Maurizio Arrivabene feels Ferrari may have missed an opportunity to challenge Mercedes for victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix because of Sebastian Vettel's technical issues and Kimi Raikkonen's botched start.
Though adrift of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in qualifying, Ferrari appeared to have a stronger car in race trim but the team would have no chance demonstrate it in a direct fight with Mercedes after Vettel was eliminated by mechanical problems on the formation lap, before Raikkonen was forced into a comeback after slipping to fifth off the line.
With Rosberg easing to victory, though Raikkonen showed strong race pace in the SF16-T as he recovered to second place, Arrivabene admits that the early exit of Vettel robbed it of a potential upset.
“Concerning the race, we have two points of view,” he said. “One is that I am not happy at all, because I think with this strategy and looking at the performance of Kimi, maybe because in the race things are not always certain, but I think we were able to do a very, very good with Sebastian.
“Having said that, Kimi had a bit of a problem at the start and I think that penalised him quite a lot because he overtook three guys before him. Maybe, and I underline maybe, he compromised the victory of the race. If you count, it's easy and I'm not inventing anything.
Despite the poor start, Raikkonen's efforts received strong praise from Arrivabene, particularly the Finn's feisty race craft in recovering.
“I heard that [at the start] most probably that the finger was slippery on the paddle. This is what he said, but it's something that could happen and it has happened. The tyres were spinning and we lost a bit of time. What he did afterwards, I have to say, was unbelievable.
“I think the way Kimi drove during the race was spectacular, absolutely spectacular, because if you look at the overtake on the outside of the corner with Ricciardo, he reminded me of the drivers of old when they were battling and they were brave. It was very, very good.”