Kimi Raikkonen could only finish where he started in the Russian Grand Prix, racing from fourth on the grid to fourth in the race with the Finn admitting ‘not much’ happened in the fifty-three-lap race.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver was off the pace compared to team-mate Sebastian Vettel and the two Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport drivers during Saturday’s Qualifying session at the Sochi Autodrom, and the early stages of the race he dropped back away from the leading trio.
The pace seemed to improve in the second half of the race but it was not enough to be able to do anything about his position, ultimately finishing 16.543 seconds behind race winner Lewis Hamilton, and 9.056 seconds back of his team-mate.
Raikkonen, who will leave Ferrari to join the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team in 2019, felt the pit stop to switch from the Ultrasoft to Soft tyre make the car better to drive, but the Finn said the SF71H was just not quick enough to be a genuine race winning contender in Russia.
“Not much happened in my race today, I was most of the time on my own,” said Raikkonen. “Unfortunately, this is what we kind of expected to happen.
“The feeling with the car was pretty good; with the first set of tyres we suffered a bit with the front left, but then on the Softs the car was very nice to drive. Unfortunately yesterday in qualifying we were not fast enough and obviously today in the race it was very difficult to overtake.”
Ferrari’s lack of pace compared to Mercedes is quite worrying indeed especially for Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton has now opened up a 50 point lead with 5 races to go. In other words, there are still 125 points up for grabs, with the next race in Suzuka. So, can Vettel and Raikkonen mount a challenge and pull off a comeback?