Scuderia Ferrari‘s Kimi Räikkönen says the tyres will play be a major factor at the Russian Grand Prix, stating that the circuit doesn’t push the tyres hard when completing a race around the Sochi Autodrom.
Formula 1 heads into the final six races of the season, with back-to-back races starting in Russia and then Japan to kick off the final countdown to the last race in Abu Dhabi.
Räikkönen comes into this weekend having finished in the last race at the Singapore Grand Prix in fifth place, as his tenure at Ferrari starts to come to an end.
Ahead of the weekend in Russia, the Finnish driver discussed about how the tyres behaved in the past around Sochi, saying the track hasn’t been hard on tyres.
“It’s really nice to come here, I enjoy this place and the track,” said Räikkönen.
“The circuit itself it’s not very hard on the tyres, or at least, that has been the case in the past years; they seem to last forever, so you never really make the difference on the tyre war, anywhere, and this makes it very difficult to overtake.”
Pirelli have opted to repeat their selections from Singapore, bringing the Hypersoft, Ultrasoft and Soft tyres for the weekend.
Räikkönen has been on the podium in Russia in the last two years, all being third places. In 2015, he challenged for the final podium spot but lost it on the final lap when he made contact with Valtteri Bottas at Turn 4.
The Finn admits that the races in Russia over the years weren’t very exciting, but states that the circuit is very nice to drive around.
“Usually, this circuit doesn’t bring about very exciting races. The first time we came here it was quite tricky to make the tyres work, but as the tarmac gets older the grip increases,”
“We’ll see how it is this year. It is one of those circuits where you think you can always push more and more, but if you try, you actually end up going slower.
“It’s a very nice circuit, but not so easy to make the best lap time. We always aim at doing the best we can and then we will see what happens. We’ll push hard this weekend and try to maximize every race”.