British Grand Prix – Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen held his hands up after colliding with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on the first lap at Silverstone.
Raikkonen had started Sunday’s race from P3 and was in a position to challenge polesitter Lewis Hamilton into the braking area at Turn 3 after the Merc driver made a poor start. However, Raikkonen locked up under braking and hit the right rear of Hamilton, despite him leaving enough room for the Ferrari on the apex of the corner. Hamilton spun off down to last, while Raikkonen only lost position to the Red Bulls. He quickly managed to pick off Daniel Ricciardo to start hunting down Verstappen.
The incident was investigated, resulting in the Ferrari driver being given a ten second time penalty. He served this at his pitstop, resuming the race in the same position but now being hunted by the recovering Lewis Hamilton. The Safety Car for Marcus Ericsson’s crash at Turn 1 negated both driver’s travails up to that point, essentially resetting the race.
Raikkonen, along with his teammate Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, pitted for a fresh set of Soft tyres under the Safety Car, while the two Mercedes drivers didn’t. This left Valtteri Bottas leading Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo & Raikkonen when racing resumed. Raikkonen quickly picked off the two Red Bulls, before catching and passing the struggling Bottas as the Mercedes’ tyres went off. While Raikkonen was able to close up on Lewis Hamilton, he had to settle for finishing in P3 behind the Mercedes.
“Obviously in the third corner I locked the wheel and I was behind the cars, so I ended up hitting Lewis in the rear corner, I oversteered, he spun, my bad, but that’s how it goes sometimes. It was not a straightforward race.” explained Raikkonen after the race. “Without the mistakes and the 10-second penalty it would have been better, but I tried. Obviously my view is that I did the best that I could do but obviously there seems to be some awfully opposite looks on what I’m doing, unfortunately, so we’ll see.”
Raikkonen was given two penalty points for the Hamilton clash, taking him to five for the current 12 month period. Asked whether he felt the time penalty and points were fair, he said “It was my mistake, so that’s fine. I deserve it and took the 10 seconds and kept fighting. That’s how it goes.”
“When I was on my own the speed was ok, but once I was behind them, their wake seemed to affect my car a lot more than the Mercedes did; I was losing a lot of downforce and that upset the balance of the car. We were quite a bit faster, but it was really tricky for us to follow them. It was a close fight for quite a lot of times, at the beginning and at the end of the race. Finally we managed to pass them and then I overtook one of the Mercedes. It was not an easy day, but I gave my best and made a decent comeback.”