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GP Week : Issue 189
Hoping to make amends for a diabolical showing in Monza, qualifying just outside the top ten was the last thing Kimi Raikkonen needed when chief title-rival sebastian Vettel secured yet another pole at Monza. But if Lotus were expecting a sunday turnaround, they doubled-down and lost big time. The magnetic force that attracts and repels Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez found little respite in Italy, with the Mexican racer once again suddenly changing direction in front of the Finn heading into the first chicane, then braking hard as the inevitable first lap bottle-neck ensued. Raikkonen however, felt his rival’s application of the brakes was a little too premature, and ploughed into the back of the McLaren – forcing Perez up the escape road. The resulting damage (right) forced Raikkonen to pit for a new front wing and in the process he lost some thirty-five seconds in the pits making the adjustment. Upon returning, the 2007 world champion set a consecutive run of fastest laps by virtue of his fresh rubber, but would still question the performance of the Lotus by radioing in to ask: “are you sure this wing is the right one?” Assured that it was, he then set about salvaging his afternoon from 21st place, starting with the Marussia of Charles Pic. That Raikkonen was able to fight his way back to his original starting position will be of little consolation, although he did cross the line one spot ahead of Perez. Once a model of consistency, the Finn is enduring too many unforced errors and cannot afford any more – especially when Fernando Alonso is racking up podiums and still losing ground to Vettel. “When I lost the front wing I had to come in and change to a new one meaning an extra pit stop which we hadn’t planned,” bemoaned Raikkonen. “It’s not just the time in the pits, but you have to work your way through the field afterwards. We did a pretty good job of that and the car felt good, surprisingly good given where we were on Saturday. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do after the start to the race we had.” Despite losing just one second to the race winner over 51 laps, the Lotus driver is now 88 points adrift of Vettel in the world championship. Raikkonen may just be weighing up his what his future options might be once he crosses the line in Sao Paulo. Kimi's title hopes fading 30 GPWEEK.com // 30 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> ITALY