Kimi Raikkonen sees no reason why his Ferrari Formula 1 team cannot continue to threaten Mercedes at the Chinese Grand Prix.
After Sebastian Vettel’s surprise Malaysian GP win, there has been more scepticism about Ferrari’s chances at Shanghai because of the cooler conditions. But Raikkonen is not so downbeat, and reckons that the team should have confidence that its early season promise will continue.
“We have been with the car in Jerez [testing], in Barcelona and the first two races,” said the Finn. “The car is working well in all conditions and circuits, so I don’t see any reason why it should be something else here. It might be a bit different because it is cold, but the layout is probably closer to Barcelona than any race so far, and conditions are pretty similar.
“We will go out tomorrow, see how it is and try to work things out if we are not happy. But I don’t expect any surprises.”
As well as Vettel’s Malaysia win, Ferrari showed flashes of speed in Australia, too – something Raikkonen thinks bodes well for its prospects this time out.
“I said after Australia that if we would have been behind them in the race then I don’t see that they would pull away, at least not as far as people think,” he explained. “All circuits are slightly different and all conditions are different. One car works a bit better in one place and then the other is better on that [particular] circuit.
“Maybe we are not where we want to be exactly right now, but if we compare where we were last year I am sure we will be more than happy. There is still a lot of work to do to be happy with all the things, but that is why we are here.
“We’ll see how it goes but I don’t expect things to change. I think Mercedes can be very fast in qualifying but in race pace conditions, it seems to be a bit closer.”