Raikkonen rues tire issues as win slips away

Image by Sam Bloxham/LAT

Raikkonen rues tire issues as win slips away

Formula 1

Raikkonen rues tire issues as win slips away

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Kimi Raikkonen says he ran out of tires in the latter stages of the Italian Grand Prix as he lost out to Lewis Hamilton with just eight laps remaining.

Having secured his first pole position of the season, Raikkonen held on to the lead at the start and swapped places with Hamilton after a Safety Car period before leading the opening stint. However, he was held up by Valtteri Bottas after his pit stop and suffered a blister on his left-rear tire, eventually being overtaken within 10laps of his first Ferrari win since 2009.

“I don’t think it was a set-up problem, but the tires didn’t last as we hoped, and in the end there wasn’t much left in the rear left,” Raikkonen said. “Apart from that the car was feeling really good. It didn’t help to be behind another car for some laps. You can save a lot on tires but we weren’t really in a position to start saving, but if you push, you wear them fast and that’s the choice we took.

“We tried but in the end we run out of tires, there wasn’t much left at the end of the race – that’s what happened. Obviously it was not ideal but that’s what we got.”

Having still taken his 100th podium in Formula 1, Raikkonen says his only focus had been on winning Ferrari’s home race at Monza.

“I don’t think there’s a big difference between 99 and 100 podiums; it’s a pure number. I would much rather take a win, but it didn’t happen in the end, as we ran out of tires. There was no moment in which we could take it easy and relax. It was never a case that we could save the tires for later, just going around, but unfortunately that’s what we got — we had to keep pushing.

“It was not a disaster but it was not what we wanted. Also on the restarts they were very close on the straights and quite a few times Lewis got very close to me. I managed to get him back but not in the end.”

Raikkonen says he feels his car had the performance to win but for his tire struggles, having been able to hold Hamilton at bay during the opening stint.

“I think it was quick enough but unfortunately our rear tires went and it was a losing battle from that point. It’s far from ideal but this is what we got today and we did our maximum.

“For sure we tried, but if you look at the rear tires, they gave up before the race ended. At least we take the second place and we keep fighting.”

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