Kimi Räikkönen felt his Japanese Grand Prix was compromised early on following the incident with Max Verstappen at the Casio chicane, with the contact between the two damaging the left-hand side of his SF71H.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver was attacking the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver into the chicane on the opening lap, only for Verstappen to run wide and onto the grass. However, the Dutchman came back onto the track in a dangerous manner and into the side of Räikkönen’s car on the exit, which also led to the Finn falling behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
After then, the pace of the car was not as strong as it had been earlier in the weekend and it meant he finished more than fifty-seconds behind race winner Lewis Hamilton, and, coupled with the sixth-place finish for Vettel after the German’s own contact with Verstappen, made it a poor weekend all round for Ferrari at the Suzuka International Racing Course.
“After the contact with Max I saw some parts flying off my car; it was damaged pretty badly on the left hand side,” said Räikkönen. “Obviously, this affected negatively the rest of my race.
“What happened is unfortunate and after that it was pretty difficult to drive on. I had lost a lot of downforce, but there was not much I could do. It’s impossible to know what our performance would have been without that accident at the chicane; we had improved the car over the weekend, it was getting better and better, but unfortunately this is what we have got today.
“It’s been a difficult and poor weekend overall, the result is not ideal. Now we need to look deeply on everything and hopefully we’ll come back at the next race on a more normal situation where we’ll be able to fight.”