|303,897 km / 188,873 miles
Maurizio Arrivabene: “A shame, because today’s result could have been better. We didn’t get a great start and that penalised us for the rest of the race, on a track where overtaking is difficult. Our race pace was very good, as indeed was our strategy. Once again, both Seb and Kimi proved their worth, driving great races. Now it’s already time for us to look ahead to the next Grand Prix in Spain.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I think my getaway was ok. Maybe I could have been a bit more aggressive. There was a delay in turning the lights off, so that I didn’t get a proper reading of how the grid was. Still, I had a good start but we had a strong head wind all day and Bottas could get a massive tow, so there was nothing I could do. Valtteri had a great race. He drove better than the rest of us so he deserved to win. Towards the end I was flat out, I had a feeling that I could get into DRS distance, maybe on the back straight, put some pressure on him and, who knows, lead him into a mistake, but he made none. What happened swith Massa was just a bit of a misunderstanding, I wasn’t sure where he was going, but I did not lose the race at that point. Now we look ahead to Spain. We had a good answer about our car in Barcelona during testing days and I don’t need to think about the championship. We had a very good start. We are here to win, to do our best, but we can still learn and improve. The speed was there today, but we could have done better. Yet, we have a strong car and a strong team and there is a lot of positive aspects.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Overall, it has been a more positive weekend compared to the first three races. I was happier with the car and when I needed to push I could get the lap time out. The race was decided at the start and I had a pretty bad one. I thought I was losing a lot, but I managed to get the position back and stay there. My car was good all the way through the race, but after that, not a lot happened. We tried our best but there was not much to do, I was just holding my position. So, obviously, I’m happy for the podium, but I’m disappointed to lose a place at the start instead of gaining one. Now we need to keep working; small details can make a big difference in the end. I’m very happy for Valtteri who won his first race, I’m sure he will have a bright future.”
Seb second and Kimi third in Russia: a thrilling race
Sochi, 30 April – A front row lock-out in qualifying and both cars on the podium at the end of the race, courtesy of Seb Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finishing second and third respectively in a Russian Grand Prix that was settled in two moments; the start and the final lap. Thanks to this result Seb extends his lead in the Drivers’ classification over Hamilton, who finished fourth today, to 13 points. In total the Scuderia walks off with 33 points thanks to Kimi also making it to the podium for the first time this season.
There was a worrying moment with the need for an extra formation lap, when Alonso was forced to park his stop his car on track. At the start, Bottas managed to get ahead of Seb and Kimi, who did a good job of fending off Hamilton, in the long run down to the first turn. But the Safety Car was called out immediately following the Palmer-Grosjean collision.
At the end of the third lap, the race was on again and the positions at the front remained unchanged. Drivers were able to use the DRS from lap 6, but there was a long way to go, so managing the race was on the agenda. Seb posted a quickest lap on lap 16 and a long-distance battle continued. With track temperature reaching 45 degrees, tyre blistering was a concern, but at this stage, Seb’s lap times were improving and on lap 23 he posted another fastest lap. Kimi also raised his pace. Bottas pitted on lap 27 and took on Supersofts. The first of the two Ferraris to stop, while now leading, was Kimi on lap 29, switching from the Ultrasofts to the Supersofts. On lap 31, Hamilton pitted with Seb staying out, even improving his split times.
Come the end of lap 34, it was time for Seb to change tyres and he rejoined in second place, ahead of Kimi who was running at a great pace. Five laps later, Bottas flat-spotted his left front when he braked right on the limit and Seb made the most of it to close to within 2.2 seconds. The gap dropped below 2 seconds towards the end and the Ferrari No. 5 set another fastest lap to get within DRS distance, with Kimi still fastest. In the end, it was traffic on the final lap that decided it all, when Massa blocked Seb’s attempt to pass him. Then the finish came in a flash and the Ferrari crossed the line just 6 tenths behind, with Kimi a comfortable third.
Seb, Kimi lock front row after huge team effort.
Sochi, April 29th – Scuderia Ferrari drivers locked the front row of the grid at the Russian Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel coming 0.059 seconds ahead ot team-mate Kimi Raikkonen to clinch his second pole position for Scuderia Ferrari, the 209th for the Maranello team and the 47th of his career. The team had worked until late last night to fix a sensor problem to Kimi’s car in the garage, so this is a very good result for a real collective effort.
“I think it’s just great”, said Sebastian. “We had had a very good run also yesterday and this morning, and the car was phenomenal. So there’s no real secret to today’s result, it’s just the fact that if you get along with the car you find the rhythm and know what to expect. We knew it would be very tight against the Mercedes, it could have gone the other way, but I am very happy that we locked out the front row for the team. I had a good start to Qualifying , then in Q2 I lost a bit the rhythm. My first run in Q3 was not very tidy, so I left it to the last run. For us it’s so important as Mercedes had done an impeccable job in the last few years, so it’s great for the team and for me that we managed to break that. But now we’ll see what tomorrow brings. It’s a long race and we’ll try to confirm this result”.
Kimi came in second in a very close fight, scoring his best qualifying result this year. He commented: “Generally, it has been a very straightforward weekend: we have been happier with the car, set-up wise, since the beginning and when you start well it’s easier to work and improve here and there. This first row is great for the team, obviously I would rather be in front, but this is not an easy track to get a good lap. I’m happy to take second place , it’s a lot better that it has been so far this year. It’s good but it’s only qualifying, tomorrow is the day where we get points, and we have to do a good job out of it. I expect us to be ok, for sure it’s going to be a close fight. Hopefully we can make a good start and see what happens”.
Vettel on pole position with Raikkonen second
Sochi, 29th April – The qualifying session in Sochi just ended with an all-red front row for Scuderia Ferrari. Sebastian and Kimi will start tomorrow’s race respectively from the first and second position.
1:33.194 the best time for Vettel, with Raikkonen stopping the chrono at 1:33.253.
Supersoft and Ultrasoft compounds were used in the qualifying session.
Seb first ahead of Kimi. Qualifying starts at 14h00 (CET)
Sochi, 29 April – Saturday’s action in Sochi began with the final free practice session, in which Sebastian Vettel posted the fastest time of 1:34.001 in his SF70-H ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, second in 1:34.338. Scuderia Ferrari’s German driver used two sets of Ultrasofts, the same tyre compound which his team-mate used to set his best time. At 15h00 local time (14h00 CET) qualifying gets underway and it looks like it will be very closely contested.
Seb: “Reasonably happy”. Kimi: “Things ran smoothly”
Sochi, March 28th – It was another day at the office for Seb and Kimi who eventually came in first and second in the time sheet at the end of Friday free practice. Yet, Friday being Friday, Sebastian feels that there’s still work to be done: “I think we improved so I can be reasonably happy but not entirely. We had a tough start this morning and it took a while to increase speed. I am sure we can still do more. I think this is a circuit where you need to feel confident. There’s a lot of corners that look all the same on paper, they feel similar in the car, but then it’s quite tricky to get everything right. I wish they planted more trees next to the track so that you could have more references! But it’s tricky and that’s why you need to get into the rhythm. I struggled a bit in the morning but I think we understood what we need. We always fight for the pole position, that’s, for sure but on paper this track looks like a Mercedes one. They didn’t show everything today and didn’t get their lap together. So we’ll see”.
As for Kimi, he was quite satisfied with the way things went today: “It’s been a nice Friday, things ran smoothly and we had no issues. I’m happy with the car, I had a nice feeling straight away and it’s always more fun when it goes like that. So far so good; but it’s only Friday and we have no idea what the others are doing, but we started well and I’m quite happy. We’ll try to make a good day tomorrow and then we’ll go from there”.
FP2 looking good
The track characteristics and the Pirelli tyres have delivered a significant increase in performance for the cars when compared to last year. Sebastian Vettel ended the second free practice session on the top slot of the time sheet with a lap in 1.34.120, followed by Kimi Raikkonen, second in 1.34.383. Both men did 36 laps. They began the session on Super Soft tyres, before switching to the Ultra Soft, which they also used for the end of the long run test. Now the team will embark on the technical debrief to analyse today’s data and look for areas where improvements can be made.
Kimi fastest, Seb fifth
Sochi – Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel posted the first and fifth fastest times at the wheel of their SF70Hs in the first free practice session at Sochi. The Finn did a 1’36”074, while the German’s best was a 1’37”230, with both men completing 19 laps. As usual in Sochi, the very smooth track surface didn’t offer much grip in the first session, and one can expect that situation to improve as the track progressively rubbers-in. The two Ferrari men began the session on the Soft tyres, the hardest Pirelli is providing this weekend, before switching to the Supersofts. On the softer compound, Kimi immediately improved, while Seb’s first run was nullified by the red flags that came out after Ocon’s Force India lost its engine cover on track. After that, Vettel encountered traffic and also survived a spin. Both SF70H cars were fitted with new turbos as part of the usual programme for rotating components.
Seb and Kimi’s thoughts about Sochi-and the season ahead
Sochi, April 27 – Scuderia Ferrari drivers are all set for the new challenge at Sochi. The team arrives at Sochi leading both drivers’ and constructors’ championships, but both Seb and Kimi are well aware that this weekend won’t be a walk in the park.
“We have a good car and the challenge for this year will be to make sure that we keep on having a good one”, says Seb.” I think everybody will improve their own cars and we’ll do our best as well. I’m looking forward to this weekend as we seem to be closer to our competitors than last year. Of course we had an excellent start to the season, but Mercedes are still very strong. It should be an interesting race. I like the track and it’s not an easy one. It’s difficult to have everything in one lap and there’s always a couple of things to look out for. Tomorrow will be an important day. We are happy with where we are and about the races we’ve had so far, but especially this year we have to focus on every single step.
Kimi finished on the podium last year at Sochi, but he seems to be just a little puzzled with… the location. “I like this race, but you wouldn’t think that we are in a country neighboring Finland, as here we’re quite far away from that border! The track is quite interesting, too. If you look at the past races here, it has not been easy for us to make the car and tires work as we wanted, but with the new cars and new rules the picture can be completely different. Also, the weather seems to be warmer than last year and this could help”.
“So far, this season has been very close with Mercedes,” he adds, “but It’s hard to know how this weekend will go. Obviously if you look at last year’s races they have been pretty strong everywhere compared to the other teams. This is a new weekend and I think we have a good package, but who knows, there’s always some tracks that fit one team a little bit better than the others. We can only do our best and hopefully we can be up there in the fight. As for myself, I haven’t had a problem with the car in the last race, in fact the feeling has been pretty good, but I need to qualify in a better position to be able to use its speed”.
Smooth tarmac, high fuel consumption, every type of corner: that’s the Russian GP
Maranello, 25 April – Next weekend’s race will be the fourth running of the Russian Grand Prix. But if you think that single-seater racing is all recent history for the biggest country in the world, then think again. There was a project to build a Formula 1 car here when it was the Soviet Union, during the Cold War period. However, today’s link to the sport is the Sochi circuit. Despite the fact that its mountainous coast enjoys a mild climate, the town hosted the Winter Olympics in 2014 and since then it has welcomed the arrival of Formula 1. The track is 5.848 kilometres in length, making it a touch shorter than Silverstone and a bit longer than Suzuka and Monza. One of its standout corners is the wide semi-circular Turn 3, taken flat out by the new generation of F1 cars. The surface is very smooth, but the layout means fuel consumption is high, while the final sector has no less than six corners where traction is important. Pirelli is bringing along its three softest compounds, the yellow Soft, red Supersoft and purple Ultrasoft. To date, the Russian GP has not looked too kindly on Scuderia Ferrari, although last year, Seb Vettel was second fastest in qualifying. However, he then had to take a grid penalty and was later hit by Daniil Kvyat, while Kimi Raikkonen drove a great race to finish on the podium.