Raikkonen tests GP3 car to aid with development

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Kimi Raikkonen may be lying in second place in the Formula One drivers’ championship, but the Finnish driver has taken a step down the motorsport ladder today by testing a GP3 car at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.

GP3 is widely regarded as being the series two ‘steps’ away from Formula One, supporting the premier class alongside GP2 for some of the season. It has produced two F1 drivers – Esteban Gutierrez and Valtteri Bottas – and Caterham’s American test driver Alexander Rossi also spent a year in the series in 2010, winning two races.

Although such a test may seem odd to many, Raikkonen expressed his interest in testing a GP3 car to the series’ official website.

“I wanted to test the GP3/13 because my friend Afa Heikkinen has a team in this series and I have been closely following their progress and results since the beginning of the season,” the Finn explained. “I was curious to see how the car handled and it was actually fun to drive.”

Raikkonen praised the car for preparing young drivers well for Formula One, with his feedback helping to iron out any problems.

“There were a few issues regarding its behaviour, but we managed to solve most of them. The GP3/13 is a very good tool for young drivers, especially when you have to learn about tyre management like we have in F1.”

Raikkonen’s comments will be taken into consideration when developing the GP3 car for 2014.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).