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GP Week : Issue 183
Kimi Raikkonen finished in the points for the 23rd consecutive race despite nearly finishing out of the top 10 after a late race altercation with McLaren driver Sergio Perez. After qualifying fifth on Saturday, Raikkonen’s consistent long runs in practice augured well for a strong finish on Sunday afternoon. But multiple Safety Cars effectively ended any advantage Lotus had over their opposition in terms of tyre strategy, leaving Raikkonen fighting with Alonso just outside of the podium positions. Unable to stretch his legs, there was little Raikkonen could do to improve the situation and he subsequently came under attack from Perez, who was taking full advantage of a closely bunched field after the red flag resulting from Pastor Maldonado’s crash at Tabac. Oddly, Raikkonen chose to fit primes for the final 32 laps, despite his Lotus finding it difficult to bring the harder tyre up to temperature. A late race lunge from Sergio Perez on Raikkonen coming out of the tunnel towards the Nouvelle Chicane saw the Finn turn in early, leaving Perez with nowhere to go but between the Armco and Kimi’s left rear tyre. The ensuing damage forced Raikkonen to pit for options and for a final charge into the points. Perez, who was credited last on the standings was livid with Raikkonen’s move, claiming the Lotus driver should have given him more room. " K imi didn't give me any room; there was nothing I could do to avoid it. If someone could avoid the accident it was Kimi,” Perez said. “At the end of the day it doesn't matter how aggressive you are if you aren't given space." With just five laps left to run, Kimi was then faced with the unenviable task of catching Nico Hulkenberg, who at that stage was seven seconds up the road. Miraculously, Raikkonen reeled in the Sauber driver, quickly dispatching the German and going on to finish tenth – a further six seconds ahead of the man he overhauled and into the final points paying position. It was a minor solace however for the Lotus F1 Team, who at the beginning of the weekend looked like they could have both cars on the podium. The squad will no doubt be looking forward to Montreal where tyre degradation was a consideration long before the advent of the Pirelli era. Kimi Keeps points streak intact. 34 GPWEEK.com // 34 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> MONACO