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Raikkonen: Mercedes pace meant I couldn't save tyres during Italian GP

Written by  Sep 04, 2018

Kimi Raikkonen has admitted he was in a somewhat of a lose-lose situation as he looked to fend off Lewis Hamilton during the Italian Grand Prix.

The Finn was left as the Scuderia's only hope after teammate Sebastian Vettel spun out of contention following contact with the Mercedes driver on the opening lap.

Retaliating to a first attack at the safety car restart, Kimi held the lead until his tyres gave up in the closing laps allowing Hamilton to make the move into the first chicane and take the win.

“I tried but it was impossible in the end, unfortunately," Raikkonen said afterwards. “It is hard to take but we tried and we had great support from a lot of people.

“At least we take second place and we’ll keep fighting," he told the Tifosi on the podium. "Thank you and sorry for not winning. Next time.”

The crucial stage came around the pit-stops when Ferrari pitted the 2007 world champion in response to Mercedes coming out into the pit-lane before later retreating.

That left him having to use all the grip of his Soft compound Pirellis in the initial laps before getting caught behind a block in the form of the other Mercedes driven by Valtteri Bottas.

"That's what happens sometimes. It's a very normal game that is being played by all the top three teams. Sometimes it works and sometimes not," he claimed.

“I think for sure we had the speed, but unfortunately our rear tyres went. There was nothing left on the rear-left tyre.

"Luckily it lasted until the end of the race," he added. "It was a losing battle after that point."

In reflection though, Raikkonen believes there was nothing he could have done differently to avoid the tyre situation.

"It's always easy to say afterwards, but it wasn't really much that we could have relaxed," he said. "Well you can, but then you let him past.

"There was no moment we just could take it easy and relax. It wasn't really a case of, 'Let’s just go around and save the tyres for the last moment'.

"There are so many little things that make you push that there's no chance to save much. We had to go, and unfortunately it didn’t pay off today."

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