Kimi Raikkonen says there is no need to race Max Verstappen differently to any other driver on the grid despite the Dutchman colliding with both Ferraris in Japan.
Verstappen ran wide at the chicane early in the race under pressure from Raikkonen and forced the Finn off track when rejoining, earning himself a five-second time penalty and damaging the Ferrari. He was then later involved in contact with Sebastian Vettel that saw the other Ferrari spin at Spoon, but Raikkonen insists there is no need to approach wheel-to-wheel battles with Verstappen differently.
“Obviously in the situation where I was with him, it’s a bit hard to say because I know that sometimes, when you come back over the curbs it’s impossible to turn the car after you bounce over it and I don’t know if that was the case,” Raikkonen said.
“I think if we both would be in the circuit next to each other he wouldn’t squeeze me because we all know what would happen from that. It was a bit odd situation, where we ended up but I don’t think he purposely tried to hit anybody. It’s what happened, probably for many reasons.”
Despite his understanding of the situation, Raikkonen also feels it is right that Verstappen was penalized at Suzuka, given that the move clearly hampered his race.
“Obviously for me it didn’t help me because I suffered with the damaged car throughout the whole race, but the Stewards are there to make the decisions and sometimes you feel it’s fair, sometimes not. That’s how it goes.”
With Ferrari limited to fifth and sixth in Japan, Raikkonen says the improvements the team made over the weekend were masked and hopes to be able to display better performance at COTA.
“Obviously we need to go through things, it was a difficult weekend overall. We got things improved during the weekend, it was getting better and better but if you look purely at the result it was far from what we wanted. But that’s how it goes sometimes.
“We go to the next race and hopefully we’ll put the things where we are happier with them and we’ll be up there. We need to tidy up things and hopefully get a cleaner weekend next time around.”