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First Look of Kimi Raikkonen in the Sauber

First Look of Kimi Raikkonen in the Sauber

Kimi Raikkonen has returned to the wheel of a Sauber Formula 1 car for the first time in 17 years.

The Finn will race for the Swiss team in 2019 after ending his second spell with Ferrari this season.

Raikkonen, reunited with the team he made his F1 debut with in 2001, is getting his first experience of Sauber’s current set-up in this week’s Pirelli tyre test in Abu Dhabi.

He is driving Sauber’s C37 on Tuesday and completed a first installation lap as soon as the test started at 9am local time.

Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen in his Sauber kit

Raikkonen, who is not wearing Sauber team gear, quickly returned to the track and completed 10 laps by the end of the first hour.

He has an unbranded race suit and a black-and-white, simplified crash helmet design like he used at Lotus in 2012.

After three hours of running Raikkonen was ninth-fastest of the 10 drivers who appeared on the first morning of the test and had covered 30 laps.

He had improved to a 1m41.371s shortly before the end of the third hour to lift himself above 10th-placed Pietro Fittipaldi, who caused a red flag when his Haas stopped on track with a suspected engine problem.

The 2007 world champion is not the only driver getting experience of his 2019 team early.

Formula 2 champion George Russell has appeared with Williams for the first time ahead of his graduation with the team next year.

Russell’s F2 rival Lando Norris is at the wheel of the McLaren again.

Fittipaldi is making his F1 testing debut with Haas. The grandson of two-time world champion Emerson has landed a development role with the American team for 2019.

Also driving in the test on Tuesday are Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Sergio Perez (Force India), Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) and Sean Gelael (Toro Rosso).

Other drivers set to appear on Wednesday include Pierre Gasly (Red Bull), Antonio Giovinazzi (Sauber) and Carlos Sainz Jr (McLaren).

New Toro Rosso 2019 recruit Alexander Albon is not scheduled to drive at all.

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