Kimi’s ‘good memories’ of clean Alonso tussles

Jon Wilde
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren, Fernando Alonso, Renault, 2005 Belgian Grand Prix

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren, Fernando Alonso, Renault, 2005 Belgian Grand Prix

Kimi Raikkonen is welcoming Fernando Alonso back to Formula 1 as he recalls their tussles being “fair and clean”.

Alonso will be hoping he does not see too much of his old rival in races this year, with the Alpine expected to be ahead of the Alfa Romeo.

But from Raikkonen’s perspective, he would certainly not mind the opportunity of a few more on-track scraps with the Spaniard.

It is 20 years this month since Alonso and Raikkonen made their Formula 1 race debuts at the Australian Grand Prix for Minardi and Sauber respectively.

Four years later, Alonso became World Champion for Renault, defended the title the following year and was then dethroned by Raikkonen in a Ferrari.

The duo had one year as team-mates with the Scuderia, 2014, before Alonso made way for Sebastian Vettel and headed to McLaren.

That was a disappointing campaign for both Ferrari drivers as Alonso recorded only two podium finishes, the best of which was a second place in Hungary, while Raikkonen failed to make the rostrum.

“Obviously over the years, we had [in] some years more battles than others,” said Raikkonen, quoted by RacingNews365.

“But some years we had year-long battles and it’s always fair and clean. So I have good memories from it.

“Unfortunately we came off worse sometimes, and sometimes better. That’s how it goes in the racing.”

Fernando Alonso Kimi Raikkonen

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In terms of Alonso’s return to Formula 1 after two years away, that also mirrors the ‘sabbatical’ Raikkonen took in 2010-11 between his first Ferrari spell and comeback with Lotus.

“I didn’t struggle much to come back,” said the 41-year-old who, like Alonso, drove in other disciplines rather than completely taking time out.

“It wasn’t like you forgot how to drive F1 cars and you get to test before and it’s all back to normal, so I’m sure he will return.”

Alonso has the maximum day-and-a-half’s official pre-season testing under his belt now as he prepares for his F1 race comeback in the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 28.

“The car feels good but I think we still have to understand the characteristics of the new aero package,” said the 39-year-old.

“Our choice has been to run on the harder tyre compounds and run as many laps as possible. I think qualifying in two weeks’ time will be the time for the softs.”

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