Scuderia Ferrari Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen has ducked a potential grid penalty for the Bahrain Grand Prix while his Ferrari squad were slapped with a €5,000 fine for an unsafe release from a pit stop blunder during the second free practice session. The Maranello team’s driver topped FP2 with a 1m 29.817s set during his qualifying simulation run but missed out on the final 10 minutes of the session when he was forced to stop on track with a suspected front-right wheel problem.
The Finnish driver had completed a practice race pit stop but on release the Ferrari mechanics were gesticulating something was front with his front-right wheel. Kimi was ordered to stop immediately on track which appears to have appeased the F1 race stewards from handing the 2007 F1 world champion with a potential grid penalty.
“The Stewards reviewed the video of the pit stop of Raikkonen and heard from the team representatives,” the FIA stewards statement confirmed. “The Stewards determined that the car was released in an unsafe condition in breach of Art. 28.13.b, that the team ordered the car stopped immediately, and that the driver stopped as fast as he safely could. Consistent with previous instances where a car was stopped on track, the stewards decide that the mandatory grid place penalty could not be applied where the team took all appropriate actions, the Stewards fined the team €5,000.”
The pit stop issue comes off the back off the double pit stop nightmare Haas suffered at the 2018 F1 opener in Australia when separate wheel nut cross thread problems saw both drivers out of the race while running inside the top five.
Under F1 rules Kimi Raikkonen was at risk of a grid drop if the FIA race stewards judged the Finn’s action as unsafe but have cleared the driver of any wrongdoing.