9 April 2015
F1 Chinese Grand Prix: Raikkonen not expecting Shanghai surprises
Kimi Raikkonen is in optimistic mood heading to the Chinese Grand Prix, confident that Ferrari can continue its strong start to 2015 at just about any venue on the F1 schedule.
Nearly two weeks after team-mate Sebastian Vettel claimed an unexpected victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen sees no reason why Ferrari cannot be a threat in China.
The Finn's Malaysian race was compromised by poor qualifying strategy that saw him get caught up behind Marcus Ericsson's Sauber and fail to progress beyond Q2 but, despite then picking up a puncture in the early skirmishing, he came through to finish fourth and claim his first points following a DNF in Australia. He insists, however, that Vettel's win was no fluke and that Mercedes is not as far ahead of the field as some have suggested.
“I think Mercedes can be fast in qualifying but, on race pace, it seems to be a bit closer,” he opined, “I said, after Australia, that, if we would have been behind them in the race, I don't see that they would pull away – at least not as far as people think. It's a different place but the car has been working well at every place we've been to and I don't see why it should be the same here. ”
While Vettel's win came as a surprise to many, Raikkonen is more confident than most that the new Ferrari SF15-T can be a threat at just about any venue.
“We've been with the car in Jerez, in Barcelona, in the first two races, and the car has been working well in all kinds of conditions and circuits, so I don't see a reason why it should be something else here,” he confirmed, “It might be a bit different because it's cold, but the layout is probably closer to Barcelona than any of the races so far and conditions are pretty similar, so we'll go out tomorrow and see how it is – and work things out of we're not happy. I don't expect too many big surprises…”
Stressing the need for a clean weekend if his own ambitions are to be realised, the Finn admitted that he is a happier with his lot this season than he was as he struggled through 2014.
“It doesn't matter where you go, if the car works well, it makes life much easier,” he conceded, “Maybe we are not where we want to be exactly right now but, if you compare to where we were last year, I am sure we would be more than happy with where we are right now.
“There is a still a lot of work to do to be absolutely happy with everything, but that's why we are here. I think, if we can keep working the same way as we have been so far, we'll get there.”
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