Kimi Raikkonen is convinced Ferrari’s pace in Malaysia was not solely due to the hot weather and thinks the team can challenge Mercedes again in China.
The Finn’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel took a rather unexpected victory in Malaysia, beating both Mercedes drivers on outright pace in the searing heat of Sepang. One key factor in the victory was Ferrari’s ability to manage its tyres well enough to win the race on a two-stop strategy, while Mercedes had to stop both cars three times.
Raikkonen also highlighted the performance at Ferrari disposal by charging through the field from an early puncture to finish fourth, matching the best result of his disastrous 2014 campaign. The 35-year-old thinks there is more to come from the SF-15T.
“It might be the conditions [in Malaysia], very hot and good for us but I think even in Melbourne if we got behind them at the beginning I don’t think they would have pulled away a lot,” the 2007 world champion said. “Obviously every circuit, conditions, everything plays a part of it but for sure it doesn’t take away that it’s a pretty strong package.”
Though happy with Ferrari’s progress Raikkonen knows the team still has areas to improve, especially in qualifying.
“We know that we’re not exactly as fast as them – at least on one lap – but we’re working on that and from where we finished last year and have been starting this year is a big step. The team has been doing the right things, pushing us in the right direction and little by little we will try to catch up with Mercedes, even though Sebastian won we still know we have to improve in certain areas.” [Source: espn.co.uk]