Kimi Raikkonen fears Mercedes has taken a step forward compared to Ferrari in the last few races after securing a one-two at the Russian Grand Prix.
Mercedes dominated qualifying with Valtteri Bottas beating teammate Lewis Hamilton to pole position, before the pair were ordered to swap places in the race in order to help Hamilton’s title chances. The victory was Hamilton’s third in a row and Raikkonen says the performance of his own car suggests Ferrari needs to find all-around improvements.
“The car gave a really good feeling, especially after the pit stops,” Raikkonen said after finishing fourth in Sochi. “But we need more speed overall. There’s nothing that feels somehow bad or difficult, it’s just that we need to be faster around the lap, everywhere.
“We went as fast as we could but they were faster. Did they push as much as they needed? Probably not, just enough to keep us behind. I don’t know, we’re a bit behind in pure speed, but in the race the car feels OK. But we need to go a bit faster everywhere.
“At least in the last couple of places where we’ve been, yes (Mercedes has made a step). Who knows what they’ve done. Let’s see in the next race if it’s still the same or not. Hopefully it’s a slightly different story, more like it was a little while ago. I guess they found something.”
Raikkonen was asked to move over for teammate Vettel in Germany earlier this year and has been on the receiving end of some questionable strategic calls at times this season, but like his teammate, shrugged off the Mercedes team order to Bottas as an inevitable step.
“Obviously it’s not ideal but sometimes it’s like that,” he said. “There’s not much you can do.”
When pressed on the question of how to motivate yourself in such a situation, Raikkonen added: “Maybe have some beers, I don’t know…”