Kimi Raikkonen has defended Ferrari’s “aggressive” strategy during Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix, the very strategy that cost them the victory. It is, by Ferrari’s standards, indefensible.
Ferrari did everything right for 18 laps at the Albert Park circuit as first Sebastian Vettel and then Raikkonen shot off the line, slicing between the Mercedes drivers, to run the 1-2.
It was just the performance that Formula 1 needed to see after last year’s doldrums.
It didn’t last.
Under Formula 1 regulations, teams can change their driver’s tyres in a red flag situation and this year it is even easier done than said as the cars can now line up in the pit lane.
And yet for some reason, a reason Ferrari insist was because they were going aggressive, the Scuderia opted to leave race leader Vettel on the super-soft tyres.
Not only would those not hold out until the end of the grand prix but the decision to go super-soft followed by super-soft meant the German had to pit again no matter what to change to a second compound.
The Mercedes cars, in sharp contrast, were shod with the medium tyres so neither Nico Rosberg nor Lewis Hamilton had to pit again.
Vettel tried his best to build up a 25-second lead over Rosberg, which is the time he required for a free pit stop, but given that his supers were already worn before the restart, the biggest that lead ever got up to was four seconds.
When he pitted he not only lost the lead, he dropped down the order and had to work his way back onto the podium.
It was a P3 for the German and a lot of head scratching from all those looking on – Pat Symonds says “Ferrari shot themselves in the foot”.
The Scuderia were adamant they were going for the aggressive approach but it was clear to pretty much everyone else it was the wrong one.