As Fernando Alonso squeezed every tenth out of the F14 T to secure Ferrari’s first podium finish of the season, Kimi Raikkonen endured a disastrous weekend in the sister car as he finished eighth and some 50 seconds behind his teammate.
The Finn has not made the start that many envisioned when it was announced that he would be leaving Lotus to return to Ferrari for the 2014 season. In four races, he has scored just 11 points and finished only as high as seventh. In China, he was left frustrated after sitting out of FP1, and that set the tone for the rest of the weekend.
“This has been a really difficult weekend,” Raikkonen explained. “Right from Friday morning, I suffered problems that we didn’t manage to solve completely and today in the race, I couldn’t get the result I wanted.
“The start was good, I made up two places but then I couldn’t make up any more ground, as I just didn’t have the pace, nor much grip at the front or the back.”
It was a combination of problems that left Raikkonen’s weekend in tatters, but the Finn is still pleased with the progress that the team is making.
“I think the difficulties I encountered here stem from a combination of various factors, from my driving style combined with the low temperatures and the characteristics of the track,” he said. “Today, we brought home valuable points thanks to the intense efforts of the whole team and now we will continue to work ceaselessly to improve.
“Fernando’s result is very encouraging and proves we are moving in the right direction.”
Raikkonen will be hoping to bounce back at the Spanish Grand Prix in three weeks’ time, which marks the beginning of the European season. It may take a few more races before he is entirely comfortable with the new car and the new setup at Ferrari, but the Finn is certainly still a force to be reckoned with in Formula 1.