x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Early retirement compounds rotten weekend for Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen's weekend goes from bad to worse, one-stop strategy works out for Force India and Jenson Button rues hitting traffic.

Kimi Raikkonen retires from the race on Lap 1. Paul Gilham / Getty Images
Kimi Raikkonen retires from the race on Lap 1. Paul Gilham / Getty Images

Kimi Raikkonen blamed bad luck on his first-lap retirement from Sunday’s Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the final incident in his eventful weekend.

The Finn, who started last after being disqualified from qualifying on Saturday for a technical infringement, broke the front-right suspension on his Lotus car when he hit the back of Giedo van der Garde’s Caterham at the first corner.

Of the incident, the 2007 world champion said: “I went to the inside and somehow managed to touch with a Caterham. We didn’t touch hard, but I think the angle was very unlucky and it broke the steering.”

Raikkonen denied it had been a mistake to start on the grid when he could have started from the pit lane, which would have allowed to him miss any first-corner melees.

On Friday, the 2012 Abu Dhabi champion said his team, Lotus, had paid him “zero euros” of his €8 million (Dh40m) salary this season.

Paul Di Resta described his race as “perfect” as he produced his best result in five months to finish sixth at the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Briton had qualified down in 12th place in his Force India, but pulled off a one-stop strategy to finish one second ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes-GP car.

Di Resta said: “We executed a perfect strategy, being fast at the right points of the race.”

Adrian Sutil, Di Resta’s teammate, also stopped only once on his way to 10th place.

The pair were the only drivers in the field to succeed in a one-stop strategy; everyone else stopped twice.

Di Resta added: “It was a good choice and I think everyone in the engineering office got their calculations spot on as to what could be achieved out there.”

It was the second successive race, after India, where both Force India cars finished in the points.

Jenson Button’s poor qualifying was to blame for an early incident at yesterday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Briton broke his front wing on the back of Paul Di Resta’s Force India and pitted on Lap 2 to change it. He finished 12th.

“You make your own luck when you start down in 12th – where first-lap congestion is inevitable – and, sure enough, there was a little bit of argy-bargy into Turn 1,” he said.

“I duly locked up both my front tyres, couldn’t slow the car down … and drove into the back of Paul.”


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