x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Raikkonen fumes after Ferrari fail to time it right

Finn is edge out during qualifying by Jules Bianchi.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. Lars Baron / Getty Images
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. Lars Baron / Getty Images

Kimi Raikkonen blamed an embarrassed Ferrari yesterday for a basic decision-making blunder that resulted in him qualifying a distant 17th for today’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

The 2007 world champion missed the cut in the first part of qualifying when Ferrari decided to keep him in the pits in the closing stages, and his lap time was beaten by the one of their own proteges, Frenchman Jules Bianchi of Marussia.

The strategy was made to preserve tyres for the rest of qualifying and today’s race, but it misfired badly at a track where the Finn had shown good pace in practice.

“The plan was to do another run, but we never did,” Raikkonen said. “The team told me, ‘We are fine, we don’t need to go out’.

“I questioned it a few times, but they said there was no need and obviously we can see the end result.

“As a team in Formula One, as Ferrari, we shouldn’t make these kind of things. We are not in our first year, any of us. It’s not good for me, not good for the team, but mistakes have been made.

“People make mistakes, but obviously there are things we need to change to make it better.”

The Finn and teammate Fernando Alonso were knocked out in the first part of qualifying at the British Grand Prix, where Alonso said Ferrari needed to “speed up” their decision-making.

Asked if he could have overruled the team and demanded to go out, Raikkonen said he placed his faith in the team to make the judgement calls.

“I’ve got trust in the team and I believe in the people,” he said. “I questioned it, but I cannot go against advice. We are here as a team, we make decisions as a team and today the outcome was this.”

Raikkonen, who won at the Hungaroring in 2005 when he was at McLaren-Mercedes, has finished on the podium the last five times he has raced in Hungary. But his chances of making it six appear slim, with overtaking so difficult at the venue in dry conditions.

Raikkonen is 12th in the drivers’ standings with 19 points, and has endured a tough first season back at Ferrari for a second spell. He has not finished in the top six once this year.

Teammate Alonso fared better and qualified fifth, and the former double world champion said he was content with his afternoon’s work.

“After a chaotic qualifying like today’s, you always think you could have done better,” Alonso said.

“But if you then analyse everything that happened, finishing fifth is a good result, because we made the most of every opportunity that came our way.”