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.
Valtteri Bottas is confident of scoring a good result in tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix after qualifying third at the Sochi Autodrom on Saturday.
Bottas finished as the ‘best of the rest’ in Q3 behind the leading Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, beating the Ferrari drivers to secure P3 for the start of tomorrow’s race.
After a difficult run of form, Bottas believes that he can capitalize on this good qualifying result and make the most of the Williams car’s suitability to the track in Sochi.
“It was a strong job by the team today,” Bottas said. “We managed to set-up the car well and maximize our performance.
“I felt very good in the car all day and managed to get in a rhythm quickly and put in consistent lap times despite the limited number of laps we had completed in practice.
“Tomorrow is where it really matters but I have put myself in a very good position to capitalize.”
Bottas’ teammate, Felipe Massa, was less impressive in qualifying as a mistake and traffic caused him to drop out in Q2, finishing P15.
“I made a mistake at turn eight in my first timed lap in Q2, and then in my final two attempts I came up against a lot of traffic which lost me a lot of time,” Massa explained.
“On my final run my tires were gone at the rear and that was the end of my chances. It’s a shame and I’m very disappointed, but I have a quick car around here so we need to have a good strategy and use our pace to move up into the points tomorrow.”
The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday.
Alexander Rossi claimed his third win in as many GP2 Series rounds in Saturday’s feature race at the Sochi Autodrom.
Since winning the last feature race at Monza in Italy, Rossi has made his Formula 1 debut with Manor and also raced for the team at the iconic Suzuka Circuit in Japan.
As part of his deal with Manor, Rossi has returned to GP2 for this weekend’s round in Russia as he bids to finish as runner-up to impending series champion Stoffel Vandoorne.
Vandoorne was expected to be crowned champion on Saturday, but Rossi managed to delay the Belgian’s celebrations by storming to victory as darkness forced officials to shorten the race.
Carnage on the first lap saw four drivers retire from the race, with damage caused to the barrier at turn 3 by Jordan King resulted in a 30 minute red flag delay.
Once the race restarted, a shortened distance of 15 laps was confirmed, but full points were still to be awarded.
Pole-sitter Alex Lynn managed to pull clear through the first stint, and after falling behind Rossi in the first round of pit stops, the DAMS driver regained the advantage soon after.
However, when Lynn crashed out, Rossi was able to pull clear of the chasing Pierre Gasly and Vandoorne just behind to record his third win in as many race weekends by three seconds.
Rossi will start tomorrow’s sprint race from eighth place on the grid which is reversed, handing pole to Frenchman Arthur Pic who finished P8 on Saturday.
You will be able to read all about Alexander’s success in his exclusive NBC Sports blog on Wednesday. To read his pre-Sochi thoughts, click here.