Fernando Alonso placed the blame squarely on former team-mate Kimi Raikkonen for the opening-lap crash that ended both drivers’ participation in the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The unpleasant-looking accident which left Alonso’s McLaren parked atop Raikkonen’s Ferrari – just inches from the Finn’s head – provided a dramatic start and led to the safety car being deployed.
“I started very good today,” said Alonso, who was 19th on the grid after receiving a 25-place penalty for using a fifth engine of the season when drivers are only allowed four. “I make a lot of places in turn one and by turn two I was 14th or something. Kimi was on the soft tyre, he exited turn two with a lot of wheelspin, and we were all overtaking him left and right.
“At one point, he lost the car to the left. I was on the left, so we went both into the wall and I was lucky not to hit him on the head because looking at the replay I was obviously braking but my wheels were in the air. So I was close with him, but luckily we are both fine.
“It was a very strange incident because he lost the car in fifth gear, something like that. Very low grip.”
The stewards, who included former Formula One racer and Indianapolis 500 winner Danny Sullivan, investigated the collision after the race. They decided it was a racing accident, that neither driver was at fault and that no further action was warranted.
Raikkonen, who partnered Alonso at Ferrari last season, said: “I got some wheelspin and then went left, which was unusual, so it’s hard to say. It was poor, but it’s how it was. It’s one of those things.”
The race was another disaster for Alonso’s team-mate Jenson Button. He too started from the back with a 25-place penalty for using a fifth engine, and had to serve a 10-second stop and penalty within the first three laps. He did this, changing to the soft-compound tyres in the hope of going all the way to the finish on them. But his car lost power and was retired on the eighth lap.
“Nothing was broken on my car, but something was wrong, and the changes didn’t make any difference, “Button said. “So the team took the decision to retire it. We’d fitted a brand new engine this weekend, and we didn’t want to unnecessarily damage it.
“Silverstone [in two weeks’ time] will be another step forward,” Button claimed. “Hopefully, we’ll have got rid of our issues so I can have a stronger race in front of my home crowd. After that, Hungary is a circuit that should suit us, so we can get a good result there.”
The McLaren team have struggled for much of the season as Honda have encountered developmental problems with their new engine, but Button added: “In times like these, you’ve just got to stay positive. Everybody back at the factory listens to our post-race interviews, and both Fernando and I want to keep everyone motivated.
“We’re in a good place, because we know what this package can achieve, so hopefully everyone will continue to stay strong.”
The clash took place after the Finnish driver lost the rear end of his car exiting Turn 2 and picked up the Spaniard who was going through his left side.
Both cars speared into the barriers with the McLaren ending up on top of the Ferrari, but thankfully both drivers climbed out of their wrecked vehicles unharmed.
"Luckily, we’re both fine," said Alonso. "It was a strange incident, because (Raikkonen) lost the car in fifth gear, so it must have been very low grip.
"I got a good start, and made up a lot of places into Turn One and Turn Two.
“Kimi ahead of me had started on the Prime tyre, and he exited Turn Two with a lot of wheelspin - I went to overtake him and he lost the car to the left, and that’s exactly where I was - so we both went into the wall."
The stewards in Austria decided to take no further action regarding the accident, after examining video evidence and talking to the drivers, and they concluded that none of the competitors was at fault.
The McLaren driver has now retired from four straight races for the first time in his career whereas the Ferrari man just had his first DNF (Did Not Finish) since the season opener in Australia.
The race was won by Nico Rosberg who left his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton on second place.Reuse content