Raikkonen changes helmet design ahead of FP3

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Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen has made a slight change to his special Monaco helmet design ahead of Saturday’s sessions, with the move rumored to have been encouraged by Formula One Management.

Many of the drivers have opted to run with an alternative helmet livery in homage to F1’s glamour event, with Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton’s designs attracting the most attention from the fans. Similarly, Jean-Eric Vergne is using a helmet based on the one used by Francois Cevert, who raced in F1 between 1970 and 1973. However, it is Raikkonen’s which has been reportedly picked up on by FOM, but the team refused to confirm whether or not these reports were true.

Raikkonen’s helmet did feature a design in homage to James Hunt (as he did in 2012), but it also ran with the tagline “Kimi on the Hunt” which was in full view of his onboard camera. Under FIA guidelines, advertising that faces the cameras is forbidden, which could be the reasoning behind the decision to change the design.

Speaking to GPUpdate, Lotus stated: “Kimi’s helmet has been modified since being used on Thursday.”

However, the team has refused to comment on the reasons behind the change.

F1 2017 driver review: Carlos Sainz Jr.

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Carlos Sainz Jr.

Teams: Scuderia Toro Rosso (1-16), Renault (17-20)
Car No.: 33
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Singapore)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 54
Championship Position: 9th

Carlos Sainz Jr. has always been compared to Max Verstappen given their relative rise and stint together at Toro Rosso, but the Spaniard began to forge his own impressive path through 2017, securing himself a works drive with Renault in the process.

Alongside the struggling Daniil Kvyat for much of the season, Sainz led Toro Rosso’s charge, scoring 48 of its 53 points with a string of impressive drives. His headline moment came in Singapore when he matched Verstappen’s best result in Toro Rosso colors by finishing fourth, capitalizing on the start-line crash and the wet weather with a strong display.

Sainz’s displays led to a call from Renault, who announced just two days before his star display in Singapore he would be joining up for 2018 on loan from Red Bull. However, the deal was accelerated after a deal was brokered to secure Jolyon Palmer’s departure, allowing Sainz to join up from the United States GP onwards.

Sainz made an immediate impression, completing a perfect race en route to seventh on debut for Renault to secure six points that would prove crucial in the final constructors’ championship standings as the French team beat Toro Rosso to P6 in the standings at the last race of the year.

Red Bull retains an option on Sainz’s future beyond 2018, making him a candidate for a seat with its senior team should Daniel Ricciardo opt to leave. Failing that, Renault could offer Sainz the platform he needs to continue his rapid rise in F1 and establish himself at the front of the pack for many years to come.

Season High: Finishing fourth in Singapore after dodging the start-line drama.

Season Low: Crashing out in his final Toro Rosso appearance on the first lap at Suzuka.