Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen, Shanghai International Circuit, 2018

Raikkonen defends Ferrari’s Chinese GP strategy

2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Kimi Raikkonen dismissed suggestions he is being treated as a ‘number two’ driver by Ferrari following the strategy he was given in the Chinese Grand Prix.

Raikkonen fell from fourth to sixth place in the race after being left out longer than his rivals before his first pit stop. Keeping him out meant Ferrari were able to use him to help Sebastian Vettel catch race leader Valtteri Bottas.

However Raikkonen said the team’s strategy shouldn’t be criticised in retrospect.

“It’s always easy to say after the race what we should have done once you know,” he said.

“The end result you can easily say this should have been there and this there. During the race you try to do the best you can and sometimes it’s OK sometimes not but it’s just a normal case in any race conditions.

“As far as I know I have 100% same chance as everybody else and we’ll try to make the best out of it.”

Raikkonen did admit his strategy could have been better. “I guess there’s always opinions on anything but third is what we got. Could we have got more? Probably yes. Could we have got less? For sure. This is what we got so we go forward.”

Although he has qualified on the front row for all of the races so far this year Raikkonen doesn’t believe this is because he is driving better.

“I’ve been happy with my driving most of the time,” he said. “I haven’t changed really, the results have been better.”

“Obviously [they’re] far from ideal still, we’ve had one DNF already. That’s unfortunate, apart from that it’s pretty OK.”

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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  • 36 comments on “Raikkonen defends Ferrari’s Chinese GP strategy”

    1. I still think that he should’ve pitted for a new set of softs (he still had one ‘unused’ set of the soft compound left by the time the SC came out on track) as well as the RBR-drivers during the SC-period.

      1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
        26th April 2018, 17:43

        Yeah, with the soft he could have had an even better shot at passing Bottas.

        1. Yes, was pretty close, safe to say he WOULD have passed bottas, and would’ve had more chance to defend vs ricciardo and verstappen too.

    2. Vettel fan 17 (@)
      26th April 2018, 17:41

      Fair play to him for not blaming the team, even though they absolutely messed up his strategy.

      1. @vettelfan17

        Fair play?!?! He can’t even come up with a decent excuse to defend Ferrari’s actions.

        He probably got a call from Maurizio saying that people have been badmouthing Ferrari since China, so please clear up the air with a press statement that will be emailed to you. Refusal to do so is in direct violation of your contract as a number 2 driver.

    3. That is extremely charitable of him to give this view, particularly when many of us (myself included) have been furiously pecking at our keyboards at Ferrari’s treatment of him in China.

      Let’s hope his luck turns in Baku, and he’s rightly placed to capitalize on it.

      1. Is he really that naive? A devoted and honest F1 driver ever lived? Or is he just enjoying every bit of his late years of career in the most respected motorsport competition on a world-famous team?

        1. @ruliemaulana

          Quite the opposite. I think he lost his love for F1 the day he stepped back in that Ferrari garage. This is his last season in F1, and honestly he could care less about anything anyways.

          1. @todfod I don’t think Kimi would do anything he hates.

            1. @ruliemaulana
              Which is why he’ll retire at the end of this season.

            2. Pretty sure he’d hate not earning millions of dollars a year…

      2. @ruliemaulana – do you think he’s looking for another 1-year contract extension? Hmm, that is plausible, if Ricciardo doesn’t go for team red.

        1. @phylyp I think so. I even think Kimi could extend his contract for two more years, through the end of current formula. Ferrari wouldn’t disrupt the harmony just yet.

        2. @ruliemaulana – Seeing Kimi previously in Ferrari, I’d have groaned at the thought of renewing his contract, but his performance thus far in 2018 is impressive, and I wouldn’t complain at an extension (and your point about the regs makes a lot of sense). He’s not driving like he’s fighting for his job, he’s driving like he’s proving he’s still right for it.

          Fun question – if Ricciardo goes to Mercedes, then should Ferrari consider picking up Bottas instead of Kimi?

    4. Mercedes have previously stated that they have one race strategy team for both drivers (i.e. to maximize the team result), and not individually for each driver. Do we know how Ferrari operate?

      1. @phylyp Do you think they have to ‘predict’ the other cars strategy, or they ‘know’ the strategy?

        1. @flatsix – Not sure I get your question, since the two teams I’ve referred to are Mercedes and Ferrari. Of those, Mercedes have stated that they have a unified strategy team (hence there’s no question about the ‘other’ car, they treat both cars as beneficiaries of their unified strategy), and I don’t know about Ferrari.

          Even if there are separate strategy teams for each car in a team, I’d expect they will work in cooperation in some aspects; it would be self-defeating to put up a virtual wall between them.

      2. @phylyp: We do: one race strategy team for Vettel, no strategy whatsoever for Kimi.

    5. Well i hope this is PR talking from him, and that´s ok; if not, i believe he only says that because he finish in the podium and in front of his teammate even tough it was with a little luck. If he wants to fight for victories and maybe the championship, coulnd´t not accept a strategy like that

      1. sorry, -couldn’t accept a strategy like that-

    6. Kimi Raikkonen, 2018’s world champion.

      You heard it here first

      1. And last.

        1. Kimi Raikkonen, 2018’s world champion.

      2. Yeah, I would like that, seriously

    7. I guess when someone’s paying you multiple millions per year to drive round and be a content No. 2, you don’t mind defending them…

      1. Considering performance wise raikkonen is very close to vettel this year and is being paid 25% of vettel’s amount, well, I wouldn’t defend them if I were him considering I’d be underpaid for my job.

    8. My take is that Ferrari go into a race with a prime strategy and a compromised strategy and whoever is in front gets the prime strategy. I think the difference in treatment is more in how the drivers see themselves in the team. I think that Vettel is comfortable being aggressive in his driving against Kimi because if he gets it wrong and takes Kimi out, he’ll get a slap on the wrist at worst. Whereas I think Kimi feels that if he was aggressive toward Vettel and it went wrong, he’d be asked to all but pack his bags.

      1. I can’t imagine them holding Vettel on worn tyres to help Kimi win a race.
        Just can’t. It’s inconceivable.

      2. Or: Ferrari go into a race with a prime strategy and a compromised strategy and whoever is called Sebastian gets the prime strategy.

        1. That seems more like it.

    9. this kimi is no. 2 @ ferrari never came from anyone who knew. always ppl. who are not involved in f1 or are opponents or proven liars. sometimes both.

      they (ferrari team) don’t look like drama queens to me, and that’s always a positive.

      1. @zad2
        Visiting the past leads to speculation. And calling Kimi No.2 is simply insulting the former world champion. You can say it a few times for sarcasm, or for a joke. But taking it any farther is nothing but pointless speculation.
        Beyond all this , he is still driving for a team. Sacrifice is part of any team sport (i say this because i have watched a lot of cricket and a weaker batsman sacrificing his wicket for the better one is pretty common).
        Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of you teammates is as imperative as knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents.
        And i am sure Kimi understand this very well.

    10. “It’s always easy to say after the race what we should have done once you know,” he said.

      Well, I was sitting in southern Africa, in real time, before the stops, saying to everyone in the vicinity (whether they wanted to hear or not) that Ferrari should pit both drivers (or at least Vettel, as he was leading), before the Mercedes cars. The reason being that the Red Bulls emerged with Mediums, knowing they would get to the end. Therefore, Ferrari and Mercedes have to do the same, and to prevent the undercut, Ferrari need to pit before Mercedes, or at least on the same lap.

      But hey, what do we attentive fans know what the smart people at Ferrari don’t know already?

    11. bennie johnston
      27th April 2018, 9:08

      The irony is, if he had of stayed out even longer, just a few more laps, he could have pitted under the safety car. Then everyone would be praising Ferrari’s strategy.

    Comments are closed.