Raikkonen: Not an easy day in Bahrain

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Kimi Raikkonen has called his final day of pre-season testing “not easy” after a minor problem with the Ferrari F14 T limited his running on Saturday morning.

The Finnish driver finished in third place on the timesheets with a fastest lap of 1:35.426 (over two seconds down on pace-setter Felipe Massa) as he focused on a race simulation in the afternoon. However, due to a problem with a connector, the team had to partially dismantle the car to resolve the issue after Raikkonen had completed only a handful of laps.

“I’d hoped to do more laps, but this wasn’t an easy day,” Raikkonen explained. “We lost some time this morning when we had to fix something on the car, but then we managed to make up for some of it in the afternoon.

“Running a race distance, we continued to get more data relating to fuel consumption strategies and tire degradation, even though the strong wind upset the driving a lot.

“I’d like to be able to say we did better, but there’s still one more day with Fernando to continue our preparation for Melbourne.”

Raikkonen’s next chance to get behind the wheel of the F14 T will come during practice for the Australian Grand Prix in twelve days’ time. The Finn will be hoping to repeat his feat of winning on debut for Ferrari at the 2007 race in Melbourne, but with Mercedes appearing to be the pace-setters so far this season, he may face more of a challenge than he did seven years ago.

Teammate Fernando Alonso will return to the car for the final day of winter testing tomorrow in Bahrain.

The problem with high gusts of wind and sand was noted by many drivers, with Nico Rosberg saying: “The only problem was the conditions, with a lot of wind and blowing sand at some corners meaning that suddenly you could have almost no grip which was a bit difficult to manage.”

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.