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.
“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.
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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.
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.