Scuderia Ferrari had a mixed opening Grand Prix of the 2016 Formula One season in Melbourne on Sunday.
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen started the race from the second row in third and fourth respectively with the pair making lightening getaways with Vettel leading a Ferrari 1-2 as the pair headed down to Turn 2.
Unfortunately, on lap 21, four laps after the race was red flagged Kimi Raikkonen’s bad luck at Melbourne returned as the Iceman suffered a technical problem relating to the airbox above his head which dramatically caught fire causing the Finn to retire from the race.
Vettel on the other hand was able to keep pace with the Mercedes throughout the race and would have been challenging for the victory at the end of the event had he not had a problem in his second pit-stop which meant that he dropped to third place behind the Mercedes pair of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
Speaking after the race, Vettel stated:
I obviously had a great start, I was very happy to see that I had a better start than the two cars in front of me, reminding me of Hungary last year and it worked out. It was great to see that Kimi made it as well, so we got first and second and from there we dictated the pace. The red flag didn’t help us, but to be fair the most important thing was that Fernando and Esteban were alright. It was the right decision to stop the race. First time I went through I saw the debris on the track. Naturally the expectations are higher when you had a strong season last year and you wanted to close the gap. Yesterday we were a bit further away and today we were closer. In general it was a great race, I was racing flat out until to the end, I didn’t want to go onto the grass but I did the lawn mower! So I don’t have to do it next week when I go home, but for sure we would have liked more from today.
Kimi Raikkonen commented after the race saying:
Today we had a good first part of the race but at a certain point I lost power and had to retire. I don’t know exactly what happened, I don’t think that the problem was related to the engine because it was still running. It must have been something else. It’s a very unfortunate thing for the whole team. After the winter testing we had a rough idea that we should be pretty ok, Saturday was a funny day, with very odd conditions and circumstances, so we knew that the time difference in qualifying was not real. The car has been handling well, it’s fast and I had a good feeling but obviously we need to finish the race. We still have some work to do.
Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene stated:
Our pace was good in the first part of the Grand Prix, before the race was red-flagged, but we shouldn’t use it as an excuse. This only show that you shouldn’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. Today’s race should serve as a lesson to us to push even harder, with even more humility and dedication, starting already at the next race in Bahrain.