Kimi Raikkonen says Scuderia Ferrari’s ability to improve the car has given him a confident feeling with his Formula One car despite suffering a disaster couple of races in Singapore and Malaysia. While the Finnish driver was involved in the blast off the starting grid crash with Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel, which ruled all three out of the race, Kimi Raikkonen has been hit with a double dose of pain after picking up an engine issue on his way to the grid in Malaysia. With the Maranello team unable to fix the engine issue, believed to be a similar problem to the one Vettel suffered during qualifying which forced him to start from 20th, the 2007 F1 world champion has failed to complete a single racing lap since the Italian Grand Prix.
Despite his frustrations the Finn is remaining positive having found impressive pace during practice and qualifying in Malaysia which he hopes to carry into the Japanese Grand Prix: “We did not go as far as we wanted but when it comes to performance and speed I think we’re pretty happy. There have been other issues, like last weekend, as it was being a very nice weekend, I was very happy with the car, with how it was handling and doing the things that we wanted it to, so for sure we have improved the car and the speed. But everybody else has improved too, so it is all about who has improved most and, for sure, in some circuits we’ll be a bit faster than the other top teams, but I’m confident we’ll be where we’ve been lately. It’s been pretty close with the three top teams, we need to get everything right to fight with them. It’s a new place, with different conditions, so it’s difficult to say. I’m happy that I’m here and we’re racing, I’m happy to be racing when we have a good chance to do well.” – the Finish driver explained, as reported by the Italian media on Thursday.
Kimi now also relishes the challenge of the old Suzuka track: “Suzuka is a challenging circuit, a bit old style. It‘s quite narrow and the run-off areas, which used to be gravel, now have a tarmac surface. You need a good set-up to be able to push because in the first sector you can lose a lot of time. Here, like any circuit this year, I think we’ll be quicker. Because of the downforce we can be a bit slower in the straight, but through the corners we should be faster. There’s a lot of high speed corners, especially the first part. In the past, some corners have been a bit tricky, maybe this year they are going to be easier because we will be driving full speed through them. Hopefully our car will be where we have been lately. In the last race we have had an unexpected issue, but a lot of work has been done to understand what failed. If that’s going to be enough to be first or second, we will see. The three top teams are pretty close, you have to get everything right and do your best. Hopefully tomorrow the weather will hold at some point, so that we can actually do some proper running.” – Scuderia Ferrari’s Finnish driver concluded.