Raikkonen: Bottas crash "completely his fault"

Kimi Raikkonen put the blame squarely on compatriot Valtteri Bottas for their collision on the opening lap of Formula 1's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Raikkonen: Bottas crash "completely his fault"
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H
 Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H pits, rear puncture
 Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
 Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
 Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
 Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
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The accident occurred when Ferrari driver Raikkonen tried to pass second-placed Bottas round the outside of Turn 2, after the Mercedes man had suffered wheelspin heading out of the first corner.

Bottas tried to maintain position, sticking to the inside line, but he bounced over the kerb, sending him into Raikkonen, and that led to the Ferrari making contact with the wall.

As a result of the incident, which was investigated by the stewards but yielded no further action, Raikkonen dropped down to fifth – and would later retire due to damage from hitting debris left by the Esteban Ocon/Sergio Perez accident.

Bottas, meanwhile, ended up a lap down after suffering a right-front puncture, but managed to complete an unlikely recovery and finished second.

“Not much I could have done,” Raikkonen said after the race. “I got hit at Turn 2 and there was quite a lot of damage on the car already on the left-hand side.”

Raikkonen, who earlier in the season retired from the Spanish GP after contact with Bottas sent him into Max Verstappen, stated the Baku incident – like the one in Barcelona – was sparked by the Mercedes man braking too soon.

“He [Bottas] braked very early, again – and I think he knows it was way too early braking – and I went just outside and it was fine, and suddenly I got hit from the other side.

“So I think he noticed he braked too early and just let the brakes go, and came way too fast into me.

“It was completely his fault, but obviously I paid the price.”

Repeated collisions “a shame”

In addition to their 2017 clashes in Spain and in Azerbaijan, Finnish drivers Bottas and Raikkonen had previously come together in a podium fight in the 2015 Russian Grand Prix – and also collided in Mexico that year.

Bottas said: “You know, it's a bit of a shame it's again me and Kimi, but we've been fighting for similar positions and it's just unlucky that it's us again.

“From my side, you know, I was on the inside, he was obviously outside, he did brake later and he was kind of ahead but I was on the inside. So then normally... inside you have the line.

“He was turning in the corner so that for me there was nowhere else to go other than over the kerb. And for me it was not an option to back off at that point.

“So yeah, just went over the kerb, bottomed out, the car jumped and hit him and I got a puncture.

“I don't know really, I need to have a bit more [of a] look at the videos and stuff and review it a bit more but for me it was no option to back off.”

Asked if he thought he had the corner, Bottas said: “For me I was on the inside, I thought I had the corner, there should have been space for two cars to go around.

“He was anyway a bit further ahead so maybe he could've kept his position anyway.”

Additional reporting by Lawrence Baretto and Ben Anderson

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