Kimi Räikkönen was in a philosophical mood after finishing in sixth place in Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix.
The Ferrari driver’s race was – as was the case in the preceding United States Grand Prix – compromised by inconsistent tyre performance that saw him lose ground to those ahead of him while he gambled on running a one-stop race with the second stint on Pirelli’s Medium compound tyres.
Räikkönen was left to regret not having run this compound all weekend, and with no data on the tyres’ performance to go on, he struggled with a lack of grip.
“Once we put the Medium tyres on the grip was quite poor overall. It wasn’t a disaster but they had quite poor grip. It was the first time I ran them this weekend, I’m sure they would have lasted the distance,” he told journalists after the race.
“The plan was one stop. We discussed on the radio, we were a bit unsure but afterwards when we looked, we could have stayed out longer with the first set, like Seb did and it worked out for him. We were discussing it, if we come in or not. I’m sure the tyres would have lasted but I’m sure I would have lost a place. I think the end result didn’t change an awful lot from my side.”
In the end, the Finn opted to make a second visit to the pits, forcing the hand of Red Bull Racing to do the same with Daniel Ricciardo in a bid to keep track position over Sebastian Vettel. The strategy worked, with Ricciardo emerging behind Vettel after his second visit to the pits, climaxing in a controversial tussle between the former teammates in the closing stages of the race.
“We tried to do something and if any good came out of it, it was that we pushed Red Bull to make a second stop too, as we were trying to beat Ricciardo and that helped Seb’s race a bit,” he explained.
“It’s one of those things – we tried something, I’m happy we tried and I have no complains. [It’s] easy to say ‘We should have done this and that, it would give us a better result’, but I think overall it kind of helped the other car.
With fresher tyres at his disposal for his third stint, Räikkönen closed up onto the back of Force India driver Nico Hülkenberg and managed to get by the German at Turn 4, although it was a close call when Hülkenberg spun trying to keep position.
“In the first part of the race we were on different tyres. I think, in the end, I could have tried to pass him in that stint, but we knew that they were going to come in and we had to take care of the brakes,” he explained.
“There was not really a point to force it through. They are very quick on the straights, it was quite tricky to follow him through the last corner. I struggled [on the last set of tyres] when I got close to him, the grip was quite poor anyhow, so it was really hard to get a good run out of the last corner.
“I tried quite a few times, then we had to back off for a while and then I went again. In the end, we had enough grip, comparing to him. I had a chance, I don’t really know if we touched or not. I saw he was very close, I tried to keep it fair and I think there was enough space for both. I saw when he spun but I didn’t really feel a touch, I think it was more or less OK, racing wise.”
Image via Scuderia Ferrari