The Monaco Grand Prix may be behind us, but the Formula 1 world is still buzzing about some of the on track clashes during the race and the colorful commentary that they inspired during the post-race interviews. One of the most entertaining to follow has been the trash talking between Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez over which driver was at fault for a collision between the two late in the race.
The two collided on lap 69 at the Nouvelle chicane. Perez claims that Raikkonen didn’t leave him enough room as the McLaren driver attempted to overtake the Lotus F1 Team wheel man.
“I’d had a great race – I’d been overtaking cars through the afternoon – but in my opinion Kimi didn’t leave me enough room when I tried to pass him,” was how Checo chose to describe the incident in post-race interviews. Perez concluded his statement by adding, “at the end of the day, you have to leave each other a little room.”
Since when is it the responsibility of a driver to let another by when both are still competitive in the race and vying for position and, more importantly, points? If Kimi were a lap down or simply falling off pace, then Perez would have a leg to stand on in arguing that the Finn should have let him pass. That wasn’t the case however, and Perez just seems to be looking at this with a sense of entitlement.
Raikkonen was naturally not pleased that Perez was trying to place the blame on him for the accident. “He hit me from behind and that’s about all there is to it. If he thinks it’s my fault that he came into the corner too fast then he obviously has no idea what he’s talking about.” The Iceman went on to point out that, “It’s not the first time he’s hit someone in the race.”
Perhaps Kimi was referring to an incident just a few weeks ago when Perez got into a clash with his own team mate Jenson Button during the Bahrain Grand Prix. More likely though Raikkonen was talking about the pair’s first run-in at the Chinese Grand Prix when Perez swung wide going into a turn to prevent Kimi from passing him and damaged Raikkonen’s Lotus in the process.
From all the video I have seen it is easy to see how placing the blame might be a bit tricky in this scenario, but Raikkonen seems to be in the right. Kimi was driving his race and approaching the turn as he had been all afternoon when Perez tried to make a move, but that move was ill timed. It appears as though Sergio was a little too far back to attempt a pass and got closed off because he didn’t time it properly and came in too fast in an attempt to compensate.
Regardless of which driver deserves the blame it cannot be argued that it led to a disappointing race result for both drivers. Raikkonen and Perez were running fifth and sixth respectively at the time of the collision, and both would be forced to pit due to damage.
Perez sustained damage to his brake ducts which caused his brakes to overheat and forced the Mexican to retire, earning him a P16 finish.
Raikkonen was luckier as he would get his puncture repaired and go back to racing, though he would lose a lot of ground and have to fight back up from P16 in order to finish P10 and save a point. It was a damaging blow to the Iceman’s 2013 driver’s championship hopes, a fact which Kimi seemed even more upset over: “Because of one stupid move from Sergio we’ve lost a lot of points to Sebastian [Vettel] in the championship and you can’t afford to lose ground like that.”
Raikkonen is still in second in the points but the gap between he and Vettel grew from four points before the race to 21 after.
This has all the makings of a budding new rivalry on the track. Perez is starting to make a name for himself as a big talker and a bit of a risky driver, and Kimi is…Kimi. Watching these two battle it out for the rest of the year will add another exciting storyline to the 2013 F1 season.
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