Kimi Raikkonen says he was condemned to a low-key fifth place finish after qualifying as he had no way past Valtteri Bottas unless his Mercedes rival made “bigger mistakes” in the closing stages of the Singapore Grand Prix.
Raikkonen finished where he qualified in Singapore in an underwhelming race for the Finn stuck behind fellow countryman Bottas for the majority of the race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Raikkonen, who confirmed his switch from Ferrari to Alfa Romeo Sauber for 2019 during the build-up to the Singapore round, says given the tricky nature of overtaking at the tight and twisty street track despite all the pressure he placed on Bottas he was unable to find a clear route past given his Ferrari’s poor handling when following closely behind the Mercedes.
“I think he had a few lock ups kust enough for me to get very close but not enough,” Raikkonen said. “I could see he was starting to struggle with his right front tyre a bit but that didn’t slow him down enough. Once I would get closer to him I would lose a lot of traction.
“There were a few mistakes, but we needed a little bigger mistakes to have a run on him.
“It was tricky because every time I would get close to him I would lose traction out of the corners and he’d get the jump. So I never really got a good run on him. We needed a little bit more laps and then I think he would struggle more.”
Raikkonen’s fifth place marks his first non-rostrum finish when reaching the chequered flag since the Canadian Grand Prix – having retired from last month’s Belgian Grand Prix – and enabled Bottas to close up to three points behind him in the fight for third place in the Formula 1 world drivers’ standings.