Formula 1

Kimi Raikkonen blasts critics after poor Ferrari start

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Raikkonen was 50 seconds behind Alonso. (©GettyImages)
Raikkonen was 50 seconds behind Alonso. (©GettyImages).

Known as the ‘Iceman’, Kimi Raikkonen lost his cool when asked if motivation was a factor in his poor start to 2014.

The Finn has had a very difficult start to his second stint at Ferrari which was only highlighted by the huge 50-second gap between himself and team-mate Fernando Alonso at the end of the Chinese Grand Prix.

Though Raikkonen did score points in eighth on Sunday, that came as scant consolation after another poor weekend which saw him fail to qualify in the top ten.

After the race a screenshot from German TV broadcaster RTL was posted on Twitter depicting Raikkonen sat in the paddock post-race being reconciled by race engineer Antonio Spagnolo.

Kimi’s famous lack of emotion has often led to questions over his motivation for the sport and again that question was put to the 2007 champion.

“I don’t know why this comes up again and again,” Raikkonen hit back, according to German-language reports.

“If I was not motivated, I wouldn’t be here and I definitely wouldn’t be answering your questions,” he bristled.

“I’ve been around long enough to know that sometimes it is just like this.”

Efforts are being made to try to find the cause of Raikkonen’s current struggles, the Finn had a new chassis in Shanghai though little seemed to change.

For the man himself he too was unsure what could be to blame for the current gulf in performance between himself and Alonso.

“In the race I was just too slow,” he said, “but there is not one big problem that we have found.”

His own theory was the problem is “probably something to do with my driving style and the track and the temperatures”.

While Raikkonen’s woes continued his team-mate was in a much happier place following his first podium of the season beating both Red Bull’s.

The Spaniard had been on the pace all weekend with only the wet qualifying preventing a much greater challenge even if third was likely the best result possible.

Shanghai has been a good track for Ferrari historically as Alonso won there in 2013 and now heading into a three-week break before his home race in Barcelona, the two-time champion is feeling much more confident.

“In Bahrain, we were one minute behind the leaders, ninth and tenth and today we are on the podium, seven seconds behind Nico (Rosberg),” he was quoted by GMM.

Certainly the result came at the end of perhaps the most active week in recent Ferrari history as Stefano Domenicali stepped down as Team Principal and his replacement Marco Mattiacci spent his first weekend in charge merely as an observer.

When reflecting on his podium place, however, Alonso was under no illusion over who should get the praise.

“I think this podium should be dedicated to Stefano, as everything we do up to July will also be the result of his efforts,” he said.

For Mattiacci, the strains of being the head at F1′s most famous team have merely began. Despite admitting to barely sleeping for much of last week the former CEO of Ferrari in North America not only faces building relationships within the Scuderia, but also among the sport’s major power brokers.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner admitted he had “never heard of him before”, which considering the current stance taken by the Italian team and the current world champions over the 2014 rule changes, will mean working relationships will have to be developed outside the Ferrari garage.

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