Sebastian Vettel says that his Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen deserved to get better results in the first four races of 2017.
Vettel has won two races so far this season, but Raikkonen has finished on the podium just once. His third place in Sochi means the Finn is now 27 points in arrears to Vettel in the drivers championship.
“He probably didn’t have the races he deserved,” Vettel said this week.
“Things didn’t go 100 per cent in his direction so far,” the four-time world champion continued. “But I don’t think there’s any doubt inside the paddock that he’s one of the most talented drivers we have.
“I don’t think there’s anyone who doubts his skills or his talent,” he added. “I don’t think anybody else could go to WRC and perform at the level he did, just come back and be right up to the pace again.
“You need to have a lot of things coming your way,” he pointed out.
“If you look back last year, I had some races where things didn’t come way. It’s up and down. But usually throughout the season it sort of equals out.”
Raikkonen has been fending off speculation that he’s out of favour with Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne. Getting into the top three in the Russian Grand Prix certainly came at the right time for him,
It was “a more positive weekend compared to the first three races,” Raikkonen said after the race.
“Obviously I’m happy for the podium. But I’m disappointed to lose a place at the start instead of gaining one,” he added. “Now we need to keep working; small details can make a big difference in the end.”
Bernie Ecclestone has hit back at F1 CEO Chase Carey’s comments about the former supremo’s management of Formula 1 in the recent years and his lack of vision.
Carey, who praised Ecclestone for growing the sport to its blockbuster status, said that the 86-year-old had managed F1 for the short term benefit of its shareholders and had failed to bring Grand Prix racing into the digital age.
While Mr. E is not entirely disputing Chase Carey’s claims, he denies his guidance was ill-fated or inefficceint.
“He’s probably dead right,” he told the Mail.
“If an idea was not going to make money or waste everyone’s time I did say ‘No’.
“He’s not very specific, is he?” he continued.
“I’d like him to say, ‘Bernie did this or that and it was stupid’.
“I ran a company as chief executive that had to show a profit. If I ran it inefficiently Liberty probably wouldn’t have bought the shares.
“I had to make sure we could get the maximum financially we could for the company to make it interesting for somebody to buy, which is obviously what happened.
“It appears he doesn’t need to make money any more. But it’s good he has an opinion.
“Maybe there are things I missed and maybe they will come up with things and hopefully it moves forward,” he added.
As Liberty Media reaches its 100 days at the helm of Formula 1, and while it’s still early days, Ecclestone also questions the company’s accomplishments to date.
“What has he done up to now?” asked Ecclestone.
“He said he was going to open up the paddock, get more people in. And what he did was withdraw paddock passes from senior Russians in Sochi, apparently including President Putin.
“He talks about the social media side, but I haven’t seen anything he’s done that has been beneficial to Formula One,” he added.
McLaren boss Zak Brown believes Fernando Alonso has as good a chance of winning the Indy 500 on May 28th as any of the top drivers in the field.
Brown was the principal instigator behind Alonso’s venture at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and enjoyed a front-row seat on Wednesday when the Spaniard made his debut at the Brickyard.
All things considered, the McLaren executive believes the two-time F1 world champion is in for a shot at winning the Indy 500.
“I think he can win,” Brown told CNN’s World Sport.
“He’s going in with the mindset of doing the best job possible and if he’s able to do that, and if he’s got a good car underneath him — which he does — he’s absolutely capable of winning.
“There’s about 15 people who can win the race — to give you a sense of how competitive it is — and he is one of those,” Brown added.
“He knows it’s a long way to the race and so he’s just laser focused.”
Asked about the possibility that Alonso’s experience at Indy could prove compelling and lead to the Spaniard leaving F1 for a season in the US, Brown said he was thinking about that prospect for now.
“I think he wants to race competitively, he’s got a lot of time left in his career and has a decent amount of time left in his F1 career.
“Something like this just motivates him but I don’t think it necessarily takes him off his track which is to win another world championship.”