First three days back at Ferrari for Raikkonen

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Kimi Raikkonen is currently in the middle of his first official week of work at Ferrari since announcing his return to the team for the 2014 Formula One season.

The former World Champion (pictured, from 2009) arrived in Maranello yesterday for what the Scuderia says will be three days of work both with the team’s engineers and in the simulator.

“It’s good to be back at work,” Raikkonen told Ferrari’s website yesterday. “I began by getting used to all the new systems and procedures that we will use this year. From this point of view, the simulator is really very useful.

“It’s true there’s lots to do, but the workload is not much different to what it was in the past. For me, these days in Maranello are also an opportunity to be with the team and spend a bit more time with my many friends here.”

Raikkonen, who missed the final two races of the 2013 season in the United States and Brazil to undergo back surgery, had made a previous visit to Ferrari’s headquarters back in December to check in on the design of Ferrari’s 2014 machine. At that time, the team also confirmed that Antonio Spagnolo would be his race engineer in 2014.

Ferrari has yet to confirm their appearance at the upcoming first Formula One preseason test at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain (Jan. 28-31).

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski