Having just about managed to avoid the first lap fracas of today’s Japanese Grand Prix, Kimi went on to claim a hard fought P6 on a tough weekend all round for the team at Suzuka. Here the Iceman gives us his view on the day’s events…
Q: Kimi; was P6 about what you expected from today’s race or did you feel more was possible?
KR: Sixth wasn’t the result we were hoping for. We lost some time with all the incidents on the first lap and also had a problem in the second pit stop, so overall it was quite a difficult race. Unfortunately even considering those things we didn’t have the speed to do better today. Maybe we could have stayed ahead of Lewis [Hamilton] if things had gone a bit differently but there was no real chance to be higher than fifth.
Q: The start looked quite frantic for you; how did you see it from inside the car?
KR: The first corner was very tight. I got an ok start and was on the left alongside Fernando [Alonso] straight away. He kept moving further across until there was nowhere left for me to go and his wheel touched my front wing. We had dome damage and I think he got a puncture so it was not a great start to the race but there was not a lot I could do differently.
Q: What can you take away from this race heading to Korea?
KR: The good thing is we still managed to score points to stay in touch in the championship. For sure we have some work to do if we want to catch the people in front, but there are still five races left and anything can happen. Let’s see what we can do next weekend…
P6 for Kimi and a late retirement for Romain in today’s Japanese Grand Prix capped off a difficult weekend for the team at Suzuka ; the main positive being that the Finn retains P3 in the Driver’s Championship with 5 races to go.
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Grid : P7
Race : P6
Fastest Lap : 1:37.886 [Lap 49]
Pit Stops : 2 [Lap 13 / Lap 30]
Key Moments :
Lap 01 : Good start, minor contact with ALO into T1, slight front wing damage, gains 2 places by avoiding T2 incidents
Lap 03 : Defends well from KOB into T1 at re-start
Lap 13 : Lap times dropping off sharply ; pits for hard tyres
Lap 15 : Gains 2 places in 1 lap ; past VER into T1 & KOV into T13
Lap 30 : Second stop ; second set of hard rubber
Lap 32 : Loses a place to HAM into T1
Lap 49 : Sets personal best time
Lap 53 : Chequered flag ; finishes P6
- Kimi was promoted to P7 and Romain to P4 on the grid after a penalty for Jenson Button
- Both drivers started the race on scrubbed sets of the yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyre, making two stops apiece for hard rubber during the race
- The first lap saw a number of incidents, resulting in a two lap safety car period following the retirements of Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg
- Both Kimi and Romain incurred damage to their front wings as a result of contact at the start with Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber respectively – the latter requiring a new nose as a result
- Romain received a ten second stop-and-go penalty as a result of his collision
- The only other minor interruption to proceedings came on lap nineteen, when Sergio Perez beached his Sauber in the gravel at turn six bringing out the yellow flags
Pos Driver Team Time 1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h28:56.242 2. Massa Ferrari + 20.639 3. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 24.538 4. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 25.098 5. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 46.490 6. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 50.424 7. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 51.159 8. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 52.364 9. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 54.675 10. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:06.919 11. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:07.769 12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:23.400 13. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:28.600 14. Senna Williams-Renault + 1:28.700 15. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 1 lap 16. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap 17. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap 18. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap 19. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:35.774 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Pic Marussia-Cosworth 39 Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 34 Perez Sauber-Ferrari 19 Alonso Ferrari 1 Rosberg Mercedes 1 World Championship standings, round 15: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Alonso 194 1. Red Bull-Renault 325 2. Vettel 190 2. McLaren-Mercedes 283 3. Raikkonen 157 3. Ferrari 263 4. Hamilton 152 4. Lotus-Renault 239 5. Webber 135 5. Mercedes 136 6. Button 131 6. Sauber-Ferrari 115 7. Rosberg 93 7. Force India-Mercedes 81 8. Grosjean 82 8. Williams-Renault 58 9. Massa 69 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 15 10. Perez 65 11. Kobayashi 50 12. Di Resta 44 13. Schumacher 43 14. Hulkenberg 37 15. Maldonado 33 16. Senna 25 17. Vergne 8 18. Ricciardo 7
Kimi Räikkönen – 6th: “Sixth wasn’t the result we were hoping for but unfortunately we didn’t have the speed to do better today. The start was very tight ; I was alongside Fernando [Alonso] straight away and he kept moving further across until there was nowhere left go. We lost some time there and our second pit stop wasn’t the best, so overall it was quite a difficult race. The good thing is we still managed to score points to stay in touch in the championship.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “Obviously, it hasn’t gone as well as we expected. We could see in Singapore, when Romain was back on track, that the other drivers were putting some pressure on him at the start. Here it was a little bit easier, but he made a small mistake misjudging his pace compared with Mark, which was a bit higher. I think he has made some progress, but it’s unfortunate that this has happened again in these circumstances. With Kimi, the car’s pace was not as good as we were expecting. Starting seventh we had higher hopes, but if you don’t have the pace completely it doesn’t work well. We couldn’t put everything together in order to make his race more successful and gain more places.”
James Allison, Technical Director: “The best thing that can be said about this event is that we scored some more points, but it’s certainly not been the weekend we hoped for on Friday, nor the one we expected after Saturday. We’re disappointed that Kimi had to race whilst looking in his mirrors rather than attacking those ahead and we need to face the fact that we need more performance from the E20 if we are to move up in the Constructors’ Championship rather than resting on our very secure fourth position. It would have been much better for us to have scored points with both cars but sadly a first lap incident for Romain put paid to that.”
Sky Sports interview with Kimi, Fernando Alonso, race start live, Kimi VS Lewis Hamilton, pre-race Kimi on grid: