Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen has said he wasn’t criticizing Max Verstappen following their early-race clash in the US Grand Prix at Austin, but that his angry radio message was directed at the stewards instead.
Verstappen, who went on to finish fourth, banged wheels with Raikkonen at Turn 12 as the Finn attempted to pass him around the outside.
Raikkonen said on the radio: “That guy keeps pushing me off the circuit every time, if that’s legal I will do the same next time.”
After the race, Raikkonen claimed he said this because he wants the specific rules clarifying on when it's necessary to leave rivals a car’s width on the track.
“I just wanted to ask if it’s OK, when you are next to another car, and they try to defend the inside and you go round the outside, and at some point at the exit of the corner you’re allowed to push the car onto the kerbs,” said Raikkonen. “If that’s fine, I want to ask if it’s OK, but apparently it is fine. That’s OK. As long as everybody has the same rules, I don’t mind.
“There’s so many rules these days in F1, there are rules that you should not move under braking, you should leave the other guy a car’s space when he’s next to you, is that under braking and not in the corner, it’s not leaving any space if you push the other guy wide – it’s fine.
“I don’t complain he’s doing something wrong, but as long as it’s fine always, and different next time, when you do it to somebody the same way and get penalized. That’s not right.
“I don’t complain about what he did this time, but they should be more clear for everybody so we can know what we can do.
“I think we touched once, just slightly, it’s fine and it’s racing in the end. It was very close.”
Crash was “my mistake”
Raikkonen admitted the crash that ultimately led to his exit with overheating brakes was his fault.
“It was quite slippery there, and I didn’t see a little bit of water, and I lost the rear,” he said. “I tried to turn, and thought it would be OK to hit the wall sideways, but the front got stuck on the advertising board, so I tried to work with the steering wheel to get the board off the wheel.
“I think we had a flat front, maybe flat rear too, and they had to pull the right-front brake duct out. That meant the front brakes overheated and we had to stop.
“My mistake, which was an unfortunate thing as we had good pace. The car worked pretty well in those conditions. Even with the damage, it felt good. Not an ideal end.”