Getting Pirelli tyres to work ‘most challenging part of the day’ for Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen finished P9 in FP1 and P4 in FP2 - Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen felt it was challenging to get the Pirelli tyres to work during free practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with the Finn ending ninth fastest in first practice and fourth in the second session.

The Scuderia Ferrari driver ended 1.590 seconds down on pacesetter Max Verstappen in the opening session after a best lap of 1:46.000s, but he improved to a 1:43.489s in the afternoon session to move to within 0.127 seconds of Verstappen, who again led the way.

Raikkonen admitted that tyres were key to having a good session, and he was happier at the end of the second session, and although he knows there is still work to be done, he is hopeful of a strong weekend around the Baku Street Circuit.

“The most challenging part of the day was to make the tyres work, to get them hot enough,” admitted Raikkonen. “And obviously, when they are not performing 100%, it’s a bit tricky out there on the track.

“The car feels ok, but we still have to work on that. If you manage to do that, then everything is a lot easier.”