Kimi Räikkönen has come under fire for the role he played in causing the opening lap accident at the British Grand Prix, with some suggesting that the Finn was lucky not to find himself sanctioned by the FIA Stewards.
The Ferrari driver ran wide at the exit of the Aintree corner on the first lap of the race, rejoining the circuit at high speed before almost immediately losing control and slamming into the barriers on the Wellington Straight.
The accident also led to the retirement of Williams’ Felipe Massa, while Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi and Marussia’s Max Chilton also sustained damage to their cars in the melee.
The initial hit with the barriers registered a whopping 47G on Ferrari’s internal sensors, so it was no surprise that he hobbled off to the medical centre for a mandatory check. He was lucky to emerge with little more than a bruised ankle, which is likely to keep him out of this week’s two-day in-season test at the circuit.
The race was red-flagged and the restart delayed by an hour while the damaged crash barriers were repaired.
“Unfortunately, my race today ended on the first lap, after I had managed to get away well, making up enough ground to be fighting for 11th place [from seventeenth],” Räikkönen said after the race.
“I went off the track and while trying to get back on, I must have hit a kerb. I then lost control of the car and ended in the barriers. It’s a real shame because yesterday, the feeling I had on track had improved and I was determined to do my utmost to bring home some points.
“I am really very disappointed with how things went today, but now I want to put this incident behind me and just concentrate on the next race in Germany.”
But there was a small section of criticism for his driving, with three-time World Champion Niki Lauda leading the chorus.
“Kimi made a mistake. He went wide, so why does he come in balls out and then crash?” the Austrian asked rhetorically. “It was unnecessary.”
The most vocal criticism came from the NBC‘s acclaimed journalist and broadcaster, Will Buxton, who went as fair as suggesting that the 2007 World Champion should have been banned from the next race.
“[The accident] was born of such staggering racing negligence, that I am truly of the opinion that the 2007 Formula 1 World Champion should be left at home to contemplate what could have been,” he wrote on his blog in a piece titled ‘Benching Kimi’.
“When you distill it down, it really is very simple. Räikkönen ran wide in an on-track battle. He maintained and, by continuing his acceleration, increased racing speed off-track. He re-entered the track at speed, on the racing line, and in an unsafe manner. He was not in control of his car and was responsible for a huge accident, the aftermath of which saw loose wheels and debris strewn across the track … It was a nasty and unnecessary accident.
“Yes the runoff and the track played their part,” he conceded, before adding: “I have seen no mention from Ferrari that Räikkönen was experiencing any issue which would have taken control of the car or crucially throttle application away from him, it was the Finn and the Finn alone whose decisions and driving created the accident.
“I see no difference between this lack of judgment and the lack of judgment displayed by Romain Grosjean at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix. Regardless of intent, the result of his actions created an unacceptable level of danger to the driver himself, his on-track rivals, and workers around the track,” he concluded.
It certainly raises an interesting debate. Why did the stewards not at least consider investigating the circumstances of the accident? It’s a question that will, in all likelihood, remain unanswered.
Images via XPB Images
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