Kimi Raikkonen has stated that he could not overtake the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas at the Singapore Grand Prix yesterday, because the loss of downforce meant that he would’ve needed atleast 10 laps to make a move.
“We got close, but every time we got close you start losing downforce and I think we needed like 10 more laps for Bottas to really struggle with his tyre,” said Raikkonen. “Then it would have been probably possible. Not a lot happened, really.”
The Finn in the Ferrari followed his compatriot around for almost all of the race and the narrow Marina Bay circuit made it incredibly difficult to commit to an overtake, let alone make one.
Raikkonen had a disappointing qualifying session, ending up only fifth, which he blamed on the traffic on track during his run. He also felt that the Saturday pretty much sealed his fate during the actual race.
“Unfortunately it’s what often happens if it’s a more straightforward race like it was,” said Raikkonen. “Obviously when you have more Safety Cars who knows what happens? But when it’s a race like this, pretty straightforward, it’s difficult.”
Raikkonen admitted to the fact that after a point, the race became about saving the tyres and not pushing the opponent. “Obviously, most of the time we were just following and taking care of the tyres,” he said.
“I think we had decent speed but it is so difficult to overtake and we couldn’t use it.”
Much of what Raikkonen has said is true, as the top six finished in the positions that they qualified in. However, it could have ended with Vettel taking more points if not for a strategy goof-up from his Ferrari team.
The German initially jumped ahead of second-placed Verstappen on the first lap itself, down Raffles boulevard and seemed set to remain there. However, he was stuck behind the Force India of Perez for far too long after his pit-stop.
This gave time to the Red Bull crew to perform the over-cut for Verstappen and the Dutchman, despite facing a slight delay in his pit-stop, came out ahead of the Ferrari and stayed there, overcoming his engine issues too.