May 29 (GMM) Despite making the podium, Kimi Raikkonen was far from happy after Sunday’s Monaco GP.
The pole sitter was leading the prestigious race until the round of pitstops, when his Ferrari teammate and championship leader Sebastian Vettel stayed out longer and re-emerged to win.
“Feelings were hot in the Ferrari garage,” Toni Vilander, a broadcaster for Finland’s C More and a personal friend of Raikkonen’s, said.
“Kimi’s engineer was very upset and Kimi was obviously angry. Maybe things went on that we don’t know about.”
The obvious conclusion – although Ferrari denies it – was that the team deliberately engineered the situation so that Vettel scored maximum points ahead of the Finn.
“We do not give team orders,” team boss Maurizio Arrivabene is quoted by Iltalehti.
“They had permission to fight with each other, and they did so,” he insisted.
Vettel agreed with his boss that Ferrari’s pit strategy simply happened to work out in his favour.
“We are racing, we get along well, I can understand that Kimi’s upset,” said the German.
But from Mercedes’ perspective, Monaco was perhaps the turning point of 2017. The former champions struggled all weekend and now Ferrari might have made a clear move to install Vettel as ‘number 1’.
“It’s difficult for the leader here to be passed — unless the team decides to favour one car,” Lewis Hamilton, now 25 points behind Vettel after six races, said.
“It is clear to me that Ferrari has chosen a number 1 driver.”
So will Mercedes now have to follow suit, by making it equally clear that Valtteri Bottas’ is Hamilton’s wing-man?
“I don’t want to answer that question,” said Finn Bottas. “I also don’t believe it’s the right time for it.
“I think I have shown good performance this weekend and the team knows my potential.”
What is apparently clear is that Ferrari has definitely moved ahead of Mercedes in the pecking order.
“The Ferraris seem to work everywhere,” said Hamilton, “so the next 14 races will be very difficult.
“It’s obvious that I cannot afford another weekend like this.”