Ferrari closer to Mercedes than it looks, say Raikkonen and Vettel

Kimi Raikkonen believes Ferrari's deficit to Mercedes is no cause for alarm following the opening qualifying session of the new Formula 1 season in Australia

Ferrari closer to Mercedes than it looks, say Raikkonen and Vettel

The suggestion following pre-season testing was Ferrari would pose more of a threat to Mercedes this year.

But Raikkonen finished 1.196 seconds adrift of Lewis Hamilton, who clinched the 50th pole of his career, to start fourth on the grid at Melbourne's Albert Park just behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel who was 0.838s down.

"There's a difference obviously," said Raikkonen.

"I struggled a bit with the warm-up. On the last set [of tyres] it was slightly better, but I wouldn't look too much into that time difference between us and Mercedes here.

"Obviously we would rather be in front, but it's been quite a strange weekend so far, and for us it would be better to have slightly warmer conditions to get the tyres ready and working better.

"But the car feels pretty good, so I think it's too early, and once we go to the next races and normal circuits I think we'll see the real picture.

"Obviously they [Mercedes] are still very fast, but I don't think you should be too worried."

Vettel also feels the gap was unrepresentative, particularly as the new qualifying format resulted in him opting to save a set of fresh super-softs for the race.

"I've said many times we have made a step forwards, which I think we have, and especially tomorrow we should be quite a bit closer," said Vettel.

"We expected them to be strong in qualifying, which they were. We had a bit of a rougher start to find the rhythm - certainly I had - which got better throughout qualifying.

"I'm very happy with the lap I had in the end, so we called it there and saved a set of tyres for tomorrow.

"Sure, we're not on the front row, but we still have high hopes for the race and it's going to be a long year.

"We know this car has a lot of potential, so in starting out third and fourth, locking out the second row, it's a good achievement."

Nico Rosberg, who starts second behind team-mate Hamilton, was left surprised by the gap to Ferrari, although he appreciates there were extenuating circumstances.

"It [the gap] is not real because we had two runs [in Q3], they only had one run," said Rosberg.

"Sebastian was really compromised in his qualifying because he only had one tyre left in Q3, and he had to make that stick.

"So that's a different situation to us as we were easy going and could just take some risks out there.

"So let's be careful, but for sure the gap has surprised us today and we're very happy about it at the moment.

"We all know Ferrari is always quicker in the race than in qualifying, so let's hold our horses and see how it goes tomorrow."

shares
comments
In quotes: The F1 paddock's full verdict on revamped qualifying

Previous article

In quotes: The F1 paddock's full verdict on revamped qualifying

Next article

F1 drivers might be listened to after qualifying criticism - Massa

F1 drivers might be listened to after qualifying criticism - Massa
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021