GP GRAN BRETAGNA F1/2014
Fernando Alonso took sixth after a close battle with Sebastian Vettel (Credit: Ferrari Media)
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Raikkonen ‘Lucky’ after Frightening Silverstone Crash

The Scuderia Ferrari team left Silverstone having secured ten points after Fernando Alonso finished in sixth place, but Kimi Raikkonen was lucky to escape serious injury after a high-speed crash on the opening lap of the race.

Alonso made a steady getaway from the grid, but was penalised for being too far past his grid slot with a five second penalty that he had to take in his pit stop. After the red flag to clear up team-mate Raikkonen’s crash and repair the barriers, he changed his strategy, and managed to finish in the top six. He also had some exciting on-track battles with Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel, but ultimately ended up behind them at the chequered flag.

“I think today’s race was very spectacular, certainly for us it was extremely hectic, first with Kimi’s retirement and then with the penalty for being out of position at the start,” said Alonso. “Then there were also my duels with Button and Vettel. When Sebastian came up behind me I was saving fuel and battery power and had a problem with the rear wing so I knew that sooner or later he would have overtaken me.

“I think both Red Bulls deserved to finish ahead of us, because they were quicker. Now we must analyse our performance and try to improve for the next round in Germany: if we want to make up ground in the Constructors’ Championship, we must try and do our utmost at the track, working on strategy, set-up and especially we must try and be more astute than the others, when it comes to grabbing any opportunity to score points.”

Raikkonen’s race was over before it really began at Silverstone. He had made a good start from eighteenth to be challenging just outside the top ten, but at the Aintree corner he ran wide, and while trying to re-join hit a bump that unsettled the car and resulted in the Finnish driver crashing into the barrier on the Wellington Straight at high speed.

“Unfortunately, my race today ended on the first lap, after I had managed to get away well, making up enough ground to be fighting for eleventh place,” said Raikkonen. “At turn 5, I went off the track and while trying to get back on, I must have hit a kerb. I then lost control of the car and ended in the barriers.

“It’s a real shame because yesterday, the feeling I had on track had improved and I was determined to do my utmost to bring home some points. I am really very disappointed with how things went today, but now I want to put this incident behind me and just concentrate on the next race in Germany.”

Technical Director Pat Fry was happy that Raikkonen was okay after his crash, and in the red flag that followed discussed with Alonso what the best strategy would be to get the best result for the team.

“As we were starting from sixteenth and eighteenth places, we opted to start on the Hard compound and go for a more aggressive strategy,” said Fry. “The aim was to have a short first stint before switching to the softer and faster tyre for the rest of the race. Kimi got a great start, making up several places in just a few corners but unfortunately his accident put an end to it all. Fortunately, he is okay, with no serious injuries and that’s the most important thing.

“After the race was stopped, we discussed things with Fernando and decided to fit the Mediums to the end of the race, with a one-stop strategy. Despite the difficulties he had to deal with, Fernando once again displayed his great talent, both on the offensive and the defensive. At some points in the race, there was clearly some frustration, which is completely understandable, because the entire team wants to give him and Kimi a more competitive car and for that reason, we will continue trying our hardest.”

Team Principal Marco Mattiacci was also happy about Raikkonen’s health after his shunt. He acknowledged the team expected a difficult race with their lowly grid slots, but was happy that Alonso was able to navigate his way up into the top six. Mattiacci also hopes the team can demonstrate an aggressive mentality for the rest of the season, much like his Spanish driver demonstrates on a regular basis on track.

“The most important news right now is that Kimi is alright, even though the impact with the barriers was a heavy one,” said Mattiacci. “He has some bruising and will now be resting to be in shape for the next race. Given the outcome of qualifying, we knew we faced an uphill struggle in the race, but we could count on having a race pace that would allow us to try and get back in the points.

“On this front, Fernando lived up to our expectations, pulling off some memorable overtaking moves. I think that, with fewer problems and without the penalty for his start position, he could have got better than sixth. His great climb up the order was yet more proof of his extremely aggressive mentality, which is exactly what we must demonstrate for the rest of the season.”