Raikkonen: You want me to let him go? Please. Just tell me

On a day when both Ferrari and Mercedes issued team orders to their ‘second’ drivers. Kimi Raikkonen was the first to get the call from the Reds to move over and allow Sebastian Vettel to take the lead at around the halfway mark of the German Grand Prix.

The order came after Vettel emerged from his pitstop with more pace and quickly reeled in the veteran Finn. While doing so he was urging the team to move his teammate aside.

On lap 33 the German warned over the radio: “My rears are getting quite hot.”

And a lap later, increasingly frustrated, he added, “This is just silly, I’m just losing time and destroying my tyres. Can’t you see the tyre temperatures? What are you waiting for?” he adds.

At which point Ferrari’s senior performance engineer Jock Clear instructed Raikkonen:

  • Clear: “Kimi, this is Jock. You’re aware we need to look after tyres. Both cars need to look after tyres and you two are on different strategies. We’d like you not to hold up Seb. Thank you.”
  • Raikkonen: “I’m sorry but can you be direct? What do you want?”
  • Clear: “Losing as little time as possible where you can, obviously, but Seb is capable of going quicker. He’s hurting his tyres and you are as well. We need to look after them.”
  • Raikkonen: “So you want me to… let him go? Please. Just tell me.”

Not long after Ferrari #5 was ahead of the #7 sister car and looking set for victory, until an unforced error and fate delivered a script that broke the hearts of all tifosi.

The Reds were not alone in employing team orders in the race, with Mercedes also doing so late in the race when the pitwall instructed Valtteri Bottas to halt his challenge and hold station behind his teammate Lewis Hamilton who went on to win the race.

Raikkonen scored a consolation third place for the Reds, on a day when victory was Vettel’s to throw away… and he did despite the team orders!

Big Question: Did Ferrari need to employ team orders when they did?

Raikkonen: You want me to let him go? Please. Just tell me