Italian Grand Prix – Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen says he ran our of tyres towards the end of the Monza race, enabling Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton to get past and take the win.
Raikkonen, who started the race from pole position, led for the first three quarters of the race. Having held the lead through Lap 1, he was overtaken by Hamilton upon the restart after the Safety Car but immediately wrested the lead back into the second chicane. From there, Raikkonen opened up a one second gap but wasn’t able to get further away.
Pitting on Lap 20, Raikkonen was able to open up a five second lead over Hamilton as Mercedes kept their driver out until Lap 28. However, with Merc keeping Valtteri Bottas out on track to block Raikkonen, the gap disappeared within three laps of Hamilton’s pitstop and meant that Raikkonen immediately came under pressure from Hamilton as his eight lap older tyres started to go off.
Eventually, Raikkonen lost too much pace and he was overtaken into the first chicane by Hamilton on Lap 45.
“I think we were quick enough but unfortunately our rear tyres went and it was a losing battle since that point. I tried but it was impossible in the end unfortunately. It’s far from ideal but this is what we got today and we did our maximum.”
Having pitted quite early compared to Hamilton, Raikkonen was asked about whether it was the right call to come it at that point, or whether extending the first stint a few more laps would have made a bigger difference: “Afterwards you can always fine-tune things, but it’s too late afterwards. I don’t think we did anything wrong. We just ran out of tyres in the end, simple as that. I don’t know. I mean, there’s no point to start thinking right now. This is what we got. Leave it and go forward.”
Raikkonen was left to fend for himself at the front, due to teammate Sebastian Vettel spinning when he made contact with Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap. With Vettel not getting the jump on Raikkonen into Turn 1, the Finn was asked about whether his approach to racing Sebastian on the opening lap played any part in Vettel’s misfortunes: “We have very clear rules. I don’t see how my front locking changed the race. Unfortunately, we lock front tyres sometimes under braking and that’s what happened. Obviously always difficult after the start when they’re not exactly where they should be. These things happen. It wasn’t a big deal and I got out of it – so I don’t see how it changed the race somehow.”