Austrian GP: How Raikkonen & Alonso's scary crash unfolded

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Alonso & Raikkonen's first-lap crash

First-lap crashes are nothing new in Formula 1 - put 20 breathtakingly quick cars in close proximity on a race track and the law of averages dictates that eventually two or more of them will come into collision.

Sometimes it's just bashing wheels, yet at other times it results in truly spectacular incidents.

Kimi Raikkonen's tank-slapper and messy tangle with Fernando Alonso at Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix sits firmly in the latter category.

Race stewards determined the crash was a racing incident with neither driver at fault.

But just how did two of the world's best and most experienced drivers, with three world titles and 462 race starts between them, come together in such a big way?

Out of position, out of luck

Raikkonen and Alonso
Kimi Raikkonen (front) and Fernando Alonso (rear) started well down the order

Both Raikkonen and Alonso started near the back of the grid, Raikkonen in 14th after a disastrous qualifying session and Alonso in 19th in his uncompetitive McLaren, which was also hit with a grid penalty.

They each kept their noses clean through the first turn, Raikkonen more or less holding station in 14th and Alonso dispatching the Manors, Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat and the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson to sit on the Finn's tail into turn two.

A wheel out of line

Kimi Raikkonen crashes into Alonso

Braking into turn two, Raikkonen was crowded a little by the two Lotus cars ahead, causing him to put a wheel off the track just past the 50-metre board.

This, and the Lotus car ahead, compromised his exit from the corner, allowing the Force India of Sergio Perez to come by. It also allowed Alonso to close in even more on the back of the Ferrari.

Struggling to get the power down

Kimi Raikkonen crashes into Alonso

Raikkonen nevertheless looked in control as he straightened up for the long run down to turn three, but the engine note of his Ferrari told a different tale.

As he accelerated through the gears, his soft Pirelli tyres were struggling for traction, and just before he crossed the DRS activation line the first telltale signs of a loose rear end became evident as Raikkonen turned the wheel sharp left.

A second, more pronounced, correction followed a split second later, at which point the game was up.

A snap correction to the right was the prelude to the car spearing sideways to the left of the circuit and collecting the innocent Alonso.

A lucky escape

The wayward Ferrari smashed into the McLaren, taking both into the barriers at more than 100mph and forcing Raikkonen's car partly under the McLaren.

Fortunately, although the two cars skidded along the barriers with the McLaren on top of the Ferrari, not far in front of Raikkonen's head, both men were unhurt.

Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari was involved in a dramatic crash with Fernando Alonso on the first lap
Kimi Raikkonen's team-mate Sebastian Vettel finished fourth but both McLarens failed to finish

'It was a very strange incident'

Not known for his eloquence, it was perhaps to be expected that Raikkonen would not shed too much light on the incident after the race, saying: "I got some wheelspin and then went left, which was unusual so it's hard to say.

"I don't know exactly why it was so aggressive and what caused it, but the end result is always the same.

"It was a pretty odd place. Usually you get wheelspin when you come out of the corner, but obviously it was very far away."

Alonso, understandably as the more innocent party, was much more forthcoming.

"It was obviously quite scary," the Spaniard said. "Kimi started with the prime tyre, which probably didn't help for the level of grip. He exited turn two with a lot of wheelspin so the car was moving.

Kimi Raikkonen crashes into Alonso
The two drivers quickly emerged and shook hands at the scene of their first-lap crash

"We were all overtaking him left and right and, when he lost the car to the left, I was on the left. We went both on the wall and I was lucky to not hit him on the head.

"I was braking but my wheels were in the air. Luckily we were both fine. I was in the wrong place. It was a very strange incident. He lost the car in fifth gear or something like that."

Pressure mounting on Raikkonen

"Raikkonen might not have been penalised for the crash but there seems little doubt he caused it," says BBC Sport's Andrew Benson.

It follows on from another big first-lap accident for Raikkonen at last year's British Grand Prix, when he experienced a 47G impact in a crash described by Niki Lauda as "unnecessary".

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Watch Kimi Raikkonen's opening-lap crash at the British Grand Prix

"The incident will do little to reduce the mounting pressure on Raikkonen on the subject of his future at Ferrari, and therefore in F1," Benson adds.

"The Finn's contract is up for renewal this season and Ferrari have made it clear they will take their time over deciding whether to renew it.

"If Raikkonen delivers, there is no reason why he will not keep the seat. But things keep going wrong."

How did social media react?

With #AustrianGP already trending worldwide, a first-lap crash was always going to excite the masses on social media and in the 12 minutes after the collision Alonso's name was mentioned almost 14,000 times on Twitter.

One image of ex-Ferrari driver Alonso's car on top of Raikkonen's carried Spanish words which translated to "good, I'm finally over Ferrari" and was shared nearly 1,000 times on the social media website.

"Scary", "big" and "horrifying" were just some of the words used to describe the coming-together and there were fractionally more tweets in the 60 seconds after the crash than in the minute which followed Nico Rosberg crossing the line to claim victory.

Andrew Benson, BBC Sport chief F1 writer
Earlier in the season, Raikkonen was struggling in qualifying, and was told by Ferrari to sort it out. Because of the circumstances of the last two races, though, it is not clear yet whether he has done so.
In Canada, two weeks ago, he lost third place when a power surge from the hybrid system caused him to spin at the hairpin. In Austria this weekend, a team miscommunication meant he qualified 18th. Technically, perhaps neither was his fault but, unfair as it may be, these misfortunes have a tendency to lodge in people's minds.
Raikkonen says he wants to stay at Ferrari, but, typically, says it will not "change his life" if they decide to drop him. Although strictly speaking it would, because he has made it clear that, as far as F1 is concerned, it is Ferrari or nothing for him.
So the stakes are high. For his sake, Raikkonen needs to take back some control over his own destiny by piling up some clean weekends and some strong results.

Gallery: A rare type of accident

Trulli and Alesi
An F1 car coming to rest on top of another is a rare occurrence. Here, the Prost of Jarno Trulli rests on Jean Alesi's Sauber at the 1998 Canadian Grand Prix
Trulli and Chandock
Fast-forward 12 years and Trulli is at it again, this time landing his Lotus on top of the HRT of Karun Chandhok at the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix
Schumacher and Liuzzi
This alarming moment happened at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Force India's Vitantonio Liuzzi riding up on the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher as the two cars collided head-on

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