Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was happy with the balance of his car on the opening day of practice ahead of Sunday’s inaugural European Grand Prix on the streets of Baku in Azerbaijan.
The Finn endured tough sessions on Friday however he put this down to the cooler track temperatures and explained that he was unable to get heat into the Pirelli rubber in order to put in a representative lap time.
The Iceman also explained that he was unsure what the issue that had at the end of the session was but that the team were looking into it. Raikkonen commented by saying:
The circuit layout is pretty ok, it’s different and fun to drive. Being a new track it was quite slippery to start with, but this is normal. The balance of the car was not too bad but the main issue today was to make the tires work, the challenge was to switch them on for one lap. With more laps it seems to get better and better, but to make a lap time was not easy. I don’t know what was the issue at the end of the session, for sure something happened, the car stopped but we still don’t know why. Once we’ll get the car back we’ll be able to understand. In the evening we’ll have to go through what we have done today and see what we can improve for tomorrow.
Raikkonen’s team mate Sebastian Vettel had a challenging opening day in Baku as well. In the opening session this morning he ended up in fifth while in the afternoon session he was eighth.
Speaking following the on track action the four time world champion commented by saying:
In the end I don’t think we had a bad day. Obviously, it is not great that Kimi could not finish the session, but after all we did many laps. I got to know the track. It is quite interesting, and that was the main objective today. The car felt good, what is missing is some speed, but I am sure we can improve. We look at what we have done. The track is very difficult, you have quite a long straight leading into hard brakings. At the beginning to find the reference is quite tricky. Your own orientation is not enough and all the trees look the same. After a while you find the rhythm, you know the bumps and then it becomes a bit better. But at the beginning it took some time. Plus it was quite slippery to start, so it was definitely more fun this afternoon. However, it seems a nice track, quite challenging, especially the high speed sections. For us everything felt ok. We are too far away and this is our problem, we are not quick enough. I am sure we will find something for tomorrow. I am confident because I believe in the team, in the car and sometimes also believe in myself!