Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen explained that Scuderia Ferrari’s inability to challenge Mercedes in Baku qualifying ahead of the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix was a result of inconsistent performance from their SF70H car’s tyres, and that third place on the starting grid was the best he could have managed on Saturday. The Finn was the best non-Mercedes in the field, however he was going 1.1 seconds slower than polesitter Lewis Hamilton on his way to a second-row Ferrari lockout, with team-mate Sebastian Vettel lining up in fourth for the race on Sunday.
Kimi explained the operating window of the supersoft Pirelli tyres was inconsistent, and this left Scuderia Ferrari constantly chasing the fastest time possible throughout the session: “The whole weekend has been about making the tyres work well and today we struggled a bit more than yesterday. If you can get them working 100% on one lap you can easily go a lot faster, but it was not the case today. When we were able to switch the tyres on, the car felt nice, but this feeling kept changing from lap to lap and from set to set. I did not feel comfortable going into the first corner and could not push so hard. It was easy to slide or make a small mistake. It was always on the edge of working and not working, but on the last lap it felt a bit better.” – the Finnish driver said, as reported by Tuttosport
Despite being so far off the pace of the lead Mercedes duo, Kimi Raikkonen remains confident ahead of the race, adding that the large disparity between the two F1 teams could be smaller during the Grand Prix in Baku: “Third place is obviously not a disaster, I take it happily. I think we did the best we could achieve today. In the race, with more laps, the tyres should start working better. I’m positive that we are going to be a lot closer to our competitors.” – Kimi concluded.