We had the right pieces to win titles – Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen says he is convinced that Ferrari had all the right pieces in place to win both world championships and lost out because of “small things.”
Ferrari had been a strong challenger to Mercedes all season until their title hopes collapse thanks to technical and reliability problems in the Asian races. These issues and that crash on the opening lap in Singapore allowed Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton to pull away.
But despite speculation in the media about the future of team principal Maurizio Arrivabene, company president Sergio Marchionne has suggested there will be no high-profile sackings over the winter and also said driver error played a role in the team not winning a title.
Raikkonen agrees, saying that he believes that a radical overhaul isn’t needed to allow the team to win next season. He told ESPN “As a team we’ve come a long way from year to year, even from last year we’ve done a good step to get where we want.”
“What we want is for Ferrari to win both championships, but I think we have the right tools to do it. This year we need tidy up things and not make mistakes and then we should be OK.” Raikkonen added that the small things have played a big part and we will try to make the mosto out of them in the remaining races.
Raikkonen says that he is confident he can turn in a stronger performance next season.
I am not Lewis’s shadow – Bottas
Valtteri Bottas says he has no intention of saying in the shadow of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton next season. It has been a good season for the Finn who claimed his first pole position and race wins, however he has struggled to match Hamilton.
But in Mexico, there was a upturn in form finishing second ahead of Hamilton, something that he is determined to continue. Asked about racing the four times champion this season, Bottas told Sky Sports “In a few occasions, not as many as I would have wanted, I managed to be ahead of him.”
“Even though he is a really, really good driver and very consistent, I also need to believe in myself. I can’t put myself in a place of number two otherwise I would rather stay at home.”
Bottas who only joined Mercedes in mid-January says he has learnt massively and says next season he going just going for it.
Sainz didn’t expect to be competitive
Carlos Sainz says he did not expect “to be so competitive” after he switched to Renault for the final four races of the season. The Spaniard joined from Toro Rosso before the United States Grand Prix, where he got the ground running well by out-qualifying Nico Hulkenberg.
His first race saw him out-qualify his teammate Nico Hulkenberg which earnt him praise from the team and started eighth. But he spun early on but was eventually forced to retire because of s steering issue.
Asked by Autosport, if he had surprised himself by how well his switch from Toro Rosso had gone, Sainz said “A bit yes. I knew from the past when I switched teams in the lower categories, or when I did a test in F1 in 2013, that I could adapt very quickly to whatever you give me.”
“I know I am good at that, but I didn’t expect to be so competitive right from the start. It has been a positive start in that sense.” Sainz admitted that his teammate is still slightly ahead, but remains hopeful he can catch up before the end of the season.
Reliability remains a concern for the French manufacturer, however, he says the early impressions of how the team operates and the scale of progress have made him bullish about next season.
“I think the main progress has to come from the power unit and reliability – and that will immediately help our chances of being higher in the standings.” He explained.
“As well as that, with all the infrastructure and all the resources back in Enstone, I can only see the team going forward from now.” He also believes that four races with the team this year, will be a significant boost in understanding the car and how the team operates.
Stroll races better than qualifies
Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe believes that Lance Stroll’s struggles in qualifying are hiding the progress he has made during his rookie season.
Stroll has had some good results this year including a podium in Baku and currently is ahead of team-mate in the championship. However, he has struggled to get the best out of the car in qualifying, with him only outqualifying Massa three times this year.
Lowe suggested that qualifying was an area Stroll and the team needed to focus on this over the winter so he can make a step up next year. He told Autosport “It has been a season for Lance that has had good and bad moments, and has been very tough in some periods.”
“But certainly it has been much better in the second half. He has settled down, particularly after scoring his first points in Canada, and then getting the podium in Baku.”
Lowe added that he races better than qualifies.
Ricciardo “likely” to take grid penalty
Daniel Ricciardo is “likely” to be awarded a grid penalty for this weekends Brazilian Grand Prix, because of his engine failure in the Mexican Grand Prix.
All three Renault powered teams suffered engine problems, with half of the cars being forced to retire from the race. However, what made it worse for Ricciardo was he had taken tactical penalties in Mexico to avoid penalties this weekend.
However, he has now suggested that the MGU-H failure in Mexico is likely to lead to component changes, his eighth of the season. Ricciardo said “I may have to take another penalty, it’s likely at this stage. We could maybe avoid it, but it’s probably going to put us at a risk of not finishing.”
“We tried to avoid it last week but it still didn’t happen. It probably won’t be a big one but if it is, it could be a 10-place drop.” Asked if he would rather take a penalty or run the risk, he says if they said if there is a ten percent of not finishing then he would take the risk.
Max Verstappen had the majority of reliability issues in the first half of the season, but it is his team-mate who has suffered more after the summer break.
“It is what it is. I don’t look into that side too much. If I don’t finish, I’m disappointed but I don’t think about how it would have been different if it happened earlier.”
“It’s frustrating when you don’t finish but unfortunately, it’s part of the sport. It’s always going to go like this.”
Improved drainage for wet weather
The FIA is hoping that new grooves which have been carved into Interlagos for this weekends Brazilian Grand Prix will help with drainage of the circuit.
The Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace has often been affected by wet weather and the terrain of the circuit means that rivers often develop on the circuit. The forecast for this weekends race, is predicting heavy rain on Friday with sunshine and showers on Saturday, with the race itself looking to be dry.
six corners have been worked on prior to this year’s event in an attempt to make it easier for the cars to run in wet conditions.
FIA race director Charlie Whiting wrote in his notes to teams: “The apex areas of turns 2 and 12 have been resurfaced. Additional grooving of the track has been carried out in places where water was accumulating the most during the race last year, notably in turns 2, 3, 12, 13, 14 and 15.”
He added: “In order to ensure that the grip of the track is more consistent it has been cleaned twice with very high-pressure water.” The FIA has also added some new “sausage kerbs” behind the existing kerbs on the apex of turns 2, 4, 8 and 10.
Formula One Vault will bring you full live coverage of the Brazilian Grand Prix from 11:45 on Friday with first practice. Qualifying coverage from 15:45 Saturday, with race coverage from 15:30 on Sunday. Preview here