Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Hockenheimring, 2018

Ferrari’s team order “wasn’t clear enough” – Raikkonen

2018 German Grand Prix

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Kimi Raikkonen says he wasn’t clear Ferrari was issuing an instruction to him to let his team mate past during the German Grand Prix.

Raikkonen asked for the order to be clarified before letting Sebastian Vettel through into the lead on lap 39.

“We have certain rules but it wasn’t clear enough,” said Raikkonen.

Ferrari brought Raikkonen into the pits 11 laps earlier than his team mate, which meant Vettel ended up running behind Raikkonen. Vettel complained several times on the radio that he was damaging his tyres running behind Raikkonen.

However Raikkonen, who was likely to need a second pit stop had the race stayed dry, was concerned about losing time by letting Vettel through.

“I had speed and obviously it was a bit in a moment in the race that I wasn’t ideally to stop. That’s what happened.”

The rain which fell later in the race and Vettel’s race meant the change of positions proved academic.

“In the end, it didn’t change an awful lot,” said Raikkonen. “It was a tricky race with the rain and it was pretty slippery in a few places.

“I had a small moment with one of the lappers [backmarkers], the Sauber, under braking and Valtteri got past me, so not an easy race. I’m happy to finish, a bit disappointed, but I’ll take it today and we’ll try next time.”

Ferrari’s message to Raikkonen

Jock ClearSo Kimi this is Jock. You are aware we need to look after tyres. Both cars need to look after tyres and you two are on different strategies. Your track strategies are slightly different and we’d like you not to hold up Seb. Thankyou.
Kimi RaikkonenI’m not sure what you mean. What do you want me to do?
Jock ClearLosing as little time as possible, obviously, but when you can Seb is capable of going quicker but, er, he’s hurting his tyres and you are as well, we need to look after them.
Kimi RaikkonenSo you want me to let him go? Just tell me.

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60 comments on “Ferrari’s team order “wasn’t clear enough” – Raikkonen”

  1. Funny how, even though team orders are legal, teams are uncomfortable calling them directly.
    Kimi’s naïveté was funny too.

    1. If they do give those orders directly you always see a some sort of outburst from fans.

      1. or the drivers themselves.

      2. The outburst is happening anyway. Ferrari might as well have been honest about it…

    2. Seems like Jock Clear is not used to the blatant team orders regularly used at Ferrari. Probably felt a bit ashamed of issuing the order. Also, I don’t blame Raikkonen for playing dumb either. He knew what they meant, but forced them to say it out and clear.

    3. Political correctness in 2018

    4. It was like the hundred ways of telling Kimi to let Vettel through without actually saying “let Vettel through”. Funny that Kimi made them say it anyway.

    5. @carbon_fibre I don’t think Kimi was being naïve. For all his faults, he is a straightforward guy and if asked to move aside he does, he just wanted the team to tell him what they wanted to do and at no point up till then did they expressly say “let him by”.

      1. Indeed. Kimi knew what he was doing. Here we are, a thread on the team order being discussed by us F1 fans, Kimi achieved his goal.

  2. It raises the question of what Ferrari were up to in terms of strategy. Was Raikkonen pitted early to pressurize Bottas to pit earlier than ideal, or to get in Hamilton’s way? Either way he’s used as a mobile doormat, but nothing unusual in that. It was then left unclear after Vettel pitted whether he was supposed to race Raikkonen or the latter was supposed to let Vettel past – so given it became the latter, why not tell Kimi earlier (and save Vettel some tyre wear)?

    1. You could be right, but given how things unfolded, the sooner than expected pit-stop actually saved him from being stuck behind HAM and destroy his tyres behind HAM. After the pit-stop, he was no mobile doormat, he actually distanced himself from HAM, although he was marginally faster. He set quite a few number of FLs in the 2nd stint. Plus, another point that he actually was on the better strategy it’s that after VET pitted, RAI got in front! So, contrary to general impression, RAI’s strategy at that moment was better: he became the leader of the race. Still, VET comments later in the race proved Ferrari had a problem with the tyres and there were big chances they would have had to pit again. So, there’re big chances HAM would have won the race no matter what Ferrari did: keep them on destroyed tyres = no chances against HAM on Ultras OR pit them and they’re almost 20sec behind.

      1. Good points. All the more reason for vettel to have been let past immediately. Instead they dithered. The obvious initial goal was to undercut Bottas, which worked, but then they created a situation where bottas could catch both of them. Baffling.

      2. @mg1982 To clarify, I didn’t mean Kimi drove like a mobile doormat, only that he’s treated like one! He had a good race. I agree with your assessment, though, the race did seem to be drifting away from Ferrari’s control as it progressed. Surely they wouldn’t have planned on RAI getting ahead of VET after the latter’s stop.

      3. Without rain forecast, Kimi would have done his second pitstop next lap after Hamilton had done his first. By doing this, he would have stayed ahead of Lewis. With Vettel leading and Kimi in between Vettel & Hamilton, it would have been perfect day for Scuderia. With rain in radar, Ferrari had to wait with Kimi. And with Vettel’s spin, safety car handed victory for Hamilton.

      4. That was a very strange strategy call.

      5. You’re discussing the aftermath, not the strategic reason for such an Early Pit Stop.

    2. @david-br Vettel stopped on lap 25 and Bottas on lap 28. They stopped Raikkonen on lap 14(!) and he popped up just ahead of Hamilton. I’d say it’s pretty clear he was thrown under the bus to keep Hamilton back.

      1. @patrickl, if that was the intention, then it didn’t work at all as Kimi started off several seconds ahead of Hamilton and then progressively eased away from him.

        I think he was around 2 seconds, if not slightly more than that, ahead of Hamilton when he exited the pits, rising to around 4 seconds, and he’d probably have been even further ahead if it hadn’t been for a slightly sluggish pit stop for Kimi. Hamilton would have been sufficiently far enough back that any negative impact from being in Kimi’s wake would probably have been fairly negligible, and given that Kimi then put in a series of very quick laps and pulled away to around 4 seconds ahead of Hamilton, the effect on Hamilton once he was that far ahead would have been negligible.

        If anything, the strategy that Ferrari ran slightly compromised Vettel’s performance given that he ended up falling behind Kimi after his pit stop. Vettel ended up getting stuck around 1-1.5s behind Kimi for several laps, which is closer than Kimi ever got to Hamilton, which lead to those radio messages where Vettel was complaining that Kimi was holding him up – and given that both Bottas and Hamilton began to close up a bit to Vettel, he had a point about it compromising his race.

        Kimi indicated after the race that the plan was for him to run a two stop race, so I’d suggest that Ferrari were trying to trick Mercedes into switching Bottas into a two stop strategy and remove him as a threat to Vettel, or to simply run Kimi flat out on a two stopper in the hope that he’d be able to harry Bottas and potentially make him ruin his tyres, again nullifying the threat he posed to Vettel.

        Either way, I suspect that they probably expected most of the main drivers to run a normal one stop race and that Hamilton would have been far enough back that he wouldn’t have been a threat – in a normal dry race, Hamilton would have pitted and ended up about 20 seconds further back, putting him behind Kimi and Verstappen and giving Ferrari a reasonably healthy buffer to him.

        Even on a two stop strategy, Kimi probably would have always remained ahead of Hamilton, so there wasn’t really any need to “throw him under the bus” when he was already in a position to take points off Hamilton. With that in mind, I suspect that their main focus was on fending off Bottas given that Ferrari’s longer runs on Friday suggested they were having more problems with graining on the softs than Mercedes were, which might have made Vettel vulnerable to Bottas in the latter part of the race.

        1. Very well analysed! Clearly Ferrari did not Kimi’s best interest at heart, whichever way you look at it.

    3. Michael Brown (@)
      22nd July 2018, 23:27

      Looked like they were trying to both hold up Hamilton and force Bottas to make an early pit stop. Vettel ended up behind Raikkonen because he made some mistakes near the end of his stint.

    4. Raikkonen was brought in early to neutralize Hamilton and prevent Hamilton from finishing higher than 3rd, as Raikkonen could shadow Hamilton’s next pit stop and still remain ahead. But Kimi then had very good pace without even trying hard. Unfortunately Vettel’s pace began to drop too quickly which brought him out behind Raikkonen.
      But Vettel had not lost the race by this point as he just needed to conserve his car behind Raikkonen who would still have had to stop again. But for some reason Vettel was pushing too hard and destroying his tyres with lockups which didn’t help him when the rain now came.

      1. Why looking at it negatively, as if RAI was sacrificed to help VET, when in reality the only winner by pitting earlier was RAI himself. He was already 7sec behind VET and losing time to top2, pitting him later would have meant losing 3rd to VER. So, dunno, it’s odd that you guys keep bashing Ferrari for messing RAI strategy even when they actually cared about his race and changed it so he won’t lose places.

        1. @mg1982 Oh stop it. How does it make sense to simply stop 10 to 15 laps earlier than any of the other cars around you? Why wouldn’t the others follow if it a two stopper was such a great strategy? Stop trying to fool yourself.

          In the end it came good because Vettel had another one of his incidents and Raikkonen simply had a lot faster car than Verstappen.

          Raikkonen was simply keeping the gap to Verstappen. Verstappen was never a threat at all.

          1. How does it make sense to simply stop 10 to 15 laps earlier than any of the other cars around you? Why wouldn’t the others follow if it a two stopper was such a great strategy?

            I mean Red bull and Ferrari managed to compromise the lead driver in Spain 2016 so I doubt teams had exactly as much info in-race as you do in hindsight now. @patrickl

            Raikkonen was simply keeping the gap to Verstappen. Verstappen was never a threat at all.

            Assuming that’s the case Ferrari might as well have gambled on e.g. an SC happening right after BOT’s stop.

        2. :D
          You’re funny!!!

  3. They didn’t need to be inventive here. That time they told Massa that Alonso was faster, he clearly understood the message.

  4. ‘Sebastian is faster than you’ would have been perfect here :’)

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      22nd July 2018, 23:28

      @sihrtogg It’s Hockenheim, Ferrari just can’t help themselves.

  5. Ferrari should have said “Vettel will crash later on so let him through”

    1. Johan Tolemans
      22nd July 2018, 22:04

      Exactly this. Or they could have said “we don’t know how yet but he’ll mess up somehow.”
      Has Vettel won a race with Ferrari without Kimi relenting him a position? Just asking because it does not look that way somehow.

    2. That would fall under the heading of “different strategies” ;)

      1. Ahaha, good one, both of you!

  6. Was amusing, with all of Räikkönen’s experience he was like ‘just f&*@ing say it’ stop beating about the bush, and tell me to get our the way, while Seb locks his brakes and flat-spots his tyres twice. Very funny from Kimi.

  7. I think Ferrari used Kimi’s early pitstop to pressurize Bottas. Bottas lost track position to Kimi as he was kept out to cover Vettel and await either a Safety Car period or rain. In a way it seemed as if Mercedes then used Bottas to help Hamilton in a kind of “non-response” to Kimi’s early pitstop?
    And I completely understand Mercedes team-order to Bottas – unnecessary risk in a situation where it was important for them to capitalize on Vettels bad fortune.

    1. @palle Raikkonen came out just ahead of Hamilton. You think that was by accident? Clearly, they completely sacrificed Raikkonen’s race with an absurdly early pitstop in an attempt to keep Hamilton back.

      1. @patrickl That was my first thought but with hindsight I think they just wanted to get out ahead of Hamilton from the way Raikonnen pulled away.

        1. That reason makes no sense, why should Kimi worry about a man who’ll be on worn out tyres, is miles away and would still need to pit.

      2. No, it wasn’t by accident, it was strategy. Good strategy. They did it because RAI had like 10 laps to go anyway, he was losing time to VET and BOT, while HAM was gaining on all of them. So, keeping him on-track even 3 laps more would have meant getting out behind HAM and remain stuck there many laps, in the end losing 2 places: in the favour of HAM and VER. Instead, he was in free air and managed to undercut not only BOT, but VET too. After all top 4 drivers made their 1st pit-stop, RAI was the leader of the race, previously being just 3rd and losing time to VET and BOT. So, really now, don’t get it how you blame Ferrari again when it’s obvious they did well and the most obvious winner in this case was RAI himself. It’s obvious that RAI would have ended behind VER if pitted 10 laps later.

      3. @glynh Yes they probably didn’t count on Raikkonen being a lot faster than Vettel. Hamilton could simply follow Raikkonen at a safe distance and together they closed back on Vettel. Raikkonen even overtook Vettel.

        @mg1982 No it wasn’t. You don’t just throw 10 to 15 laps of life on the tyres away. If they actually were looking out or Raikkonen they would have told him to use that those tyres in that short an amount of laps and pull a gap. Instead he was just driving like you would on a 1 stop strategy which suddenly was forced into a two stop strategy for no good reason at all.

        Yes Raikkonen ended up slightly ahead of Vettel and Bottas, but he still had to make a stop extra! Stop deluding yourself that he would have beaten anyone with this ludicrous strategy.

        1. Ferrari made a very good strategic move taking Kimi in that early, maybe not in Kimi’s best personal interest, but overall it was a very good move. However they should then have taken in Vettel in due time for him not be undercut by Kimi. Regarding race strategy – Bottas was kept out, not covering Kimi, because MERC didn’t want to take the bait and cover Bottas against Kimi, and because they started to base their strategy on Rain and/or a safety car period – which paid out perfectly for them. Had neither materialized the race would probably have ended with a Ferrari 1-2, Bottas third and either Hamilton or Max 4. The strategic gamble was made difficult for all of them by the issue of how much rain and when. Strange though to see teams and drivers struggle so much finding the right time for when to shift to inters – how can they get this so wrong with the vast experience they must have on this issue. Leclerc lost more than 10 sec pr lap with inters, because the track was only wet in a few corners.

  8. After Leclerc’s performance today, I wonder if they will consider keeping Kimi for another year.

    Although, if Kimi knew what they were on about, but was just being obstinate, I wonder if that in turn did him no favours with the team.

    1. Ironically, he ran those tires a long time, while the other guy immediately roasted his new tires and then binned it. So he might get a reprieve from the malocchio.

    2. Channel 4’s presenters were suggesting even before the race that due to the changes at the top of Ferrari, the team may opt for stability, and Kimi, after all.

    3. Leclerc was never in the running. It has been made up by the dimwitted.

  9. I loved how Raikkonen put Jock Clear on the spot and made him say it out loud.

    1. Better worry about the “dead horse” in the Mercedes garage!

      1. @mg1982 Sure Mercedes messed up the previous two races, but dead or alive, the horse hasn’t been prancing for a long time, and with those drivers it probably never will really.

        1. Can you help your Hamilton to push his car on the track.
          May be you are a bit stronger than him…

  10. No wonder KR can never get better than 3rd…with this happening all the time in the race.

  11. “So you want me to let him go? Just tell me.” This is why the fans love Kimi!
    He does not suffer fools gladly. Ha Ha

    1. @bukester – Yes!

      “I know what I’m doing.”

  12. Kim really is as daft as he looks!

    1. You think Kimi looms daft! Lol at least he didn’t have extensions in his hair for this race!!

  13. Seriously, if you’re going to be called Jock Clear and speak on the radio, you have to live up to your name. Well-called Kimi.

  14. This was not clean victory for brit.
    Now I see reasons for all of you accusing FIA and their decisions.
    With 5 sec , Bottas is winner. Points can be decisive for winner in f1 2018 since Brit has DIRTY VICTORY.
    Bottas helped Brit to win and team orders.
    Vettel is left alone as a real Ferrari racer.
    Kimi is a racer for Ferrari but Bottas is a racer for brit driver.
    And, of course, that Vettel is still winner.
    Lewis is pushing his car on the track and not driving.
    Vettel won qualifications…
    Head up….

  15. Lewis is pushing his car on the track and not driving.

    And Hamilton still won race! Me impressed.

  16. ADUB SMALLBLOCK
    23rd July 2018, 15:25

    I think Kimi was showing some frustration with Ferrari. Each year it has been the same, delayed contract, public comments about how he “needs to do better”, and when he is, “don’t slow Seb up”. I don’t blame Kimi a bit, if you want him to motor to the side to let Seb pass, tell him so.

  17. Ferrari are so tentative in issuing team orders. I think it’s because the media (especially British) hound them whenever they do.

    Mercedes issued 6 team orders against Bottas last season but nary a mention from the British media.

    They still talk about Alonso in 2010 or Schumacher in 2002, but never mention Hakkinen in 1998. Or they never mention how Schumacher moved over to give Irvine a win in 1999.

    When Hamilton ignores a team order like in Hungary 2014, it shows how much of a champion he is, his insatiable desire to win, etc.

    When Vettel ignores a team order like in Malaysia 2013 he’s cast as the villain, booed at every circuit for the next two seasons.

    Raikkonen’s performance on the week shows his time is up. Not only slow, but insubordinate now. I don’t know why Ferrari are so worried about offending him. They pay him $20 million per year to take orders.

    Vettel showed the capability of the Ferrari once he got in clear air.

    Then late in the race he couldn’t keep up with Bottas despite having fresh tyres. Either he wasn’t trying or just wasn’t fast enough. Either way, not good enough.

    If he could have got past Bottas, he probably catches up to Hamilton quite easily with newer tyres. But seemed disinterested. Couldn’t stay within 3 seconds of Bottas.

    1. Yes, fans are cheering with Vettel while he is winning and few people are backing him up when he is making/ if he is making any mistakes but not winning.
      And people should not be entertained and sharing his success because they do not deserve that they are part of his victories.
      He, only he, should be at peace and should not take into consideration anybody’s opinion about his racing.
      He should not care for anybody any more. Never.

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