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Raikkonen collided with Button in wild NASCAR COTA race

Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen headed to Texas on Sunday for the NASCAR Cup race - here's how both F1 champions got on.

At times, it was an attritional NASCAR Cup Series race at Circuit of the Americas, but both Formula 1 World Champions on the grid saw the chequered flag and brought their cars home in one piece, the same of which cannot be said for one or two series regulars... Jenson Button called his race "embarrassing" as he struggled with the car, and almost passed out from heat exhaustion, while Kimi Raikkonen lost a potential Top 10 after being spun during overtime. Amongst all the chaos, the two champions even managed to collide, Raikkonen giving Button a "massive whack" after which the #15 of Button was not quite the same. In the end, the dominant driver won out at COTA as Tyler Reddick claimed his first win of the season. Driving for Michael Jordan's (yes, that MJ), 23XI Racing, Reddick saw out three periods of overtime to finally take the chequered flag, and seal his place in the Playoffs which begin later in the year.



Jenson Button - P18

When a race goes to overtime, NASCAR rules dictate that it is a two-lap period, with the lead driver needing to get back around to start the final lap with any further flags ending the race there and then. There are unlimited attempts. After a late debris caution sent the race to overtime, the cars were racked up twice before a final, third attempt at the process was successful. In the chaos of Turn 1 at COTA - stock cars don't like sharp left-handers - Button managed to escape the various melees and collisions, including the thump from Raikkonen of all people - but was struggling to cope in his #15 Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang. "It was an emotional rollercoaster," the 2009 champion said of his run to 18th place. "The first stint was really bad – it was embarrassing for me. I was like: 'All right guys, we need to pit, freshen the tyres and I need some air – I need some fresh air.' I got that. "The pace was good, consistency was good. I was really happy and passed a few cars which was nice. "We got a little bit unlucky with the safety car because it was just two laps before our window, we pitted, then the next stint was mayhem. "We also made a couple of changes that just didn’t work, had big oversteer – went from the car feeling great to really difficult to drive. I also had a massive whack from Kimi, and it fell off after that. "I enjoyed the last three restarts – got good placement and good overtaking moves from the outside. "I finished 18th after almost stopping because I had heat exhaustion. It was so hot, I don’t have a fan in my seat which really didn’t help me too much. "It was so hot, I thought I was going to faint in the car. So, I stopped twice for a minute. They put ice on me, gave me loads of water, and I went back out. "I was so close to getting out of the car because I thought I was going to faint. I must’ve drank eight… nine bottles of water during the race. The team kept me calm, and it’s the reason why we got a good result in the end. So, I was happy."


Wheeeeeeeeew, buddy 😳 These @COTA restarts are awesome. pic.twitter.com/nZjIJn48JJ — FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) March 26, 2023

Kimi Raikkonen - P29

Returning to NASCAR at the scene of his last F1 Grand Prix win in 2018, Raikkonen ran as high as fourth with just eight laps to go, clever strategy vaulting his #91 Trackhouse entry up the order. However, he was swallowed up on the restart before his race unravelled during the second round of overtime. "I think it wasn’t too bad. We got unlucky with the incidents that happened," he explained. "It was one of those things, unfortunately, then there were no tyres left. "They kept coming, getting more restarts and more restarts, so I think after the spin I had, the tyres were just done. "It’s a shame because we were there, but then we restarted, and [were] just [in the] wrong place [at the] wrong time. "It was a case of trying to stay out of the issues in the first corners and every time and it looked like you’d be very good, then three corners later, somebody’s going the wrong direction. There’s a bit of mess and luck involved." The other guest drivers included IMSA champion Jordan Taylor, seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and IndyCar star Conor Daly. Taylor was 24th in the injured Chase Elliott #9 machine, Johnson retired on the first lap after contact in the #84 while Daly was out of the #50 Floyd Mayweather-backed car after just 16 laps.

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