Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen’s Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix ended in the first few laps after he was hit from behind which caused damage to his car.
The Finn had to start from sixth on the grid after Ferrari miscalculated his fuel in Saturday’s qualifying, thereby forcing him to miss the last few minutes of the session where five drivers were able to improve on their lap time.
This eventually played a role when he was hit by Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo after the Australian was punted from behind in a chain reaction initiated by Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg in Turn 1 at Spa-Francorchamps.
The German rammed into McLaren’s Fernando Alonso who flew over Sauber’s Charles Leclerc and also smashed Ricciardo’s rear wing in the process. The resultant hit unsettled the Red Bull driver as he made contact with Raikkonen’s right rear.
It punctured the Finn’s tyres as he limped back into the pits. He did few laps but was forced to pit as he didn’t feel right with the car. After a lengthy stop to presumably fix the car, he went out again but soon pitted to eventually retire.
Post race, Raikkonen clarified that the hit not only punctured his tyre but damaged his floor and also the rear wing endplate was gone which must have affected his DR which remained open all through the lap.
“[Ricciardo] hit me on the rear and I had a lot of damage,” said Raikkonen. “Also on the floor [and] the rear wing, as I needed to do the full lap with a flat tyre. Then it ended up being so bad that the DRS opened itself all the time and at that point I could not go fast.
“So obviously there was no point in carrying on. Obviously it was far from ideal.” The race ended the Finn’s podium run of five races to hand him his third retirement of the season. Even though Sebastian Vettel won the race, Ferrari’s constructors’ point took a hit still.
Meanwhile, Ricciardo accepted the blame for hitting Raikkonen but the Australian felt there was nothing he could have done after he was hit by Alonso. “I remember sliding and next minute I was in the back of Kimi,” said Ricciardo.
“It all happened pretty quick but what I remember was getting a hit initially and then looking and then I’m basically in the back of Kimi on the exit.” Ricciardo managed to race but he was two laps down and with no further SC period, they decided to retire the car.