Raikkonen sits out of test due to food poisoning


Kimi Raikkonen will take no part in the final Formula One test in Barcelona today having been taken ill overnight with food poisoning.

The Finnish driver was due to partake in the session as part of Lotus F1 Team’s testing programme, which acts as vital preparation for the season ahead.

Due to Raikkonen’s absence, 2012 GP2 champion and Lotus test driver Davide Valsecchi will jump into the car for the morning session. This will be his first running in an F1 car since the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi at the end of last season.

Raikkonen’s teammate, Romain Grosjean, will then take the reins in the afternoon, which will come as a welcome surprise to the Frenchman after he lost track time on Thursday due to the adverse weather conditions.

Having sat out today’s running, Raikkonen will hopefully return to action on Sunday in what will be the final test session before the first Grand Prix of the season in Australia.

Although it is impossible to predict such events, this will give Valsecchi some vital F1 testing, and he will be able to add to the feedback that Raikkonen and Grosjean have already given. Raikkonen will be unhappy to have lost track time in such fashion, but he will now be focusing on recovering for the session tomorrow.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.