|Circuit||Sepang International Circuit
|Distance||310,408 km / 192,920 miles|
||Scuderia Ferrari||retired / accident
Maurizio Arrivabene: “Clearly, this was not the result we had wanted. In a very tactical race like the one we had today, having both cars on track would have been of fundamental importance. So, seeing what had happened to Seb, we planned a very aggressive strategy for Kimi, but then everybody else did the same. It’s a pity that some damage affected Kimi’s performance today: first, a piece of rubber got stuck in the rear wing profiles, causing the wing to stall and then there was the collision with Rosberg which caused further damage to the bodywork. As for Seb’s incident at the start, I talked to him and I’d rather not comment on the stewards’ decisioni.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Fourth position is not the result we wanted, but today unfortunately we couldn’t get more. Overall the car was not too bad and the handling was quite ok, but the pure lap time was not there. We were missing speed and we never had the chance to challenge the cars in front . When Rosberg passed me I suddenly had to turn right to avoid him: I knew he was going to hit me and we both would have probably been out: my rear floor was damaged because of that and Nico got penalized. After that I did my best to keep the ten seconds gap to him, but unfortunately it was not enough to get a better result. Obviously we want to be higher up, but now we have to take what we get. We’ll try to improve and push forward to make the car faster and be able to challenge the others.”
Sebastian Vettel: “We had a good start, then I was going side by side with Max. We were both battling for position into turn one. Nico in the front was turning in and he obviously decided to pick his line, which is absolutely fair and in his right. At that point with the speed I had I couldn’t slow down anymore and I was also pushed by Max to the right. I did my best under braking but I couldn’t avoid the impact. It was an unfortunate chain reaction which ruined my race and Nico’s one. I can’t do more than apologize to Nico, because the accident had nothing to do with him being in front. I think it was different to the case in Spa with Max and Kimi, as Max and I were trying to fight for turn 1, and Nico was trying to do a different thing ahead. I don’t have to comment on what Max said afterwards.”
Kimi one step away from the podium. Vettel retires
Sepang, 2 October – Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth in the Malaysian Grand Prix this afternoon at the Sepang circuit. Sebastian Vettel’s race was over after only a few hundred metres, having to retire after a collision at the first corner after the start.
Daniel Ricciardo won for Red Bull.
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a pretty smooth running until the last try: then I had some traffic on the out lap and struggled with the tires to make them work in the first two corners, so I ran a bit wide. It was a decent qualifying session but it’s painful when you have such a bad last try. The handling of the car has been pretty ok and I was hoping for a bit more, but tomorrow we’ll try to do better. We don’t know what will happen and obviously we are not in the ideal starting position. The tarmac is new so it’s hard to say where it’s going to go and which tire will be the best, it will be a lot down to the conditions. We have to do our own best and see what that brings in the race.”
Sebastian Vettel: “We expected it to be tight, but we thought that we could have the upper hand in the end. So I am disappointed to see both Red Bulls in front of us, but they were just a bit quicker. There was not a lot missing, but just enough, just over a tenth. We need to have a look into our data and see if we can pick it up later… In the end, we were hoping to be one row higher up, so in second, right behind the Mercedes. But for the race, nervertheless, we should have a good speed: the strategy will also be important tomorrow. There is a bit of room for manoeuvre, as everybody has to use the harder tire, which might make it interesting. And then there is also the fact that we are in Malaysia, so there might be some rain, or just the heat as a factor.”
Vettel qualifies fifth, Raikkonen sixth
Sepang, 1st October – The third row of the grid for tomorrow Malaysian Grand Prix will be an all-Red affair. At the end of today’s qualifying in Sepang. Sebastian Vettel was fifth fastest in 1.33.584, one place ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen who posted a 1.33.632.
Starting from pole will be Lewis Hamilton, fastest in 1.32.850.
Just two hundredths between Kimi in 4th and Seb in 5th in FP3
Sepang, 1 October – Come the end of Saturday afternoon’s free practice session here in Sepang, Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest, taking his SF16-H round in a time of 1.35.150, with team-mate Sebastian Vettel one place behind him in 1.35.170. Therefore only two hundredths separate the two Ferrari men, who worked on set-up as well as qualifying simulation towards the end. Both men used one set of Medium tyres, before switching to Softs on a track that is quicker than in the past thanks to various changes made to it. Topping the time sheet was Lewis Hamilton, with a 1.34.434 in the Mercedes.
Kimi Raikkonen: ”It was not a very smooth day. I did not have a good feeling with the car through the sessions and I’m surprised that the lap time was not too bad, considering the fact that my feelings were far from what I wanted. The new tarmac feels pretty similar, but it’s smoother and there’s a bit more grip. I haven’t seen what the others have done, I was concentrating on our program. Now we need to sit down and go through all things. There’s work to be done, but I’m sure we can improve for tomorrow.”
Sebastian Vettel: ”I think we had a decent day. We were testing quite a few things, and our pace didn’t look too bad, at least from what I was told inside the car. Mercedes looked again very strong today on long and short runs: as for ourselves, we are pretty happy with the shortruns, but I haven’t seen much yet of what the other people did for their long runs. I think we can improve, especially to get the car a little bit more together. I am confident that we can find a bit here and there for tomorrow. Our target is to win and nothing less. At the same time, you need to be awake and realize that we are not strong enough to come here and say we will win: but if there is a chance, by any circumstances, then we need to be right there and take it. The new asphalt seems to be a step forward, the last corner is a bit trickier but, all in all, it is a step forward. I haven’t used the Hard tires in P2, the Soft is the preferred one; now we have to see what strategy we might choose for Sunday.”
Seb, 3rd and Kimi 4th while alternating between qualifying and race testing
Sepang, 30 September – The Ferraris were yet again third and fourth in the second and last of today’s free practice sessions here at Sepang. Working on the usual preparation for qualifying and the race, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen split the programme, opting to run different tyres to evaluate potential race pace. Vettel went for the Medium and Raikkonen the Hard. Sebastian’s best time set on the Softs was a 1.35.605, with Kimi running the same compound to post a 1.35.842. Ahead of the two SF16-Hs were the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton (1.34.944) and Nico Rosberg (1.35.605).
Kimi 3rd, Seb 4th using Hard, Medium and Soft in FP1
Sepang, 30 September –After racing at the Singapore street circuit a fortnight ago, the Formula 1 circus is back at a “real” race track in Sepang for the sixteenth round of the World Championship. Come the end of the first free practice session, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were third and fourth fastest for Ferrari with laps in 1.36.315 and 1.36.331 respectively. During the session they used all three compounds brought here by Pirelli, as they worked on evaluating the car’s handling on the newly resurfaced track, where no fewer than nine corners have also been modified in terms of their camber. Both drivers did an installation lap on Hard tyres, before staying in the pits for around 20 minutes, following the fire that flared up on Kevin Magnussen’s Renault. They then went out again for two runs on the Softs, followed by a further two on Mediums to end the session. Topping the time sheet were the Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg (1.35.227) and Lewis Hamilton (1.35.721).
Seb: positive mood, but many variables with new tarmac
“It was a very good place for us here last year with hot conditions. This year I don’t know if it feels as hot, at least up to now, but it might change. The asphalt is new, it’s a lot darker, which could cause high surface temperatures, a different reaction response of the car with the tires, and so on. So there are lots of variables, we need to get on top of them and hopefully get it right on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. As for the camber changes on the track, I don’t know: there are some places with more camber, looks like in Turn 5 for example. Positive camber is great for speed, but negative camber feels really bad because you just struggle for grip especially in low speed corners, just like the last one.
The last races seems to show that we are on a way up again so in theory the mood is positive, the car is working fine. We have some new bits, hopefully they help us to be even more competitive and then we’ll see. You need to set into the groove. I think there’s always a chance to win, a lot of things can happen on Sunday afternoon and that’s why we’re here, that’s what I feel like when I’m standing on the grid, there’s always a chance to win. We have six races left so our target is to do well and try to win in all of them, which is very ambitious, but we’ll go race by race and see what we can do.”
Kimi awaiting feedback from Hard tires
“This is one of the few races in which we have to use the Hard tires, but the conditions here are different from some other places where we have used them: it’s very hot and the track has a completely new surface. So it might be that the Hards are the best tires in race conditions and it might be not. From tomorrow we’ll know. It’s hard to know where we are on pure speed, in the last races we have been a little bit behind, but in race conditions we are usually a bit stronger. If we can have a weekend in good form and with no mistakes, we can be up there and give ourselves a good chance to fight at the front. Then, for the end result, we can only do our best. Obviously our aim is to win. Will it be possible? I have no idea. Hopefully we’ll find out that we are in a strong position.”
Seb gives the lowdown on the “hottest” GP of the year
Maranello, 27 September – After fifteen editions held in the “spring”, the Malaysian Grand Prix returns to its original October spot on the calendar, which is when took place on its debut in 1999 and again the following year. Two weeks on from the Singapore Grand Prix and as the first part of a double-header with Japan, the Malaysian race will be held as always at the Sepang International Circuit, one of the most technical tracks on the Formula One calendar. It combines long straights with tight and complex corners and has often been the scene of on-track duels, for which it is well suited. The weather is unpredictable, regularly regaling competitors with torrential downpours, while it is very hot and humid, which makes life tough for the drivers.
“Malaysia is usually the hottest race of the season” explains Sebastian Vettel, on the eve of a race which one year ago delivered his maiden victory with the Scuderia. “ We did very well last year, so we’ll try to repeat what we did. For sure the first win with Ferrari was very emotional and very special. We had a great race and a fun night after that. So, I have good memories and I am looking forward to going back to Malaysia and hit the track. I think it’s very challenging. You have a lot of high-speed corners. It’s very tough on tires because usually it’s so hot. There are chances of rain at some point of the race. There are thunderstorms there nearly every day. It’s not easy to get everything right but if you do it, it feels great. It’s one of those places that challenges you. But if you get on top of it it’s a great feeling that we had last year and obviously the target is to have it again.”