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Kimi Raikkonen sure he could have been ‘much faster’ in Australia

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Kimi Raikkonen has brushed off his quiet run to fourth in the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago, saying he could have been “much faster” in the Formula 1 season-opener.

Raikkonen arrived in Australia expected to challenge for victory following an impressive display for Ferrari in pre-season testing, setting the fastest time of the winter in Barcelona.

While Ferrari delivered on its testing pace as Sebastian Vettel scored its first win in 18 months, Raikkonen ailed to a lonely fourth place, finishing over 20 seconds behind his teammate in the same car.

Looking ahead to this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, Raikkonen said he struggled to get to grips with the SF70H car over the weekend, and knows there is room for improvement.

“I think we learned a lot, we understand quite a bit and kind of everything came a bit late. And obviously then you don’t get a very good result,” Raikkonen said.

“Comparing to the last few years it was far from a distance. Yes, we had some difficulties, and we know afterwards that we could have been much faster.

“But still, as a team, we did a pretty solid job. We got some points, but [now a] new place, new circuit, so we’ll see.”

After hearing Vettel tip Mercedes to be the team to beat in China, Raikkonen said that he was unsure how Ferrari would compare, but has great confidence in the team’s car.

“I don’t know who it will be,” Raikkonen said when asked who the favorite for the race win would be. “We haven’t driven a single lap with the new cars here, so who knows.

“I think we have had a pretty good package and feeling in the car whichever place we’ve been, but it’s pointless to start guessing who’s going to be in front and who’s not.

“We will see over the weekend, and on Sunday, we’ll hopefully be a little bit smarter.”

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”