Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finished the Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka International circuit in fourth and fifth place respectively.
Raikkonen, who out-qualified Vettel with a great drive on Saturday, with a third place grid slot was forced to start the race in eighth place due to an unscheduled gearbox change. Raikkonen recovered well to finish the race in fifth place and speaking following the race, Raikkonen, who remains ahead of Sebastian Vettel commented by saying:
After a good qualifying yesterday, the issue with the gearbox and the consequent starting position change was not ideal in this kind of track. Obviously there’s a lot of disappointment, as we had a good car and if we could have stayed in front we would have fought with more free air and with a lot of speed. I had a good start but then I got stuck behind other people: it was really tricky to follow other cars and it affected quite a bit the behavior. It was also difficult to stay close to them and attack them. Once we got past them and I was on my own, the car was quick and handling well. For sure today we were fast enough for a better result. Unfortunately that’s how it goes…
Ferrari remain behind Red Bull Racing in the Constructors championship with just four races to go this season. Speaking following the race, team principal Maurizio Arrivabene commented by saying:
Considering our starting position, being pushed back by a double penalty, we did the best we could today. It’s just a shame that the traffic from backmarkers did not allow Seb to take the best out of our strategy.
Sebastian Vettel finished the race in fourth place having started the race in seventh place as a result of a three place grid penalty. Speaking following the race, the German commented by saying:
We had a very good start and made good progress in the first two laps, passing Ricciardo and Perez, then we were faster than Verstappen. I think today we had the second fastest car. So it was a question of time, but obviously Max came in as soon as he could to maintain track position, which worked well for him. We tried to go on the softer tire in the end, which initially we thought would work well, but then we had too much degradation and we were falling off this group. It is always easy to criticize, and I am sure there are many ‘experts’ that knew better, but on the pitwall as well as in the car, I was keen to go for this strategy so to extend the second stint. It’s a fact I lost big chunks of time with the blue flags. I always got the lapped cars right in sector one, when they can’t move, so I was losing a lot of time, and there’s probably where I lost track position to Lewis, who always seemed to clear the lapped cars in the straight. But then the pace wouldn’t have probably been enough to challenge for the podium.