Kimi Raikkonen hopes the long straight at the start of the Russian Grand Prix will play into Ferrari’s hands and repay the move Valtteri Bottas made last year in Sochi.
Last season Bottas bolted from third on the grid to lead into Turn 2, wrecking Ferrari’s front row lockout from qualifying, before the Finnish driver went on to claim his maiden Formula 1 race win.
Raikkonen rates the tow in Russia as ‘massive’ and feels he and Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel will need to profit from it starting on the second row to attack both Mercedes drivers.
“Because it’s such a long straight that if you make a good start the tow effect is massive,” Raikkonen said. “We’ll see how it pans out, it’s usually quite hectic in the first corner, because of that. We’ll try to make a good getaway and see where we come up.”
But Raikkonen could have a small disadvantage qualifying in fourth place with part of the start/finish straight having been resurfaced since the last Russian Grand Prix as the new surface covers just the front three grid spots.
“We’ll see tomorrow,” he said. “For sure the team will check if it’s better or worse. I’m sure it’s different, but who knows what it is.”
Raikkonen failed to improve on his final flying lap in Q3 which left him down in fourth place after being held up by Lewis Hamilton, who made a mistake on his lap before aborting it, and while the Finn was frustrated he says it would have only been the difference between third and fourth.
“I think I had a pretty good lap going, but then one of the Mercedes backed off from their lap and he could have been a bit better at letting me through,” he said. “I locked a wheel a bit and then the lap was going, but until then I was going on a pretty good lap. We were going to be third or fourth, so it’s not a big difference.”