Kimi Räikkönen ceded that the “best team” won the Constructors’ Championship, as Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport secured a fifth consecutive title at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton‘s first place finish partnered with Valtteri Bottas‘ fifth place saw Mercedes build up a 67 point lead over Scuderia Ferrari with just one round of the 2018 Formula 1 season remaining. Räikkönen took third place – his third podium in as many races – just managing to fend off Aston Martin Red Bull Racing‘s Daniel Ricciardo in the closing stages of the race.
“It was a nice exciting race,” said Räikkönen. “We had good battles throughout and the car was working well during the whole race.
“The speed was there and we had no particular issues. The first set of tyres was very good at the start and I was really happy, but then I destroyed them a little bit trying to pass the Mercedes.
“Once we changed the tyres the car was absolutely fine; we kind of knew that once we pitted we could have gone past them,” he continued.
“After that the behaviour of the car was still very good, but at that point we were a bit too late, as it had taken too long for us to get there.”
Räikkönen proved to have the pace on team-mate Sebastian Vettel throughout the race, passing the German in the early stages after Vettel ran wide on the exit of Turn 4. Despite losing track position in the pitstops, Ferrari made the strategic call to put Räikkönen ahead of Vettel on lap 35 when the Finn had fresher tyres; a decision that Vettel fully accepted post-race.
With their decision to start on the soft tyres not paying off, Räikkönen said that Ferrari “made the best” of the situation. Very early in the race, the 39-year-old was powerless to prevent the charging Max Verstappen from passing him on the super-soft tyres.
“As for the strategy, we did what we thought was the best for us,” Räikkönen explained.
“We can always debate many things, but today we made the best of it. Obviously it is not the greatest of results, but I don’t think we could have got more; we did not make any mistakes and fought hard.
“As for the Constructors’ Championship we knew that it would have been difficult; we did our best, but unfortunately it was not enough. The best team won this year, that’s how it goes.”