Raikkonen's Lotus excluded from qualifying

Raikkonen's Lotus excluded from qualifying

Formula 1

Raikkonen's Lotus excluded from qualifying

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Kimi Raikkonen has been excluded from qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix following a front floor deflection test failure.

Representatives of his Lotus team were summoned to see the race stewards in Abu Dhabi after it was found that Raikkonen’s car did not conform to the regulations. The left side of the floor was found to deflect more than the permitted 5mm vertically when the testing load was applied to it.

Investigations by Lotus found that the issue had been caused by a broken floor due to curb damage, but the stewards did not accept the explanation. He has therefore been excluded from qualifying but will be allowed to start from the back of the grid.

Revised Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying results:Pos  Driver               Team/Car               Time       Gap 1.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault       1m39.957s 2.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault       1m40.075s  +0.118s 3.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes               1m40.419s  +0.462s 4.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes               1m40.501s  +0.544s 5.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber-Ferrari         1m40.576s  +0.619s 6.  Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault          1m40.997s  +1.040s 7.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari                1m41.015s  +1.058s 8.  Sergio Perez         McLaren-Mercedes       1m41.068s  +1.111s 9.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m41.111s  +1.154sQ2 cut-off time: 1m40.989s                                    Gap **10.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari                1m41.093s  +0.620s11.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes   1m41.133s  +0.660s12.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes       1m41.200s  +0.727s13.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m41.279s  +0.806s14.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Renault       1m41.395s  +0.922s15.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Renault       1m41.447s  +0.974sQ1 cut-off time: 1m41.884s                                    Gap *16.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari         1m41.999s  +1.306s17.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes   1m42.051s  +1.358s18.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham-Renault       1m43.252s  +2.559s19.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth      1m43.398s  +2.705s20.  Charles Pic          Caterham-Renault       1m43.528s  +2.835s21.  Max Chilton          Marussia-Cosworth      1m44.198s  +3.505s22.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus-Renault          1m40.542s  +0.585s***107% time: 1m47.741s* Gap to quickest in Q1** Gap to quickest in Q2*** Excluded post-session

AUTOSPORT understands that the stewards did not accept the explanation because Romain Grosjean’s car had suffered a similar problem in Hungary earlier this year, when he escaped a penalty after hitting a kerb.

While a one-off event like that could be put down to misfortune, the stewards felt that modifications should have been made to the car to ensure that there was no repeat event.

Raikkonen’s penalty means that he will not be able to take up his best grid slot since the German Grand Prix in July, having qualified fifth.

For the Abu Dhabi weekend Raikkonen has reverted to the shorter wheelbase version of the E21 after feeling that the longer version did not suit his driving style.

“We wanted to do it in previous races already but some races we could not,” said the Finn. “I was told it was maybe an area where I can get the car like I want, so it has been OK.

“I think it doesn’t need to be a big change, but if you get the front end as I like it, then I can drive normally and everything comes more to like it should be. At least here today was not too bad.”

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