Kimi Raikkonen hasn’t had much luck so far this season, and on Thursday in Monaco, not much changed.
After being forced to miss the first half of the session due to a damp track, when the Finn finally did go out, it lasted just a few laps as a gearbox failure forced him to park up his Ferrari in the garage.
Raikkonen’s car began to splutter coming out of the final corner, just after he had passed pit entry. The Finn managed to keep his car going and complete a lap to take it back to the pits, but he then had to stay there as Ferrari began to take apart his car to find the problem.
Eventually, it was diagnosed as being a gearbox issue. Raikkonen is unlikely to face a five place grid penalty as it is only the Thursday of the race weekend, and with an extra day to play with, the Ferrari mechanics will have plenty of time to fix the problem.
However, Kimi then ran into further trouble. When crossing the pit lane by foot, he was very nearly run over by Sebastian Vettel as the Red Bull left its pit box. Luckily, a mechanic was on hand to drag him out of the way.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.