Kimi Raikkonen’s weekend in Abu Dhabi had started in promising fashion after some good performances during practice, but after being excluded from qualifying on Saturday, the Finn’s race lasted just one corner after a coming together with Caterham’s Charles Pic at turn one.
The Finn had qualified fifth at Yas Marina, but he was excluded after his Lotus E21 car was found to have a floor that flexed too much, making it illegal. The team insisted that this had been caused by the severe kerbing at the circuit (with this excuse being accepted at the Hungarian Grand Prix) only for their argument to be rejected by the stewards who duly sent him to the back of the grid.
Raikkonen had been expected to start from the pit lane to allow Lotus to make changes to the car. However, the team instead opted to start him from his grid slot of twenty-second place, but this decision came back to haunt them.
Having leapfrogged one of the slow-starting Marussias off the line, Raikkonen positioned his car in the centre of the circuit to try and pass the Caterhams ahead. However, Pic cut across the front of his car when turning in to the first corner, resulting in his left-rear tire making contact with Raikkonen’s front-right. This caused damage to the Finn’s suspension and forced him to pull over at the side of the track and retire.
After conducting some TV interviews, Raikkonen was shown on the FOM world feed to be getting inside his car to leave the circuit well before the end of the race.
With questions still lingering about his future, it is unlikely that this disastrous weekend will have done his relationship with Lotus any favors.