Kimi Raikkonen finished ninth at the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday, but the first corner incident involving himself, team-mate Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen heavily compromised his afternoon.
Raikkonen was caught in the middle as Verstappen went on the inside of both Scuderia Ferrari drivers, and the Finn was helpless as Vettel turned in on him at La Source, damaging his car and sending him to the back of the field and a lap down after a puncture and a lengthy pit stop.
The initial safety car period after Kevin Magnussen’s Raidillon crash enabled Raikkonen to recover his lap back, and he recovered to ninth after that.
“After the start, at the first corner, Sebastian didn’t see that there was another car on the inside: he expected me to turn but I couldn’t, so I found myself stuck in the middle with nowhere to go,” revealed Raikkonen.
“We ended up touching each other and this was pretty bad for the rest of the race. After that it was an uphill battle: the floor of my car was a bit damaged, but we managed to recover some positions and do the best we could, even though it was not easy.
“It’s hard to say where we would have been without the issue at the first corner, but the car felt well throughout the weekend. This was not the result that we were looking for, it’s a pity but that’s how racing goes sometimes.”
Raikkonen was critical of Verstappen’s defensive driving later in the race, especially with regards to an incident on the Kemmel Straight that forced the Finn to brake hard to avoid an accident as the Dutchman moved across on Raikkonen at the last moment.
“I’m fine with fair racing and close battles, but, in my opinion, what happened at Eau Rouge with Verstappen was not correct,” said Raikkonen. “I was going full speed and I had to back off before Turn 5 because he just turned in front of me when I tried to overtake him.
“I’ve never had that with any other driver, if I hadn’t braked hard I would have hit him at full speed and it would have ended up in a massive accident.”