Kimi Raikkonen has explained that he wasn’t looking when he drove into Antonio Giovinazzi on the pit straight at the start of the Portuguese Grand Prix.
Giovinazzi was ahead of his Alfa Romeo teammate ending the first lap at Portimao but Raikkonen picked up a slipstream on the pit straight and was closing in. While Giovinazzi covered the inside line, Raikkonen drifted across and ran into the left-rear tire of the other Alfa Romeo, breaking his own front wing that got lodged under his wheels and forced his retirement, also leading to a safety car.
Kimi's race only lasted one lap 💔#PortugueseGP 🇵🇹 #F1 pic.twitter.com/a3ATQhLGRB
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 2, 2021
“It was basically my mistake,” Raikkonen said. “I was checking something on the steering wheel, checking a switch. I got it wrong out of the last corner and I had to check it again and then just drove into him. Purely my mistake.
“Luckily I didn’t destroy his tires. Far from ideal, but what can you do.”
Alfa Romeo’s head of track engineering Xevi Pujolar admits while it was frustrating to see Raikkonen retire, it could easily have been both cars given the level of contact.
“We were very lucky because of the contact with the left-rear wheel,” Pujolar said. “But we checked straight away if we could see any loss of pressure or anything else and it was all OK. We could have had both cars out.
“It’s already not ideal when you lose one car at the start of the race, but after that I think Antonio could do a very solid race. We managed to put Aston Martin behind. We were hoping to be fighting a bit more with Alpine but they were a bit stronger than us and then when we saw some of the guys in front — especially (Carlos) Sainz — losing quite a bit of pace and fighting with AlphaTauri, if we could have been a bit closer to them towards the end then I think 10 more laps and it would be interesting.”