SILVERSTONE // You had to feel sorry for Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa at the British Grand Prix. The Ferrari drivers looked also-rans rather than a pair fighting it out for the world championship. Bravely they battled on in the Silverstone rain with Raikkonen claiming a valuable fourth spot while Massa still managed to finish, albeit last of 13, despite spinning off five times.
They are joint level at the top of the drivers' championship with Lewis Hamilton, but Ferrari chief Stefano Domenicali knows that dream will be over if they make the same mistakes as they made in this race. By not changing Raikkonen's tyres in their first stop to deal with more rain, it left the Finn labouring against his faster rivals, who had switched. Domenicali, the team principal, said: "We could have won this race with Kimi, but we made a key mistake at the first pit stop, choosing to stay on the same set of tyres.
"The rain did not ease off and lasted longer and our drivers - Felipe had also gone for the same choice - found themselves in difficulty. "With hindsight it's easy to say we should have changed tyres, but Formula One is not an exact science. Sometimes strategic choices pay off and sometimes they don't. "All the same, we have to admit that, this weekend, we did not operate to our usual standard. We made mistakes at every level and even our performance did not match our expectations and now we have to work out why, but calmly without panicking."
Raikkonen, the world champion, would not blame the team for the blunder, but knows it was missed opportunity. "It was a team decision," he said. "We make decisions together and sometimes you get it right. Unfortunately, this was one of those that could have gone in either direction. "We win and we lose as a team. Sometimes we make the wrong decisions. But I don't complain to the team and they don't complain to me.
"The last races have not been easy for me. But if you look at all those things, not scoring in two races and not really having a perfect race in the next two, we are tied in the championship lead so it's not too bad." His Brazilian teammate Massa added: "We have to look ahead, because there is still a very long way to go in the championship, and once again we've seen that it only takes one result to turn the situation around. We have to do a good job in the forthcoming Hockenheim test to be as well prepared as possible for the German Grand Prix that takes place on the same track.
"We know that we are competitive. We are level in the championship, so we just need to continue working hard." @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org