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Raikkonen recovers from ‘disaster’ start to finish P3 in Mexico

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Kimi Raikkonen recovered from a “disaster” opening lap to finish Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix in third place, racking up his second straight Formula 1 podium finish for Ferrari.

Raikkonen started fifth at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Sunday and looked poised to enter the fight at the front after title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel dropped back after contact.

Raikkonen could not capitalize, instead picking the wrong line and losing places of Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, leaving him sixth in the opening stages.

The Finn passed Perez on-track before leapfrogging Ocon after pitting under the Virtual Safety Car, which combined with Hulkenberg’s retirement saw him rise up to third.

“The initial start wasn’t too bad,” Raikkonen explained. “All the guys behind me got a massive tow. I was left alone.

“The people behind me mananged to go past. It was a disaster.

“But then we had enough speed to improve. Obviously a lot happened.”

Raikkonen finished the race third for Ferrari ahead of teammate Vettel, who saw his hopes of a fifth F1 title end in Mexico despite fighting back from the opening lap contact.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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