Kimi Raikkonen struggles with understeer as he qualifies 4th at the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix

April 8, 2017 11:10 pm

Kimi Raikkonen qualified 4th behind fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas with a gap of less than 3 tenths between them. He finished with a 1:32.140 which was also 3 tenths behind teammate Sebastian Vettel. He faced similar problems in Australia where he’d qualified 0.845 seconds behind the pole-sitter.

The lack of practice runs on Friday due to the weather problems in Shanghai contributed to Raikkonen’s disappointment. The few laps he had in FP1 weren’t enough for him to get the perfect setup.

Kimi Raikkonen followed by fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas on their way to the pits

Raikkonen said after the qualifying session,”I don’t know, really. The first run in last qualifying was just pretty poor overall, and then we struggled a bit with Turn 3 the whole qualifying. Just a little bit still understeering. We gave up way too much lap time there, never really got it back. Disappointed, but feeling-wise it was a lot better.”

Vettel topped Q1 followed by Kimi finishing Q2 in 1st position which led everyone to believe he might’ve found the sweet spot on the car. But on his first lap in Q3 he reported a loss of grip asking his race engineer,”Very bad grip, and the rear is not good. Are the settings different?”

Kimi Raikkonen with Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene

He later said that his lap in Q3 was similar to his lap in Q2 but that his problems with the car were magnified as he was trying to push harder. He said,”There were the same issues. When you push harder and harder, when there’s an issue, it just highlights it. You need the front in certain places to go fast, and it’s not big, but it’s enough to delay you going on power or carrying speed through tight places. Makes enough of a difference to be on the back foot.

“It really probably is the worst time to have a day like yesterday. If yesterday we could’ve run, for sure we would’ve made a much clearer decision. But this is how it is sometimes.”

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