Kimi Raikkonen talks planned by Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne
Ferrari president questions if Finn was 'tired' during Chinese GP; Arrivabene admits team may choose No 1 driver
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 11/04/17 6:51am
Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne says the team may have to sit down with Kimi Raikkonen following his disappointing performance in the Chinese GP, and has questioned if the Finn was tired.
Raikkonen grew increasingly agitated over team radio in Sunday's race, first complaining of engine issues before questioning why he was not being brought in for a second stop as he struggled for grip.
The 2007 world champion finished fifth in Shanghai, 48 seconds behind race-winner Lewis Hamilton, and has yet to finish on the podium this season despite Ferrari proving to be Mercedes' closest challengers.
Marchionne told Sky in Italy: "Perhaps we need to sit down and discuss with Kimi, because today he seemed to have other things on his mind. It was not his day. Was he tired?"
Raikkonen out-qualified Sebastian Vettel 11-10 last season but has suffered a tough start to 2017, lining up fourth in both Australia and China while his team-mate has twice been on the front row.
Vettel is also joint-top of the Drivers' Championship with Lewis Hamilton on 43 points going into this weekend's Bahrain GP and already has nearly double the number of points Raikkonen has picked up (22).
Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene, who questioned Raikkonen's use of the radio in China, conceded that Ferrari may have to choose a No 1 driver if their championship challenge to Mercedes lasts the season.
Asked by Sky F1's Martin Brundle if Ferrari will treat Vettel as a No 1, Arrivabene said: "We are at the early stage of the championship.
"In the future the drivers know the rules of engagement. I'm sure that if we find ourselves in the situation to fight for the championship - now is too early - then we will make a decision."
Raikkonen continued to question his team's strategy calls after the race as he finished behind both Red Bulls, who had started behind him on the grid.
"I think we could have, should have had a better result - but this is what we got," the Finn said.
"I think we should have changed earlier, but obviously it's easy to look at what happened and say after the race.
"The car was good when the tyres were fresh, but it seemed to lose the front and at a place like this, you give a lot of time away and struggle to drive.
"I feel we should have done much better..."
'Mercedes and Ferrari must choose a No 1'
Hamilton and Vettel both appear to have been able to extract the maximum from their respective cars this season and have been around two tenths up on their team-mates in qualifying in Australia and China.
Hamilton said after the Chinese GP that he was expecting his "closest fight" for a Drivers' Championship with Vettel after the pair exchanged lap times in Shanghai.
During Mercedes' dominance of the sport through the last three years, the Silver Arrows allowed Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to fight it out with neither driver given preferential status.
However, Sky F1 expert Brundle believes the two-team fight this year means both Mercedes and Ferrari must soon choose their No 1.
"At this level, if you are two tenths quicker than your team-mate that's an awful lot," he said.
"Very quickly I believe both teams are going to need to choose a No 1 driver. The constructors' title, and even the drivers' title, might be all about how well [Valtteri] Bottas and, if it is Raikkonen, Raikkonen can do in what will then be perceived as the second car.
"As soon as there is any kind of points' margin between the two Mercedes and two Ferrari drivers, they will have to pick one. They can't start letting their drivers steal points off each other or get into scraps.
"Their main fight now is looking at the other team. They need to make sure they don't do what McLaren did and Williams did when they have two drivers fighting each other. They would lose the big game."
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