Raikkonen and Vettel encounter issues on the track

17 years after he pulled in a lap in a Sauber, Raikkonen was back behind the wheel two days after retiring from Ferrari. Wearing white overalls Kimi Raikkonen joined his 2019 team for the post-season Abud Dhabi tire test.

Raikkonen, who teams up with Antonio Giovinazzi in 2019, was running in an unbranded white, black and silver helmet as he got his first laps in their Ferrari-powered 2018 car.

However, as Raikkonen revealed after the race in Abu Dhabi, it also provided a good chance for him to see how the C37 compares to his Ferrari this year โ€“ and to assess any glaring problem areas that he feels need to be worked on ahead of next year.

Asked on Sunday evening if he was excited about the prospect of going back to Sauber, Raikkonen replied: โ€œI am actually. I would never have signed the contract if I didnโ€™t think it will be something I want.

โ€œIt will be interesting to start working with them. Itโ€™s a new challenge and thatโ€™s what I wanted.โ€

Over at his former team, Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel caused a red flag in the morning going off at Turn 1. Nonetheless Vettel ended with a best time of 1m36.812s.

Raikkonen came also came to a halt on his first day with Sauber. In the final hour, an unknown technical error caused his car to stop on track after completing 102 laps. The recovery time meant the session was extended by 15 minutes. His run resulted in 10th position with a best time of 1.39:878 for the 102 laps.

Bottasโ€™s early benchmark of 1m37.231s was enough to remain second-fastest as neither he nor Red Bullโ€™s Max Verstappen, who ended up 1.1s slower than Vettel, set a quicker time in the afternoon.

Lance Stroll jumped to third for Racing Point Force India once the session resumed, having made his debut for the team he has not yet been announced as a 2019 race driver for.

In the final hour Stroll set a 1m37.909s that edged him ahead of both Verstappen and Force India’s morning driver Sergio Perez.

Lando Norris came in sixth, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg.

New F2 champion George Russell completed his first running for Williams ahead of his race debut in March, with the Briton in the car in the morning before handing over to 2019 team-mate Robert Kubica.

Although not yet officially confirmed as their 2019 race driver, Lance Stroll is testing for Force India in the afternoon session.

Fresh from landing the second Toro Rosso seat in place of Brendon Hartley, Russell’s F2 rival Alexander Albon was spotted in the paddock wearing the team’s uniform.

 

Session results

Pos. Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:36.812 59
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:37.231 0.419 120
3 Lance Stroll Force India 1:37.909 1.087 47
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:37.947 1.135 125
5 Sergio Perez Force India 1:37.976 1.164 67
6 Lando Norris McLaren 1:38.187 1.375 124
7 Nico Hulkenberg Red Bull 1:38.789 1.977 128
8 Pietro Fittipaldi Haas 1:39.201 2.389 44
9 Robert Kubica Williams 1:39.269 2.457 32
10 George Russell Williams 1:39.512 2.700 42
11 Kimi Raikkonen Sauber 1:39.878 3.066 102
12 Sean Gelael Toro Rosso 1:40.435 3.623 146

 

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