Raikkonen Recovers From A Poor Opening Lap To Take His Second Podium In A Week
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen recovered from a poor opening lap in Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix to score his second third place finish in the space of a week following on from his third place in the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas.
The Iceman finished the race behind his fellow Finn, Valtteri Bottas and just ahead of his Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel.
Raikkonen started Sunday’s race from fifth place and was pleased with his result at the end of the race, the Finn commented by saying:
After yesterday’s difficulties in qualifying, third place is not too bad, but obviously it is not what we were looking for. The start was not too bad, but then I moved to the left and lost the tow. I found myself blocked and lost many places in the first two corners. Then I had to wait for the cars in front to stop, to be able to push and gain positions. My car was a bit better than yesterday and we had decent speed. Once I was third, I could try to catch up, but I was too far from Valtteri and there was nothing I could really do. I focused on finishing the race and on keeping my position. This year we have made a good step forward from last season, but obviously we still have a few small things to improve. I think that in this season we’ve had a good and solid car. Lately we’ve had some issues, but the speed has been there. Obviously too many DNFs cost us a lot in the Championship. For next year we have to minimize those issues, improve things and learn from this season.
Kimi Raikkonen may have had a straight forward race, his team mate Sebastian Vettel on the other hand certainly did not. The four time world champion went into the race with his hopes of winning a fifth championship still alive and after taking pole position on Saturday things looked encouraging for the race on Sunday.
It wasn’t to be for the German however as on the opening lap he collided with Lewis Hamilton which resulted in Vettel having to take a trip to pit-lane at the end of the opening lap to get a new front wing fitted.
Hamilton was forced to pit as well and the pair ended up at the back of the pack. Vettel recovered well over the course of the 71 lap race to finish in fourth place behind Kimi Raikkonen however with Hamilton finishing the race in ninth place the result wasn’t enough for Vettel to keep his championship hopes alive with Hamilton securing his fourth world championship and his third in four years for Mercedes.
Speaking following the race, Vettel commented by saying:
I know the team has been working hard, doing their best, but we didn’t achieve what we wanted to. It’s hard to cross the line realizing that you are not in the fight anymore. I fought to the end, giving everything I had. Then obviously in the last laps, when I had a big gap to Kimi, it would have been difficult for me to close it without something happening, like a Safety Car, but I was still believing. But in the end it didn’t happen. For sure it is not a great day for us, but it’s not about us today, it’s about Lewis and I congratulate him. Tomorrow you wake up and it will be a different day. The team is growing, and there are many positive aspects. Overall, I think we are on the right path.
Raikkonen’s podium and Vettel’s top ten finish ensure that Ferrari are guaranteed second place in the Constructors championship as Red Bull Racing are no longer in a position where they can catch the Prancing Horse.
Speaking following the race, Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene commented by saying:
Once again today, the result of the race does not reflect the true potential of the SF70H. We saw that potential yesterday with pole position and again this afternoon, with several overtaking moves and the race fastest lap. Unfortunately, the collision at the first corner compromised the entire race. Right to the very end, the team fought for the chance of winning this world championship. We will now continue to do our very best in the two remaining Grands Prix, tackling them with the same level of concentration and determination. Congratulations to Lewis on his world championship title.”