The fateful tyre call for Kimi Raikkonen


Brought to you by TJ13 contributor, Fortis

After out qualifying his team-mate for only the second time in nine races this year, Kimi Raikkonen was also having the better race at the 2015 British GP. Then the fateful call was made on lap 38 to pit for intermediate tires.

There had been some drops of rain since the end of lap 35, but at this time Nico Rosberg was hunting down and passing the Williams cars on his used hard tyres with ease.

The ‘Iceman’ quickly realised the call to change to the wet tyre was a disaster. Kimi trundled around the 5.89 km long circuit on tyres unable to cope with the high speed corners and when the rain came properly, the intermediates were already finished.

Kimi had to stop again on lap 47 for a fresh set of intermediate tyres and finished the race in 8th position, less than a second ahead of the Russian Red Bull driver.

Meanwhile the other Ferrari driver had taken his the one window of opportunity to outwit the Williams pair – who had trounced the Maranello red cars throughout the race – and sneaked through for a podium 3rd place finish.

Sky F1 UK revealed during the race, that Kimi blamed the call to pit early for the intermediate tyres on the team. “This one is on you,” he apparently said.

In stark contrast, Lewis Hamilton was credited with the decision by the Mercedes camp in making the perfect call to stop for his intermediate tyres on lap 43.

(The fact that Nico Rosberg had over the course of just two laps cut the gap to Lewis by almost 6 seconds and the German was now breathing down the world champions neck – we must concede may have had played a small part in Hamilton’s decision).

Arrivabene is full of praise for the timing of his other drivers’ call to change for intermediate tyres. Vettel stopped on the same lap as Hamilton, though he was over 30 seconds behind the race leader and may have taken some inspiration from one of the big screens showing Lewis’ changing his tyres.

The Italian team boss says, “I feel happy because once again, Seb made the perfect call to come into the pits, and then drove superbly to open the gap to the Williams cars.”

“Also, I am pleased with a very good race strategy. We need to stay humble and not brag ourselves, because today third place came courtesy of a great drive by Seb and a great strategy – but we also need a great car.

However, Arrivabene also confirms that the decision to pit Raikkonen too early was made by Kimi.

“The strategy guys do a wonderful job, but when it rains, it’s the driver who has the final call to the pits. In the case of Kimi, whose strategy was identical to Seb’s, he thought it better to come in. If it had rained harder, maybe he could have won the race.”

Kimi admits: “It changed quite a lot from lap to lap. One lap it was very slippery and then it came back to turns six and seven and it got quite slippery for me and it looked like it was raining more and more,” said the Finn.

“Obviously I decided to come in [to the pits], I thought it would keep raining, but was four laps too early. It was the wrong choice, but at least we tried.”

When asked if his slick tyres had gone off after he was overtaken by Vettel, he replied: “The tyres were OK, but there was a moment in [turns] seven-eight on that lap and it’s very difficult to know where the slippery [bits are going to be], I got a bit of rain on the visor.

“So I lost a bit of speed on the back straight and he got past me, but I decided to come in and pit anyhow on that lap.”

Maruzio Arrivabene is repeatedly asked race after race about Kimi’s future in the Ferrari tea. He repeated his position again: “I always said that the future of Kimi is in the hands of Kimi. I don’t want to talk anymore about Kimi because we have 10 races to go. At the right time, we will communicate to Kimi what we are going to do – and that’s it,” the Ferrari team principal declared.

“But I want to get rid of all of this [speculation]. We have two drivers; Kimi knows what he has to do and knows that his future is in hands. That’s it.

“Think to be Kimi for a second. Everybody starts to talk about him since Bahrain and then you have to jump in the car and drive at 300-something kph. Is it a good mood? No, so I want Kimi to stay calm and to do his job.”

With recent reports that Ferrari have offered Williams in the region of €5m for the services of their highly rated Finnish driver, Valterri Bottas, surely Raikkonen cannot afford to have another ‘bad’ weekend for the remainder of the season.

And sometime this is true… but clearly not alwaystumblr_mcz83qqtDj1rrm7mko1_1280


35 responses to “The fateful tyre call for Kimi Raikkonen

  1. If vettel decided to go in because hamilton goes in, I don’t know if that is true. I don’t think they copy each other, in the case of rain they only trust themselves. . I guess. Could be the other way around but I would find that strange. Kimi is a good example. Didn’t think he could make it in the conditions and goes in, but none of the others around him decide to do the same. Purely on the fact that they had a different feel of their car or an other view on how the rain would progress…

  2. “Vettel stopped on the same lap as Hamilton, though he was over 30 seconds behind the race leader and may have taken some inspiration from one of the big screens showing Lewis’ changing his tyres.”
    That’s just an assumption. Especially since Vettel already explained his decision process:
    “…there was some rain around six-seven – so around Luffield. And, yeah, it was only there so it was quicker to stay out on dries. But then I noted… it’s a tough call to make. If it rains, yes, some cars are already pitting, you obviously think about it but if the majority of the circuit is dry, there’s no point. Then I came out of Chapel and down the Hangar straight, noticed a lot more rain. I was trying to look at the clouds, all the laps before and though, ‘well, that’s the lap to go’. Because it was significantly more intense, the rain. It wasn’t just drizzle, it was proper rain and I decided to box. Once I was in the box I was told that Lewis decided to – the leader – decided to pit as well so I thought, yeah, should have been a good call. And then it was a surprise because I had Kvyat behind me when I boxed, and I came out behind him – like I saw him when I came out of the box. I don’t know what happened to him in between. But I guess at that point already the track was quite poor.”
    Also it was a funny assumption. Considering Hamilton looked at the big screens in Monaco and decided it would be better if he pitted. We all know how that turned out.
    Not to mention, Vettel was one of the fastest guys both before and after the pit. He didn’t even need to pit 1 lap earlier to finish ahead of Williams. He had the pace.

    Otoh, I found this bit a little funny:
    “When asked if his slick tyres had gone off after he was overtaken by Vettel, he replied: “The tyres were OK, but there was a moment in [turns] seven-eight on that lap and it’s very difficult to know where the slippery [bits are going to be], I got a bit of rain on the visor.”
    In the lap he got overtaken by Vettel, his teammate closed down a substantial gap all the while he was wrestling his Ferrari exquisitely. Breathtaking display of eminence:

    • Once and for all time, stop with the false Hamilton decided it would be better to pit. He made a statement based on the fact that on the big screen no rival cars were behind him. In response to his statement, rather than be corrected and told no one else pitted and to continue as planned, Peter Bonnington said, “Okay. Copy. Box box. Box box.”

      If you don’t believe me, here’s the transcript:

      • Read more carefully next time. I said: “Considering Hamilton looked at the big screens in Monaco and decided it would be better if he pitted.” He was worried about tyre temperature and thought the guys behind him had already pitted, so he got the idea that it would be better to pit. I didn’t say “he decided to pit”, I clearly said “he decided it would be better if he pitted”. Don’t know if you are native speaker. There is a clear distinction in my mind. I was careful phrasing that part.

        • I know exactly what you wrote. And no matter how many times you repeat your assertion the meaning of the words you committed to virtual page doesn’t change.

          The fact does not change that Hamilton “decided” nothing. He made a statement based on an observation. The decision was made solely by his crew.

          • How is it that it’s so hard for you to understand? I cannot believe I am explaining this to you…
            “decided it would be better” means he preferred pitting over not pitting. Doesn’t say anything about who decides to pit or whether Hamilton caused the incident or not.
            Don’t be so blind. How do you enjoy F1 I don’t know. It must have been pretty hard for you to stick with F1 over the years when Hamilton was not winning the WDCs. If you have been watching for that long.
            Ha btw, I’m not saying I agree with your “The decision was made solely by his crew.” approach. But I don’t have any intention of arguing Monaco pit stop decision here… In the end though, however you look at the situation, it was team’s fault.
            The meanings of my words are pretty clear. So I have no problem with committing them to virtual pages. Good day to you.

  3. It’s unfortunate a wrong call for tyres is getting so much attention. It happens pretty frequently, even to the best. See Ayrton Senna at Spa, 1992 for example as well as Monaco a few races ago, etc. I don’t know about everyone else but the Monaco call looked like a bad call instantly, whereas this one didn’t give me that impression until the rain fall decreased rather rapidly rather than increased, only to increase some laps later when Hamilton and Vettel came in. Bad calls can happen to anyone when weather is variable. Even the weather forecast itself is, of course, rarely solid.

    • Agree entirely.
      When the weather is like that you have to roll the dice Right doesn’t necessarily mean smart, just luck; wrong, unlucky.

  4. Unfortunately Kimi seems to have completely lost the plot. Hard to see how Ferrari would keep him on given his recent string of embarrassing incidents…

  5. In changing conditions, there are winners and losers. If all the drivers and teams made the right decisions at the right time, the race would lack the drama we’ve grown used to seeing.
    Reading this and similar articles, I wonder just how many of the writers knew with certainty that Kimi had made a horlicks when he changed to wets – and not a couple of laps later. Because I certainly felt Lewis Hamilton had cocked up when he put on the wets.

    • But don’t you find it strange that Arrivabene is heaping continuous praise on Seb and pitwall for getting the decision right, whilst throwing Kimi under the bus because his failed?

      Do you think he would’ve done the opposite had it been Seb?

      I’ve long held the belief that despite all his charm offensive in front of the media, he is not really a fan of Kimi’s.

        • I agree.

          Arrivabene’s concocted drama on deciding the 2016 driver line up has become apparent and annoying.

          It’s obvious the decision was made weeks ago.

          • +1
            I’m getting tired of this BS and wish they would just make the announcement.

      • The thing to remember too is, Ferarri want Vettel to beat Kimi, stops the Italian press asking awkward questions like, would Alonso be winning in this car?

        • Well.. I’m sure Italian press would ask such a question, since they also said “dream of the title is slipping further and further away” after British GP. It looks like they were indeed sleeping the whole season and also before the season when Ferrari said they are not going to be fighting for the championship yet.

      • The vast majority of team bosses are two faced, it’s the way of F1. Don’t forget Arrivabene is going to be under pressure too. This year’s car is streets ahead of last year’s car and not too far behind the Mercedes. He’s got to produce the results or he’ll be getting the boot. If that means the expensive Kimi loses his seat, so that Arrivabene keeps his job, that is what will happen.
        If Kimi wants to stay in F1, and none of us know what he really thinks, he might get a job swap with Bottas, but he’ll have to take a big hit in his back pocket.

    • Absolutely. In the kind of stop start rain conditions we had at Silverstone there was a huge amount of luck involved.

      Kimi is under pressure to deliver “a result” hence the need for him was greater to be first to guess right and gain an advantage.

    • Like I said to Gregor above, it’s not so much that Kimi gambled and he lost, it’s Arrivabene’s move to absolve the team of playing any part in the decision.

      Kimi is a man on an island all by himself.

      • Unfortunately i take a lot of your comments with a grain of salt! the position has been made quite clear and the radio messages were broadcast.
        it was a gamble to come in and change to inters and others also did it. it could well have turned out to be an insoired gamble, leading to a possible kimi victory. it didnt work out, but if it had, who would you be crediting with an inspired decision? kimi or ferrari?

  6. Potential biography titles:

    “Getting reemed twice by the Scuderia: The Kimi story.”


    “The Iceman: Trusting Italians bearing gifts.”


    “Kimi: Thrown under the bus twice; a story of survival.”

      • Joke? Fantasy? Whatever. I didn’t believe it then and then suddenly Kimi out quali-ed Vettel. I thought WTF? Could it be real? Nah. There were too many holes to believe that craziness but if, if Kimi had won or podium-ed and Vettel came in 9th, I would have sought out that comment again and re-read it. Weirder, unbelieveable things have been true. Think Patty Hearst.

  7. Kimi should tell Ferrari to fuck off and swap with Bottas or replace Alonso at McLaren when Fred had enough of it.

    • Next to Massa again. I think not. In an unreliable McLaren again? Nah. If Kimi leaves Ferrari, I expect he’s out of F1 for good. He has said as much. He’s got money. He’s got a kid now.

    • I’m sure Williams could find someone better/cheaper than Kimi to replace Bottas with, and McLaren already have 2 juniors who would do just as good a job for free!

      I think Kimi’s time is up

  8. It really is disgusting to watch teams spring into action and play games with drivers. Knowing they wield the “access” hammer over the heads of the media, they plant pro-team propaganda in an effort to neuter what a driver explains.

    The teams already know that when a compliant media does their bidding a large enough sector or the public will parrot the team’s propaganda to ensure the team remains relatively unhindered in carrying out whatever agenda it has for a given driver and for itself.


    • +1 This is yet another episode in Ferrari-Raikkonen Saga. A bit too repetitive though, they should find more creative ways and tools for firing Raikkonen. This is a little to similar to 2008 for my taste. Using press as always…

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