Raikkonen confirms return to action at Sochi

Jon Wilde
Kimi Raikkonen smiling at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone July 2021.

Kimi Raikkonen smiling in the Alfa Romeo garage at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone July 2021.

Kimi Raikkonen has confirmed he will be back in action at the Russian Grand Prix weekend from September 24-26.

The 2007 World Champion has been sidelined since Friday practice for the Dutch Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19 the following morning.

In his place, Robert Kubica deputised at Alfa Romeo and finished 15th in the race at Zandvoort followed by 14th in the Italian Grand Prix.

Raikkonen was initially having to self-isolate in the Netherlands but within the following few days, he was able to travel home to Switzerland.

He has now posted a typically succinct Instagram message which read: “I am all good. See you at the next GP.”

The 41-year-old Finn has only a maximum of eight races remaining in his Formula 1 career having announced he will retire at the end of the season.

His place in the Alfa Romeo team is to be taken by his compatriot Valtteri Bottas, who has signed a three-year contract.

Kubica, meanwhile, is the test and reserve driver for the Swiss-based team and having been harshly branded an “idiot” by Yuki Tsunoda during sprint qualifying at Monza on Saturday, the Pole performed creditably in an eventful grand prix.

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Although second last of the 15 finishers with only Mick Schumacher behind him, Kubica was a mere five seconds adrift of Sebastian Vettel and just behind the other Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi, who had spun early in the race and broke his front wing.

“It was not easy, as expected,” said Kubica, who confirmed he had let Giovinazzi pass him under team orders.

“It started pretty well, although the start was not great but the positioning was good. On lap one I think I gained two positions, which was a bit surprising because I was the only one at the back of the grid, apart from Valtteri Bottas, with hard tyres.

“We had to save fuel a lot. Probably our pace was better than expected and we were probably going to a full race distance and I started saving fuel, but it was useless because in the end there was a Safety Car.

“With the Safety Car, everything got reshuffled and it was more defensive driving. I couldn’t follow the other cars closely enough because every time I got close, the tyres were overheating and the car was sliding.

“It ended up with a nice battle with Sebastian, then we swapped positions with Antonio. I let him by into Turn 1 and we finished the race like this.”