Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Mugello, 2020

Raikkonen thought he might get away with pit entry violation in Mugello

2020 Russian Grand Prix

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Kimi Raikkonen thought he had a chance of avoiding a penalty for his pit lane entry error in the Tuscan Grand Prix.

The Alfa Romeo driver was relegated from eighth place to ninth by a five-second time penalty. The stewards ruled he did not stay on the right-hand side of the line on his way into the pits – in effect, turning into the pits later than he should have done.

Raikkonen explained he made a late decision to pit when the Safety Car was deployed following Lance Stroll’s heavy crash. He was approaching the final corner, Bucine, when he spotted the cloud of dust from Stroll’s accident at Arrabbiata two.

“I crossed the line,” he admitted. “Obviously I knew the rules but I could see coming into the last corner there was dust or something so I could see somebody went off and I was expecting that the Safety Car was going to come out.

“I was kind of looking for the board when it comes on and once it came I just turned in. I realised straight away that I crossed the line.”

After the mistake Raikkonen said he “almost went back on the straight” instead of pitting, but expected he would still get a penalty. “I think the end result would have been the same, once you go over.”

Any advantage Raikkonen gained by pitting when the Safety Car came out was immediately removed as the race was red-flagged, which meant his rivals were able to change their tyres without losing any positions.

“In hindsight it cost us a place. There was obviously the red flag so staying out would have worked much better.”

Raikkonen admitted he hoped his error might have been overlooked by the stewards. “Sometimes you get away with it, sometimes not, so I hoped with all the hectic things going on they didn’t notice it.

“But obviously I kind of knew straightaway when I turned in that I crossed the line and I knew the rule but it was a bit too late.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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10 comments on “Raikkonen thought he might get away with pit entry violation in Mugello”

  1. He “hoped” to get away with it.. he knew better.
    So he never “thought” it.

    1. erikje, in a number of ways, what Kimi has said makes things sound worse though – the hope that he would get away with it is in itself implying a certain lack of confidence in the stewards by suggesting that he thought it was possible that the stewards could well miss what he had done.

      1. And also, his agitated response when told he had a penalty also is more petulant in hindsight, knowing he and the team were quite aware of what it would be for.

        On the actual infraction I understand his thinking, and don’t see how he could have then done much different, but his reaction to the penalty during the race seems off, given all that; sure frustration, but.

    2. There are rules about not crossing white lines and staying on track that don’t seem to get enforced anywhere near as stringently so you can understand why he thought it was a possibility.

  2. So he got five seconds for crossing the line, but thanks to another rule, got an entire lap back…where is the logic in that?

  3. Can anyone explain to me how Hamilton didn’t get penalized for the pit bollard incident a few years back? How was that any different?

    1. @paeschli Hamilton also got a penalty for going into the pitlane like Raikkonen did. Perhaps you are confused about Hamilton not getting a penalty when he didn’t pit.

      1. @f1osaurus Exactly, I’m talking about Germany 2018. How is that any different? They both violate pit-lane rules, the violation is similar in severity, yet one gets a reprimand and the other a penalty.

        1. @paeschli in the case of Hamilton in 2018, part of the reason was that he technically didn’t break the rules as they were stated at the time, and thus there wasn’t clear instruction to the stewards on what they should do.

          At the time, the rules technically stated that a driver was not supposed to cut across from the track into the pit lane after they had passed the bollard marking the start of the pit lane – the rule was always written from the point of view of wanting to prevent drivers from cutting across at the last second, which could then potentially cause a collision with somebody already approaching the pits or otherwise cause an unsafe scenario.

          Because nobody expected a driver to do the reverse situation – to initially start entering the pit lane and then move back towards the track afterwards – the rules were never written to explicitly cover off the opposite scenario. Hamilton therefore initially entered the pit lane in the correct manner – passing the bollard on the right hand side – and only then cut back towards the track afterwards, where the rules were written in such a way that what he did was technically not prohibited.

          In the end, the stewards used the reprimand as a way of discouraging drivers from doing that again, but as a way of acknowledging that what Hamilton had done was, strictly speaking, not against the rules as they were written.

          In the case of Kimi in Mugello, he was doing exactly what the rule was intended to stop – drivers suddenly and unexpectedly cutting across the pit lane entry line at high speed and in a way that would make it difficult for a driver to avoid a collision if they were already entering the pits – which was why it was a much clearer cut decision to penalise him.

          1. Because nobody expected a driver to do the reverse situation – to initially start entering the pit lane and then move back towards the track afterwards – the rules were never written to explicitly cover off the opposite scenario.

            anon – Except that Massa got a drive through back in 2013 for that exact thing at Interlagos. You may not correlate both driver intents, but at the very least the precedent was there, hence there is no way saying no one could’ve expected it to happen again.

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