Ferrari drivers demoted to the background

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Malaysia, Sepang International Circuitmy

Ferrari drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel endured different misfortunes and issues during the 56-lap long Malaysian GP after securing only the fifth and sixth place in Saturday’s qualifying session.

Ferrari introduced a raft of late-season upgrades for its 2016 car for the Malaysian GP in a bid to pose a bigger threat and challenge to Red Bull in the fierce fight for the second place in the Constructors’ Championship.

Despite to all the technical efforts, Sebastian Vettel only qualified fifth while his team-mate Kimi Räikkönen grabbed the sixth starting position.

Kimi Räikkönen had a less eventful race, however he also experienced some issues which were out of his control. Firstly, a piece of rubber got stuck in the profile of his rear wing which caused some aerodynamical loss. Later, he was tangled by Nico Rosberg who overtook the Finn with a rather bold manoeuvre.

“Fourth position is not the result we wanted, but today unfortunately we couldn’t get more. Overall the car was not too bad and the handling was quite ok, but the pure lap time was not there. We were missing speed and we never had the chance to challenge the cars in front.”

“When Rosberg passed me I suddenly had to turn right to avoid him: I knew he was going to hit me and we both would have probably been out: my rear floor was damaged because of that and Nico got penalized. After that I did my best to keep the ten seconds gap to him, but unfortunately it was not enough to get a better result.

Räikkönen suggested that Ferrari is still lacking of aerodynamical downforce compared to its rivals Red Bull and Mercedes which hampers its chances to take on the fight for race victories.

“Obviously we want to be higher up, but now we have to take what we get. We’ll try to improve and push forward to make the car faster and be able to challenge the others.”
The quadruple champion showed a great start, but he tangled in the first corner with Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg.

“We had a good start, then I was going side by side with Max," said Räikkönen's team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

"We were both battling for position into turn one. Nico in the front was turning in and he obviously decided to pick his line, which is absolutely fair and in his right. At that point with the speed I had I couldn’t slow down anymore and I was also pushed by Max to the right. I did my best under braking but I couldn’t avoid the impact. It was an unfortunate chain reaction which ruined my race and Nico’s one,” the German started his analysis.

The 29-year-old blamed himself for the clash and apologised to his compatriot Nico Rosberg for complicating his fight in the title fight.

“I can’t do more than apologize to Nico, because the accident had nothing to do with him being in front. I think it was different to the case in Spa with Max and Kimi, as Max and I were trying to fight for turn 1, and Nico was trying to do a different thing ahead. I don’t have to comment on what Max said afterwards,” stated Vettel.