The 35-year-old endured the worst season of his F1 career in 2014 with a solitary fourth place in Belgium his best result.
The Finn, who was Ferrari’s last world champion back in 2007, was well-beaten by team-mate Fernando Alonso, finishing 106 points and six places adrift in the drivers’ standings.
He struggled with the handling of the Ferrari, which did not suit his style of being heavy on the front tyres and gentle on the rear.
But Raikkonen seemed happier during 2015’s opening test at Jerez and has said that he is feeling more comfortable with the car.
And Arrivabene says he has noticed a change in Raikkonen’s typically uncommunicative persona, joking that the Finn must be feeling “sick” because he’s smiling so much.
“He had his problems [last year],” said Arrivabene. “Problems because he was not feeling the car, especially the front.
“It was not a car that was adapted to the style of Kimi.
“He is demonstrating that these days, he is feeling the car better and he is smiling.
“This is very, very strange. It is the real scoop of the weekend.”
Arrivabene added that Raikkonen’s behaviour in the garage has also been different to 2014 so far during testing.
“Kimi was also on the ground to move the car and try to adjust something,” he said.
“I asked him: ‘What are you doing?’ He said ‘I was a mechanic’.
“This is the atmosphere in the team, all the guys around him were surprised to look at him and to hear him talking and talking and talking.
“I thought he was sick but he is not. It is just enthusiasm and I am sure this year Kimi can demonstrate his level.
“Kimi is very motivated and he is getting very, very well with [new team-mate] Seb [Vettel] and this is great.”
[ Source: autosport.com ]
It’s well known that Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel enjoy a friendly relationship so, given today’s news that the German is joining Scuderia Ferrari next season, that was the first topic at Kimi’s usual press meeting this afternoon in the Yas Marina paddock. “I think it will be nice to be with him in the same team” commented Kimi. “Obviously the main objective is to get the Ferrari team in a position where we can be near the front of the field. Of course we will be trying to beat each other all the time but I think we can have fun and get things done in a good way.”
The always straightforward Finn didn’t foresee any difficulties dealing with a new team-mate. “I haven’t worked with him in the same team but I know him best of all the guys,” he continued. “Our relationship has always been very straightforward and I don’t expect any changes on that side. I expect to have a normal and good relationship and hopefully we can get the team back to where we should be. I am sure we can do that, but only time will tell. I trust the people that are designing the new car one hundred percent. We know it will be much better, but it depends what other people will do. Will it be good enough? We will find out next year.”
Two years ago, Raikkonen won here in Abu Dhabi in the season that marked his return to Formula 1. “It was a nice victory,” recalled the Ferrari man. “But it was in a different team in a different year and we must wait and see what we can do this weekend. I’m hoping to have a good race and a good feeling from the car: it all starts from there, so if we can achieve that, we can then get the maximum out of the car. We must make sure we have no issues and then we can have a strong last race.”
As someone who came from behind in the points standing to win the Driver’s Championship in 2007, he was asked which of the Mercedes drivers was in the best position this weekend. “I have been behind when I won the championship, so all you can do in that situation is win the race and hope that things fall into place for you,” replied Kimi. “Quite often in these last years, the championship has gone to the last race and that makes it more exciting, because as we have seen in the past, a lot of things can happen in one race.”
[ Source: ferrari.com ]
Raikkonen expects ‘fun’ with Vettel
Kimi Raikkonen believes his close relationship with new Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Sebastian Vettel will be a boost to Maranello’s efforts to return to the front of the grid.
Nearly two months after Vettel agreed to join Ferrari, the Italian F1 outfit finally announced on Thursday that the German would be replacing Fernando Alonso next year.
The move is one that Raikkonen is excited about, as he claimed that Vettel is the driver he knows the best in the paddock.
“Obviously I haven’t worked with him before in the same team but I know him best out of any of the guys,” said the Finn.
“Our relationship has been always been very straightforward and I don’t expect any changes.
“On that side, I expect it to be normal and good, and hopefully we can get the team where we should be.”
Raikkonen reckons he and Vettel can put their own competitive interests to one side, and actually have “fun” in their quest to help Ferrari.
“I think it is nice to be with him in the same team and obviously the main objective is to get the team, Ferrari, in the position where we should be in front,” he said.
“We try to beat each other all the time, but we can have fun and get things done in a good way.”
[ Source: autosport.com ]
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Sebastian, how do you see the co-operation with Kimi? Will it be easier for you than with anybody else?
SV: Yes. I think he would probably reply the same if you asked him. That’s what he told me, just before! I think, yes. Why? Because Kimi is probably the least complicated driver on the grid so in terms of performance on the track, when we talk about the skills Kimi has, I don’t think there is a single person in the paddock who doubts his skills, including myself, but from a personal point of view, on a personal level, very straightforward. I don’t expect any complications because I think we have a good relationship but more so, I think we have great respect for each other which I think is always very healthy to deal with in these sorts of situations coming up.
Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci says Kimi Raikkonen put in a “terrific” race in Brazil en-route to a seventh place finish.
Raikkonen opted for a two-stop strategy, but lost out to team-mate Fernando Alonso near the end, when the three-stopping Spaniard got ahead.
“I think we have seen a very positive Kimi this weekend, he is a top professional. He really did a terrific race as Fernando did too. But considering where we are coming from, I would say this was one of the first weekend’s where Kimi felt the car suited him and we are seeing that in the way he was racing,” Mattiacci told reporters following the 18th and penultimate round in the 2014 F1 World Championship.
“I am extremely happy for the race he did.”
Asked about Raikkonen’s slow second stop – the Finn lost around seven seconds, Mattiacci added: “Unfortunately there was this issue at the pit stop with Kimi, but it happened.
“I am extremely confident in the work all the guys are doing during the stops – they are excellent guys.
“If I tell you what we have experienced during the weekend, they did a phenomenal job to make sure the car was ready to go to the grid, so it can happen. But I don’t think this would have changed dramatically the result.
“I think we should have probably done a better qualifying but overall [as I said] the guys did a phenomenal job. We are building step-by-step preparing for the future.
“Clearly, fighting for the places we secured here is not our aim, but the team continues to improve day by day as we work on getting back to fighting at the front of the field.”
| Source: crash.net |
Fernando and Kimi thrilled the crowd, putting on a duel that lasted a few laps, with the Spaniard closing on the Finn and using his fresher tyres to get past in the closing stages. In fact, Kimi had a very competitive race, running a brave two stop strategy, compared to the three tyre changes made by the majority, including Fernando. On the Medium tyre, the Finn ran the longest stint of anyone in the entire race, doing 36 laps after his second stop. Unfortunately, it was a slow one, because of a problem with the front jack that delayed the change of his front right wheel, costing him precious seconds, before he set off for on that massively long run to the flag.
Report – Scuderia Ferrari drivers, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen finished the Brazilian Grand Prix in sixth and seventh places respectively, after staging a great duel, which saw them swap positions with only a few laps to go.
Everything went smoothly for Fernando at the start, as he maintained eighth place, while Kimi emerged from the Senna Esses in 12th place. The first pit stop came very early, as the Soft tyres degraded very quickly, after track temperature had exceeded 50 degrees. All the drivers tackled the second stint on the Medium tyres, which were clearly more consistent, to the extent that Fernando and Kimi extended the stint, making up places before their second stops. Kimi had a really strong race pace at this point, which, while the pit stops were on, saw him run as high as third.
However, the Finn’s stop was slow because of a problem with the front jack, but Kimi didn’t give up, lapping quickly and consistently, so the team decided to run him to the flag without a third stop. Therefore, with Alonso having stopped three times, the two men found themselves running together and they put on one of the most thrilling duels of the day, fighting wheel to wheel but perfectly fairly. In the end, because his tyres were more worn, Kimi had to give best to Fernando, but finishing seventh, having completed one less stop than the rest.
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||51.420s|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m03.934s|
|10||Valtteri Bottas||Williams/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1 Lap|
|12||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus/Renault||1 Lap|
|13||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1 Lap|
|14||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|16||Adrian Sutil||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|17||Romain Grosjean||Lotus/Renault||8 Laps|
|-||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||Retirement|
Kimi Raikkonen: “Overall, this has been a positive weekend and even today in the race, I felt very good in the car. During the second stint, we realised that if we went for a two stop strategy, we could make up ground, but then, at my second pit stop, I lost valuable time and that cost me some places. In the final part of the race, I had to fight off Button for a few laps and when Fernando caught me, tyre degradation meant I couldn’t fend him off. We leave Interlagos with a good feeling and even if we still have a lot of work ahead of us, this continued progress makes me confident for the future.”
Marco Mattiacci: “I believe this weekend ended on a positive note for the team, with both our drivers finishing higher than their grid positions to bring home important points. With Kimi we decided to risk putting him to a two stop strategy and he was able to show that, if he feels comfortable with his car, he can get the most out of himself in terms of managing the tyres. We are disappointed to have lost a few seconds at his pit stop and we take away the lesson that we must improve in every area that can affect performance. As for Fernando, he produced an equally perfect race and in the late duel with his team-mate he was clear headed and precise in his driving. Clearly, fighting for the places we secured today is not our aim, but the team continues to improve day by day as we work on getting back to fighting at the front of the field.”
Pat Fry: “Like the majority of the grid, today we were planning to run a three stop strategy, as we knew that the increase in temperatures, the nature of the circuit and the abrasive track surface would impact heavily on tyre behaviour. Managing the two compounds was extremely complicated, with an early first stop to get rid of the Softs, because of graining, to take on the Mediums which degraded rapidly but in a more linear fashion. The decision to switch Kimi to a two stop paid off as, surprisingly, he was able to run consistently for no less than 36 laps. Fernando found himself fighting with Vettel in the Red Bull, who probably had a bit more pace today, but taking sixth place along with Kimi’s seventh, gives us a reasonable margin in the Constructors’ classification over McLaren. Overall, it was a positive weekend and, in future we must ensure we get on top of any reliability problems, like the ones we’ve had over the past few days.”
Alonso – Zero frustration over Raikkonen battle:When asked post-race if Raikkonen’s defending prevented him from finishing higher than sixth, Alonso said: “No, I’m very very happy – zero frustration.”The most important thing was not the battle with him, it was the battle with the other teams and we got some good points for Ferrari today.
“Even if I could have overtaken Kimi a little quicker I had to save a lot of fuel in the last couple of laps so a battle with Sebastian was never a possibility.”
Alonso said that he was pleased to come out on top in the battle with Raikkonen.
“Finishing in front of him always gives satisfaction,” he added.
“This weekend I managed to finish in front in qualifying and in the race after a weekend where I struggled a bit with some mechanical issues.
“It was definitely a good experience – I had one more stop so I had to recover 21 seconds.
“I had fresh tyres so I had the advantage in the last battle.”
Raikkonen described the dice as “normal racing” and said that he did not feel the battle had cost Ferrari anything overall.
“It’s the same points for the team, and at the end of this kind of season it makes no really big difference for myself or the team as we get the same points [whichever driver finishes ahead].”
Vettel on passing Raikkonen: I have good memories of T6. Passing is only possible if the other cooperates. With Kimi, I know what he’s doing
— Sebastian Vettel (@FansOfSebVettel) November 9, 2014
Jenson Button “My great fight with Kimi – you always push to the limit with him, but you never go over it – so I enjoyed that very much” #F1
— Connor (@cmckinleyF1) November 9, 2014
Button and his engineer full of praise for Raikkonen’s efforts in making the 2 stop strategy work #F1
— Connor (@cmckinleyF1) November 9, 2014