As Fernando Alonso squeezed every tenth out of the F14 T to secure Ferrari’s first podium finish of the season, Kimi Raikkonen endured a disastrous weekend in the sister car as he finished eighth and some 50 seconds behind his teammate.
The Finn has not made the start that many envisioned when it was announced that he would be leaving Lotus to return to Ferrari for the 2014 season. In four races, he has scored just 11 points and finished only as high as seventh. In China, he was left frustrated after sitting out of FP1, and that set the tone for the rest of the weekend.
“This has been a really difficult weekend,” Raikkonen explained. “Right from Friday morning, I suffered problems that we didn’t manage to solve completely and today in the race, I couldn’t get the result I wanted.
“The start was good, I made up two places but then I couldn’t make up any more ground, as I just didn’t have the pace, nor much grip at the front or the back.”
It was a combination of problems that left Raikkonen’s weekend in tatters, but the Finn is still pleased with the progress that the team is making.
“I think the difficulties I encountered here stem from a combination of various factors, from my driving style combined with the low temperatures and the characteristics of the track,” he said. “Today, we brought home valuable points thanks to the intense efforts of the whole team and now we will continue to work ceaselessly to improve.
“Fernando’s result is very encouraging and proves we are moving in the right direction.”
Raikkonen will be hoping to bounce back at the Spanish Grand Prix in three weeks’ time, which marks the beginning of the European season. It may take a few more races before he is entirely comfortable with the new car and the new setup at Ferrari, but the Finn is certainly still a force to be reckoned with in Formula 1.
Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.
Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.
On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.
One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.
After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.
The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.
Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.
“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”
Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.
“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”
But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.
“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.
“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”
Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.
“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.
“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”
The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.