Raikkonen excluded from qualifying for technical infringement

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Kimi Raikkonen has been excluded from qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after a technical infringement on his car, causing it to fail a post-session inspection.

The technical report read:

“After the qualifying practice session an assymetric LHS front floor deflection test was carried on car numbers seven and eleven. Car number seven did not comply with article 3.17.5 of the 2013 FIA Formula One technical regulations as the front floor deflected more than 5mm vertically when the load was applied vertically to it at the point which lies 100mm of car centre line on the LHS.”

Seven minutes after this report was published, the stewards requested that the team explain why Raikkonen’s car failed the test with a meeting scheduled for 20:15 local time.

Two hours later, the stewards confirmed that Raikkonen had been excluded from the results due to the infringement. However, he will be able to start from the back of the grid in tomorrow’s race.

“The stewards heard the explanation of the team that the relevant part broke upon contact with a kerb. However, the stewards did not accept that the incident referred to constituted an accident, or excused failing the relevant test.”

This is not a new occurrence for Lotus. At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Romain Grosjean’s car suffered a similar problem, but the team proved that the car only failed the test due to damage caused to the floor by the kerbs at the track. The stewards accepted this reasoning and took no further action, but Lotus have been unable to convince them of the same reasoning here in Abu Dhabi.

Raikkonen will now start the race from last on the grid, but it is likely that he will follow the example set by Sebastian Vettel at last year’s race in Abu Dhabi and instead start from the pit lane, allowing Lotus to make some changes to his car overnight.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”