5 April 2014
Bahrain F1 Grand Prix: Raikkonen ‘more confident’ after Ferrari improvements
Kimi Raikkonen is hoping for better fortunes in the Bahrain Grand Prix after admitting that his Ferrari has improved throughout the F1 weekend.
Kimi Raikkonen is hoping for a better result in Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix after feeling more at home in his Ferrari.
The Finn has not enjoyed the best of starts to the 2014 F1 season, with finishes of seventh and twelfth from the races in Australia and Malaysia, and admitted to continuing to struggle when it came to honing the handling of the F14-T on the opening day in Bahrain. However, having managed to put the car into sixth place in qualifying – which will become fifth on the grid when Daniel Ricciardo takes his ten-place penalty – Raikkonen was a little happier with his lot.
“I think we've improved a lot of things in the first few races, in all areas,” he insisted, “Understanding the engine, the data, the electronics, to improve those small things makes a lot of improvement.
“I feel a bit better now with the front end and, hopefully, that's what we're going to find in the future also. I just think we need to go forward with all areas of the car as the difference is still big to Mercedes. But we have good people, we know where we want to be and what we have to do to achieve that, so I'm sure we can get there. It's just a matter of making those things - and that might take a little time - but I'm very confident, along with the team, that we can achieve what we want.”
Asked whether the improvement were enough to bring Ferrari into competition with the other Mercedes-powered teams, Raikkonen appeared hesitant, admitting that there was still work to do before he would consider the Scuderia a match for the likes of Force India, McLaren and Williams.
“It's hard to say,” he confirmed, “Yesterday, certainly in the long runs, the car felt very difficult, but on the softer tyres, it felt pretty nice, and I think we made the right changes to the car for today. I expect it should be pretty okay [in the race], but I don't know if it's fast enough to be fighting with those cars.
“It is difficult to say where you are exactly, but the feeling has been better with the car and I think the parts I wanted have definitely helped. Now, in qualifying, it felt more like we expected and wanted, so it's definitely going in the right direction. Obviously we are still not where we want to be, but we know what we are doing so it will just take time to get where we want.”
After his disappointing opening laps in Malaysia, where contact with Kevin Magnussen led to a puncture, Raikkonen is hoping for better this time around.
“Obviously we've got to get through the first corner and the first laps,” he noted, “We're only going to see that tomorrow, but I'm more confident overall with how things have gone and how we are looking for tomorrow in terms of race performance. Hopefully, we'll get through the first corners, get a good start and go from there.”
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