Raikkonen defends grid start decision after crash

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Kimi Raikkonen said starting the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from 22nd on the grid rather than the pit lane was the right thing to do despite retiring after a collision at turn one.

In similar circumstances last year Red Bull chose to start Sebastian Vettel from the pit lane to make set-up changes to his car and reduce his risk of being involved in a first-lap collision

But Raikkonen had to retire after damaging his front-right suspension when he collided with Giedo van der Garde moments after the start.

“There was some contact in front of me through the first corner so I stuck to the inside, but unfortunately one of the Caterhams touched my front wheel and it broke the track rod,” said Raikkonen.

“It wasn’t a heavy impact, but the angle made it worse.”

“It’s never easy starting so far back on the grid, but after the penalty it was a better choice to help our chances in the race rather than starting from the pit lane.

“After a difficult start to the weekend we did well yesterday so it was a shame we couldn’t start where we qualified, but these things happen sometimes; it’s just back luck.”

Raikkonen had to start from the back of the grid after being excluded from qualifying when his car failed a floor deflection test.

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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23 comments on “Raikkonen defends grid start decision after crash”

  1. Anticlimactic race after the drama of the last few days, but at least it looks like Kimi and Lotus have worked things out for the last two races. Good news for both sides really.

  2. I guess a pitlane start means you lose the first lap just catching up and getting round the backmarkers, while when you start on the grid with a far faster car, you are likely to be able to make way in the first few corners and onto the first straigth.

    Funny how far too many people were saying that Lotus messed up here to punish Kimi (why on earth would they even want to do that) when Kimi himself was completely behind this and it could well have been his choice. I think he could well have made it into the top 5 from where he started.

    1. I disagree, starting from the pits is smarter: no 1st corner collisions and you can start on new tyres …

      1. He could start on new tyres anyway…

        1. maarten.f1 (@)
          4th November 2013, 9:01

          But what they can do is set up the car specifically for the race, like Red Bull did last year. And it’s true, you do miss the first corner carnage. But this is all on hindsight, perhaps it was better to do it, perhaps not. I think Lotus is quick enough they can afford starting from the pitlane; it’s not going to make a huge difference over 55 laps.

    2. plus, you can adjust your setup for a different kind of race

  3. I still maintain, contrarily, that it was a poor decision. Grosjean was showing that he had some difficulty overtaking, now multiply that by the number of cars Räikkönen would have to overtake and it still looks like the wrong choice to me (considering their top speed).

    1. Absolutely. Starting from the pit lane only loses you one lap as Vettel has shown last year. It is then easy to overtake the 4 backmarkers anyway, which would have been those that he might have overtaken in the first lap when starting from the grid. After that, it would have been tough. Grosjean and Hamilton had trouble with FI and Williams.

    2. @vettel1 maybe they could not afford to kill the tyres even more with an aggressive setup?

      1. @spoutnik in the end the two stop was the default anyway, so they could have sacrificed a bit. However, they wouldn’t have necessarily needed to as they could have dialed in the car entirely from the race and away from the responsiveness needed for qualifying.

    3. @vettel1
      Only a safety and at the right moment would make the plan of starting from the pit lane work
      How much they will get from set up change and new tyres half a second a full second ???
      Remember the car in the pit starts when the cars reach sector 1 in Abu Dhabi it is something around 20s in the race
      Vettel’s comeback last year was made under special circumstances, a brilliant drive, a good strategy, very good luck (2 safety cars exactly at the right moment= 2 free pit stops ), and very good car in race conditions, it is very hard to emulate what Vettel did last year by just starting the car of the pit

  4. Steph (@stephanief1990)
    3rd November 2013, 17:24

    Got to agree with Kimi- it wasn’t starting on the grid that was the problem but his decision making behind the wheel. People start at the back all of the time and avoid incidents. He went into T1 a bit too ambitiously and then found there was no room. If he’d have taken it a bit gentler and then tried to carry momentum through into T2 and T3 to overtake then he’d have been fine. Starting from the pitlane would have been another major disadvantage that he just didn’t need; he wouldn’t realistically pull out a decent result unless there was a safety car and they are pretty rare at this track.

  5. Raikkonen will race till the end, pay dispute almost solved with lotus. Lopez sat with Kimi’s lawyers, found a solution that’s “bankable”.

  6. In hindsight it was a bad call and I expected Kimi to start from the pit lane to be able to make set up changes for a higher top speed and to avoid the high risk of starting incidents like the one that destroyed his race and the excitement we could have had seeing him working his way up through the field.

  7. I have to watch footage again.
    Because I thought Kimi first got hit from behind and then hit the Caterham.
    Then again the driver knows probably best if he got hit from behind – especially Kimi who got to endure big … (Let’s stop here)

  8. A big mistake by Raikkoenen in the first corner. Perhaps his mind was in another place in that moment. ¿Nex year, Ferrari?

  9. but unfortunately one of the Caterhams touched my front wheel and it broke the track rod

    That’s in interesting way of saying ‘I went in too fast and ran into the back of him’.

  10. Raikkonen Made a mistake – end of the story

    1. Yeah, he should not leave Ferrari and beat Vettel in 2010.

  11. I’m a big Raikkonen fan, but I have to admit that if Perez’ move was stupid at Monaco, then Kimi was at fault here too, similarly. That said, I don’t think his mind is quite in alignment with “the best interests of the team” after “the team” has been using his services for free all year. Of course, we don’t know what the contract said, but I’d be shocked if it said “we pay Kimi nothing to gain us about 3-4 spots in the WCC.”

  12. Im a huge kimi fan, but they just flat out screwed up. Lotus should have made changes to his top speed since he was near the bottom of the speed trap all weekend. Starting on the grid was always going to be more risky than starting from the pit lane. And kimi flat out made a mistake going in too hot into turn 1 and grabbing too much kerb. He is one of the cleanest drivers on the grid, except for one turn today, and it cost him.

  13. I think he was on kamikaze mode anyway.

  14. Kimi, Alonso, Webber or Button would have left enough space, but unfortunately Pic is not WDC calibre and Kimi should have realised this.

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