Former Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen made his return to the track after two years away during a private test session with Lotus-Renault.
The Iceman drove a 2010-spec Renault R30 at Valencia due to the testing restriction.
Sporting a new helmet design on his return, Raikkonen took to the wheel of the Renault-powered car – painted in the team’s contemporary black and gold livery and using Pirelli’s demonstration-spec rubber – for an installation lap.
The Finn is taking part in a two-day session designed to help him reacclimatise himself with modern-spec Grand Prix machinery. His first test with the team’s 2012 car will take place at Jerez next month.
Keen to return to racing, however, Raikkonen briefly tried the NASCAR truck series last year before eventually agreeing a deal with Lotus to return to the sport this year.
“There were different choices for this year but I really wanted to do racing – I did some NASCAR last year and I really enjoyed competing against people again,” he said.
“It was then that I decided to do some racing again and F1 is the highest level of racing and where people want to be.
“It takes a little bit of time to get used to it, but the main bits of driving – braking, turning, the normal things – don’t take many laps. But learning about the car, the team and the tyres will take time.”
It’s so great to see the Iceman back in Formula One and the amount of attention from various motor racing websites and social network reveal how popular Kimi Raikkonen is. Hopefully, the Finn will rediscover his winning speed and can compete against the other champions on the grid this season with full confidence.
Video of Raikkonen in action at Valencia: