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Kimi Raikkonen: Valtteri Bottas collision 'completely his fault'

Kimi Raikkonen says Valtteri Bottas was entirely to blame for their first-lap collision at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, one which kicked off a miserable afternoon for the Ferrari driver.

Raikkonen appeared to have passed Bottas for second position around the outside of Turn 2 on the opening lap, only for the Mercedes driver to hit the kerb and bounce across into the Ferrari. The incident sent Raikkonen into the wall and gave Bottas a puncture and damage to his front wing, though both men continued without action from the stewards.

Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas. Manuel Goria/Sutton Images
It was the first in a race of incidents for Raikkonen, who later suffered a puncture of his own from debris and then retired on lap 46, while Bottas managed to recover and claim a remarkable second position. Raikkonen says he paid the full price for Bottas' error.

"Not much I could have done," Raikkonen said. "I got hit at Turn 2 and there was quite a lot of damage on the car already on the left-hand side."

"He braked very early, again -- and I think he knows it was way too early braking -- and I went just outside and it was fine, and suddenly I got hit from the other side. So I think he noticed he braked too early and just let the brakes go, and came way too fast into me. It was completely his fault, but obviously I paid the price."

Bottas and Raikkonen have history of collisions, having come together in Russia and Mexico in 2015 and then at the first corner of this year's Spanish Grand Prix. Bottas offered up an explanation of his own after the race, saying he had to take an aggressive line over the kerb as he was on the inside.

"It's a bit of a shame it's Kimi and me again, but we've been fighting for similar positions, it's just unlucky it's us again," he said. "From my side, I was on the inside, he was on the outside, he did brake later and he was kind of ahead but I was on the inside.

"Normally if you're inside you have the line. He was turning into the corner in a way that, for me, there was nowhere else to go other than over the kerb, and for me it was not an option to back off at that point. I just went over the kerb, bottomed out and the car jumped and hit him."

When asked if he felt backing out of the corner was not an option, he replied: "Yes, for me I was on the inside, so I thought I had the corner. There should have been space for two cars to go around. He was, anyway, a little bit further ahead, so maybe he could have kept his position anyway."

Source: http://www.espn.co.uk/f1/story/_/id/19734177/kimi-raikkonen-valtteri-bottas-collision-completely-fault

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