Scuderia Ferrari Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen said that the Maranello team’s radio messages at the German Grand Prix were not clear enough after he appeared to question team orders to let teammate Sebastian Vettel past.
After the first round of pit stops, Kimi found himself leading the German Grand Prix but with another pit stop to make before the finish. Vettel, who pitted ten laps later than Raikkonen and appeared to be on a one-stop strategy, had emerged from his tyre change in second place and became bottled up behind his teammate.
Sebastian Vettel radioed his team saying the situation was “silly”, telling his engineers that his tyre temperatures were going too high in the dirty air of Raikkonen’s car. But the Finn, who has previously obeyed team orders but now looks set to be leaving the team at the end of the year, demanded the Ferrari pit wall told him straight if they wanted to orchastrate a change of position.
Ferrari chief engineer Jock Clear came on the radio on lap 38 to issue the instruction and the following conversation played out:
JC: “So, Kimi, this is Jock. You are aware we need to look after tyres, both cars need to look after tyres. You two are on different strategies — your strategies are slightly different and we would like you not to hold up Seb. Thank you.”
KR: “I don’t, I’m sorry, but can you be clearer … what do you want me to do?”
JC: “Losing as little time as possible, but where you can [let him through]. Seb is capable of going quicker but is hurting his tyres and you are as well we need to look after them.”
KR: “Do you want me to let him go? Just tell me.”
Raikkonen later explained that Ferrari’s orders were not clear enough given the agreement the team has in place between its drivers.
“Yeah, we have certain rules but it wasn’t clear enough,” he said. “I had speed and obviously it was a bit in a moment in the race that it wasn’t ideal to stop. In the end, it didn’t change an awful lot.
“It was a tricky race with the rain and it was pretty slippery in a few places. I had a small moment with one of the lappers, the Sauber, under braking and Valtteri got past me, so not an easy race. Happy to finish. A bit disappointed but I’ll take it today and we’ll try next time.”