Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Yas Marina, 2013

Can Raikkonen ‘do a Vettel’ after penalty?

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix pre-race analysisPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Yas Marina, 2013Kimi Raikkonen faces a long haul through the field in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after being excluded from qualifying following a technical infringement.

It’s a repeat of the scenario Sebastian Vettel faced at this race last year, when he started from the pit lane after stopping at the end of qualifying with too little fuel left in the car.

Vettel managed to fight his way back to third place, thanks in part to the Safety Car appearing twice during the race. Can Raikkonen do the same?

He has previous form for this kind of fightback. He scored a great win at Suzuka in 2005 from 17th on the grid. The year after that in Bahrain he finished on the podium after lining up 22nd – his current starting position on Sunday’s grid.


Lotus may well choose to go down the same route Red Bull opted for last year. With Vettel doomed to start last on the grid they elected to take his car out of parc ferme (and therefore start from the pit lane), which meant they could make deeper changes to his set-up to help him make progress through the field.

A glance at Raikkonen’s low speed trap figures (below) indicate he could benefit from reducing the rear wing and increasing his gear ratios to aid overtaking.

But he is already well-equipped for making this kind of recovery drive. Friday practice showed the Lotus had excellent pace over a long stint on the soft tyres. That will give the Lotus pit wall the strategic flexibility to help Raikkonen recover.

Given the constructors’ championship situation, their best scenario would be for Raikkonen to catch and pass the Ferraris, while hoping Romain Grosjean can take the fight to the Mercedes drivers. Grosjean’s comeback drive from 17th to the podium last weekend is further evidence of what’s possible with this car even from a poor starting position and without the benefit of a Safety Car.

For most drivers Pirelli expect a one-stop strategy to be the preferred approach, as was the case last year.

The top nine drivers on the grid plus Raikkonen will start the race on their used soft tyres from Q3, unless Lotus decide to take Raikkonen out of parc ferme and start him from the pit lane.

The start

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2013Two Red Bulls at the front of the grid is hardly an unusual sight. But it is uncommon to see Mark Webber ahead of Vettel.

It’s only happened once this year, at Suzuka, where the pair started so poorly Grosjean passed them both and Lewis Hamilton was on his way past them when he suffered damage.

Webber has had two chances to beat his team mate running different strategies in the last two races, and each time Vettel has come out on top. But he won’t be expecting any gifts from his team mate just because the championship has been decided.

The short run to the first corner at Yas Marina offers little chance for drivers to change positions, and the turn five/six chicane is often the scene of incidents. Keep an eye out for drivers saving KERS for the two long straights in the middle of the lap.

Qualifying times in full

Driver Car Q1

Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1 Mark Webber Red Bull 1’41.568 1’40.575 (-0.993) 1’39.957 (-0.618)
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’41.683 1’40.781 (-0.902) 1’40.075 (-0.706)
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’41.420 1’40.473 (-0.947) 1’40.419 (-0.054)
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’40.693 1’40.477 (-0.216) 1’40.501 (+0.024)
5 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1’41.276 1’40.971 (-0.305) 1’40.542 (-0.429)
6 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1’41.631 1’40.931 (-0.700) 1’40.576 (-0.355)
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1’41.447 1’40.948 (-0.499) 1’40.997 (+0.049)
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’41.254 1’40.989 (-0.265) 1’41.015 (+0.026)
9 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’41.687 1’40.812 (-0.875) 1’41.068 (+0.256)
10 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1’41.884 1’40.852 (-1.032) 1’41.111 (+0.259)
11 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’41.397 1’41.093 (-0.304)
12 Paul di Resta Force India 1’41.676 1’41.133 (-0.543)
13 Jenson Button McLaren 1’41.817 1’41.200 (-0.617)
14 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1’41.692 1’41.279 (-0.413)
15 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1’41.365 1’41.395 (+0.030)
16 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1’41.862 1’41.447 (-0.415)
17 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1’41.999
18 Adrian Sutil Force India 1’42.051
19 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1’43.252
20 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1’43.398
21 Charles Pic Caterham 1’43.528
22 Max Chilton Marussia 1’44.198

Sector times

Driver Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3
Mark Webber 17.675 (1) 42.339 (1) 39.943 (6)
Sebastian Vettel 17.787 (3) 42.354 (2) 39.822 (2)
Nico Rosberg 17.880 (7) 42.641 (7) 39.804 (1)
Lewis Hamilton 17.729 (2) 42.401 (3) 39.909 (3)
Kimi Raikkonen 17.927 (12) 42.605 (5) 39.926 (5)
Nico Hulkenberg 17.863 (6) 42.520 (4) 40.193 (7)
Romain Grosjean 18.097 (17) 42.742 (11) 39.922 (4)
Felipe Massa 17.833 (5) 42.624 (6) 40.496 (13)
Sergio Perez 17.811 (4) 42.675 (8) 40.323 (9)
Daniel Ricciardo 17.891 (10) 42.711 (10) 40.250 (8)
Fernando Alonso 17.880 (7) 42.772 (12) 40.422 (12)
Paul di Resta 17.954 (15) 42.708 (9) 40.383 (11)
Jenson Button 17.886 (9) 42.779 (13) 40.535 (14)
Jean-Eric Vergne 17.949 (13) 42.827 (15) 40.337 (10)
Pastor Maldonado 17.950 (14) 42.827 (15) 40.535 (14)
Valtteri Bottas 17.910 (11) 42.901 (17) 40.628 (16)
Esteban Gutierrez 18.188 (19) 42.808 (14) 41.002 (18)
Adrian Sutil 18.096 (16) 42.992 (18) 40.963 (17)
Giedo van der Garde 18.241 (20) 43.491 (19) 41.307 (19)
Jules Bianchi 18.243 (21) 43.742 (21) 41.413 (20)
Charles Pic 18.123 (18) 43.682 (20) 41.639 (21)
Max Chilton 18.372 (22) 44.018 (22) 41.808 (22)

Speed trap

Pos Driver Car Speed (kph/mph) Gap
1 Felipe Massa Ferrari 319.9 (198.8)
2 Jenson Button McLaren 318.0 (197.6) -1.9
3 Sergio Perez McLaren 318.0 (197.6) -1.9
4 Valtteri Bottas Williams 317.8 (197.5) -2.1
5 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 317.6 (197.3) -2.3
6 Pastor Maldonado Williams 317.4 (197.2) -2.5
7 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 317.1 (197.0) -2.8
8 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 316.9 (196.9) -3.0
9 Paul di Resta Force India 316.7 (196.8) -3.2
10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 316.5 (196.7) -3.4
11 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 316.3 (196.5) -3.6
12 Mark Webber Red Bull 315.6 (196.1) -4.3
13 Adrian Sutil Force India 315.4 (196.0) -4.5
14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 315.1 (195.8) -4.8
15 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 314.6 (195.5) -5.3
16 Jules Bianchi Marussia 312.5 (194.2) -7.4
17 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 311.5 (193.6) -8.4
18 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 311.2 (193.4) -8.7
19 Charles Pic Caterham 310.9 (193.2) -9.0
20 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 309.5 (192.3) -10.4
21 Romain Grosjean Lotus 309.4 (192.3) -10.5
22 Max Chilton Marussia 304.9 (189.5) -15.0

Over to you

Where do you think Raikkonen will finish following his penalty? And who will prevail in the battle of the Red Bulls?

Share your views on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the comments.

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Images ?? Lotus/LAT, Red Bull/Getty

45 comments on “Can Raikkonen ‘do a Vettel’ after penalty?”

  1. Can Raikkonen ‘do a Vettel’ after penalty?

    No, he can’t

    1. Suzuka 2005, Bahrain 2006 :D

      1. mp4-20 was as fast as the RB9 compared to the rest of the grid when it didn’t disintegrate itself.

    2. @noob Logically, it is impossible to know that.

  2. He needs to be superlucky by having at least 1 safety car at the right time :D

    1. Destroying a stupid DRS sign is mandatory as well if he wants to emulate Seb ;D

      1. Daniel Ricciardo was weaving and braking heavily in front of Seb, without that Vettel would have won the race :p

        1. Not this again….

          Yes he was I agree. But so was everybody else as it was behind the safety car! So it was legitimate

      2. Not to mention having the Toro Rossos dive out of his way for 100% emulation ;-P

        1. I have been watching this race a couple of days ago and noticed that JEV did the same with Michael Schumacher thus this thing is related to JEV rather than toro rosso helping RedBull. And if that was the case as you said it would be the same as “this is rediculous” at Germany 2010.

  3. Not impossible, but unlikely. He just simply doesn’t have the “required” (= fastest) car.

    1. he does. my bet is the lotus will be fastest out there tomorrow

      1. OK, your opinion, and I respect it. But I don’t think Lotus will be the fastest, overall, tomorrow. Maybe for some laps, yeah, and maybe get the FL. Only a SC period can make a big difference for better tomorrow for him. 2nd place in the WDC I think is lost for him anyway. Lotus has better chances in passing Ferrari for 3rd place of the WCC than finishing 2nd. And that’s highly possible because Lotus’ duo is much more matched than Ferrari’s. More exactly, Massa is the weak link that may weight decisive at the end of the champ.

  4. Nope. Not a chance.

  5. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    2nd November 2013, 20:29

    Can Raikkonen ‘do a Vettel’ after penalty?

    No way. In a nutshell, here’s why…

    1. There are a lot of cars on the grid with trimmed out aero packages, such as the McLarens and Sauber, and they will be a challenge to pass even if Lotus do put an “overtaking setup” on.
    2. It’ll most likely be an easy one-stop race, so strategy will play a smaller part than it did last year. Raikkonen could get rid of the options early, get clean air on the primes, but he’d then have to maintain them until the end of the race, and that’d be nigh on impossible.
    3. …in fact that strategy would be impossible anyway in the likely possibility of Lotus trimming out the wing levels, as the lack of downforce would induce more sliding, and that sliding would kill the tyres.
    4. Lotus will almost be forced to run a low downforce package in the hope of overtaking people; on a car that doesn’t respond well to a low downforce package.
    5. Raikkonen, a man that hasn’t received ” a single euro” for his excellent performances in 2013, is not exactly going to be looking forward to the prospect of starting at the back of the grid…will he even turn up?

    Lotus will almost certainly start on the primes, go long, trim out the wing and hope Raikkonen finds enough motivation to get past the 12 drivers in front of him in order to get into the points, however a repeat of Vettel’s performance in what is frankly a slower car, and in a race that’ll likely feature all of the strategic excitement we used to enjoy in the Bridgestone days, is completely impossible. Prove me wrong Kimster…

    1. will he even turn up?

      ooh juicy!

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        2nd November 2013, 21:27

        @prof-kirk No, it’s just me “Lazenbying-it-up” or doing a bit of “Rachel-Brooksing” – i.e. desperately trying to find a story when there is no story to be had. I suppose you could also call it “Andrew-Bensoning” – the man that just published an article entitled “ROSS BRAWN TO LEAVE MERCEDES” even though diddly squat has been confirmed. Don’t you just love it when a standardized sports journalist is thrown into an F1 paddock like a baffled and bemused lost puppy?

        1. @william-brierty – “ROSS BRAWN TO LEAVE MERCEDES”

          So true, same story, different day, multiple “journalists”…

    2. @william-brierty

      …Raikkonen, a man that hasn’t received ” a single euro” for his excellent performances in 2013, is not exactly going to be looking forward to the prospect of starting at the back of the grid…will he even turn up?…
      …and hope Raikkonen finds enough motivation…

      I think Kimi will show up and I think he will drive the best race he can to get as far up front as he can. I believe his race craft, reputation and his ability to drive under adverse conditions are far more important to him than any fan perceived imaginary mind games. (Not saying that is what you are doing, merely commenting on the many wild opinions all over the place in recent days particularly.)

      I have worked a few bad jobs for owners and managers who were less than competent or caring in their skills and treatment of fellow human beings. But, I still worked just as hard because that is how I am wired, to always do the best job I can do. And, my job performance was not even broadcast worldwide for millions of people to witness. I don’t know Kimi personally, but I think he is the same way with his work. It would be nice to see him “do a Vettel”, the technical reasons you cite could well make it near impossible, but I doubt there will a lack of heart.

    3. not only do a Vettel. I do hope he can do a Watson!
      for the sake of prediction championship!

  6. There’s more than 3 kph at the speedtrap between Vettel and Webber. I wonder if they have different setups? Looking at the sector times, Webber was fastest in S1 and S2, but only sixth in S3. Vettel, on the other hand, was quite fast in the last sector.
    It could be interesting for tomorrow’s race. Webber’s superior top speed could help him defend from Vettel, though he has to keep him behind in the first lap, which will not be easy for Mark.

    I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It could be a very thrilling race, I think.

    1. @yobo01 Vettel always gets the better of Webber at those twisty and slow sectors. Same at Singapore. MW manages to stay with him for half the lap, but at those places where you need to ride the kerbs, and take the most out of the rear of the car, he cannot do it.

      I wasn’t expecting him for pole, given his precedents around here, I have to say…

  7. Looks like Hamilton would have had pole in the bag without his failure. Hopefully he’s as quick in the race.

    1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      2nd November 2013, 21:35

      @jleigh – What? Your evidence please? Third certainly, and at a stretch may be P2, but pole wasn’t on the cards for either of the Mercedes. I suppose the fact that Rosberg was purple could suggest that Hamilton could have clawed back quite a bit of the deficit in the final sector, but I think you are lying to yourself if you think Hamilton could improved on Nico’s lap all that greatly. Nico is a smart guy, he’s looked at the telemetry overlays between him and Lewis in that final sector, and over the course of that session he was starting to match Lewis in the final sector. F1 fans take note – underestimate Nico Rosberg at your peril…

      1. Well, to be honest, hamilton was in fact only 1/10 behind webber after 2 sectors, so maybe pole wasn’t completely out of the question. But as vettel says sometimes: could, would, should, makes no difference. It is what it is.

        1. exactly ! just get on with it ….

      2. He was less than a 10th off webber going into S3, where he’s Benin consistently at least 2 10ths faster than anyone

        1. Except he wasn’t. Not a single session has he lead final sector time. This is a myth created by some english speaking media. The same was said about him in singapore, only to get destroyed by rosberg and vettel.

  8. Lotus now is not as good as Red Bull was at this point last year comparative to the rest of the field, and Kimi lacks the top end speed, so no.

  9. 5th for Hulkenberg now, then. It’s going to be interesting for everyone behind him, if Korea was an indication of Sauber’s characteristics (ie fast on straights, superb traction out of slow corners).

    Considering all the track is just like sector 1 in Korea, it could go very well for him !

  10. The short run to the first corner at Yas Marina offers little chance for drivers to change positions

    Mark can do it. He started second last year, and managed to drop to fourth in the few centimeters between the start and the first corner… He’ll be eager not to do it agian, tho I suspect it will happen again… inevitably.

  11. I really hope Mark doesn’t fluff his start tomorrow. If he’s leading after the first corner tomorrow and it’s a one-stop race, it could be difficult for Vettel to beat him, even if he’s the faster driver – which he usually is.

    I haven’t seen any of the long runs, but if many drivers are able to complete the race with only one step, then I don’t see Raikkonen making much progress. If the norm is two and Kimi can comfortably do one, then he can make some progress, but even then the podium looks far without serious mishaps in the top 10.

    1. Vet was indeed consistently faster on race runs than web. As he always is.

  12. I think Webber hit the track at the right time in Q3. After he set his time, the track seemed to get slower again, probably because the temperatures got too low for the tyres. Vettel did his first run too early, and the second one too late. Yes, he also made a mistake in turn 1, but his last sector should have been better, and he didn’t make a mistake here.

    Very tricky to get right though: On the one hand, lower air temperatures increase engine power, on the other hand, lower track temperatures can reduce grip. Combine that with the track rubbering in, it can be very trick to find the best moment for the best lap.

    1. That must be how Vettel keeps outqualifying Webber, just picking the time when the track is fastest.

  13. Can Raikkonen do it? Yes, almost certainly.

    But the more challenging question is *will* he do it? His dispute with the team means his motivation is obviously pretty low right now.

  14. You can sometimes improve your position when you start at the back, but you also need luck and a perfect strategy. Vettel was lucky last year to have two safety cars at the right time, and Red Bull is very good with strategy. Red Bull also had the fastest car. Kimi doesn’t have any new soft tyres, and Lotus just isn’t good with strategy, they already botched up Kimi’s strategy last week.

    1. Vettel was lucky last year to have two safety cars at the right time

      I think that the first safety car could have helped him but didn’t because he hit the DRS sign and went to the back of the pack again. It did gain him some seconds to the leaders but he lost track position so overall he was probably slightly worse off with the first safety car.

      The second safety car gained him the chance to pass Button for P3, which would have been out of question without the second safety car. He would have been fourth without it.

  15. @keithcollantine
    I see the difference between Chilton and Bianchi in the speed trap is 5mph, but Chilton didn’t have DRS, so is that all they gain from it?

  16. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    3rd November 2013, 1:03

    He’ll be able to get points, but not get a podium.

    1. Same thoughts . Will maybe end up stuck behind hulkenberg

  17. Remember that being excluded from qualifying, he has the freedom with tyre-choice now. I bet that with some clever strategy a decent points finish is more than available.

    1. The thing is though, that if most people run a one-stop, there is only so much you can do with clever strategies.

  18. Can Raikkonen do it? No. Why?

    a/ dosnt have the quickest car on the grid.
    b/ isn’t having it optimised for overtaking (starting from the back of the grid instead of pitlane)
    c/ will need to perfectly timed safty cars to bunch up the pack and eliminate lost time.
    d/ wont have 2 redbull backed teams moving out of his way like he has the plague.

    Raikkonen will be finishing this race no better than 5th/6th without safty cars.

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