Ferrari defends Raikkonen's form during 2014 F1 season

The Ferrari Formula 1 team insists Kimi Raikkonen's form is improving, despite continuing a run of disappointing results at the Russian Grand Prix

Ferrari defends Raikkonen's form during 2014 F1 season

Raikkonen has struggled with the handling of his Ferrari for most of the 2014 F1 season, but has recently felt more comfortable.

The Finn qualified on the same tenth as team-mate Fernando Alonso for the inaugural F1 race at the Sochi Autodrom, but eventually finished eighth, 18.8 seconds behind sixth-placed Alonso.

Raikkonen's best result remains fourth in August's Belgian GP, but Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci insists the 2007 world champion is driving more competitively, despite the Finn's best results since then being a pair of eighths.

"Definitely we see the pace of Kimi improving," Mattiacci said.

"Does it translate immediately with more points in the races? It's evident it's not, but there are a series of events that didn't allow this. But he's increasing the speed."

Raikkonen blamed his lack of progress in Russia on getting squeezed out at Turn 1 by a Toro Rosso, a lack of straightline speed, and the need for his F14 T to conserve fuel thereafter.

"After the start I got a pretty good jump but then I had to back off because a Toro Rosso was coming left more and more and I had nowhere to go and I had to back off and lost a lot of places," Raikkonen explained.

"After that it was just following people, not really having a chance in the straightline. The car felt pretty okay, but just slow, [and] when you have to save fuel you can't push hard.

"I thought the car was behaving pretty well since Saturday and it's just the lack of speed that we have in a straightline that cost us a lot of laptime.

"This race was harder for us than we expected. We have to recover energy and save fuel.

"We know it was going to be difficult but adding those extra things was making it a bit tricky, but the handling of the car was nice.

"Hopefully next race will suit us a bit better."

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