Raikkonen on Bottas: Lap 1 crash "completely his fault"

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Kimi Raikkonen placed the blame firmly on compatriot Valtteri Bottas for the first lap incident that would ruin the 2007 champion's race at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

In a repeat of their prior coming together at the first corner in Spain, Bottas would hit the kerb at Turn 2 and bounce into the Ferrari which was slightly ahead on the outside.

In Barcelona it was Max Verstappen that Raikkonen would be pinged into, in Baku, it was the wall on the outside with his car suffering damage that would impact the remainder of his race as well as a puncture on the Mercedes.

That damage would later become part of the debris on the racetrack that would cause the race to be red flagged, with the two Force India's also colliding through Turn 2. Raikkonen would be impacted by that incident too, picking up a puncture of his own that would temporarily take him out of the race before rejoining.

"Not much I could have done," Raikkonen said of the Bottas contact. "I got hit at Turn 2 and there was quite a lot of damage on the car already on the left-hand side."

"He braked very early, again -- and I think he knows it was way too early braking -- and I went just outside and it was fine, and suddenly I got hit from the other side. So I think he noticed he braked too early and just let the brakes go, and came way too fast into me. It was completely his fault, but obviously, I paid the price."

On the remainder of the race, he added: "We were able to keep going but then I was unlucky. The two Force India’s collided, some debris flew off and destroyed my rear tyre.

"The whole floor and the rear wing were damaged and we decided to retire.

"When the red flag stopped the race we thought that we might try and go back on track, but obviously my car was still not perfect and we decided to stop. It's not a good day when your car retires twice in a race.

"I'm disappointed because, without all these things happening, my car would have been good. There's nothing else we could have done, we tried our best."

Bottas meanwhile would be able to recover from being a lap down after the first lap contact and would out-drag Lance Stroll to the finish line to claim second place by a tenth of a second.

On the incident with Raikkonen, for which he wasn't penalised importantly, the 27-year-old also insisted there was nothing else he could have done.

“It’s a bit of a shame it’s Kimi and me again, but we’ve been fighting for similar positions, it’s just unlucky it’s us again,” he said.

“From my side, I was on the inside, he was on the outside, he did brake later and he was kind of ahead but I was on the inside.

“Normally if you’re inside you have the line. He was turning into the corner in a way that, for me, there was nowhere else to go other than over the kerb, and for me, it was not an option to back off at that point.”

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