Scuderia Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen says he was not worried by the podium challenge from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages of the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix. With Lewis Hamilton starting from the pit lane, following his crash in qualifying, the World Champion ran an alternate strategy to the front-runners.
While the top three – Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen – all ran Super Soft tyres in the first stint, before switching the Softs at the pit-stops, Lewis Hamilton ran the reverse strategy. The Mercedes driver was therefore equipped with the faster compound in the second half of the race, and closed on Kimi to push for the final podium place. Despite this situation, the 2007 Formula One world champion had enough in hand to keep Lewis Hamilton at bay, and played down his rival’s efforts during the podium interviews after the race:
“He got close to me, but also I got close to Sebastian and Valtteri.” – Kimi Raikkonen said, as reported by Italian national sports newspaper based in Rome Corriere dello Sport – “I wasn’t too worried, I had a pretty good run out of the last corner, so it was okay. It wasn’t all the time, it was only at the end.”
Kimi Raikkonen added that he felt more comfortable with the car after the pit-stop phase: “I must admit I had a little bit of a tricky balance on the first set [of tyres], but it improved at the end of that first run and the second set was very good. The car handled very well and I could catch up with the guys, but it’s impossible to get past here if you have this close speed between the cars.” – Kimi Raikkonen concluded, as reported by the Italian media at the end of the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix.