|Circuit||Circuit of the Americas
|Distance||308,405 km / 191,675 miles|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||SF71H||–||Scuderia Ferrari||4.|
|7||Kimi Raikkonen||SF71H||–||Scuderia Ferrari||1.
Maurizio Arrivabene: ” Today’s win came courtesy of Kimi who drove a great race and the team, which at such a tricky time, showed great courage in taking a step back, fighting our closest rivals on equal terms. Seb was unfortunate and had to fight his way back up the order after the collision on the opening lap. In the championship, the numbers are against us, but we will knuckle down and fight all the way to the end, just as we did today. ”
Kimi Raikkonen: ”Obviously it’s a great feeling to win this race. It’s nice to prove to all the people that we can still win; that’s the reason we are here for, try to win races and Championships. It was an exciting race, not only for us but also for all those who were watching. We had a very solid weekend, I felt confident and I’m glad about that especially because lately we’ve had rough weekends for the team. I’m glad we had a fight and it’s nice to see that we still have the speed to go for it and fight has hard as we can. This weekend we found the car that we expected to have. The start was a key moment; In the first part of the race we had the speed, I tried to take care of tires and save fuel. Then the Mercedes stopped and came back on fresher tires: at that time, my target was to keep them behind before we, too, stopped for tyres. If Hamilton had passed us before our stop, it would have been a different story. We are still in the fight for both Championships and this is a good thing. We’re off to Mexico now, where we’ll try do the best we can and hopefully we can get a great result for both teams. We’ll keep fighting until the end.”
Sebastian Vettel: ”I am really, really happy for Kimi and his result today, but I am not happy with my race and I am disappointed for letting the team down today. I had a contact with Ricciardo on lap one, I am not sure he saw me when I was getting closer to him. I wanted to put him under pressure for the next corner, I wasn’t thinking about passing in that point at any rate, but I had nowhere to go, we touched wheels and I span around. I think this has been an important race for us as a team and it’s nice to see that we had a good pace during the race, even though there are still many things we need to learn and to understand. It has not been an easy time for me lately and bad results are part of the game, but I believe it’s always possible to overcome issues.”
Raikkonen back to winning ways. The Scuderia’s 6th win of 2018. Seb fourth, the championship not over yet
Austin, 21 October –It was Kimi Raikkonen’s day. Scuderia Ferrari’s sixth win of the season came about thanks to determination, a calm approach and strategy implemented by the driver and the entire team. Sebastian finished fourth, having to fight all the way. Mathematically at least, both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships remain undecided.
FILM OF THE RACE The sun finally shone on the Circuit of the Americas today, after two days of cold and rain, with the thermometer showing 21 degrees air temperature and 32 on track. Kimi was second on the grid, running Ultrasofts. Seb, with a three place penalty, was fifth on Supersofts.
As the lights went out, Kimi was in brilliant form, getting the better of Hamilton to take the lead. Seb stayed fifth, attacking Ricciardo who immediately fought back. The Ferrari and the Red Bull collided at turn 13 and, on the inside, Vettel spun round, but kept going, although it meant he had to start yet another climb up the order from 15th place. The Stewards decided it was a normal racing incident.
Kimi was suffering from bad oversteer, while the number 5 Ferrari was lapping quickest of all, and Seb was already back in ninth spot.
On lap 10, Ricciardo parked at the hairpin and that required a crane on track, so the Virtual Safety Car was indicated, requiring drivers to slow by 40% compared to the reference point. As expected by those on the Ferrari pit wall, Hamilton pitted and dropped one place. At the restart, Seb dealt with Hulkenberg to move up to fifth.
Raikkonen held off Hamilton on tyres that were now well worn for 21 laps, which was some help to his team-mate’s return up the order. Then he pitted for the yellow-banded tyres, the hardest on offer, to run to the flag with just the single pit stop. Shortly after, he swapped places with Sebastian (setting the fastest race lap on the way) as the German was due to come in for fresh tyres. He too went for the Softs.
On fresher rubber, Kimi closed up to the leader, while Seb, quickest on track, caught up to Bottas. On lap 37, Hamilton pitted for a second stop, which meant Kimi was leading again.
With ten laps to go, a battle ensued for the top three places, with Seb right behind, closing in on Bottas. In the final few kilometres, as Verstappen fought Hamilton, Kimi made the most of it to pull out a bit of a gap. Seb was duelling hard with Bottas who overshot at turn 12 which meant the Ferrari number 5 went up to fourth. Kimi meanwhile was first past the chequered flag to take his first win for five years. He well deserved it and so did Ferrari.
Kimi to start second as Seb will serve a grid penalty tomorrow
SEB (P2, best lap 1min32sec298 on Ultrasofts, will start P5 on Supersofts):
“Today it has been a positive surprise that we could go so fast, especially if we compare our performance with previous events. Obviously, if you are that close to pole position, you want to be ahead, so it’s also a shame that with the grid penalty we can’t be where we belong. It’s true that we came back in good shape today, but there’s still a long way to go though, so I can’t say tomorrow we are going to win. But I think it will be a close race and I just hope we’ll be as strong tomorrow as we were today; then anything can happen”.
KIMI (P3, best lap 1min32sec307 on Ultrasofts, will start P2 on Ultrasofts):
“In the last couple of races we struggled a little bit, but so far this weekend, it has been more normal ; we are more or less where we should be. And we are pretty happy with how things went today. For sure we wanted more, but at least we proved that we are thereabouts. The morning started pretty well straightaway. Obviously there are always things that we hoped to do slightly better or feel better, but with the limited running we had in the dry, it’s not that simple. In qualifying the feeling with the different sets of tires was a bit random, and this makes it a bit harder to know when you can push. The wind was changing in a few places and this made it a bit tricky, but generally we have been pretty good. I don’t know if my tire choice for tomorrow, starting on the Ultrasofts, will be an advantage or not, we’ll find out. We’ll try to make a decent start and then see what happens; I think we should have a good chance”.
Difficult conditions in practice, Seb gets a penalty
SEB (P1 – 5th, 1:49.489 on Intermediates; P2 – 10th, 1:53.912 on Intermediates):“There’s not much you can learn from a session like the one we had today and it’s been the same for everyone. We didn’t do many quality laps but it was clear that on the wet we were not quick enough.
As for the three-place grid penalty, I think that the stewards today were very specific in saying that my slowing down time was 27.7 seconds; I saw the red flag, had a look around to see whether there was any car stuck in the wall between turn 9 and 10, and slowed down to comply with the rules. They found it was too long a time, but I can’t do much about that. The rules are clear and we know them, but I think a situation like this happened just this time, in these weather conditions, and on the wet you would go slower anyway.”.
KIMI (P1 – 6th, 1:49.928 on Intermediates; P2 – 9th, 1:53.443 on Wets): “Today not much happened; the conditions were quite tricky, but we tried to run as much as we could. We had one set that we could basically use without penalizing ourselves, because it’s the extra set that we must give back. The remaining ones can be used for qualifying and the race, so we were limited in availability. I did not pay much attention to lap times, because towards the end of the afternoon session, after I had set my best time on the Full wet tyres, the Intermediates we had at that time were quite worn. Through the sessions we made some progress, all in all it was OK, but it’s not easy to have a clear picture. We had some new solutions to test but given the conditions, there was not much to learn from them. Now we’ll try to make the best of it in the sessions that follow”.
Kimi and Seb confident ahead of rain-lashed US Grand Prix
KIMI: “I like Austin, it’s a nice place. Through the years we’ve had mixed weather conditions here, last year it was good and on previous years it was pretty wet. For sure that will play a big part over the weekend, and today it appears to be “winter style” again. Generally we have not been very strong in the rain, but lately it has been better for us; if you take Hungary for example we were quite happy. Then obviously it depends on many other factors, the tarmac, the conditions, and whether you can make the tires work or not.
Obviously we want to do well in the last races of the season. We are really interested in having good races. Lately, we have not performed as well as we wanted, it hasn’t been easy for us. But I’m sure we can come back and do some good things. The speed should be there, let’s try to put everything in the right place and qualify well”.
SEB: “We look forward to this weekend in Austin. I believe that the last race weekend in Suzuka helped us to understand some aspects; obviously, at the last couple of Grands Prix we didn’t have the right speed, so let’s see what the other races bring, also in terms of performance.
Unfortunately, some races didn’t go smoothly for us this season, so that the others were able to benefit from that. From our side, this hasn’t been ideal, but now we mustn’t look at the past as we can’t change it. We need to focus and look forward to the next four races. We will still try to do our best and then we’ll see what happens. We hear that it could be raining this weekend. Well, sometimes this year that didn’t help us, but obviously it is part of the game and you can’t blame the weather; plus. I am not afraid of the rain as our car is quick, whether it’s dry or not.
Now we focus on winning, we have to be quick and then obviously everything depends on what the others can do too”.
Austin, a mix of corners and uncertain weather
The United States and Mexican Grands Prix form the final back-to-back run of two races on consecutive weekends of this very long season. It’s a demanding trip, not just from a logistical point of view, but also because of the 7 hour time difference between the track and our base, and all the “remote garages.” For many teams, Austin is also the final time in the season that new performance development parts are brought out, even if the cars will be modified at the coming races to suit the characteristics of each circuit.
Scuderia Ferrari’s advance party set off on Thursday 11th October, while the last group of team members will arrive in Texas on Wednesday afternoon. The track is located deep in the grasslands, in what was originally marshland, thirty kilometres to the south of the city of Austin, the capital of the “Lone Star State.”
The venue has been on the calendar for seven years and features a variety of corners that add up to a sort of cocktail of curves from other famous tracks, with a little bit of Silverstone, some Suzuka with a bit of Austria and Turkey thrown in. The standout feature is definitely the fierce climb up a manmade slope to the first corner.
This year, the big unknown will be the weather: it won’t be cold, but intermittent sun and clouds with the occasional shower looks like being the order of the day. It should be nothing like the storm of 2015, but it’s hoped that the threat of rain won’t keep the fans away, as they are a key component of the show, not forgetting all the VIPs who come and cruise the paddock…