The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix proved to be a great race for Ferrari as Kimi Raikkonen secured his third podium of the season to consolidate fourth place in the championship while the result meant that Ferrari picked up 16 podium finishes from 19 Grand Prix.
Raikkonen started the race from third place and that is where he stayed driving a controlled race to end the season 14 points clear of Valterri Bottas in the Williams ensuring Ferrari drivers ended the year as best of the rest behind Mercedes Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Speaking following a race which saw him battle hard with his team mate Sebastian Vettel who fought his way from 15th place on the grid to finish the race in fourth, Kimi Raikkonen commented on the event which he won in 2012 with the Lotus F1 Team by saying:
It has been a nice and clean weekend, the car was handling well and we had no issues. In the race I was pretty happy with the speed and everything ran smoothly . We only had a small delay in the pit stops, which dropped us off a bit and we did not manage to really challenge the Mercedes. I think today we could have been closer, but third place here is an OK result, even if we always want to win and challenge for that. If we think where we were last year, there has been a really good effort from all the guys in the team. We have been pretty satisfied with the car all year long and the results have got better. Next year there is a new challenge and a new car: I think we have to keep doing the same things we did this year, improving consistently and working as one team, following the progress we did this year. Nobody knows what will happen next year and it’s too early to start guessing. We can only do our best and then we’ll see what the others do. Only time will tell.
Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene who targeted two victories for the Maranello based outfit in his first season in charge can be happy with what the team achieved as it is a platform on which they can build for next season.
The outfit will have stability next season with Kimi Raikkonen remaining as Sebastian Vettel’s team mate.
Speaking about the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the season in general, Maurizio Arrivabene commented by saying:
Kimi drove a very good race today, as I expected him to do, and Seb charged from fifteenth on the grid to fourth place across the finish line. This is a result which wraps up a bit the whole season. Already at the first test last winter, we had had some positive feedback: but then we also knew that we had a mountain to climb, and the guys in the team did it step by step, both at the circuits and at the factory. It’s a whole team effort we were able to put on, with everybody working hard to improve. A big thanks to all of them, they’ve been fantastic and deserve the highest grades! Special thanks to our President, who never stopped pushing and supporting us from behind the curtains. Now we know that we face an even bigger challenge for next year, not only catching up on our rivals but also trying to stay ahead of them.
Sebastian Vettel finished his first season with the Italian team in third place in the championship as best of the rest behind the Mercedes drivers and will therefore be in attendance at the FIA prize giving next month.
Vettel scored 13 podium finishes including three victories this season and was the only non Mercedes driver to do so.
The German scored a third place finish on his debut with the Prancing Horse and than as we all know he took victory in only his second race with the team at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Speaking following the race the German commented by saying:
Obviously I would have loved to get the podium again, but I think today’s result was the best possible one for us as a team. I lost quite a lot of time at the beginning and then kept playing catch up until the end. The pace was good, especially in the first and final stint, the car was also good and I managed to do some overtaking. I was very happy, it was good fun. We knew from before that Kimi and I would have crossed path with each other, as we were on very different tire strategies. It was clear that when Kimi would be close enough I would give him way to haunt the Mercedes: unfortunately that was not enough to achieve that, but I did not want to be in his way. I think we can be very happy for this season. Of course the last step to catch the Mercedes will also be the hardest one, but if you think about where we were only one year ago, this has been a miracle season. I can’t think of any other team which improved so much over a year. Big smiles are going around in our garage and for next year we want to increase the amount of smiles. I’ m very happy to have joined the team in this moment and to have had an opening year with Ferrari like I had. Hopefully we’ll have many more good ones coming
For Ferrari they can go into the winter break confident of challenging Mercedes on a regular basis in 2016 and their success this season is down to the fresh approach that Maurizio Arrivabene brought to the team when he joined exactly a year ago and also to Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne who as Arrivabene stated was always in the background keeping a watchful eye on the team.
The team was also more harmonious this season compared to last season and Kimi Raikkonen put that down in part to the departure of Fernando Alonso to McLaren as the Finn said that the politics within the team disappeared when the Spaniard left.
Raikkonen is hopeful that he will be able to mount a challenge for the championship and the podium at the Yas Marina circuit today is a result that Kimi can build on going into the winter.