Kimi Raikkonen believes that the 2017 Formula 1 Championship will remain closely contested by both sets of drivers at Scuderia Ferrari and Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team.
The results of the first three grand prixs suggested that the title fight would be between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel after they won one and two races respectively. However a surprise victory for Valtteri Bottas in Russia has brought the Finn into contention.
And though Raikkonen is yet to win this season, he is securing vital points that are keeping him close to the leaders.
“Happy for Valtteri,” Raikkonen said. “People always think that we have something against each other because we have come close to each other and into each other a few times but no, I’m very happy for him to win. It doesn’t mean that I’m not happy if Seb wins. It’s good for him and things will turn out to be for sure good for him.
“It’s going to be close between both of the Ferrari and both of the Mercedes drivers this year, so it will be exciting – but unfortunately a lot of times it will depend of what happens in a first lap. That’s how it’s going to play out. Hopefully it goes better. I’m more happy this weekend but obviously not happy to be third, but this is how it goes sometimes.”
Raikkonen’s initial start to the season has proven infuriating, but Ferrari appear to be making progress as he credited his improvement in Sochi to the small improvements made to the car.
“I think I have had a little bit of a rough start to the season,” he continued. “Far from ideal but for sure [Russia] has been a step forward. We have been more happy with how things have been running but we still only finished third. We lost out at the start and then not a lot happened after that.
“We keep trying and keep improving and I’m sure we’ll get there, but it’s all about … all the small details have to be exactly there and then you will get the first place. The four or five of us are very close most of the time, so it’s the small differences that make a big difference in the end.”
Raikkonen enjoyed a more fruitful weekend in Sochi thanks to the small changes made to the Ferrari, it could then be anticipated that further, and more importantly, larger improvements will be seen in Barcelona following the bigger updates that are set for unveiling.