Raikkonen to start Bahrain GP in last place

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/A/APkimi_crash.jpg' class='caption'> Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen will start the Bahrain Grand Prix from last place on the grid after his car's suspension failed on Saturday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:39 IST
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Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen will start the Bahrain Grand Prix from last place on the grid under new qualifying regulations after his car's suspension failed on Saturday. McLaren-Mercedes' Raikkonen drove his car into a turn at approximately 175 kph and lost a wing just 10 minutes into the first qualifying session. The Finn's car spun off, briefly went airborne and lost its right rear wheel. He drove back to the pit on three wheels. "It is very disappointing to not even complete one timed lap as I believe that the team had a good strategy for the new qualifying system and I could have been among the quickest," Raikkonen said. Saturday's qualifying introduced a new system to even out competition and boost interest in the sport. Qualifying was held in three phases. The six slowest cars dropped out after the first 15 minutes, and six more departed after the next 15. The remaining cars competed in a 20-minute session for the top spots on the grid. Raikkonen will start Sunday's season-opening F1 race in last place - or 22nd position - but he says he can still compete. "Although it is far from ideal to start from the back of the grid, there are overtaking opportunities at this track and I have done this before and still achieved good results," he said. Last season, Raikkonen had several engine failures that contributed to him finishing second to Renault's Fernando Alonso. Raikkonen was moved down the grid four times in nine races, and he led three races before his car failed - once on the final lap. "Kimi's car suffered a rear suspension lower wishbone failure which was caused by a manufacturing fault, which, after many thousands of kilometers of testing, is difficult to come to terms with," team boss Ron Dennis said. (AP)

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