18 September 2014
F1 Singapore Grand Prix: Raikkonen ‘happier’ but still with work to do
Kimi Raikkonen confirms Ferrari has improved since the start of the year, but concedes that it is still not a match for F1's frontrunners as the season heads to Singapore.
Kimi Raikkonen insists that Ferrari is making progress in its efforts to close the gap to Mercedes, but still has a long way to go.
The Finn arrives in Singapore for round 14 of the 2014 season clinging tenuously to the last place in the top ten of the drivers' standings, while Ferrari sits fourth overall, a long way behind runaway leader Mercedes and also trailing a resurgent Williams team which has its eye on third spot. Last time out, on home soil at Monza, the Scuderia struggled in the battle for points, with a lacklustre Raikkonen eventually finishing ninth as team-mate Fernando Alonso posted a first DNF of the year.
Although he reported a lack of grip from his F14-T in Italy, Raikkonen insists that progress is being made in terms of the car's development, with work ongoing over the final six races of the season in a bid to give the team a better footing for the second year of the latest technical regulations.
“Obviously, [the focus] is to do as well as we can and get good results for the team and for myself, but I expect it to be difficult,” he sighed, “I didn't expect - and probably the team didn't expect - it to be so difficult overall. We expected to be stronger overall, but it's part of the game and we have to try and sort things out.”
The Finn admitted that it was not all doom and gloom at Maranello, but acknowledged that, with each of the frontrunners continuing to develop their knowledge of the new cars, Ferrari was always chasing a moving target.
“I think, as a team, we have made a pretty good improvement compared to where we started, and I'm getting more happy with things,” he confirmed, “But we're obviously still not where we want to be so there is still a lot of work to do.”
Until last season, Singapore had not been the happiest of hunting grounds for the 2007 world champion, with finishes of 15th, tenth and sixth preceding a podium in the potent 2013 Lotus. The race, famed for taking place at night, is also one renowned as one of the toughest on the calendar but Raikkonen, typically, shrugs off suggestions that drivers will struggle on Sunday.
“Everybody has their own feelings but, in the past, it has not been a problem,” he claimed, “It doesn't feel as hot and humid as in past years, plus the cars are slower in the race, so I don't see why it should be a problem.”
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