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Raikkonen handed Sepang grid penalty

23 March 2013

Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen has been handed a three-place grid penalty following qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Raikkonen had qualified seventh at the Sepang International Circuit, venue for the second round in the 2013 F1 World Championship, but will now drop to tenth, behind Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil and Sergio Perez, after the stewards judged he was guilty of impeding Nico Rosberg between turns 12 to 15 in Q3.

Raikkonen, who won in Australia last weekend, and who was quickest in Friday practice, struggled on the intermediates in Q3.

“We weren't quick enough on the intermediates so I don't think we could have found much more time in the wet today. For sure I wanted more but it is what it is and I hope we'll do better on Sunday,” Raikkonen stated.

“It's obviously disappointing to lose three places on the grid, but we'll have to see what happens in the race. I have no idea what the weather will do, but it will be the same for everyone.”

Team-mate Romain Grosjean meanwhile was knocked out in the second qualifying session after the rain scuppered his Q2 lap on new tyres. The Frenchman will start 14th.

“The car felt better today for sure and we were looking good after free practice earlier this afternoon. We should have easily had both cars in the top ten, but unfortunately the skies opened at just the wrong time for me,” he lamented.

“My first run in Q2 was on scrubbed tyres and then as soon as we came in to fit the new ones it started raining, so for now they stay new. It's a shame but there's a long race ahead of us tomorrow and we now have extra sets of fresh dry tyres in our pocket so hopefully we can use them well.”

“It was a disappointing qualifying session for us,” summarised Lotus technical director, James Allison. “Rather like in Melbourne, we haven't placed our cars in the sort of positions our dry pace merits. Like last time, rain disturbed qualifying and we're not as effective in the wet as we are in the dry.

“That was qualifying; the race is tomorrow now and we still have the potential for both drivers to put in strong performances.”


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