It was pretty hard after the race in Sochi to find anyone (not wearing a red shirt) who was willing to argue in favour of Kimi Raikkonen’s ham-fisted overtaking move which dumped Valtteri Bottas out of the race on the last lap, depriving him of a well-earned third place (and 15 points) and Williams team of a similar number of points, although some were gained as Felipe Massa benefited from the shunt. Nonetheless these points may be important because Red Bull Racing is still within striking distance of Williams and the difference between third and fourth in the Constructors’ Championship is nearly $10 million in prize money. The two men were not only disputing third place in the race, they are also fighting over fourth in the Drivers’ World Championship and, who knows, perhaps both have contracts that mean that this is worth millions in extra bonuses to one or the other.
The bottom line is that Raikkonen took away a bunch of points from Williams and although his punishment took away his some of his own points, he still came away with a reward, while Bottas was punted off the road and got nothing. That is not right.
The punishment – a 30-second penalty – seemed rather lenient, given that others who have caused crashes regularly get grid penalties for the next event. In Singapore, Nico Hulkenberg was given a three-place penalty to be served in Japan for a move that was far less dubious than Raikkonen’s lunge. In Monaco Max Verstappen was given a five-place penalty for the Canadian GP for a move that was no worse than Raikkonen’s. A few years back (in 2012) Romain Grosjean was given a one race suspension for causing a crash and that same year in Singapore Michael Schumacher was given a 10-place grid penalty for causing a collision with Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne.
I understand that the FIA is trying to reduce the number of penalties that are carried over from one race to the next, but there should really be more consistency in these matters. Kimi deserved a bigger penalty than he got…