RAIKKO­NEN EX­TENDS HIS FER­RARI DEAL

Finn’s con­tract is re­newed at Sil­ver­stone but team strug­gles in the race

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - By Stephen Lick­o­r­ish Photos: LAT

Fer­rari bosses wanted to take pres­sure off Kimi Raikko­nen by an­nounc­ing his new con­tract for 2017 ear­lier than usual.

The Ital­ian team usu­ally waits un­til its home race at Monza to make driver an­nounce­ments, but made the de­ci­sion early to end spec­u­la­tion of who would be driv­ing along­side Sebastian Vet­tel. A host of driv­ers, in­clud­ing Ro­main Gros­jean, Ser­gio Perez and Valt­teri Bot­tas, had all been linked with the seat.

But Fer­rari has de­cided to stick with the Finn for another year, de­spite his in­con­sis­tent form.

“We have two good driv­ers, that was not an is­sue for us,” said team boss Mau­r­izio Ar­riv­abene. “We re­move all the pres­sure from the shoul­ders of Kimi.

“In the last two or three races, ev­ery time Kimi sat in a press con­fer­ence, they asked about the con­tract. I know his nick­name is the Ice­man but he’s a hu­man be­ing.

“Even the Ice­man is a hu­man with emo­tion and I think he could feel the pres­sure.”

Raikko­nen had claimed he had been driv­ing the best in his ca­reer, prior to the an­nounce­ment on Fri­day.

“I feel I drive as well as I’ve driven for­ever,” he said. “If I wouldn’t feel like I’m driv­ing well, I’m the first one to go away and not do it, but it’s not that.

“If I wouldn’t be mo­ti­vated, I would not be here wast­ing my own time or the team’s time.”

It was a dif­fi­cult race for the Fer­rari team, with Raikko­nen strug­gling with a lack of down­force and Vet­tel ham­pered by a grid penalty for a gear­box change as they fin­ished fifth and ninth.

“It has been a weak race for us,” said Vet­tel. “To­day we seemed to lose a lit­tle bit com­pared to the peo­ple ahead.

“I’m pretty con­fi­dent things will look dif­fer­ent again in two weeks. This week­end was a step back for us in terms of com­pet­i­tive­ness, not nec­es­sar­ily a step up for other peo­ple.”

Ar­riv­abene added that the gear­box fail­ures are a con­cern.

Vet­tel has now had three prob­lems in the last two races with all of the is­sues thought to be dif­fer­ent.

“It’s the third time we have this prob­lem and it’s a con­cern,” said Ar­riv­abene. “It’s some­thing we need to solve as soon as pos­si­ble.

“It’s early to give any spe­cific news but I sus­pect that it is re­lated to the ma­te­rial.”

Raikko­nen could only man­age fifth in Bri­tish GP Raikko­nen and Vet­tel stay as team-mates

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