Formula One: Raikkonen explains pit-lane incident that hospitalised mechanic

by Leon Thompson April 10, 2018, 19:02
Formula One: Raikkonen explains pit-lane incident that hospitalised mechanic

Raikkonen in a comfortable third place, 16 seconds ahead of Hamilton, but recorded his second consecutive retirement when he was forced to stop in the pits due as Ferrari failed to change his rear left tyre. Traffic stifled the Haas driver's charge, allowing Gasly to retain the position when he pitted two laps later. Hass Ferrari's Kevin Magnussen came in fifth, followed by Niko Hulkenberg for Renault in sixth.

Hamilton expressed his annoyance over team radio as he came into the pit lane after P3, saying spectators got too close to his Mercedes. On lap four the race resumed, and it was Hamilton who would take centre stage as he started his comeback.

Bottas stayed out for two more laps and changed to mediums. Formula 1 teams are always pushing the boundaries for faster pit-stops and this time, it was an evident and unexpected system failure for Ferrari that should prompt the FIA to step in and make pit-stops safer.

Both Bottas and Hamilton not only managed to match the Ferraris for pace on their Mediums, but also were going marginally quicker.

Vettel, last year's championship runner-up, has a golden chance to extend his overall lead.

With further stops required, Ferrari's problems were compounded after 36 laps when Raikkonen came in and inadvertently ran over a mechanic as he pulled away.

FIA race stewards fined Ferrari €50,000 for releasing Raikkonen's vehicle "in a manner endangering team personnel and causing injury".

And although Mercedes recovered to finish second and third on Sunday, Bottas was unable to pass Vettel for the lead.

Formula One: Raikkonen explains pit-lane incident that hospitalised mechanic
Formula One: Raikkonen explains pit-lane incident that hospitalised mechanic

Raikkonen's left tyre was still being attended to when he slammed on the power and he drove straight into the leg of the mechanic who was badly hurt. Medical staff arrived on the scene immediately after the incident and he was then taken to a local hospital for surgery. Hamilton, meanwhile, complained that he wasn't getting enough of a picture from his pit wall about how the race was playing out, running 17 seconds back from the leader.

The 20-year-old Red Bull driver, who started 15th following his qualifying crash, sensed blood in his pursuit of the defending champion but his no-holds barred move cost him dearly.

"The quicker you are, the more you are one unit with your vehicle, the happier you feel, the more you're able to extract when it really matters".

Bottas came close to overhauling the future victor, but not close enough.

At the restart on lap four, Hamilton went on the attack and a lap later overtook Alonso, Hulkenberg and Ocon into Turn 1 with an impressive move up the inside.

However, he just wasn't able to get that final 0.7s.

On worn tyres, Vettel crossed the finish line just six-tenths-of-a-second ahead of the chasing Finn to take back-to-back wins and extend his championship lead. It is also pretty clear that Hamilton deserves to be in 2nd place right behind him after securing two consecutive podium finishes to open up the season.

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