Raikkonen recovers on Sunday to finish third

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Having started down in P13 after a difficult qualifying session on Friday, Kimi Raikkonen has every right to be delighted after finishing third in today’s Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay Street Circuit.

The Finn showed good pace which – combined with pitting under the safety car – saw him finish on the podium alongside Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. Raikkonen revealed that the plan was always to pit during a safety car period; something of an inevitability given Singapore’s reputation for stoppages.

“We had a plan and we knew that at what moment if the safety car comes out we try to go until the end, so I knew what will happen and luckily some of the teams couldn’t do it and they have to pit,” Raikkonen explained after qualifying.

The highlight of his race came during a battle with McLaren’s Jenson Button. Having been stuck behind the Briton for a number of laps, Raikkonen pulled off a stunning overtake around the outside of turn five to move up to P3 late on.

“I was kinda stuck behind Jenson for most of the race but then I tried to give him some pressure and keep him pushing. I noticed that he started running out of his tires, and I started getting closer and closer.

“Then I decided to try to pass him and I managed to get past because there were some people who stopped and moved onto fresh tires, they were catching very quickly but luckily once I got past I could push a bit more and keep the gap big enough.”

Raikkonen had struggled in qualifying due to a back injury, but he confirmed that it had not caused too many problems during the race today.

“I didn’t feel it too much during the race but obviously it’s not ideal. Yesterday it was really bad.”

The Finn is set to leave Lotus at the end of the season and return to Ferrari in 2014, with whom he claimed his solitary drivers’ title back in 2007.

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.”