Ferrari strategy mistake leaves Raikkonen 17th on the grid

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Kimi Raikkonen has confirmed that the decision not to run again in the first part of qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix was taken by Ferrari, and that the team is at fault for his early elimination.

The Finn did not head out for a second run during the first session on Saturday afternoon, allowing Marussia’s Jules Bianchi to improve his time and make it through to Q2 at Raikkonen’s expense.

Raikkonen explained to the media on Saturday that the decision not to run again was the team’s alone, and that he even challenged the call when it was made.

“The plan was to go out,” Raikkonen said. “Obviously I struggled a bit with the harder tires this morning and yesterday afternoon to put a good lap in those. The car has been good on the softer tires.

“That was the plan and then the team said that ‘no, we are fine, we don’t need to go out’. I questioned it a few times, and they said there’s no need, and obviously we can see the end result.”

However, Raikkonen is not willing to dwell on it, saying that everyone makes mistakes, although he does not expect them to happen at Ferrari.

“Obviously not good for me, not good for the team, but the mistake has been made,” he said. “It has been a difficult year anyhow so I don’t really see a point to start shouting around.

“The mistake’s done, I’ve done mistakes in the past, I will make in the future, people make mistakes.

“But obviously there’s things that we have to change. As a team, in Formula 1, as Ferrari, we should not make this kind of things. We are not here first year, any of us, it’s not easy times.”

This appears to be a new low point in what has been a difficult year at Ferrari for Raikkonen. When the Finn joined the team at the beginning of the season, it was meant to be the beginning of a new, successful era for the team. Instead, both Raikkonen and teammate Fernando Alonso have struggled with the F14 T car, and quite what the future holds at Maranello is far from clear.

Lauda labels Verstappen USGP penalty ‘the worst I’ve ever seen’

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Mercedes Formula 1 non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has called the FIA stewards’ decision to penalize Max Verstappen for his last-lap pass on Kimi Raikkonen in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix as “the worst I’ve ever seen”.

Verstappen charged from 16th on the grid to take third place from Raikkonen on the last lap after a stunning fight through the field, completing the fightback with a bold pass in the final sector.

However, the stewards stripped Verstappen of P3 after he appeared to put all four wheels off the circuit when riding the kerb to pass Raikkonen, causing outcry in the F1 community.

Speaking to reporters after the race in Austin, Lauda condemned the stewards’ decision, slamming them for interfering in the late fight.

“We had meetings at the start of the year to see how far stewards should go in decisions during a race because it always says ‘under investigation’,” Lauda said, as quoted by Crash.net.

“So we complained about that and we agreed all together that the stewards would not interfere – very simple.

“If the driver goes over another and upside down, only then would they weigh in. That was at the beginning of last year.

“For six months it was OK, but this decision was the worst I’ve ever seen. He did nothing wrong.”

Lauda said F1 team bosses would discuss stewarding at the next Strategy Group meeting, which is due to be held in the next two weeks.

“These are racing drivers. We are not on the normal roads and it is ridiculous to destroy the sport with these kind of decisions,” Lauda said.

“At the next strategy meeting, we will put it back on the agenda and start all over again, because we cannot do that.

“They go too far and interfere and there was nothing to interfere with. It was normal overtaking.”