D ie 7 changes the car. On race Sunday in Abu Dhabi, Kimi Räikkönen's start number was still stuck on the nose and bonnet of the Ferrari SF71H. Two days later she adorns the Sauber C37. Räikkönen, world champion of the year 2007, is known to drive again for the Swiss racing team from 2019. During the test drives in Abu Dhabi, the Finn familiarized himself with his new, old environment for the first time.
Raikkonen did the first of two test days in the desert for Sauber. The 39-year-old started his Formula 1 career with the Swiss team 17 years ago. Raikkonen drove the C20 with V10 engine and Bridgestone tires for 17 races before he moved to McLaren in 2002. After stints at the traditional British racing team, Lotus and Ferrari, the Finn is returning to the team that started it all. In Abu Dhabi, he sat in the Sauber C37, and in 2019 it will be the C38.
Test of the new Pirelli tires
In the desert state, the 2018 generation of vehicles pedal their last kilometers before they are obsolete Has. The test drives are proclaimed as tire tests. The teams are not allowed to screw experimental parts onto the cars. Instead, they focus on Pirelli tires for the coming season. The Italian tire supplier has launched new compounds.
The top teams therefore ask their regular pilots to serve. So that they can collect their own experience of the new tires and report back to the engineers about their driving impressions. They flow into the development of the 2019 cars - especially in the chassis area.
The second race on Sunday, Sebastian Vettel, drove his Ferrari around the5.554 kilometers. Not always smoothly. In the morning, Vettel triggered one of two red phases. He got off the track at Turn 1, but brought his car back on his own. Pietro Fittipaldi took care of the first interruption. The grandson of the two-time world champion Emerson Fittipaldi stranded in his HaasF1 with a technical defect.
Valtteri Bottas did the test work for Mercedes on Tuesday. Abu Dhabi winner Lewis Hamilton was initially scheduled for Wednesday. But Mercedes changed its plans. Bottas is now driving on both test days. At Red Bull, Max Verstappen grabbed the steering wheel. Williams newcomer George Russell and McLaren promoted Lando Norris also reeled off kilometers, as did Nico Hülkenberg for Renault and Sean Gelael for Toro Rosso. Sergio Perez drove at Force India in the morning. In the afternoon Lance Stroll took over the VJM11. At Williams, Robert Kubica moved up in the second part. The test drives increased from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time.
Sebastian Vettel grabbed the best time in front of Valtteri Bottas and Lance Stroll.