F1Weekly podcast # 768



It’s never easy to come and win even if, obviously, that was our target. Yesterday the qualifying didn’t go the way we wanted and we couldn’t extract the best out of ourselves. Today, starting from third position, we had to try something different, but it didn’t work out and we finished where we started.

We were running second after a good start which allowed me to get past Max, I was happy and confident when I got the call to box, I knew I needed a mega out lap to try and challenge for the lead but it didn’t work. I lost time behind another car and the brakes got a little too hot, it was close but we got the worse of it.

I fully support the team’s decision because, as I am sitting in the car, I can’t be aware of everything that goes on, so I rely on them. Our target was not to finish third, but today we just did not have enough speed.




LCH extended his lead in the championship to 40 points over Sebastian Vettel after converting pole position into victory at the Singapore Grand Prix.

The result represents a hammer blow for Vettel’s title hopes as the Ferrari driver could only manage third place behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in second. Vettel had gone into the Singapore weekend desperate for victory after winning just one of the last four races compared to Hamilton’s three, but a poor qualifying performance on Saturday and a botched strategy on Sunday saw him lose another 10 points to his title rival.

Vettel had moved ahead of Verstappen for second place at the start of the race, but Ferrari dealt him a lousy hand by switching him to the ultra-soft compound tyre instead of the more resilient soft at his on and only pit stop on lap 13. Hamilton pitted a lap later and Mercedes opted to counter Ferrari’s strategy by switching the race leader to softs — the safer and more stable tyre to use for such a long stint to the chequered flag. INCREDIBLE!



SONOMA, California (Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018) – Ryan Hunter-Reay ignored the hype surrounding the battle for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series championship and set about the task at hand: winning the Verizon P1 Award in qualifying for the INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma.

The Andretti Autosport veteran won the pole position for the INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma with a dramatic last lap in the Firestone Fast Six, the climactic round of knockout qualifying. Hunter-Reay blasted around the Sonoma Raceway road course in 1 minute, 17.6277 seconds (110.605 mph) in the No. 28 DHL Honda to earn the first starting position for Sunday’s season finale.

INDYCAR GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA: Official qualifying results

In doing so, Hunter-Reay also prevented championship leader Scott Dixon from earning an important bonus point awarded to the fast qualifier. Dixon still takes a 29-point lead over Hunter-Reay’s teammate Alexander Rossi into the race that offers double points. Team Penske teammates Will Power and Josef Newgarden also remain mathematically alive in the title chase, each 87 points behind Dixon, as the Verizon IndyCar Series champion will be decided at the last race of the season for the 13th straight year.

But qualifying belonged to Hunter-Reay, who picked up the seventh pole position of his Indy car career and first since Long Beach in April 2014.

“This (No.) 28 DHL Honda team did just such a good job putting a great car under me,” Hunter-Reay said. “It’s nice to finally get that pole at Sonoma because we’ve been knocking on the door for it for years, so definitely a good team effort.

“I’m certainly doing my part (to help Rossi); I just took a point away from Dixon, so we’re doing everything we can do.”

Dixon, in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, will start second after a lap of 1:17.7599 (110.417 mph). Dixon is chasing a fifth Verizon IndyCar Series championship that would leave him behind only A.J. Foyt (seven) for most season titles in Indy car history.

“I think we definitely had a shot to put the PNC Bank car on pole, but we’ll have to chalk that up to driver error,” Dixon said. “I had a lap going that would have gotten the pole, but I just made a mistake and it cost us.

“We’ve had a fast car all weekend here at Sonoma and we’ve stayed at the pointy end of the field since we unloaded. Hopefully that will continue in the race (Sunday) and we can finish the season strong.”

Rossi, Power and Newgarden will all be within arm’s reach of Dixon when the green flag drops on the 2.385-mile permanent road course hosting the season finale for the fourth straight year. Rossi will start sixth in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda (1:18.0019, 110.074 mph) after opting for Firestone black-sidewall primary tires in the Firestone Fast Six instead of the traditional choice for softer red-sidewall alternates.

“I don’t think we had the pace for Ryan, but we decided to try something different and see where it got us,” Rossi said.

“I don’t see us starting behind Dixon (as) that big of an issue. We just need to make sure we build a good race car and make sure we do the best job that we can and extract the most out of the (No.) 27.”



Vettel was one corner from the end of a lap that looked set to put him up with Raikkonen and Hamilton.

The German was able to get the car back to the pits but the extent of the damage ended his session.

Vettel slid sideways into the wall on the exit of Turn 21, at the end of what would have been his fastest lap of the season, catching it with his right-rear wheel.

It was a glancing blow and the wheel stayed attached to the car but he immediately felt damage and pulled straight into the pit entry.

As he parked in the Ferrari pit, hydraulic fluid was pouring from the back of the car.

“We lost some time, which is not ideal, but nevertheless the feel I had for the car was all right and we should be fine for tomorrow,” said Vettel, who is 30 points behind Hamilton with seven races to go.

It was very close and I expect it to be very close tomorrow.”

The four-time world champion was the second driver to fall foul of the unyielding concrete walls. Sauber’s Charles Leclerc, whose promotion to Ferrari as Vettel’s team-mate next season was announced this week, crashed in first practice.

Leclerc, who has never raced at Singapore before, wiped off his car’s right-front wheel and suspension but it was repaired in time for the second session, in which he was 14th fastest, two places and 0.25secs slower than team-mate Marcus Ericsson.



Can you explain to us what happened and why you’re on the move for next year?

Raikkonen: “I guess you know what happened, there’s no need to explain what happened. This is what has happened and I think, as we’ve said many times before, it was not up to me, it was not my decision, in the end. Anything that happened after that it was my decision and this is what we have, this is the outcome. At least we have an outcome.”

You say not your decision to leave Ferrari, but was your decision to join Sauber. Why have you decided to do that?

Raikkonen: “Why not?”

What is about the team? On current form there’s quite a performance differential between Ferrari and Sauber…

Raikkonen: “But then there is a lot of differences between all the cars [laughs]. If you take all the teams there is not many cars if you take this year that are on the same level. That’s how it’s always been. We’ll see what happens in the future.”

What have you been told about the performance? Tell us about why you want to go back?

Raikkonen: “Because I want to go… [laughs] Why do you make it so complicated? I don’t know anything more than you guys purely on where they will be finishing. Obviously I don’t know what will happen. Nobody knows what will happen. We can always guess. My reasons are enough for me, I don’t really care what others think. As long as I’m happy with my own reasons that’s happy for me.”

And you are still passionate about racing?

Raikkonen: “No, I’m not actually! It’s just by pure head games for you guys I happen to sign and I’m going to spend two years there just not being happy.”

Well Kimi, thanks for the insight…

Raikkonen: [smirking] “No worries”.

Raikkonen said his competitive instincts ultimately helped guide his decision.

“Racing, that’s about it, not the other work. I always said that I would stop when I feel it’s right for me. I don’t need to come if I don’t feel like it. Racing is the big part of the weekend that I enjoy most, the reason we are here, the driving is the reason, the only reason. That’s normal for us.

“It’s not the big part of the weekend like it used to be, things have changed a bit, but that’s the only reason for me. The other part that comes with it has always been there, comes with the package and it’s not often you get a package that is only good things, it’s OK. We know each other now, it’s always the same questions and the same answers, so it’s not too difficult.”



Scuderia Ferrari picked 20-year-old Charles Leclerc to replace former Formula 1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, the racing team said in a statement on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old Finn, popularly known as the “Iceman,” plans to join Sauber F1 for the next two years, he said in an Instagram post, marking a return to the team he started his Formula 1 career with in 2001. Raikkonen will leave Ferrari at the end of the 2018 season.

Leclerc made his Formula 1 debut with the Sauber team earlier this year, and will drive for Ferrari for the 2019 season.

Amid speculation on Raikkonen’s future with Ferrari, more than 87,000 racing fans signed an online petition asking the team to extend his contract for another year. The Finn remains Ferrari’s last world champion after he won the title in 2007 in his first year with them.

Raikkonen recorded his 100th Formula 1 podium finish at the Italian Grand Prix on September 2 when he came in second. He is currently third in the driver’s championship, 62 points behind teammate Sebastian Vettel, whose contract with Ferrari was extended until 2020 last year

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast