2007 champion Kimi Raikkönen could not finish the race because of problems at the pit stops, but he is upbeat by Ferrari's new contender, the SF15-T which proved to be a huge step forward compared to last year's machinery.
The Finnish driver's struggles started right after the start. He got off very well, but was then tangled by cars from behind after forced by his team mate Sebastian Vettel to slow down to avoid contact.
„Toro Rosso hit me behind and after that my car went to anti-stall mode, so car slowed down.” - said the Finn.
Raikkonen then had to fight his way back and switched to a two-stopper. Driving in free air, the Finnish driver was flying and constantly lightening up the timing screens with best sector times. His soft compound tyres didn't show any degradation and even after 20 laps he was chasing fastest laps.
„Good feeling from the car, but disappointed,” insisted Kimi.
The reborn Raikkönen confirmed to MTV that Ferrari has built a very strong car which may be a second off Mercedes in qualifying trim, but is much stronger in the all-important race mode.
"I think we are not far away from Mercedes (on race pace), today just too many things were against us."
"We had the pace to be on a podium, we have a strong race car, a fast car , the difference is smaller in race than in qualifying."
Ferrari's new team principal, Maurizio Arrivabene wasn't delighted with the results because of Räikkönen's problems, but he was also happy to see the team's new car on the podium. He was seen talking with the pit crew after the dismal pit stops. The Italian confirmed he didn't inte0dn to scold anyone, but wanted to calm the team down.
"I went down into the box first of all to calm them down because I didn't want them to panic," he said.
"Second, I was asking the mechanics what had happened and if he could explain it to me. I simply said to him 'calm down, be focused, don't worry'".
Ferrari seem to be reborn after a six-year drought period with a reinforced technical team, an all-new team structure and a significant cultural shift.