Raikkonen denial on top status for Vettel

MONTREAL • Kimi Raikkonen stuck with Ferrari's position on Thursday and denied widespread claims that team-mate Sebastian Vettel, the Formula One world championship leader, had official No. 1 status in the team.

Eleven days after his gloomy silences in answer to questions after he was re-positioned behind Vettel by Ferrari's controversial pit-stop strategy at the Monaco Grand Prix, the Finn was quick to reply to reporters ahead of this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.

"No, we don't have anything," he said, in answer to a direct question about four-time champion Vettel's status. "But when it comes to that point in the season when a guy has a chance and the other guy doesn't have a chance, it's normal."

Vettel's principal title rival, three-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Britain, viewed Ferrari's pit stops in Monte Carlo as clear evidence that the Italian team favoured the German.

Raikkonen had started from pole position and was leading the race when he was called in early, giving Vettel a clear chance to secure the race lead.

Vettel has 129 points to Hamilton's 104 after six of the 20-race calendar, while Ferrari (196) are ahead of Mercedes (179) in the constructors' standings.

Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, has said he will leave McLaren unless the team can provide him with a winning car by September, and insisted he would also walk out of F1 if plans to increase the number of races to 25 were implemented.

KEEPING IT BRIEF

No, we don't have anything.

'' KIMI RAIKKONEN, who is known for his monosyllabic answers on most subjects, providing a concise five-word explanation that Ferrari are not treating Sebastian Vettel as their main driver.

"We have to win," the Spaniard said. "Things have to change. I want to win. I joined this project because I want to be world champion and we are not in that position so if you are not in a competitive position, you change projects."

"We are in a number that is quite demanding already with the preparation, the sponsor events, the tests, the commitments, plus 20 or 21 races... I think it's already enough," Alonso added.

"I consider that a good quality of life is more important. If the calendar stays between 20 and 21 races, I would be happy to continue but it if increases, it is not for me."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

F1 CANADIAN GP

Qualifying: Singtel TV Ch115 & StarHub Ch209, tomorrow, 12.30am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2017, with the headline 'Raikkonen denial on top status for Vettel'. Print Edition | Subscribe