Mexican Grand Prix – Kimi Raikkonen’s late retirement in Mexico was due to excessive damage due to a first lap squeeze between two others cars.
Kimi Raikkonen’s Mexican Grand Prix came to an inglorious conclusion on Lap 58, with the Finn coming into the pits and retiring. He had been nowhere near the points, having spent most of his afternoon fighting over lower midfield positions.
After the race, Raikkonen explained that his race had to be cut short as a result of damage he suffered on the first lap when he was squeezed by two cars. Navigating through Turn 2, Raikkonen’s car was squeezed in between Robert Kubica’s Williams and Kevin Magnussen’s Haas. It initially looked like he had gotten away with it after he slammed on the brakes, with the biggest contact with Magnussen still appearing quite minor.
However, Raikkonen explained afterwards that his floor had been destroyed in the incident: “Unfortunately, much of our day was decided at the start. I got squeezed between two cars and a big chunk of my floor was destroyed. The cooling was damaged too and later in the race the temperatures went very high and we had to stop the car. It’s unfortunate but that’s how racing goes sometimes. At some point our pace wasn’t too bad, so let’s hope we can keep improving next week.”
Alfa team boss Frederic Vasseur said: “Unfortunately, Kimi sustained damage to the floor and cooling system at the first corner. He lost a lot of performance and later in the race the cooling issues meant he had to stop.”
Having been completely off the pace in Russia and Japan, Alfa looked marginally more competitive in Mexico. It’s been a difficult second half to the season after a string of points finishes for Raikkonen before the summer break. But development, seems to have gotten away from the former Sauber team, and Raikkonen was able to easily identify what the car is missing: “Grip!”
Having introduced a major aero upgrade for the second half of the season, Raikkonen said that this package is not the cause of the team’s issues: “No, the upgrade worked. In the last race I tried the old package and we didn’t get much as the end result. Honestly, the balance is not a disaster, when the tyres are new we’re going OK, but when the tyres start to wear out we just start sliding a lot.”
“Obviously it’s not the result we wanted but that’s how it goes, sometimes. The pace was not great and then we had the issue with the temperatures and we had to stop. I think the incident at the start destroyed the floor… With new tyres we gained some speed but as soon as they started to go, we were losing a lot of grip.”
“It’s a shame to have to retire from the race because generally we had been a bit happier with things this weekend.”