Raikkonen accepts blame for COTA accident


Kimi Raikkonen was left to rue his costly mistake that all-but-eliminated himself from the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas on Sunday.

The Scuderia Ferrari driver made a mistake on his first lap on dry tyres at COTA, hitting the barrier and getting tangled up with an advertising board.

The Finnish driver made it back to the pits for a new front wing but was soon asked to retire by his mechanics due to a damaged brake duct that was causing his brakes to overheat.

“The first part of the race was more or less ok: the car felt pretty good all the time, I had the speed and I was able to fight with other cars,” said Raikkonen. “After the tires change I made a mistake, I pushed a bit too much, the rear end got loose, so I went off and hit the wall.

“The front of the car got stuck on the advertising board, I kept turning the wheels for a while, then I managed to get off and go back on the track. I had a slow puncture on my rear left tire, and I also damaged the right front end: we changed the front wing and the car was ok, but the brake duct had failed and the brakes got overheated, so I had to retire.

“It’s not very nice when you have a race ending like this: we have the right tools but we have to put things together, make no mistakes and achieve a proper result.”

Raikkonen also clarified his comments heard on the radio that appeared to criticise Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen with whom the Finn was battling for position, insisting instead that he was blaming the rules of overtaking rather than the driver in question.

The Finn was heard saying: “That guy keeps pushing me off the circuit every time, if that’s legal I will do the same next time,” but Raikkonen insisted he was only making sure on the rules in question.

“I just wanted to ask if it’s OK, when you are next to another car, and they try to defend the inside and you go round the outside, and at some point at the exit of the corner you’re allowed to push the car onto the kerbs,” said Raikkonen.

“If that’s fine, I want to ask if it’s OK, but apparently it is fine. That’s OK. As long as everybody has the same rules, I don’t mind.

“There’s so many rules these days in F1, there are rules that you should not move under braking, you should leave the other guy a car’s space when he’s next to you, is that under braking and not in the corner, it’s not leaving any space if you push the other guy wide – it’s fine.

“I don’t complain he’s doing something wrong, but as long as it’s fine always, and different next time, when you do it to somebody the same way and get penalized. That’s not right.

“I don’t complain about what he did this time, but they should be more clear for everybody so we can know what we can do.

“I think we touched once, just slightly, it’s fine and it’s racing in the end. It was very close.”