Thu, Jan 25, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Raikkonen all choked up about first Ferrari drive

AGENCIES , VALLELUNGA, ITALY

Finnish Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen tests last year's Ferrari race car at the Vallelunga race track in Italy on Tuesday.

PHOTO: AFP

Kimi Raikkonen tested for Ferrari for the first time on Tuesday.

The Finnish driver completed 39 laps in overcast and occasionally rainy conditions in last season's Ferrari car on the first of three days of testing at the Vallelunga circuit near Rome.

"It was beautiful," Raikkonen was quoted as saying by the ANSA news agency. "I was a bit choked up but it gave me a kick to be back in a [race] car. My first impressions were positive, even if I would have preferred to do more laps in the dry. I only managed five."

Raikkonen's test debut was originally to be held at Ferrari's track at Fiorano, but it was moved to Vallelunga due to a risk of snow.

Raikkonen said that he would test the team's 2007 car -- the F2007 -- some time next week, ANSA reported.

Ferrari's other driver, Felipe Massa, drove 74 laps in the F2007, after first testing the car at Fiorano last week.

Massa clocked a fastest lap time of 1 minute, 14.493 seconds, compared to Raikkonen's best of 1:15.226.

Raikkonen signed a three-year contract with the Italian team following the retirement of seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher at the end of last season.

Raikkonen, who failed to win a race with McLaren last year after seven victories in 2005, said it was hard to compare the two teams.

"So many things are different," added the Finn, who hoped to test the new car next week.

Ferrari has not won either the drivers' or constructors' championship for the past two seasons.

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