Tony Stewart released from hospital; interim driver Papis finishes 15th

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Shortly after Max Papis turned in a 15th-place effort Sunday at Watkins Glen while subbing for the injured Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing tweeted that the three-time Sprint Cup champion had been released from the hospital.

#TonyStewart is out of the hospital & resting as comfortably as he can at home. Thx [thanks] for the thoughts & prayers,” said SHR’s tweet, which ended with the hashtag #SmokeWillRise.

But the question of when Stewart will be back in action after breaking two bones in his right leg in a Monday night sprint car crash in Iowa may not be answered for some time yet.

“Smoke,” who had been one of the two Wild Card holders for the Chase before his injury, has already undergone two operations to try and fix the damage. The next potential substitute driver for Stewart could be named by SHR as early as tomorrow.

As for Sunday, Papis overcame getting spun out by Greg Biffle in the middle stages of the race and also getting into the back of a slowing Marcos Ambrose in a crash that came just after a restart with six laps left.

“I felt that we were definitely inbound to have a Top 10 finish,” said Papis after the race. “Really glad that Greg Biffle came over and apologized. When he turned me around, he said it was totally his mistake. I think that really cost us a solid Top 10.

“Besides this, I drove the wheels off the car every lap. Super proud of keeping the seat of “Smoke” as warm as I could. I felt I did a pretty good job and I’m proud of myself.”

F1 2017 driver review: Kimi Raikkonen

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Kimi Raikkonen

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 7
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 7
Best Finish: P2 (Monaco, Hungary)
Pole Positions: 1
Fastest Laps: 2
Points: 205
Laps Led: 40
Championship Position: 4th

While this may have statistically been Kimi Raikkonen’s best campaign since his first year back in F1 in 2012, there is a good case for it being one of his most disappointing to date.

Raikkonen’s continued role at Ferrari has been questioned on a number of occasions, but the Finn looked capable of answering his critics heading into 2017 after impressing through pre-season testing as he appeared to get to grips well with the new-style cars.

But we soon grew accustomed to the same old story: flashes of potential, but otherwise an underwhelming, unsatisfactory campaign that saw Raikkonen be dwarfed by his teammate, Sebastian Vettel.

Raikkonen’s charge to his first pole position for over eight years in Monaco gave hope of a popular win, only for Ferrari to play its strategy in favor of title contender Vettel – why wouldn’t the team do so? – to leave him a disgruntled second.

While Vettel was able to impress at the majority of circuits, Raikkonen only looked strong at tracks that were unquestionably ‘Ferrari’ tracks, such as Hungary and Brazil. Like Vettel, Raikkonen should have racked up a good haul of points in Singapore, only for the start-line crash to sideline both Ferraris before they even reached Turn 1.

Again there is the question of ‘what could have been?’ in Malaysia had it not been for the spark plug issue on the grid, yet in Japan, Raikkonen was nowhere, finishing behind the Mercedes and Red Bulls.

Finishing just five points clear of Daniel Ricciardo despite having a much faster car for the best part of the season and the Red Bull driver’s own reliability issues sums up the disappointment of Raikkonen’s campaign.

He should have been an ally for Vettel in the title race by nicking points of Lewis Hamilton, much as Valtteri Bottas was doing for his Mercedes teammate. Instead, Raikkonen seemed to be tagging along for the best part of this season.

Season High: Pole in Monaco, his first since the 2008 French Grand Prix.

Season Low: Finishing a distant P4 at Spa – a circuit he made his own in the 2000s.