The entente cordiale
between Ferrari team-mates Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel appears to have survived their first corner coming-together at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Vettel's reaction to Daniil Kvyat's lunge into turn one took him into the side of Raikkonen's sister car, with the Finn then making secondary contact with another machine that left him with a puncture and without his front wing. However, despite a potential podium finish going begging – especially as the second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton was starting from the back and suffered his own turn one collision – Raikkonen refused to hold Vettel – a friend as well as team-mate – accountable.
“There's no hard feelings,” the Finn insisted, “What happened in the first corner in China was worse for me than for the other two, but it's racing. Obviously, we never want to have accidents with anyone, especially between the two of us, but sometimes that's how it goes – it can happen when there's 20-odd cars together in the first few corners. It's in the past - it cost us quite a bit, but we made the most out of it and it wasn't a disaster.”
Raikkonen recovered to finish fifth, three spots behind his team-mate – who suffered minor front wing damage – but refused to drag himself into Vettel's condemnation of Kvyat, who the German called 'suicidal' and 'a madman'.
“I've seen something, but it's nothing to do with me,” Raikkonen insisted, taking a similar line to team boss Maurizio Arrivebene, “I've got nothing to comment about, it's between the two of them. I was, unfortunately, on the end of the whole thing and paid the biggest price but, like I said, we managed to make a pretty good recovery out of it. It was not ideal, but I'll take those points after what happened in the first couple of corners. It could have been a lot worse.”
As seems to be the case most seasons, Raikkonen has not had the best of luck over the first three races, adding his Chinese moment to second in Bahrain and a DNF first time out in Melbourne, but he refuses to believe that this weekend's Russian Grand Prix is the point at which things turn around.
“I don't think this weekend is any different from the others,” he maintained, “Things can always happen and they've been happening. We go into the weekend like any other weekend and try to make the most out of it. I think, like wherever we go now, out car should be pretty good but, if it's good enough to win, that's a different case. Hopefully we'll get things right, but it depends on a lot of small things.”