GOOD WEEKEND FOR FERRARI: Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished in fourth place at the 2014 Singapore GP. Image: AP
SINGAPORE - Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso were optimistic for the future after the much-changed team showed signs of progress with both drivers in the points at the 2014 Singapore GP on Sunday (September 21).
Alonso finished fourth under the floodlights at the Marina Bay street circuit while Raikkonen was eighth after complaining about being stuck behind the slower Williams cars for much of a race renowned for a lack of overtaking.
That came in the first Grand Prix since long-serving Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo announced in September 2014 he was stepping down.
CHANGE AT FERRARI
His exit will follow that of team principal Stefano Domenicali, who was replaced by Marco Mattiacci in April and Raikkonen said the changes were having a positive impact.
Raikkonen told reporters: "People at the top think there is a need for changes. Things go forward and things keep changing. I think its a good move, there has been a lot going on with Ferrari in 2014."
"Its not an easy place to be when the results are not good, but I think we have a great group of people and know where the weak points are and we have been improving them a lot this year for the coming years. They are making sure that things are in the right place to put us where we should be.
"I think they are good changes and it will pay off in future."
Raikkonen was plagued by a software problem on Saturday (September 20) that curtailed his qualifying bid and he started the 2014 Singapore GP in seventh.
The winding, narrow street circuit does not lend itself to overtaking and Raikkonen said he had struggled to get past Massa, the man he replaced at Ferrari this season, despite having the pace.
Raikkonen said: "For most of the race stuck behind the williams, mainly Massa, I think we had a bit more pace than them but obviously we cannot get past. You cannot get close enough to attack."
The four points he collected, along with Alonso's 12, helped Ferrari close the gap on Williams to nine points in the race for third place in the constructors' championship with five Grands Prix remaining this season - but double points in the Abu Dhabi finale.
It is not a position the most successful team in the sport are used to finding themselves in.
Raikkonen, who is 11th in the drivers championship, said: "Its been a difficult year and there is still a bit of work to do and the aim is to beat them (Williams). For sure we improve the car.. Its a lot, lot better. We made small changes.
"When we get the right place and the right conditions ...I think we can be very fast... but
when we get stuck behind people in certain races it just looks much more worse than it is."
GOOD RACE STRATEGY
Alonso, who won the Singapore race in 2008 and 2010, briefly threatened a third win before an untimely safety car on the 37th of the 60 lap race damaged his hopes.
Alonso bemoaned his old tyres for his struggles to attack Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull in third place over the closing laps: "The strategy I think was good, just the moment of the safety car was a bit unlucky.
"I think the car is getting better but the results...they didn't change too much. Germany, Hungary, Belgium and here we were more or less similar. Fourth, fifth, third so already its four or five races where we seem more competitive."
Click here for our full 2014 Singapore GP race report.
2014 Singapore GP quali and practice times: