Kimi Raikkonen has had a mixed start to the F1 season, managing a podium at the Chinese GP despite the Ferrari strategy not being tailored around helping Kimi race to his fullest.
The first three races have presented the F1 world with different top-runners. And despite Vettel’s double triumph in the opening two races of the season, a Ricciardo masterclass in China seems to have turned the tables upside down.
And all of that has come after Hamilton’s utter domination during qualifying in Melbourne where it seemed as if we were in for another season of Mercedes domination.
Things have changed ever since the lights went out at the Albert Park, thanks to a few strategy moves, some safety car interruptions and the Mercedes ‘party mode’ going off to sleep.
Kimi believes that it would be tough to single out title contenders at this point or even the pecking order for that matter.
“If you ask anybody, it’s a bit tricky to give you an answer,” he said.
“I think a lot of the end result [in China] depended on whether you had better tyres than others, when you could offset yourself to the others.
“Obviously, it’s a big part of the game, and it made a big difference, [as did] the safety car.
“Pure speed, with everybody on the same tyres in a race… it’s difficult, very difficult, to say.
“I think it’s nice like that, for everybody to watch, because nobody really knows.
“Everybody would love to know but nobody really [does] because it changes from race to race and such a small difference makes a big difference in the end result.
“You just have to wait and see. It might change from race to race, and who runs what tyres.” he added.
Red Bull have had to deal with reliability issues but would be buoyed by Ricciardo’s run in China, however, he too believes that it is a little too early to be jumping to any kind of conclusions.
“It’s still hard to say, we were really quick on the softs but at that stage everyone else was on mediums,” he said.
“At the beginning of the race on ultrasofts we could hang with Lewis and Kimi, but they were on softs. We haven’t really had a good comparison. At times, the end of the race in Melbourne and China, we were very strong.
“The initial laps, when the car is still heavy with fuel, we can be better. We’re not too far off but there are still some areas we can be stronger.” he concluded.