Raikkonen continues strong start with runner-up

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On Sunday at Bahrain, Kimi Raikkonen collected his third podium in four starts this season, moving from seventh at the start to his second consecutive runner-up finish in as many races.

It’s also the sixth Bahrain Grand Prix podium of the Iceman’s career, but being ever hungry for a victory and nothing else, he indicated that he wanted more than just consistency.

“Second is obviously better than third place, but we haven’t won [at Bahrain] and that’s what we try to do,” Raikkonen said. “Today, we got good points, we didn’t lose too many to [race winner] Sebastian [Vettel], but obviously it doesn’t help to finish second if he’s winning all the time. So we try to find something, but all of [the podium finishes] have been improved, in a way.”

Still, Raikkonen, who worked from a two-stop strategy in the race that he felt “worked well,” believed that P2 was the best result he could have wrung out even if he had qualified farther up the grid.

“I think it didn’t help, but I think overall, we would not have had the speed for beating Red Bull in here this weekend,” he admitted. “Yesterday we could have been a few places better, but still, we couldn’t have challenged on speed… to the front.

“But I would say then, second was the best that we could achieve and also third for the team, so, a good result.”

Raikkonen now sits 10 markers in second place behind Vettel (77-67) in the driver’s championship as it goes into an extended break before the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona next month.

He recognizes that’s a better position than where he was last year at this time, but is downplaying expectations of a bid for the world title — at least for now.

“It’s going to be hard to catch Sebastian [Vettel] if he keeps taking good results so we need to start taking more points from him, but you never know what can happen,” Raikkonen said. “We’ll keep pushing to improve the car and see where we end up.”

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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