Formula 1: Raikkonen escapes grid penalty as Ferrari is fined

Kimi Raikkonen has escaped a grid penalty at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite his Formula 1 car being released with a loose wheel after a practice pit stop error

The Finn set the pace in FP2 at the Sakhir circuit before stopping in the pits for a practice stop near the end of the session.

But a problem with the right front corner meant the wheel was not properly attached as he was released back out on to the track.

The FIA is strict when it comes to cars being allowed back on track with loose wheels in practice sessions - and the normal procedure is for a grid penalty to be imposed.

However, following a stewards hearing, it was decided that such a harsh sanction was not needed on this occasion because Ferrari had done everything possible to minimise the risks of the wheel coming off.

Instead, the FIA handed out a €5000 fine to the Maranello outfit.

An FIA statement said: "The stewards reviewed the video of the pitstop of Raikkonen at 19:14 and heard from the team representatives.

"The stewards determined that the car was released in an unsafe condition in breach of Art. 28.13.b, that the team ordered the car stopped immediately, and that the driver stopped as fast as he safely could.

"Consistent with previous instances where a car was stopped on track, the stewards decide that the mandatory grid place penalty could not be applied where the team took all appropriate actions, the stewards fined the team €5,000."

Speaking after the session, Raikkonen played down the tyre drama - and was not getting too carried away with his promising Friday form.

"I felt some vibrations and it was loose and we had to stop," he said.

"It's impossible to say what everybody is doing but not too bad.

"There's things we have to improve but it's a normal Friday when you try things to test you try to learn from them."

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