Raikkonen: ‘Too early’ to judge Liberty

Date published: December 12 2017

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen believes it is too early for an accurate assessment of Liberty Media’s time in charge of Formula 1.

Liberty are approaching their one-year anniversary since taking over from Bernie Ecclestone in January with the general consensus being that they have made a good start in modernising the coverage of the sport and getting fans more involved in the spectacle.

But some decisions such as the driver announcements in Austin and the unveiling of a new Formula 1 logo have not been too well received and neither has their blueprint for the future of Formula 1.

Raikkonen, though, says they can only be really judged when that change in direction eventually comes.

“They are trying to make it better, easier to follow and more involving the public,” Raikkonen told Auto Hebdo.

“But it will only be in a few years, when the new regulations are in force (in 2021), that we will really see the impact of their arrival.

“I think they’re putting a lot of effort in, listening to everyone and asking the right questions. I think we’ll see if it has been good when we get the new cars.”

Raikkonen fastest as Kubica stars in Abu Dhabi

Date published: November 28 2017

The first day of the post-season test in Abu Dhabi is in the books with Kimi Raikkonen topping the timesheets and Robert Kubica among the drivers to rack up 100 laps at the Yas Marina circuit.

Raikkonen set a best time of 1:37.768 on the new hypersoft tyres – two steps softer than the 2017 ultrasofts – but it was over a second shy of Valtteri Bottas track record in Q3 on Sunday with the Ferrari man having plenty of fuel on board.

Daniel Ricciardo narrowed the gap to within three tenths after the lunch break, completing 109 laps in the process. World Champion Lewis Hamilton improved to P3 as part of a mammoth 136-lap run.

Haas’ Romain Grosjean, the lap-count leader with 137, finished 1.5 seconds off the pace in P4 and Lance Stroll took P5 in the Williams after taking over duties from Kubica in the final couple of hours.

Kubica, who ended the day ninth quickest, stayed on the soft tyre throughout the day and also reached the 100-lap mark via a mixture of short and long runs.

The Pole and Williams were both happy with the day’s work and he will return to the car on Wednesday for what is believed to be a shorter two-hour stint on quicker tyres.

Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso’s running was disrupted by a crash into the tyre barrier but he made up for lost time by accumulating 115 laps with a best time of 1:39.762, good enough for P6.

McLaren were able to run two cars given that their test in Brazil was cancelled, so reserve driver Oliver Turvey collected another 105 laps’ worth of data and propped up the timesheet in P12.

Nico Hulkenberg came back to the garage in P7, with development drivers Nikita Mazepin (Force India) and Sean Gelael (Toro Rosso) – the latter causing a late red flag because of a minor crash – completing the top 10 alongside Kubica.

Marcus Ericsson, who has seemingly survived the chop at Sauber, was P11.

1       Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1’37″768        99 laps
2       Daniel Ricciardo     Red Bull    1’38″066     00″298    109
3       Lewis Hamilton     Mercedes    1’38″551     00″783    136
4       Romain Grosjean     Haas    1’39″270     01″502    137
5       Lance Stroll    Williams    1’39″580     01″812    29
6       Fernando Alonso    McLaren    1’39″762     01″994    115
7       Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    1’39″803     02″035    85
8       Nikita Mazepin    Force India    1’39″959     02″191    90
9       Robert Kubica    Williams    1’41″296     03″528    100
10       Sean Gelael    Toro Rosso    1’41″428     03″660    117
11       Marcus Ericsson     Sauber    1’41″681     03″913    97
12       Oliver Turvey    McLaren    1’41″914     04″146    105

Raikkonen sets pace, Alonso’s surprise crash

Date published: November 28 2017

The first day of the post-season test in Abu Dhabi is well underway with Robert Kubica racking up the laps at the Yas Marina circuit, Fernando Alonso hitting the tyre wall and Kimi Raikkonen setting the pace.

At the lunch break, Raikkonen topped the timesheets with a 1:37.768, a full 1.5 seconds clear of Romain Grosjean in second, with Nico Hulkenberg completing the top three.

All eyes were firmly on Kubica, though, as he closes in on a full Formula 1 return with Williams. The Pole completed 58 laps by the interval and placed himself sixth on the leaderboard with a fastest time of 1.41:296.

McLaren have been given permission to run two cars given that their tyre test in Brazil was cancelled, but Fernando Alonso’s running was disrupted when he crashed into the tyre barriers before continuing his running just before lunch.

Development driver Oliver Turvey is also in action for McLaren, with the Brit currently in seventh place and one spot ahead of Alonso. The other reserve drivers on show – Nikita Mazepin (Force India) and Sean Galael (Toro Rosso) – are P9 and P11 respectively.

World Champion Lewis Hamilton posted the fourth quickest time.

Day 1 timesheet (lunch)

1 Kimi Raikkonen     Ferrari     1:37.768,
2 Romain Grosjean     Haas     1:39.270
3 Nico Hulkenberg     Renault     1:39.803
4 Lewis Hamilton     Mercedes     1:40.017
5 Daniel Ricciardo     Red Bull     1:40.713
6 Robert Kubica     Williams     1:41.296
7 Oliver Turvey     McLaren     1:41.914
8 Fernando Alonso     McLaren     1:41.995
9 Nikita Mazepin     Force India     1:42.346
10 Marcus Ericsson     Sauber     1:43.286
11 Sean Gelael     Toro Rosso     1:45.622

Raikkonen guilty of ‘throwing away laps’

Date published: November 25 2017

Kimi Raikkonen has said qualifying was “a bit of a struggle” as he slipped down to P5 on the grid for the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

The Finn ended up being seven tenths off the pace at the Yas Marina circuit and was knocked off the second row by Daniel Ricciardo on his final attempt in Q3.

“I had a good feeling with the car, but in qualifying it was a bit of a struggle to make the tyres work and be happy with those,” Raikkonen said.

“I had too many slips and slides and was throwing away the lap here and there, so it’s far from ideal.

“It’s the same for everybody, but it was a little bit tricky, more tricky than I expected.”

Raikkonen’s 2017 season ‘far from ideal’

Date published: November 23 2017

Kimi Raikkonen has said that although he can “live” with his results in 2017, it is “far from ideal” and wants to do a lot better next season.

The Finn’s last victory in Formula 1 came four years ago in Australia and, while he has seven podium finishes to his name this season, he finds himself fifth in the World Championship standings behind Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo.

“It is far from what I wanted, but it is where we ended up,” Raikkonen said in his assessment of the 2017 season.

“That is how it goes. There is one race to go, we try to make the best out of it and then obviously start next year, try to do a lot better.”

 “Obviously I am here to try to win races and win championships, so it is far from ideal.

“But this is how it turned out to be. I can live with it, but it is not why I am here.

“We started pretty poorly at the beginning of the year, not really where we should have been. It has been better since then but then we had too many DNFs and never really recovered from there.”

Raikkonen got ‘a bit bored’ in Brazil

Date published: November 13 2017

In a shock to absolutely nobody, Kimi Raikkonen has said he found the Brazilian Grand Prix “a bit boring” after feeling the full effect of the turbulent air in the penultimate race of the season.

The Finn started third on the grid at Interlagos and finished third, unable to get close to Valtteri Bottas or Sebastian Vettel in front and holding off a late challenge from a resurgent Lewis Hamilton in P4.

“I took it easy in the beginning and I was still catching up the guys at the front but I felt I took care of my tyres and once I pushed I could get close but you can’t really do anything,” Raikkonen said.

“Unfortunately the cars this year in this kind of place they can be very difficult to pass and it gets a bit boring unfortunately. I thought that I had a lot of speed but there was nothing that I could have done.

“I stayed around the same distance from Valtteri. It was a good end but I wanted more.”

Raikkonen also maintained that he did not see Hamilton as much as a threat in the final stages as the Brit tried to mark his recovery drive from the pitlane with a podium spot.

He added: “I didn’t really look at what he was doing I was trying to do my own stuff.

“I had a few lock ups in the first corner basically for no real reason but I was checking on Hamilton from the mirrors as it is hard to see when you are spread out and you can lose sight of them.

“I had a very good last few corners and I could see when we pulled out of the last corner that he was quite far away.

“I know they are very fast when they put the full power and full engine with DRS they can catch up a lot at the end of the straight but I was quite comfortable in the lead. I had a good gap in the last three corners.

“I was surprised that he got closer to me in the last few laps and that is why I locked up a few times at turn one as I was looking too much in the mirrors and not braking so heavy so locked a little bit.”

Raikkonen ‘wasn’t too worried’ about Hamilton

Date published: November 12 2017

He may have had Lewis Hamilton all over his engine during the final few laps in Brazil, but Kimi Raikkonen says he had things under control.

The Ferrari driver started third on the grid at Interlagos while Hamilton started in the pit lane following a crash in the first qualifying session. The Merc driver, though, managed to pick off drivers left right and centre throughout the race and found himself behind the Finn in third place with 11 laps remaining.

With four laps to go, Hamilton was finally within DRS range and had a go at Turn 1, but locked up. He had another couple of attempts to move into the final podium spot, but Raikkonen held firm and finished third behind Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.

“I had a little bit tricky balance in the first set of tyres but it improved over the first run and the second set the car handled very well,” the Finn said during the post-race interviews.
“I could catch up with the guys [Vettel and Bottas] but it’s impossible to get past here if you have this close a speed between cars. Lewis got close to me, I got close to Sebastian and Valtteri but I wasn’t too worried. I had a good run out of the last corner.”