Raikko­nen ques­tions strat­egy as Fer­rari’s win­less run con­tin­ues

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Kimi Raikko­nen ques­tioned Fer­rari’s race strat­egy af­ter a fourth­place fin­ish at the Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix on Sun­day as the Ital­ian team looks down the bar­rel of an­other win­less sea­son.

Raikko­nen was run­ning in third place when Mercedes driver Lewis Hamil­ton in fourth pit­ted for fresh tires with 16 laps to go. That put Fer­rari in a dilemma. Should it bring the Finn into the pits the next lap, fit him with the same ul­tra-soft tires as Hamil­ton’s and hope Raikko­nen gets out of the pits still ahead? Or should it let Raikko­nen stay out with a lead of around 30 sec­onds and hope Hamil­ton can’t catch up?

As the team fran­ti­cally weighed up the op­tions, Raikko­nen yelled over the ra­dio, “Are we box­ing (pit­ting) this lap?” only to get the re­ply from his en­gi­neer: “I’ll let you know.”

The team went for the first op­tion, bring­ing Raikko­nen in, but could not get him back out ahead of Hamil­ton, who held on for third.

“We lost the place there, I don’t know how and why they man­aged to jump us, and I don’t know what would have hap­pened if we would have stayed out,” Raikko­nen said post-race. “Now we have to go through every­thing, see what hap­pened and what we could have done bet­ter.”

Team prin­ci­pal Mau­r­izio Ar­riv­abene backed the de­ci­sion, say­ing “it made sense to call him to box one more time.”

Team­mate Se­bas­tian Vet­tel fin­ished fifth in an im­pres­sive per­for­mance af­ter start­ing at the back of the grid due to an an­tiroll bar fail­ure in qual­i­fy­ing.

It was a far cry from his race win at the same venue last year. Hav­ing failed to beat Mercedes on the track where its per­for­mance edge was largely negated, Fer­rari seems likely to en­dure an­other win­less sea­son to match that of 2014.

“I know pa­tience is not a qual­ity of the Fer­raristi,” Vet­tel said. “It’s not a qual­ity of mine ei­ther, we are here to win and we’re not sat­is­fied un­til it hap­pens, but we’re pro­gress­ing step by step and one day it will pay off.”

Fer­rari driver Kimi Raikko­nen of Fin­land steers his car dur­ing the Sin­ga­pore For­mula One Grand Prix Photo: AP

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