April 6th, 2014 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Ferrari came away from the Bahrain Grand Prix with just three points. That might not sound like much for the sport's most successful team, but it's better than nothing on a track where Ferrari expected to struggle. Fernando Alonso finished ninth, just ahead of tenth-placed Kimi Raikkonen.
Alonso managed to at least finish where he started. Raikkonen, however, was fifth on the grid, which made his tenth place all the more disappointing for the Finn. Losing five places over a Grand Prix distance without suffering from any significant incidents is never pleasant for any racing driver.
To make matters worse for the team, Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo was present for this race, after meeting with, among others, FIA president Jean Todt during the weekend. Di Montezemolo doesn't attend every race, and his reactions when captured on television tend to tell a story. Today it was clear from his facial expressions that Ferrari are nowhere near competitive enough to satisfy him.
In his post-race comments, Alonso was typically diplomatic, praising the team while emphasising the need to move forward. Raikkonen was a little more blunt, highlighting that the Ferrari F14 T is lacking both in straight-line speed and aerodynamic downforce, but the Finn also noted improvements compared to the first two races of the season.
Here's what the drivers had to say after the Bahrain Grand Prix:
Fernando Alonso: "Today’s race was complicated for us, even if we knew what to expect because, with its long straights, this track shows up our weak points. The team did a super job and sorted the problem I had yesterday in the final part of qualifying and the start and strategy were perfect.
"The Safety Car helped us make up a bit of ground on the cars ahead of us and also allowed us to save fuel, but it was not enough to change the result, with eight cars ahead of us doing a better job. Although we did all we could, we can’t be happy with our level of performance and now our sole focus must be on working day and night.
"The season is in its early stages and I think we can stage a recovery. We have the resources and the potential to do it and it’s all down to us. Next week will be very important as we get back on track on Tuesday and Wednesday to test in preparation for the upcoming races. We have got a very aggressive programme, which we need as our rivals will not just be sitting back and watching."
Kimi Raikkonen: "I am very disappointed with today’s result, because after how qualifying went, I expected to do better. I didn’t get a good start and immediately lost some places. On the first lap, I was hit by Magnussen, luckily without it doing any damage, but trying to move up the order at this point was very difficult, because the lack of aero downforce and speed on the straight meant overtaking was complicated.
"We knew this track was less suited to the characteristics of our car than the first two and that the Mercedes would be very quick. Overall, the handling of our car has generally improved compared to the first races and this makes me confident for the upcoming ones. We can expect a lot of work to do and we will make the most of the test days to try and improve already in time for the next race in China."