Kimi Raikkonen has refused to buy into commentary that his race was sacrificed to boost teammate Sebastian Vettel’s victory chances at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Vettel started from pole and held the lead on the first lap, but he was relieved of first place by a powerful Valtteri Bottas undercut at the first pit stop window. With the race shaping up to be a one-stop affair, Ferrari team opted to leave Raikkonen out ahead of Bottas and Vettel in a last-ditch attempt slow both down and give the German a chance to retake the lead.
It had little effect, however, other than to ruin Raikkonen’s race, though the Finn salvaged a podium place only after a mid-race safety car shook up the order.
“I’m not going to go into that,” Raikkonen rebuffed. “During the race they have all the data and make the decisions accordingly.Obviously we were not in the best position after the pit stops but the end result was okay. Third was fine, but of course I want better results.”
Raikkonen held firm that his Ferrari strategists had done the best job they could in the conditions.
“It’s always easy after the race to say what we should have done,” he said. “Once you know the final result it’s easy to say this and that, but no-one knows it during the races.You try to do the best you can. Sometimes it’s okay, sometimes it’s not, but that’s a normal case in any racing conditions.As far as know I have 100 percent the same chances as everybody else. We try to make the best out of it.”
The 38-year-old denied he was being disadvantaged at Ferrari despite the widely held view that he was being forced into a number-two driver position to aid teammate Vettel’s own championship chances.
“Obviously I’m here to do my best and I want to fight as hard as I can,” he insisted. “I wouldn’t be here if I wouldn’t feel that’s possible. I want to get the best result, that’s all I’m interested in. For sure after the races it’s always easy to say we should have done this or that. Even when you win races you still have things you can do better, it’s the never-ending story in Formula 1, it’s what’s interesting.
“My only interest, as I said before, is to get the best possible result.”