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Kimi Raikkonen made wrong call to pit early for inters, say Ferrari

"When it rains, it's the driver who has the final call to the pits," confirms team chief Arrivabene; Raikkonen ended up only eighth as Bottas speculation increases for 2016

Kimi Raikkonen climbs out of his Ferrari on the grid
Image: Kimi Raikkonen climbs out of his Ferrari on the grid

Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene has confirmed it was Kimi Raikkonen's call to pit early for intermediate tyres in the British Grand Prix after the Finn's race was wrecked by the decision.

In sharp contrast to Mercedes race winner Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who both picked the perfect moment to switch to the wet rubber in the closing stages at Silverstone on lap 43, Raikkonen pitted for intermediates five laps earlier as drizzly rain started to fall.

However, Raikkonen's extra laps on the grooved compound when the track wasn't fully wet lost him both track positions and time and he was forced to pit again nine laps later having burnt his intermediates up. The Finn eventually finished eighth, having run in fifth for much of the race.

And while full of praise for the timing of Vettel's call to pit after the decision earned him a surprise third place, Arrivabene conceded Raikkonen had simply got it wrong.

"I feel happy because once again, Seb made the perfect call to come into the pits, and then drove superbly to open the gap to the Williams cars," said Arrivabene.

"Also, I am pleased with a very good race strategy. We need to stay humble and not brag ourselves, because today third place came courtesy of a great drive by Seb and a great strategy - but we also need a great car.

"The strategy guys do a wonderful job, but when it rains, it's the driver who has the final call to the pits. In the case of Kimi, whose strategy was identical to Seb's, he thought it better to come in. If it had rained harder, maybe he could have won the race."

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Speaking to reporters after the race, a disappointed Raikkonen, who had just been overtaken by Vettel at Stowe before his mistimed pitstop, thought the initial rain was only going to worsen.

Image: Raikkonen switched to inters too soon

"It changed quite a lot from lap to lap. One lap it was very slippery and then it came back to turns six and seven and it got quite slippery for me and it looked like it was raining more and more," he said.

"Obviously I decided to come in [to the pits], I thought it would keep raining, but four laps too early. It was the wrong choice, but at least we tried."

Asked if his slick tyres had already started to go off when the sister Ferrari got past him, the Finn replied: "The tyres were OK, but there was a moment in [turns] seven-eight on that lap and it's very difficult to know where the slippery [bits are going to be], I got a bit of rain on the visor.

"So I lost a bit of speed on the back straight and he got past me, but I decided to come in and pit anyhow on that lap."

Raikkonen's subsequent eighth place didn't ultimate reflect what had been one of the 35-year-old's strongest weekends relative to new team-mate Vettel this season. Having proved the lead Ferrari through practice, Raikkonen then outqualified the four-time world champion for the first time in a direct fight.

Nonetheless, the pair's contrasting fortunes when the rain came at Silverstone is likely to ensure that scrutiny remains on the Finn’s future following increasing speculation over the weekend Ferrari are chasing Williams' Valtteri Bottas for 2016.

According to reports, Ferrari have offered their Grove rivals £5m to buy Bottas out of his option at the team, but Williams are holding out for four times that amount. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Force India's Nico Hulkenberg are also thought to be in the frame.

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Ted Kravitz brings you all the latest news following the British Grand Prix.

Arrivabene has repeatedly said that it is up to Raikkonen to earn a 2016 deal through his performances on track and on Sunday night the Italian insisted it was time for the constant questions about the former champion's future to stop.

"I always said that the future of Kimi is in the hands of Kimi. I don't want to talk anymore about Kimi because we have 10 races to go. At the right time, we will communicate to Kimi what we are going to do - and that's it," the Ferrari team principal declared.

"But I want to get rid of all of this [speculation]. We have two drivers; Kimi knows what he has to do and knows that his future is in hands. That's it.

"Think to be Kimi for a second. Everybody starts to talk about him since Bahrain and then you have to jump in the car and drive at 300-something kph. Is it a good mood? No, so I want Kimi to stay calm and to do his job."

Don’t miss the F1 Midweek Report for all the analysis of the British GP. Former FIA president Max Mosley and F1 correspondent for The Times Kevin Eason join Natalie Pinkham in the studio. Catch it at 8:30pm on Wednesday July 8 on Sky Sports F1.

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