Kimi Raikkonen has stated that the incident which earned Max Verstappen a time penalty at the Japanese Grand Prix may not have been his intention at all. The Red Bull driver finished in third despite the penalty.
“I know that sometime when you come back over the kerbs it’s impossible to turn the car after you bounce over it and I don’t know if that was the case. I don’t think he purposely tried to hit anybody,” said Raikkonen.
“If we both would be on the circuit next to each other he wouldn’t squeeze me because we all know what would happen.”
Raikkonen also admitted that he tried leaving as much space as he could for Verstappen to rejoin but it did not prove enough in the end. “I tried to go outside and leave him as much room as possible,” he said.
“In an ideal world I could have left a bit more [space].”
The weekend was yet another terrible one for Ferrari as they got their strategies wrong. In the final Q3 run, they decided to send out both drivers on inters on a drying track, which ended up with Vettel only ninth fastest.
Raikkonen himself started fourth but was passed at the end of the first lap by his teammate who made a fantastic start, passing four cars. However, he clashed with Max Verstappen which dropped him to the back of the field.
He then proceeded to blame the Dutchman for the whole incident, claiming that he did not leave him enough space. However, he has to face the fact that he was too eager to overtake an obviously slower Verstappen.
He now trails Hamilton by 67 points with just four races to go and if he wins the next race and Vettel finishes below P2, the title will be confirmed for the Mercedes driver. Vettel will surely aim for better luck than that.
Raikkonen, on the other hand, has looked terribly off colour since his podium at Monza. He has looked out of sorts in Singapore, Russia and Japan, failing to qualify in the top three on each occasion.