Austrian Grand Prix – Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen challenged for the race win throughout, starting with his great getaway from the grid.
Starting from P3 after teammate Sebastian Vettel was given a grid penalty for blocking during qualifying, Kimi Raikkonen made a great initial getaway to launch alongside polesitter Valtteri Bottas into Turn 1. With Lewis Hamilton also making a good start and being on the inside line, Hamilton led out of Turn 1 ahead of Raikkonen & Bottas. The Ferrari driver then attempted a challenge around the outside of the Merc through Turn 2 but ran slightly wide; Raikkonen had to use the concrete escape area to keep up momentum and return to the track. Having lost a little ground due to this, he came back on alongside Max Verstappen and fought to hold onto P2 but Valtteri Bottas was able to overtake both around the outside into Turn 4.
Now down to P3, Raikkonen attempted to hold off Verstappen but, when Raikkonen got a little squirrelly through Turn 6, this allowed the Red Bull to look up the inside into the left hand Turn 7. Making slight contact, Raikkonen had to back off as Verstappen’s front right touched the Ferrari’s left rear, and Verstappen powered past. From there, Raikkonen couldn’t stop Daniel Ricciardo getting past before the first round of stops, but returned the favour afterwards as Ricciardo’s tyres started to shred. Raikkonen amped up the pressure on Verstappen in the race’s closing stages, now battling for the lead after the Mercedes failures, but had to ultimately settle for P2 just 1.5 seconds behind the race winner.
“At the start I had a good getaway, but I found myself between two cars and I had to lift off to avoid them squeezing me, while I hoped they would see me. I lost momentum, speed and the chance to challenge them in the first corner. It’s a pity, because without that, I think I could have been in the lead. The first lap was quite hectic, then the situation calmed down for a while.”
Tyre management played a big part today: it was hard to know when to go flat out and be on the safe side at the same time. The beginning of both stints was a bit tricky; we struggled a bit to get the grip and to make the tyres work, but then it got better and in the end we had very good tyre. We were obviously hoping to catch Max, but by then it was perhaps a bit too late. Today we had the speed, but there just weren’t enough laps left in the race… Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
“I think a little bit sideways into… or lost the
line a little bit into [Turn] Six and then Max… obviously we were pretty close to each other, I think the car in front of me, the Mercedes, disturbed a bit… like the downforce and then obviously it got the run and I tried to hang on on the outside but I got a little bit sideways because I guess we touched a little bit and lost a place but I think we got the best out of it and not taking each out and still fighting in that
kind of corner that is fast speed and not very easy to stay next to each other when you try. That’s what happens sometimes. Not ideal for me but it was still fair enough.”
Running ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel in the closing stages, there was no apparent team orders to allow the German through to take some extra points and capitalise further on Lewis Hamilton’s misfortune. This means Raikkonen now lies P3 in the Driver’s Championship, 45 points behind Vettel.
“Of course we wanted to win, we tried very hard, giving our best, but it was not enough. The good thing is that, as a team, we did a solid job. It was a strong weekend.”