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Ailing Raikkonen muscled out in Q2

21 September 2013

Kimi Raikkonen, battling a injured muscle in his back, failed to progress beyond the second part of qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix, making his task on race day all the more difficult.

The Finn revealed the injury after final practice, but opted to try and qualifying for one of the toughest races of the year regardless. Having squeezed through the opening session, he was unable to climb back out of the 'drop zone' in Q2, having been demoted by Jean-Eric Vergne. His final effort then yielded only eleventh spot, which became 13th in the final order once the shuffling had stopped.

Had Raikkonen progressed, Sergio Perez's exit would have been the talking point amongst the casualties, the Mexican failing to make a single last-ditch run work to his advantage as he posted the 13th best time, and wound up 14th.

With McLaren team-mate Jenson Button edging tenth place on a similar strategy, the bottom six also included Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg – along with Force India's Adrian Sutil and Williams' Valtteri Bottas – but there was better news for the Swiss team as rookie Esteban Gutierrez broke into the top ten for the first time all season.

The Mexican, still in doubt regarding holding on to his seat for 2014, will join Red Bull twins Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber – comfortably the pacesetters in the session – Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo and Button in the battle for pole position in the final ten minutes of qualifying.


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