Visor tear-off ended Raikkonen’s record runs

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Kimi Raikkonen’s record run of points finishes was ended by a tear-off strip from a rival’s visor, his team have confirmed.

Raikkonen began complaining of brake problems shortly after the start of the race and was told on the radio to beware of high temperatures. During his first pit stop the team discovered a visor tear-off was obstructing the airflow to his left-front brake duct.

The strip was removed during his pit stop but the damage was already done: Raikkonen’s brake had begun to overheat and on lap 25 he went straight on at the chicane. Although he was avoided hitting anything he was only able to make it as far as the pits where he retired.

Raikkonen had finished the last 38 races in a row – thirty for Lotus and eight for Ferrari in the second half of 2009, before he took a two-year break from F1. This was a record-breaking streak, as was his run of scoring points in 27 consecutive races.

Team principal Eric Boullier told Autosport it is unlikely the failure was caused by the design of the duct, even though the team had chosen the most aggressive of its two options: “If the failure had happened on both discs then you would think that the cooling was wrong, but it was only on one disc.”

F1 2017 driver review: Sergio Perez

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Sergio Perez

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 11
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Spain)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 100
Championship Position: 7th

While failing to hit the podium as he did in both 2015 and 2016, Sergio Perez once again finished the year as Formula 1’s leading midfield team driver, but faced a greater fight from within Force India in the shape of Esteban Ocon.

Perez has long been knocking on the door of F1’s top teams should an opportunity come up, and 2017 saw him continue his solid if unspectacular form. The dominance of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari meant any finish higher than seventh was impressive, something he managed to do on five occasions.

But there were some missed opportunities along the way, most significantly in Baku. Force India had been quick all weekend, with Perez charging to sixth on the grid, and when drama struck at the front, he and teammate Ocon were eyeing a podium finish as a minimum.

Contact between the two forced Perez to retire and prompted Ocon to pit for repairs, leaving the team without the top-three finish it targeted heading into the season. With Lance Stroll taking P3 for Williams and Daniel Ricciardo winning the race, a maiden victory for Force India was not out of the realm of imagination.

Perez and Ocon came to blows on a number of occasions, with the final straw coming in Spa when they twice touched on-track, prompting Force India to introduce team orders. Perez finished the year 13 points clear of Ocon in the final standings, meeting his own pre-season target of 100 points, yet the Frenchman had arguably made the bigger impression at Force India through his first full season in F1.

Force India remains the top underdog in F1 with Perez spearheading its charge, but it is difficult to see either taking the final step to becoming true contenders at the front of the field anytime soon, as solid as their displays have been.

Season High: P4 in Spain after retirements for the ‘big three’.

Season Low: Losing a sure-fire podium, if not a win, in Baku after contact with Ocon.