Kimi Raikkonen set for 200th grand prix today

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Kimi Raikkonen will join an elite club of drivers in the history of Formula 1 when he races in his 200th grand prix in Montreal today.

The Finn made his debut back in 2001 for Sauber, and immediately shot to fame with a stunning first race in Australia where he finished sixth despite having only raced in single seaters 23 times beforehand. He joined McLaren for 2002 and remained with the British team until the end of 2006 before joining Ferrari.

Raikkonen enjoyed his finest hour in 2007, winning the drivers’ world championship by one point from Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. However, his form with Ferrari then nosedived in 2008, and at the end of 2009, he walked away from Maranello and Formula 1 altogether to try some other racing series such as rallying and even one NASCAR event.

In the fall of 2011, it was confirmed that Raikkonen would be returning to F1 in 2012 with Lotus alongside Romain Grosjean. He had an impressive comeback season, winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and finishing third in the drivers’ championship. Another win came at the beginning of 2013, but this would prove to be his last for the team. Towards the end of the year, his relationship soured with Lotus due to a lack of payment, and he left the team before the season’s end in order to have back surgery ahead of his return to Ferrari in 2014.

So far this year, the glorious comeback that many expected has failed to come about. The Finn currently sits 12th in the drivers’ standings with just 17 points, 44 less than teammate Fernando Alonso. Nevertheless, he has underlined his commitment to both Formula 1 and Ferrari.

For race #200, Kimi will start down in 10th place. Although he may not stand much chance of finishing on the podium, a good haul of points is certainly achievable in Canada. His passive and honest attitude is popular among the fans of the sport away from the track, while his on track achievements have been numerous; one world title appears to short change him slightly.

You can watch Raikkonen’s 200th race, the Canadian Grand Prix, live on NBC from 2pm ET, with the pre-race show starting on NBCSN at 1:30pm.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.