|Circuit||Autódromo Jose Carlos Pace
|Distance||305,909 km / 190,124 miles|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||SF71H||–||Scuderia Ferrari||6.|
|7||Kimi Raikkonen||SF71H||–||Scuderia Ferrari||3.
Maurizio Arrivabene: “Unfortunately, even though Kimi finished on the podium today, we were unable to reach our goal, which was to keep the battle going for the Constructors’ title. Right from the formation lap, we became aware of a problem with a sensor on Seb’s car. This meant that, for the whole race, he had to run different settings to those we would have normally used and that made the car difficult to drive. Congratulations to Mercedes on taking the teams’ title.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a nice exciting race. We had good battles throughout and the car was working well during the whole race. The speed was there and we had no particular issues. The first set of tires was very good at the start and I was really happy, but then I destroyed them a little bit trying to pass the Mercedes. Once we changed the tires the car was absolutely fine; we kind of knew that once we pitted we could have gone past them. After that the behaviour of the car was still very good, but at that point we were a bit too late, as it had taken too long for us to get there. As for the strategy, we did what we thought was the best for us. We can always debate many things, but today we made the best of it. Obviously it is not the greatest of results, but I don’t think we could have got more; we did not make any mistakes and fought hard. As for the Constructors’ Championship we knew that it would have been difficult; we did our best, but unfortunately it was not enough. The best team won this year, that’s how it goes.”
Sebastian Vettel: “Obviously, this was not an easy race and I am not happy with sixth place. I tried to do my best, but the car was difficult to drive and I even struggled to drive on the straights. However, I am happy that Kimi got to the podium, because it is a good result for us, even if we didn’t win the Constructors’ Championship. Honestly, I don’t think it was an advantage for us to start on Soft tyres, because the Supersofts lasted longer than expected, but that’s how it was. The first part of my start was going well, but then the second was not that good, as I had nowhere to go with Lewis in front of me. I think we just didn’t have enough grip in the second part of the “esses”, Lewis and Valtteri worked together and I had no chance. Also, Lewis was a little bit quicker on the brakes to give Valtteri the outside line and then in lap 2 or 3 Max passed us as he was faster. There’s not much to say as this year Mercedes has been stronger than us and we can only congratulate them.”
Kimi third, Seb sixth with a sensor problem
Interlagos, 11 November – Kimi Raikkonen stood on the podium after coming third in the Brazilian Grand Prix. For Seb Vettel it was a case of damage limitation, after a sensor problem meant his SF71H was proving difficult to drive. It was a tricky Sunday with different conditions to those experienced up until the end of qualifying. But at least, with one race still to go, the Scuderia has had more podium finishes than it did in 2017.
FILM OF THE RACE – Sun or rain? That’s the eternal question at Interlagos. In fact, before the start, it was hot with track temperature exceeding 40 degrees. A daring and well planned strategy had seen the two Ferraris qualify on the Option tyre, the Soft, which is more durable than the Supersoft. Seb was second on the grid and Kimi fourth.
Getting off the line, the harder tyre didn’t give any advantage and Seb found himself slightly blocked by Hamilton and let Bottas by. Kimi was fending off Verstappen, but the Dutchman forced his way by at the start of the second lap, going on to snatch third place too. Seb locked up under braking and Kimi made the most of it.
After ten laps, the tyre choice began to pay off, as could be seen in the all-Finnish duel between Bottas and Raikkonen. Valtteri was doing a good job of defending and the Scuderia went for a strategic move: in the pits the tyres were ready, but the driver went by without stopping. However, his fellow countryman did pit, followed next time round by Hamilton.
On lap 28, Sebastian pitted, the crew pulling off the stop in a record time, under two seconds. Kimi stayed out for a further four laps, before also coming down pit lane, when the mechanics again did a brilliant job, so that he emerged right behind Seb, who was chasing Bottas.
The number 5 car had picked up a sensor problem even before the start and so the two drivers swapped places, with Kimi immediately setting a race fastest lap as he set his sights on Bottas. With 30 laps to go, there were two duels: Kimi versus Bottas, while Seb was doing all in his power to fend off Ricciardo.
There was drama on lap 44, when Ocon, a lap down, tried to unlap himself from Verstappen going into the Senna corner, spinning both he and the Dutchman around. Meanwhile, Kimi got ahead of the Mercedes to make it into the podium zone, while Ricciardo won a great battle with Sebastian who, in order to deal with the driveability problem, decided to switch to a two stop strategy, fitting a set of Supersofts, which soon saw him retake sixth place.
Out in front, the top four were separated by just five seconds. Kimi gave his all and made it to the podium, while Seb did what he could and came home sixth. There are no world titles left to fight for this year, but we are ready to give it our best shot as usual in the final race of the season.
Seb’s and Kimi’s comments at the end of an eventful Qualifying session
SEB (P2, 1min07sec364 on Supersofts, will start on Softs tomorrow):
“I think what happened today with the scales is clear, so I believe we should just talk about qualifying. Today we had some good laps and tire management was really good. On my last run in Q3, I made a small mistake in Turn 8 and that cost me some time and momentum. I knew I had to push a little more, maybe it would work and maybe not, and in the end it didn’t work, but I am not complaining, as the car felt really good to drive. Starting on the Option (Soft) tires tomorrow may be useful for the race, unless it rains of course: we also have an estimate of what the disadvantage might be right at the getaway, through having less grip, but it’s a very short run to Turn 1, so we’ll see. I think a lot will depend on the job we do at the start to get everything right”.
KIMI (P4, 1min07sec456 on Supersofts, will start on Softs tomorrow):
“Considering how difficult the weekend has been so far, this qualifying has been our best session. The result is obviously not ideal but we did a good job. I was happy with my car and that’s a positive thing for tomorrow. In Q2 the conditions were tricky, there was risk of rain, but we decided to go out with the Soft tires to try and start the race on that compound and it worked. We think this is the best option for us, but now we’ll see, as there are many things that can happen in the race. On my last attempt I did a very good first part of the lap, but then I fell off a little bit in the last sector; I tried to get it back on the last corner but could not improve my lap time. The time difference with the guys at the front is very small, it was a close battle; the race will be very interesting tomorrow”.
Seb’s and Kimi’s comments after P2: “There’s work yet to be done”
SEB (P3, 42 laps best in 1min08sec919 on Supersofts)
“Today was a good Friday and I think we had decent runs; the biggest worry we had today was a little screw that had ended up between my feet, but we found it in the end, so apart from that, I think it was ok. Tyre management was also ok, but Sunday is going to be more challenging. However, we still need to improve the car as it is does not feel perfect yet. There’s still some work to do, but I think that if we can get the balance in the window, it can be fine. It is supposed to be hotter over the next days, so that could make it tricky for the tire management, but we’ll see”.
KIMI (P6, 42 laps, best in 1min09sec412 on Supersofts)
“It was not the easiest day today, quite tricky in many ways, but it’s Friday and that’s how it goes sometimes. Very often, on the first day of practice, we struggle a bit here and there; there are some sections of the track which are good for us, and some others which are not that good, but that’s part of the game. Regarding the tires, the harder compound felt a bit slippery, but it’s more or less what we expected. For sure we have some work to do; we’ll make some changes and then we’ll see where we get to”.
Kimi and Seb reflect on the challenge at Interlagos
SEB: “We have two more races to go and I am looking forward to racing. I think this is not the right time to draw conclusions as the Championship is not completely over yet. I would like to win these last two races. The last two Grands Prix were better for us in terms of pace, so hopefully we can continue like that and we be able to win. For sure, we’ll try to do the best that we can. We want to focus on winning the Constructors’ Championship, trying to put our main competitors as far back as we can. As for this circuit, it is difficult to predict what will happen, as Interlagos has an unusual layout, one on which… things just happen. We’ll see how the weather turns out, but I believe it’s going to be a challenging weekend. Along the way something went wrong for us this year and we need to make sure we learn from it; clearly we missed something and it’s up to us to fix it and make sure it won’t happen again”.
KIMI: “Interlagos is a nice circuit, although probably not the easiest one to drive. They‘ve downsized the kerbs somehow and certain corners have changed quite a bit because of that. The track has been resurfaced and the grip is very good here now. As for our expectations, it’s a bit pointless to start guessing where we are going to end up this weekend: we’ll do our best and see what it brings. Hopefully we can be there in the fight. The last race for sure was not easy, despite the podium finish, but then Mexico is a special place: here it should be okay. The Constructors’ Championship is probably the most important to win for any team especially for manufacturers. We’ll try our best and the see what we can get in the end. We are not in the strongest position on that, but we are still in it and we’ll keep fighting”.
All you need to know about the penultimate championship round
For Scuderia Ferrari, the Brazil trip began last Saturday, when the race team’s “advance party” set off for Sao Paulo. Heading into the penultimate round of the season, the race is still on for the Constructors’ title and the aim is to fight for it all the way to the very end. Whatever the outcome, the numbers show that this has been the Prancing Horse’s best season since 2008 in terms of number of wins, pole positions and championship points scored.
The track that saw Kimi Raikkonen crowned champion with Ferrari back in 2007 is named after Carlos Pace, who died in a plane crash in 1977. This very talented driver had also raced for Ferrari in what was then known as the prototype championship. The track runs alongside the Avenida Interlagos, in a suburb of the Brazilian megalopolis. It’s a rather dated facility, although the infrastructure was recently upgraded. The circuit is just a little over 4.3 Km in length and features fifteen corners and it’s quite a quick lap: the pole time for last year’s race, won by Sebastian Vettel, was just over one minute and 8 seconds.
It’s a popular track, offering spectacular views such as the one of the esses named in honour of Ayrton Senna, that come at the end of the main straight. Visibility for the fans is excellent as the whole track is set in a natural bowl. The weather? According to the forecast, there is a chance of rain on Friday and Saturday afternoon, and here the downpours are usually torrential. Sunday however is meant to be dry. That’s a script we have seen many times before during this 2018 season.