 Jenson Button McLaren/Mercedes 1m37.655s -
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m38.598s -
14 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso/Renault 1m39.250s -
15 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber/Ferrari 1m39.555s -
16 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Renault 1m39.679s -
17 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1m38.699s -
18 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull/Renault 1m39.621s -


Button: Five places for gearbox change
Kvyat: Ten places for engine component change
Vettel: Pitlane start for taking sixth power unit


Kimi Raikkonen: “The behaviour of my car was better today than yesterday and I was reasonably happy with the balance, even if I still didn’t manage to put together a good enough lap to be higher up the grid. For some reason, we haven’t managed to fix a problem with the front end. In all sectors of the track the car tends to slide causing a lot of understeer. Unfortunately, this is a very limiting factor and not ideal. But as usual, tomorrow in the race, we will try our best to get the most out of what we have to work with. I am sure that by continuing to work, improving day by day, we will soon find a solution.”

Pat Fry: “The increase in temperature from free practice three meant that, in qualifying, it was as warm as the averages expected for tomorrow and produced an improvement in both the behaviour of the car and the performance of the tyres. Unfortunately, we struggled to get the Mediums up to temperature in Q1, while on the Softs, we were more or less where we should be on the first lap. As was the case in Sochi, tyre performance will play a key role here in Austin, even if the scenario is very different: we expect the soft compound to show quick degradation, while the harder one should allow us to run a more extended stint. However, during the race it will be very important to manage both compounds, because graining could severely affect performance. The start, reliability and pit work will be the factors on which to build our race tomorrow, as we try and gain some places.”