Raikkonen tests positive for coronavirus, ruled out of Dutch Grand Prix

By Sports Desk September 04, 2021

Kimi Raikkonen will not take part in the Dutch Grand Prix after testing positive for coronavirus. 

Raikkonen confirmed on Wednesday that he will retire from Formula One at the end of the 2021 season. 

Heading into the weekend there were just 10 races - including Sunday's trip around the Circuit Zandvoort - left in Raikkonen's F1 career, though he is now having to skip the event, which has been reintroduced to the calendar this year. 

The 41-year-old Alfa Romeo driver is isolating in his hotel, with the team confirming he is not showing any symptoms and is in good spirits. 

Robert Kubica, who has not raced in F1 since Abu Dhabi in 2019, will stand in for the 2007 world champion. 

"Robert has been reserve driver of Alfa Romeo Racing since the start of the 2020 season and has driven the team’s C41 in three practice sessions this year," Alfa Romeo said via Twitter. 

"With 97 Formula One starts to his name and experience with 2021 Formula One machinery, he will be ready for action and to give his best for the team." 

Raikkonen will require a negative test result in order to return to the paddock, so his status for the Italian Grand Prix remains uncertain for now. 

A joint FIA and F1 statement read: "The FIA, Formula 1 and Alfa Romeo Racing can today confirm that during onsite PCR testing for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen has tested positive for COVID-19. 

"In accordance with COVID-19 protocols he will take no further part in this Event. All contacts have been declared. The procedures set out by the FIA and Formula 1 will ensure no wider impact on the Dutch Grand Prix." 

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    Verstappen opened a 12-point lead heading into the final five races of the season thanks to Sunday's enthralling F1 showdown in Austin, where the Red Bull star pipped reigning world champion Hamilton by 1.333 seconds.

    Dutchman Verstappen has now won eight races in 2021. Only in 2016, when Hamilton lost out to Nico Rosberg despite winning 10 grands prix, has a driver who has collected at least eight victories failed to win the championship.

    Hamilton reflected on the result as he expects tough races ahead in the Mercedes driver's bid to overhaul Verstappen atop the championship standings.

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    "I think they were quicker all weekend and on all tyres today. Just in the heat, that’s their real strength has shone through this weekend, a bit like other places, Bahrain this year, yeah did the best I could with what we had."

  • 'The last few laps were fun', says Verstappen after edging out Hamilton in Austin 'The last few laps were fun', says Verstappen after edging out Hamilton in Austin

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    Mercedes told Hamilton it was "all about the final three laps" and, though the reigning world champion came close, he just did not have enough to overcome Verstappen, who takes a 12-point lead into the final five races.

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    Red Bull did not have it all their own way, with Hamilton coming from second on the grid to nip ahead of Verstappen with a brilliant start, but the Dutchman regained the lead and held his nerve.

    "We lost some time at the start, so we had to try and do something else," Verstappen said. "The tyre wear is quite high around this track, so we had to go aggressive but I wasn't sure if it was going to work.

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    "Congratulations to Max, he did such a good job today," Hamilton said. "It was such a tough race, had a good start, gave it absolutely everything but at the end of the day [Red Bull] just had the upper hand this weekend.

    "I couldn't have asked for more, a big thank you to my team for great pit stops, great work throughout the weekend."

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    Verstappen echoed the sentiment, saying: "[The fans] have been incredible. It's amazing to be here and to see so many of you around the track."

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    "Struggled massively. You know, since lap one, I ran out of water. I couldn't drink at all," he said.

    "I think by the middle of my second stint it was starting to get pretty difficult, you know, losing strength. I think my toughest race ever, physically."

  • Verstappen holds his nerve in Austin to take 12-point championship lead Verstappen holds his nerve in Austin to take 12-point championship lead

    Max Verstappen kept his cool in the Texas heat to hold off Lewis Hamilton and clinch a vital victory in the Formula One title race at the United States Grand Prix.

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    The reigning world champion, who has won more races (six) in the United States than any other driver, cut the gap with five laps remaining, with that promise of a frantic final three laps proving correct.

    In fact, it came down to the final lap, Verstappen utilising DRS early to get an extra boost that just kept him ahead of Hamilton, as Red Bull's decision to pit the championship leader early paid off in style.

    It brought up an eighth race win of the season for Verstappen, and a drive described by his team as "sheer class" propelled the Dutchman 12 points clear. 

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    IN THE POINTS

    1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
    2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +1:333
    3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +42:223
    4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +52:246
    5. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) +1:16:854
    6. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +1:20:128
    7. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +1:23:545
    8. Lando Norris (McLaren) +1:24:395
    9. Yuki Tsuonda (AlphaTauri) +1 LAP
    10. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) +1 LAP

    CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

    Drivers

    1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 287.5
    2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 275.5
    3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 185
    4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 150
    5. Lando Norris (McLaren) 149

    Constructors

    1. Mercedes 460.5
    2. Red Bull 437.5
    3. McLaren 254
    4. Ferrari 250.5
    5. Alpine 104

    WHAT'S NEXT?

    Mexico is next up to start a triple-header that also includes trips to Brazil and Qatar in November. Only five grands prix remain in what is shaping up to be a sensational title race.

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