Ferrari: We have missed out on a great opportunity

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen

Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth in the Belgian Grand Prix to secure his best result of the season so far, while team-mate Fernando Alonso salvaged a few points, in a race compromised before the start, when a problem on the F14 T meant his mechanics stayed on the grid too long and the Spaniard was given a stop-go penalty.

He took the flag in eighth spot, but a post-race penalty for Magnussen moves him to seventh. With the Mercedes duo tripping each other up, the way was clear for Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull to take his third win of the season, joined on the podium by Nico Rosberg, second for Mercedes and Valtteri Bottas third in the Williams.

Marco Mattiacci: “At the end of a weekend in which the topic of young drivers was very much in the news, I want to start by congratulating Raffaele Marciello on his first GP2 win and Jules Bianchi for his strong showing in yesterday’s qualifying. As for the race, we are very pleased for Kimi: today, he came close to the podium and scored his best result of the season, a result which sees us maintain third place in the Constructors’ classification. Unfortunately, Fernando’s race was compromised by a problem at the start. Without that, I firmly believe the podium was within his reach. We know we have missed out on a great opportunity, but we will learn from this incident to pay obsessive attention to our procedures, as we strive to improve reliability. The next race will be complicated because top speed is a strong point of the Mercedes-powered teams. We will try and defend with every means available, because the efforts of the team in terms of improving the car are producing encouraging signs.”

Fernando Alonso: “Today my race started on the back foot as the car did not fire up and we had to use another battery. It’s a shame because we had a strong pace all weekend and, starting fourth, we could have finished on the podium. With a penalty to take and on a circuit where top speed is our weak point, we knew we didn’t stand much of a chance, but all the same we did our best. Unfortunately, towards the end there was some rather questionable driving and after my front wing was damaged in a coming together with Vettel, the important thing was to get to the chequered flag. I know the Stewards acted on what happened, but I don’t think it’s that important when you are fighting for sixth and seventh places. Now we must look ahead and prepare for Monza. Even if it’s a track that won’t suit our car, it’s our home race. We will have the support of all the fans and so it’s a race where we want to do better. Let’s hope we succeed in that.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “We had decided to tackle this race more aggressively, making an early stop to get ahead of the cars that had yet to pit and that meant I was able to stay with the leaders for much of the race. When Bottas in the Williams began to close on me, I knew I didn’t have the speed to defend on the straight and with a few laps to go, he managed to pass me. In general, I’m happy with how this weekend ended. We knew it would not be easy on this circuit, but we did our utmost and for the first time, we managed to have a clean race without any problems. The car has improved and today the pace was good. Fourth place shows we are going in the right direction, but it doesn’t mean we can settle for that. Today, we scored a good number of points, but we are here to win and we will continue to work to reach the top.”

Pat Fry: “Fourth and seventh places can’t be seen as satisfactory, especially given that circumstances today meant we could have delivered more as a team. Clearly, Fernando’s penalty, because of a problem with the charge from the external battery we use on the grid, cost him the chance of fighting for a place on the podium and from this incident we must learn to improve our procedures. From then on, his race was compromised and whatever strategy we went for would have seen him in traffic: that’s how it turned out and unfortunately, he suffered a lot behind Magnussen, who could count on better straight line speed. Despite this, Fernando pulled off several overtaking moves and drove a great race. It’s a shame about the contact with Vettel at La Source, which cost him places right at the end. Kimi ran a clean race and we are pleased his feeling with the car is improving. It was precise and he made no mistakes: we came close to a third place with him, which he maybe deserved. Now we will continue to develop the car to give both our drivers an ever more competitive package, even if we have to be realistic when it comes to the rest of the season. Monza will be a very tough race, but there too, we will try and get the maximum out of our available package.”