Formula 1

Räikkönen confident in Belgian GP participation after injury worry

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Kimi Räikkönen - Formula 1 - 2019 German GP
Credit: Alfa Romeo Racing

Kimi Räikkönen believes that he will be fit enough to race at the resumption of the 2019 Formula 1 season in Belgium for Alfa Romeo Racing despite a minor injury concern.

Alfa Romeo had asked reserve driver Marcus Ericsson to come to the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in case Räikkönen did not feel comfortable enough to race, with the Swede excusing himself from his full-time NTT IndyCar Series duties with Arrow Schmidt Peterson in Portland this weekend.

Ericsson ceded his seat at Alfa Romeo to former Scuderia Ferrari development driver Antonio Giovinazzi at the end of the 2018 season after four seasons with the Swiss-based team, predominantly in its Sauber guise.

Räikkönen was included in Alfa Romeo’s Thursday media schedule and the team’s official pre-event press release, and is hopeful that the leg problem suffered while he was playing “sport” will not sideline him from the weekend.

“I pulled a muscle and that’s about it,” Räikkönen told Autosport.

“We will see what happens. Obviously we need to have some back-up plans. It would be stupid not to have our third driver in case I couldn’t be driving, then it is the worst-case scenario.

“It is a difficult situation for [Ericsson] also because he had a race, but that is how it is.

“I would say it is getting better, so we will see how it is. We will see how it is but in my head it should be fine.”

The Finn, who introduced son Robin to karting during F1’s summer hiatus, admitted that he would have welcomed an extended break and more time with his family, but is eagerly looking forward to returning to action and helping Alfa Romeo’s pursuit of a top six finish in the Constructors’ Championship.

Despite boasting four victories at the Belgian Grand Prix over his F1 career, Räikkönen was nonplussed about his “King of Spa” tag – preferring to focus his attentions on merely securing a ninth points finish of the season.

“If you ask me the break could always be longer as I enjoyed time with my family a lot, but I’m also looking forward to be back in the car,” Räikkönen said in Alfa’s official press release.

“I’ve just been told that I’m called ‘The King of Spa’ because I’ve won there several times, but that doesn’t mean anything to me.

“Yes, it’s my favourite track, but more important is that we work hard to get the best out of the car and continue our good run from the last races before the break.”

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