Raikkonen says ‘right call’ sealed points finish in Sochi
Kimi Raikkonen was among those that made a dash for the pits when the rain came down in the closing stages of the Russian Grand Prix, and the call helped the Alfa Romeo driver seal his P8 finish.
From P13 on the grid, Raikkonen progressed into the top-ten during his first stint on the medium tyres.
But the Finn’s switch to the hard compound predictably pushed him down the order from where he tried to battle his way back into the points, running in the wake of Esteban Ocon’s Alpine.
Raikkonen felt he was faster than the French but Alfa’s top speed deficit versus the Alpine kept him behind.
“We made a good start and gained some positions, and then followed the Alpine most of the race,” said the F1 veteran who had sat out the last two races due after testing positive for Covid.
“I felt the car was behaving well but we were a bit too slow to really make progress. I felt I had more speed but when the straight opened up I had no chance of overtake him.”
Eventually, Raikkonnen’s break came with the rain that rolled into Sochi late in the day and a timely call from the Alfa Romeo pitwall.
“Luckily we made the right call,” he said. “I felt that it was too wet already and we were one of the early ones to come in to change tyres and it paid off in the end.”
Read also: F1i’s Driver Ratings for the 2021 Russian GP
Indeed, the late opportunistic stop put the Iceman back in the top-ten from where he managed to snatch another couple of positions to conclude his day P8 in the running order.
Asked if he drew upon his rallying experience to deal with the tricky conditions in the race’s final laps, Raikkonen said: “Not really. Our car is for sure not the best in the wet conditions, but luckily we pitted at the right moment and then we had decent speed in the last couple laps.
“I managed to pass some cars, so not too bad.”
Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers
Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter
Click Here: new zealand blues jersey