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.”