Kimi Raikkonen blames driving style for Shanghai struggle after finishing eighth
Finn trails in nearly a minute behind Alonso as 2014 woes continues
By James Galloway in Shanghai. Last Updated: 20/04/14 3:08pm
Kimi Raikkonen admitted his driving style was likely to blame for his disappointing Chinese GP weekend, with the Finn acknowledging his side of the Ferrari garage has "plenty of work" to do to improve his form.
While Fernando Alonso enjoyed an impressive Shanghai weekend and delivered the first podium finish of Ferrari's hitherto off-colour 2014, Raikkonen in the sister car dropped out in Q2 for the second time this season and then finished only eighth in the race, nearly a minute behind his team-mate.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Raikkonen, who took sweary exception to a question from a reporter about his motivation, was at a loss to explain what had exactly gone wrong and conceded there was certainly no silver bullet for his current on-track ails.
"A difficult weekend overall. For what reasons I don't know yet. But hopefully we find some reason or at least some cure for it to fix it, whatever it is," the Finn told reporters.
"In the race [I was] just was slow. It was the grip overall, front and rear end, not really any major things I could say 'This is it'. In the last stint when it was new tyres, it felt pretty okay for a few laps but then it got difficult again.
"I don't know if it's the temperature of the tyres that I cannot get working because obviously with the new tyres it seems to be okay and then once they get older it seems to be very difficult. So a lot of things to see and fix and hopefully find some cure because obviously it was pretty difficult overall, the whole weekend."
The 2007 World Champion went on to offer up one possible explanation for his lack of pace, however - his famously smooth driving style. The Finn admitted the cool Shanghai conditions had hindered him generating sufficient heat into his tyres. He also conceded it was a driving trait he was largely stuck with.
"It's probably more to do with my driving style plus the weather," he said after a weekend in which track temperatures rarely rose above 25 degrees.
"I don't think I work the tyres very hard. So obviously when it's cool conditions and wet conditions it's been many years that it's been hard to get the tyres working. Today it just feels that when you have a new tyre it works well until the grip from the new tyres goes away and obviously you have to go slower and then you start cooling down the tyres more. Everything goes round and round and you cannot fix that. I reckon it's more to do with that.
"It's the thing that everybody hates but there's not a magic thing and I can change everything in my driving and suddenly fix."
Having returned to Ferrari over the winter after a four-year absence, Raikkonen has collected just 11 points from the first four flyaway rounds following finishes of seventh, 12th, tenth and now eighth - 40 fewer than Alonso.
He acknowledged it had been a tough start but expressed confidence his results would turn.
"We don't want to finish in these kind of positions, but I'd take this rather than nothing," Raikkonen added.
"Obviously there's a lot of work to do. We haven't had a single race where we have been happy with the things all the time - one day has been good and one day another race [not].
"Things have been pretty difficult overall but I'm sure once we get a bit more knowledge we can work things out. Right now it's not the easiest thing, the easiest races but that's how it goes."
The 34-year-old also took heart from the fact the other Ferrari finished on the podium alongside the dominant Mercedes'.
"We know that we improved things, we improved things for every race. If you would take from Australia to here we made a lot of improvements," Raikkonen explained.
"Obviously it's hard to see it outside, but we know ourselves, and it seems to work. I was pretty happy with the car last race - the race didn't go to plan - but here overall to start with I had some issue which meant I couldn't run and that didn't really help. But it's just been a difficult weekend.
"At least I got a few points but for the team it was an overall better weekend and for sure it gives some good feeling because they are working hard to improve things."