Kimi Raikkonen sidelined by COVID-19; Robert Kubica in car for Dutch GP

F1 Kimi Raikkonen COVID-19
Andrea Diodato/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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ZANDVOORT, Netherlands — Alfa Romeo F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be replaced by Robert Kubica for the Netherlands Grand Prix.

The 41-year-old Raikkonen, who announced this week that he will retire from Formula One at the end of the season, tested positive following on-site testing at the Zandvoort track.

“In accordance with COVID-19 protocols he will take no further part in this event. All contacts have been declared,” F1 said in a statement on Saturday. “The procedures set out by the FIA and Formula 1 will ensure no wider impact.”

Alfa Romeo said that 2007 F1 champion Raikkonen was showing no symptoms.

“He has immediately entered isolation in his hotel,” the team said in a statement on Saturday. “There is no further impact expected for the team for the remainder of this event.”

Raikkonen becomes at least the sixth active F1 driver to have contracted COVID-19.

The list also Lewis Hamilton (who has said he still suffers some effects), Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll, Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly.

There was a third and final practice session Saturday ahead of qualifying later in the day. The race is on Sunday.

The 36-year-old Kubica has not raced since the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP in 2019. It will be his 98th start and first for Alfa Romeo, where he is a reserve driver.

Kubica, who also is a veteran of the Rolex 24, was once considered among the most talented and quickest drivers in F1, securing one win among his 12 podium finishes between 2006-10.

The following year, a gruesome rally accident left the Polish driver needing seven hours of surgery on a partially severed right hand.

When he returned to F1 in 2019, he scored one point for the struggling Williams team with a 10th-place finish at the German GP.

Raikkonen, who is in the final year of his contract with Alfa Romeo, announced his impending retirement Wednesday on Instagram.

The 41-year-old Finn has 21 career victories, his last in 2018 at the United States Grand Prix when he was with Ferrari and finished third in the championship standings.

Raikkonen finished fourth at Interlagos in 2019 but has not been higher than ninth since. He’s scored two points this year, finishing 10th in both Azerbaijan and Hungary.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.