McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen has been stripped of his fastest time from today's qualifying session for the Italian Grand Prix and loses his fifth place on the grid. Raikkonen will now start from sixth due to a penalty for an incident involving...
McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen has been stripped of his fastest time from today's qualifying session for the Italian Grand Prix and loses his fifth place on the grid. Raikkonen will now start from sixth due to a penalty for an incident involving Jordan's Takuma Sato.
Sato was on a fast lap when Raikkonen exited the pits to start an out lap and the Finn said he didn't realize Sato was going for another run. He did not see the Jordan coming and pulled in front of it: Sato hit the rear of the McLaren and the front suspension of his car broke. The Jordan sped across the gravel at the second chicane and impacted with the tyre wall, while Raikkonen also ended up in the gravel.
The Stewards decided Raikkonen was to blame and the FIA released the following statement: "Having heard the explanations of both drivers (Raikkonen & Sato) and viewed video evidence, the Stewards of the Meeting decide to impose a penalty in accordance with Article 119 of 2002 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations to delete the fastest qualifying time of the Driver of car number 4 (Raikkonen) for causing a collision contrary to Article 53 of the aforementioned regulations."
Raikkonen said his team expected Sato to pull into the pits and thought the incident was 'just one of those things': "He (Sato) was on his fifth consecutive lap, and my team was under the impression that he would be coming into the pits, which is what you would expect during qualifying, and advised me accordingly. When I couldn't see him in my mirrors, I believed he had slowed down and went for the line into the corner."
Sato thinks Raikkonen should have used his mirrors, which Jordan's director of race and test engineering Gary Anderson agrees with: "Takuma did not get a good lap and then on his last run there was the incident with Raikkonen, who was on an out lap, which is absolutely absurd," Anderson said. "I think we should give him some of our wing mirrors because he obviously needs them."
The penalty benefits Eddie Irvine, who's Jaguar will now start from fifth on the grid.