Kimi Raikkonen says he was made to call upon his rally driving skills as he tackled slippery conditions on the first day of F1 action around the revamped Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
With the new tarmac, combined with rain just before FP1 and just as FP2 was finishing, making conditions unusually treacherous, several drivers would find themselves slipping off track or spinning as they found the limit.
Raikkonen was no exception, the Ferrari driver joking that he felt more like a 'rally driver' at times over the course of the day.
“We're sliding around and I was feeling a bit more like a rally than an F1 driver sometimes,” the Finn, who spent two seasons competing in the World Rally Championship during an F1 hiatus, said. “Obviously it's going to improve as we do more and more laps the circuit grips up a bit but it will still be a bit more tricky than normal races even in the race.”
Discussing the effects of the thin air on the car, which is running high downforce but still posting the highest top speeds of the season, Raikkonen admits he isn't so keen for that method.
“We knew that it was going to be high speed because of the altitude. The air is so thin, I think everybody is running more or less full downforce but because the air is thin you're going to go fast but we don't have downforce.
“It's fine to go fast but I would rather take the downforce that we normally have in the normal conditions but it's the same for everybody. It will prove to be a tricky weekend but we'll try to make the best out of it.”