Kimi Raikkonen was at a loss to explain why he failed to get away from the grid at the start of the Italian Grand Prix, insisting that he followed his usual pre-race procedures to the letter.
The Finn had been excited – as far as he shows excitement – to have out-qualified Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel to line up alongside polesitter Lewis Hamilton on the front row for the Scuderia's home race, but his afternoon turned to dust as the rest of the grid got away cleanly, leaving the near stationary F15-T to join the fray at the back of the pack.
“It went into anti-stall when I let the first clutch go,” he explained, “As far as I understood, I did the correct thing but, obviously, we can see there was a problem with the second clutch in the way that it was not in the correct place. I'm pretty sure I put everything correct as always, but I don't know exactly. Whatever it was, it triggered the anti-stall and, obviously, after a few seconds, I was in last place.”
Claiming never to have had the problem before, despite the many practice starts he would have completed in practice and testing, Raikkonen admitted that the team would have to look through the data to try and determine the cause.
“As far as what I do always, I did the same thing, so I cannot explain why,” he sighed, “There are only a few small chances as to why it could be but, whatever the reason is, we have to make sure that we understand it correctly 100 per cent and make sure, if we have to make changes, that we do the right things.”
Having been relegated to the tail of the field, the Finn started the hard task of making his way towards salvaging a points finish, picking off the backmarkers early on, but then finding the midfield a little tougher to deal with. Although he climbed as high as third, the decision to delay his one and only tyre stop as long as Ferrari did meant that Raikkonen dropped back to the tail of the top ten, before fighting his way back to an eventual fifth place by the flag.
“We did the best that we could,” he maintained, “I'm obviously quite disappointed, but the race was okay. I finished fifth but, when you start in second place and you end up in last place at the first corner, it's not ideal. It's a bit disappointing but you have to learn on those [things] and hopefully make a better result.
“I think the car has been pretty good all weekend. In hindsight, it was a bit tricky in the end on the first set [of tyres]. Obviously, I had to take care of them a bit in the beginning and it didn't help having to fight with people but, once we changed to the second set, the car was very good and I was able to catch up and pass people.
“In a way, I think we had a good car but, unfortunately, we compromised our race a lot on the start. We did the best we could after that - it's a bit disappointing, but not the first time unfortunately that this has happened on a race weekend. I'm sure we're doing the right things, but we keep having issues and compromising our race big time. We'll keep trying and I'm sure things will get better soon.”