Raikkonen tests GP3 car to aid with development

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Kimi Raikkonen may be lying in second place in the Formula One drivers’ championship, but the Finnish driver has taken a step down the motorsport ladder today by testing a GP3 car at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.

GP3 is widely regarded as being the series two ‘steps’ away from Formula One, supporting the premier class alongside GP2 for some of the season. It has produced two F1 drivers – Esteban Gutierrez and Valtteri Bottas – and Caterham’s American test driver Alexander Rossi also spent a year in the series in 2010, winning two races.

Although such a test may seem odd to many, Raikkonen expressed his interest in testing a GP3 car to the series’ official website.

“I wanted to test the GP3/13 because my friend Afa Heikkinen has a team in this series and I have been closely following their progress and results since the beginning of the season,” the Finn explained. “I was curious to see how the car handled and it was actually fun to drive.”

Raikkonen praised the car for preparing young drivers well for Formula One, with his feedback helping to iron out any problems.

“There were a few issues regarding its behaviour, but we managed to solve most of them. The GP3/13 is a very good tool for young drivers, especially when you have to learn about tyre management like we have in F1.”

Raikkonen’s comments will be taken into consideration when developing the GP3 car for 2014.

F1 Paddock Pass: United States Grand Prix post-race (VIDEO)

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As Lewis Hamilton took another step towards his fourth Formula 1 World Championship Sunday at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas, plenty of other topics of discussion emerged in the wake of Round 17 of the season from Austin.

Hamilton’s win came as his Mercedes AMG Petronas team claimed its fourth consecutive Constructor’s Championship, Scuderia Ferrari came up short once again despite a valiant effort in second and third, and Max Verstappen’s penalty after the race was the major talking point.

Elsewhere Valtteri Bottas struggled again, the Sahara Force India twins continued to pick up points, Carlos Sainz Jr. made a major positive impact in his first start with Renault, Brendon Hartley impressed on debut at Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean and Haas F1 Team endured a tough weekend on Haas’ home soil.

Check out all the recap from the latest USGP in the latest post-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton, below.