Raikkonen to judge back injury during practice

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Kimi Raikkonen has said that he will assess his back injury during Friday practice for the Korean Grand Prix after suffering from problems in Singapore last weekend.

The Finn has suffered from a back issue for a while, but it became particularly problematic last weekend at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Saturday. Raikkonen failed to complete many laps in the final practice session, and he could only qualify thirteenth for the race. However, after racing to finish P3 on Sunday, the Finn said that the problem was not too bad during the race, but he is still going to be cautious heading into the race in Korea.

“It’s better than it was on Saturday in Singapore which is when it didn’t feel too good,” Raikkonen said when asked how his back was feeling. “The important thing was that I was able to race and we did a pretty good job with the podium finish.

“It’s not the first time I’ve had a problem, as there have been some issues with my back for a long time. For sure, we will have to see how it is when I get out on track on Friday in Korea.”

Raikkonen said that he was hoping to build upon his strong performance on race day in Singapore, with the result being his first top-ten finish since the Hungarian Grand Prix before the summer break.

“Let’s hope we are able to maintain the strong form from Sunday in Singapore,” he said. “The car felt good for the whole race and it was a nice feeling racing too. The main focus is to keep this positive feeling and benefit from it in the next races.”

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.