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GP Week : Issue 145
It was a bad day to be a Brazilian in Melbourne, as both Bruno Senna and Felipe Massa discovered to their cost. Massa, who had suffered the indignity of a challenging weekend from start to finish, saw his race end in the gravel with car parts flying following a collision with Senna that led to a puncture for the Williams driver. Both drivers were able to limp back to the pits after their moment of contact, but closer inspection of the two cars revealed that they were unfit to race on. According to Laurent Debout, who looks after the Renault engines for the Williams team, the decision to retire Senna was a tactical one. “Debris from the accident with Massa had become sucked in the sidepods and water temperature was starting to rise,” he explained. “This engine has to be re-used in Malaysia so we made a call to prevent any damage to the unit.” Speaking after the race, Massa took a refreshingly balanced attitude to the accident that led to his lap 46 retirement. “A Toro Rosso tried to pass me on the outside of Turn 3 and Bruno had better traction on the inside, so we went into Turn 4 side by side,” he said; “that was where we tangled and it ended as you saw it did.” Senna took a similarly adult position to the incident, which led to his retirement on lap 52. “My race was looking better but then I had a tangle with Massa so luck wasn’t on our side today,” he said. “That’s racing though, and we now look forward to making up for it in Malaysia next weekend.” A post-race investigation by the stewards deemed that the collision was a standard racing incident. As a result, no further action was taken. What looked like an ignominious start to Kimi Raikkonen’s F1 comeback turned into triumph with a P7 finish for the Lotus driver. The Finn qualified in P18 after mis-timing his final run in Q1 on Saturday afternoon, but delivered a commanding performance from the back of the grid, taking advantage of the chaos ahead on the last lap to cross the line ahead of Sauber’s Sergio Perez, and saving Enstone’s race in the process. Raikkonen took advantage of his extra sets of fresh rubber to stay out on track until lap 19, passing car after pitting car until he was running in the top three. Once the order on track had restored itself after the first wave of stops, the 2007 world champion found himself battling with the tightly-packed midfield, passing and being passed in turn. Despite the combination of heavy traffic and a Safety Car that did Lotus more harm than good, Raikkonen returned to Formula One like a duck to water, taking advantage of the carnage caused by Pastor Maldonado’s accident to pass Sergio Perez on the outside of the Turn 17 concertina, crossing the finish line in seventh place. While it’s not the sort of highlight that makes a driver’s race, Raikkonen delighted the fans with what was undoubtedly the best radio communication of the weekend. Having radioed the team to complain about the waved blue flags, the Finnish driver had the system explained to him in a rather emphatic manner: “Those flags are for the cars behind, Kimi. They're not for you!” THE BRAZILIANS TAKE IT ALL OFF SENNA AND MASSA COLLIDE RETURN OF THE ICEMAN – Kimi becomes a radio star 24 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> AUSTRALIA