Raikkonen a threat if Ferrari rolls dice - Mercedes

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Raikkonen a threat if Ferrari rolls dice - Mercedes
Adam Cooper
By: Adam Cooper
Apr 29, 2018, 9:12 AM

Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff believes that Kimi Raikkonen could still be a threat in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix despite the Ferrari driver being on the "wrong" tyre for the start of the race.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H sparks
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari in parc ferme
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Sergey Sirotkin, Williams FW41
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H

All six drivers from the top three teams attempted to get through Q2 on the supersoft tyre rather than the less favoured ultrasoft.

However, after making mistakes and with no spare supersofts left, Raikkonen was forced to use ultrasofts for his second run, committing him to that set for the start.

In Q3 he was on target to grab pole position from teammate Sebastian Vettel when he made a mistake, which left him in sixth and at the back of the lead group.

However he'll be on a much faster tyre for early laps of the race, and Mercedes believes that Ferrari could take strategic risks with the Finn, making life difficult for rivals and possibly forcing them to react.

"Absolutely," said Wolff when asked by Motorsport.com if Raikkonen was still a danger. "I think he is on a different tyre – the question is how long can he stay out.

"But if you imagine there is a really high chance of a safety car in the early laps, so they could go on a harder tyre and drive to the end, which is a bold strategy.

"If you are in a position like him, similar to the Red Bulls in China, you can take risks and these risks sometimes pay off. He was the quickest car out there and he should have been on pole."

Wolff admitted that Mercedes has found it harder to make strategic calls in 2018 as it fights both Ferrari and Red Bull, but he remains convinced that the team is getting it right.

"Strategy has become much trickier when there are six drivers that are in the hunt for a win. Sometimes it's very difficult to predict the outcome.

"If you look at Shanghai, without wanting to go too much into the detail, if you ask me again whether we should pit for a new tyre or not, I would still do the same – I would stay out.

"What we need to do is to stick to our strategies and our tools, improve them all the time, but equally not let ourselves be out there, victim of outliers.

"Red Bull didn't have a lot to lose, they were bold and rewarded with the win, and they deserved it. But we will still stick to the way we have done it in the past. But it has become more difficult."

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