Happy Raikkonen Praises 'Perfect' Car

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen took the fight to Formula One leader Michael Schumacher today with the top time in first qualifying for Sunday's European Grand Prix.

Happy Raikkonen Praises 'Perfect' Car

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen took the fight to Formula One leader Michael Schumacher today with the top time in first qualifying for Sunday's European Grand Prix.

The Finn, three points adrift of Ferrari's World Champion after the German took back the lead in Canada two weeks ago, lapped his rival's home track in 1:29.989.

Schumacher, chasing his fifth win of the year on Sunday and his 50th for Ferrari to become the first driver to score 1,000 championship points, was second quickest with a time 0.364 slower than the McLaren, which Raikkonen said worked flawlessly all day.

"The car has been perfect all day and we improved it even more for qualifying so I'm very pleased," said Raikkonen, who got his lap in before the skies opened and drenched the circuit for the later runners. "The whole lap was pretty good and I made no mistakes.

"There is no doubt that the MP4-17D is quick, but it's a matter of making all the parts work together and for me not to make any mistakes and then we are there. I look forward to the rest of the weekend."

Raikkonen left no doubt about his intentions to regain the initiative in what is also a home race for his team's engine partners Mercedes. The Nurburgring's capricious climate favoured the front-runners.

Rain began to fall after the top 10 had lapped, the deteriorating conditions leaving the tail-enders on extreme weather tyres and with no hope of coming close to the earlier times. With spray billowing out behind and rain reducing visibility, some of the later drivers lapped more than 27 seconds slower than Raikkonen, who starts last in Saturday's decisive session.

The Finn finished almost a whole second ahead of teammate David Coulthard.

"Obviously you always go into every session wanting to be fastest, but the important qualifying is tomorrow," said Coulthard. "The goal for today really is to be in the same group as our main opposition. There is nothing particular to say about the run, as my plan was to do a safe lap without pushing too hard."

shares
comments
Montoya confident in his equipment

Previous article

Montoya confident in his equipment

Next article

Panis Stays Positive Despite Low Position

Panis Stays Positive Despite Low Position
Load comments
The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021