Unrepentant Kimi Raikkonen insists move on Valtteri Bottas was on despite punishment
Kimi Raikkonen has insisted that his last lap crash with Valtteri Bottas in the Russian Grand Prix was not a “crazy move”, despite receiving a ...
Kimi Raikkonen has insisted that his last lap crash with Valtteri Bottas in the Russian Grand Prix was not a “crazy move”, despite receiving a penalty for the incident.
Media reaction in Ferrari's native Italy has been critical of the Finn and his 'desperate' move, whilst approving of his combative approach to the race in general.
Raikkonen was attempting to pass Bottas for third place at Turn 4 with a bold move from a long way back and the two cars collided at the apex of the corner, putting Bottas out on the spot.
Although Raikkonen was able to recover to the finish line in fifth place, the stewards later handed him a 30-second penalty, which dropped him to eighth.
Williams was left incensed at Raikkonen’s punishment as it elevated Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat to fifth place and gave its championship rivals two more points in the fight for third place in the constructors standings.
Raikkonen insisted that the collision was just a racing incident and he felt the move was on.
He said: "I tried to pass Valtteri, I don't know if he didn't expect it or if he didn't see me, but there was no way back. No one wants to have accidents but it's part of racing. It's a shame, I thought it was a good opportunity not a crazy move."
"I tried to avoid the collision, but when I realised where I was the braking wasn't enough."
Bottas was unimpressed by the Ferrari driver’s move and explained that he did know what Raikkonen was thinking with an attack from so far back.
He said: “It's disappointing, it ruined my day. I can say that I can happily look in the mirror and say it was not my fault. It was not expecting a move like this from him, but now it's done, zero points, and it's very disappointing."
“I think this was a bit too much. It's a fine line, but it was a bit too much. I don't know what the thinking was behind it really, doing it there and the last lap, and that far away.
“It was not too bad a race until then, running third on the last lap. It's just a shame it ended that way”
Gazzetta dello Sport described Raikkonen's move as "desperate" and in its driver ratings gave him a score of five. The newspaper noted: "With a rash attack he ruined his race and Bottas'. Ineffective after the safety Car but combative; as Ferrari need him to be."
Raikkonen’s engineer, Dave Greenwood, told him over the radio that the last lap needed to be “all or nothing”, which reflects Ferrari’s desire for the Finn to be more assertive in races and to close the points gap to Sebastian Vettel heading into 2016.
The Scuderia’s team boss, Maurizio Arrivabene, compared the incident to Raikkonen being hit by Daniel Ricciardo in the closing stages of this season’s Monaco Grand Prix and argued his driver should not have been penalised.
Arrivabene said: “If you look in Monaco for example, Ricciardo [and] Kimi was more or less the same and it was considered a race accident. So I don't see any reason why this can't be considered as it was considered in Monaco."
Raikkonen’s crash with Bottas is a rare incident of the 2007 world champion making a mistake in wheel-to-wheel action. Incidentally, this is not the first time two Finnish drivers have clashed on track as Raikkonen came together with the McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen at the 2008 Turkish Grand Prix.
The driver who benefitted most from last weekend’s final lap carnage was Force India’s Sergio Perez. The Mexican driver had been attempting to make a long stint on the soft tyres work when Bottas and Raikkonen passed him on the penultimate lap.
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