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Kimi questions Ferrari's strategy as another winless season looms

2016-09-19 10:26

FERRARI WOES:Raikkonen wonders whether pitting cost him a podium spot at the Singapore GP. Image: AP / Wong Maye-E

Singapore - Kimi Raikkonen questioned Ferrari's race strategy after a fourth-place finish at the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday (September 18) as the Italian team looks down the barrel of another winless season.

Raikkonen was running in third place when Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in fourth pitted for fresh tires with 16 laps to go.

READ: As it happened - 2016 Singapore GP

That put Ferrari in a dilemma. Should it bring the Finn into the pits the next lap, fit him with the same ultra-soft tires as Hamilton's and hope Raikkonen gets out of the pits still ahead? Or should it let Raikkonen stay out with a lead of around 30 seconds and hope Hamilton can't catch up?

Singapore dilemma

As the team frantically weighed up the options, Raikkonen yelled over the radio, "Are we boxing (pitting) this lap?" only to get the reply from his engineer: "I'll let you know."

The team went for the first option, bringing Raikkonen in, but could not get him back out ahead of Hamilton, who held on for third.

Raikkonen said post-race: "We lost the place there, I don't know how and why they managed to jump us, and I don't know what would have happened if we would have stayed out. Now we have to go through everything, see what happened and what we could have done better."

READ: 2016 Singapore GP - Rosberg holds off Ricciardo to seize F1 lead

Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene backed the decision, saying "it made sense to call him to box one more time."

Team mate Sebastian Vettel finished fifth in an impressive performance after starting at the back of the grid due to an anti-roll bar failure in qualifying.

It was a far cry from his race win at the same venue last year. Having failed to beat Mercedes on the track where its performance edge was largely negated, Ferrari seems likely to endure another winless season to match that of 2014.

Vettel said: "I know patience is not a quality of the Ferraristi. It's not a quality of mine either, we are here to win and we're not satisfied until it happens. But we're progressing step by step and one day it will pay off."

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