Kimi Raikkonen endures 'difficult' day one in Bahrain after floor and brake issues

Alonso, meanwhile, says Ferrari shouldn't 'overreact' over gap to Merc

By James Galloway.   Last Updated: 04/04/14 8:43pm

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Kimi Raikkonen's ongoing struggles with the Ferrari F14 T showed no sign of abating at the Bahrain GP on Friday, with the Finn now aiming to recover from what he admitted was a "difficult day".

Raikkonen conceded on Thursday that the issues he has been grappling with since the start of testing, which centre around his feel for the front-end of the car, wouldn't be cured by a quick fix, but he was confident a breakthrough would eventually be made.

However, there was little evidence of progress on the opening day at Sakhir as Raikkonen, who damaged the underside of his car when he launched over the new Turn Four kerb in P1, finished the faster second session in 14th place, one second down on third-placed Alonso alone.

"Overall, this was a difficult day, because I didn't feel comfortable with the car in either session," the 2007 World Champion explained.

"In the first one, I damaged the floor on the kerb at turn four and this meant I had to pit. The team did a super job, because they got me back out on track in a short time, but then, because of a problem with the brakes, I was unable to complete the programme.

Ferrari's crew work on Raikkonen's damaged floor in P1

"In the second session we concentrated on looking at the two Pirelli compounds and with the soft it was definitely better than the medium. Now we will get down to analysing all today's data, especially regarding the immediate change in the track from day to night and we will try and improve for qualifying and the race."

In contrast, Alonso enjoyed a trouble-free start to the weekend - aside that was from a comical moment in P1 when his team fitted the wrong combination of tyres to his car.

Although he ended Friday ahead of the Red Bulls on the timesheet, the one-second gap to Mercedes ahead was far more reflective Ferrari's current level of competitiveness. Alonso, with a pair of fourth places from the opening two races, again stressed, however, that Ferrari had to maximise their potential until bigger upgrades were delivered to the F14 T.

"After many daytime races, it was really strange to be running here in the dark even if it was not very different to the other night time races, so we just have to get used to it," Alonso said. "From this aspect, today was very useful, especially FP2, to learn about the behaviour of the tyres and the car.

"Even if we did a lot of running here in winter testing, now it's like starting from scratch and one has to adapt to the new indications coming from the differing track conditions. We know our strong points and the areas we must focus on to improve, but we must not overreact in trying to close the performance gap.

"At the moment we must make steady progress while still keeping an eye on reliability, which has brought us a good points haul in the first couple of races, which is always very important."

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