Kimi Raikkonen: “I had no worries that Mercedes could get me”

Kimi Raikkonen took second in Hungary - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Kimi Raikkonen finished second in the Hungarian Grand Prix to complete a Scuderia Ferrari 1-2 on Sunday, and felt his car was perfect throughout but he did not want to put too much pressure on his championship-chasing team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

The Finn slotted into second at the start, and although having better pace than Vettel in the second half of the Grand Prix thanks to a steering issue for the German, he played the team game, and finished under a second behind the winner.

Raikkonen admitted it was a tough situation for him during the race, staying behind Vettel but maintaining his position ahead of Lewis Hamilton, but he felt he was never worried that he’d lose his position, and said that following his team-mate meant he was unable to unleash the full pace of his SF70H.

“Today my car was amazing, the handling was perfect and I was always feeling comfortable; even following Seb from very close behind, the behaviour was fantastic,” said Raikkonen.  “I had no worries that Mercedes could get me.

“I had a pretty good start and a good run in the first corner; then I took it quite easy. In places like this it’s tricky to try and overtake and I did not want to force things too much with my team-mate.  When you end up between two cars is not the easiest situation.

“When they called me for the pit stop I wanted to stay on track a bit longer because I felt I had the speed, but the team has the big picture and I trust them.  I ended up following Seb through the whole race and I was never able to use my full speed.

“Today I knew I had all the tools to finish in a better position, but I should have done a better qualifying. I’m happy for the result that we achieved as a team and this is the main thing. I’m here to win races, but if you take the big picture it was a great weekend, we got the maximum out of it.”

  • Roger Flerity

    Kudos to Raikonnen for playing the role of supporting team member, protecting Vettel from behind as he nursed a malfunctioning car. He has every right to feel disappointed about not being able to use his speed to land a race win. However, had Vettel’s car been 100%, Raikonnen would not have needed to play the role of blocker, but the race result would be have been the same… so, all he lost was the opportunity to profit from the misfortune of his team mate. Meanwhile, by staying behind to keep the Mercs at bay, Raikonnen likely sealed the deal to continue with Ferrari in 2018.