Scuderia Ferrari Finnish driver driver Kimi Raikkonen admits the incident which saw him collide with Max Verstappen at the Japanese GP could have been prevented.
Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen were next to each other on the grid at the Suzuka Circuit having qualified in fourth and third respectively. And their cars came together towards the end of lap one after the Red Bull man had locked his breaks and run deep at the final chicane.
Max Verstappen was adjudged to have caused the crash as he returned to the track and was consequently handed a five-second time penalty. Kimi Raikkonen admits he could have stopped it happening altogether though by affording his rival more room for manoeuvre: “In an ideal world I could have left a bit more [space],” Kimi Raikkonen said – “I tried to go outside and leave him as much room as possible. I know that sometime when you come back over the kerbs it’s impossible to turn the car after you bounce over it and I don’t know if that was the case. I don’t think he purposely tried to hit anybody. If we both would be on the circuit next to each other he wouldn’t squeeze me because we all know what would happen.”
Max Verstappen ended up recovering to finish the Japanese Grand Prix in third, two places better off than Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn’s Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel was a place worse off than him and Kimi is hoping the Prancing Horse fare better at the United States Grand prix: “It was a difficult weekend overall, we need to go through things,” Raikkonen added. We got things improved during the weekend, it was getting better and better but if you look purely at the result it was far from what we wanted. But that’s how it goes sometimes. We need to tidy up those things and hopefully have a cleaner weekend next time around.” – he added.
Kimi Raikkonen sits fourth in the F1 standings, with Sebastian Vettel second to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. And the German has it all to do if he is to overhaul the Brit’s lead with just four races to go.