Räikkönen annoyed after finishing “only” second in Bahrain
Felipe Massa restores Ferrari faith after early blunders
The result of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix saw Finland’s Kimi Räikkönen take over the top position in the drivers’ overall standings. But this could not be read from the miffed face of the man himself, after he came home second in Sunday's race, for on the podium the current Formula 1 World Champion looked anything but happy.
Was it the hot Bahrain sun that caused Räikkönen to frown, or perhaps the fact that he was less than able to challenge his teammate Felipe Massa of Brazil in the race?
“This was one of those weekends, when nothing goes right”, Räikkönen commented.
“We could not find the right tunings for the car the whole time. This is how it goes sometimes. But if in such difficult conditions I can still come in second and take the lead in the championship points, then I suppose that’s a pretty good result.”
When asked how it was possible that the car settings were so wrong even though Ferrari had spent six days testing in Bahrain in the winter and that Massa’s car seemed to work perfectly, Räikkönen replied: “The conditions were totally different now. Sometimes to find the right settings is a minor miracle, and when we fail to accomplish this everything becomes a struggle. It wasn’t the first time that this has happened.”
In the race itself, Räikkönen eventually accepted the fact that he could not challenge his teammate.
“It might have been possible, had I managed to overtake him at some point, but every time I got closer to him he somehow managed to slip away”, Räikkönen said. “After the final pit stop I did not even really try any more.”
For Felipe Massa the victory was particularly sweet, as the Brazilian had failed to bring home any points from the first two races of the season. Instead, his mistakes in the races had attracted bucket-loads of criticism.
“The recent weeks have not been easy”, Massa admitted. “I have had plenty of time to reflect on what went on in the previous races. But that is past now, and I believe that this result will help me in the coming races as well.”
For the Finnish McLaren pilot Heikki Kovalainen the Bahrain race was like a rollercoaster ride. The start was a heart-stopper, as his teammate Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain failed to move and Kovalainen had to react extremely quickly to avoid a collision.
Shortly after the start Kovalainen overtook Räikkönen, but already on the same lap he bungled a breaking causing one of his tyres to “turn into a cube”.
“I’ve never felt such violent shaking, but the team assured me through the radio that according to their readings everything was OK.”
Still, Kovalainen had to let Räikkönen and Germany’s Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) go past him, and in the end the Finn was fifth at the chequered flag.
Nico Rosberg (Williams), the son of the Finnish 1982 Formula One World Champion Keke Rosberg, secured one Championship point by finishing eighth.
In the drivers' table Kimi Räikkönen now holds the lead with 19 points, followed by Nick Heidfeld in second on 16, and Lewis Hamilton, Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber - third on Sunday ), and Heikki Kovalainen are jointly in third place with 14 points each.
Interestingly, the season so far, which has produced three different winners in three races, has demonstrated that it may not be a Ferrari-McLaren procession this year.
The top of the manufacturers' table is held by BMW-Sauber, though admittedly they are only one point clear of Ferrari and two ahead of McLaren. Pole position in Sunday's race went to Kubica in a BMW-Sauber.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Räikkönen and Kovalainen enjoy success in Malaysian GP (25.3.2008)