‘Not too difficult’ for Raikkonen at the front

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Kimi Raikkonen is nicknamed ‘the Iceman’ for his cool persona and ability to excel under pressure, and his win at the Australian Grand Prix has only extended these credentials after he said the race was “not too difficult.”

On the podium, Raikkonen said “it was a pretty nice race and not too difficult.

“I was confident the tires would be ok, I have had a good car all weekend with no issues with the tires so I thought it would be easy to do it.”

The majority of drivers pitted three times during the race, but Raikkonen was able to stop just twice after he looked after his tires throughout the early stages of the race. When Fernando Alonso stopped for a third time, Raikkonen found a way past Adrian Sutil and saw out the remaining laps to claim his second win since his comeback at the beginning of 2012.

After a weekend marred by wet weather, Raikkonen was always wary of the rain returning and spoiling his race, so he ensured that he built up a big enough lead so he could ease off.

“I was just trying to make sure we had a gap if the rain came.

“I didn’t do any long runs over the winter but I knew I had a good car and I had a feeling it would be a good race.”

Raikkonen also claimed the fastest lap of the race with a best time of 1:29.274.

The Finnish driver will be pleased to have achieved such a strong result at the first race, but with Ferrari and Red Bull also showing good pace, Raikkonen may have a battle on his hands if he is to win a second world championship in 2013.

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AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”