F1

Kimi Raikkonen confirms F1 return in typical blunt style after Covid bout

George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

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Kimi Raikkonen has always been a man of few words, so his announcement that he would be returning to racing action after missing the last two races was never going to be flashy. Sure enough, F1’s ‘Iceman’ was typically blunt in his Instagram post confirming his impending return to the grid.

The Finn missed the Dutch Grand Prix after testing positive for Covid-19 in the days leading up to the race at Zandvoort.

And his isolation period meant he wasn’t able to take part in the following Italian Grand Prix either – the final race of an exciting triple-header to begin the second half of the 2021 season.

Robert Kubica stepped in at short notice to drive his Alfa Romeo in the Netherlands, and continued to fill in for the Finn at Monza once it had become apparent that Raikkonen would not return in time.

However, as expected, the Pole’s return to F1 action is short-lived as Alfa will get their other main driver back to partner Antonio Giovinazzi at the Russian Grand Prix.

Confirming the news on his Instagram page, Raikkonen posted a photo showing only his silhouette against a sunny background, captioned: “I am all good. See you at the next GP.”

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Fans enjoyed the to-the-point message, with many replying in a similarly blunt fashion.

The 2007 F1 world champion rarely displays his emotions publicly and has often preferred a cold approach to media interviews – hence his ‘Iceman’ nickname.

But Raikkonen produced a rare show of emotion earlier this month when he announced that this season would be his last in the sport, 20 years after making his debut.

“This is it,” he announced to fans on social media. “This will be my last season in Formula 1.

“This is a decision I did during last winter. It was not an easy decision but after this season it is time for new things.

“Even though the season is still on, I want to thank my family, all my teams, everyone involved in my racing career and especially all of you great fans that have been rooting for me all this time.

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“Formula 1 might come to an end for me but there is a lot more in life that I want to experience and enjoy. See you around after all of this! Sincerely Kimi.”

After a long-running saga, it was finally confirmed that Valtteri Bottas would be moving to the Italian team to replace Raikkonen, with George Russell preferred by Mercedes to partner Lewis Hamilton in 2022.

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While Raikkonen’s compatriot has had it tough at Mercedes over the last few seasons, often playing second fiddle to seven-time world champion Hamilton, he gave a timely reminder of his quality at Monza by winning sprint qualifying before racing from the back of the grid to finish third on Sunday.

Alfa Romeo will hope Bottas can produce more magical performances like that as it heads into a new era of the sport in 2022, with a swathe of technical changes expected to cause a power shift among constructors.

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