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Raikkonen ‘didn’t miss driving car’ at end of 2013

A typically laconic Kimi Raikkonen has claimed that he didn't mid missing the final two grands prix of 2013, and expects to be in good shape for the coming season as a result.

The Finn, speaking in a video to accompany the launch of Ferrari's new F14-T, said that his break had allowed him more time to recover from an essential back operation, even though many believed that his absence had been driven by the money problems he had with previous employer Lotus. Although the team insisted that the matter was being addressed, Raikkonen claimed that he had not been paid up to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and subsequently missed both the US and Brazilian races.

It is true that walking away from Lotus allowed Raikkonen to go under the knife to address an old back injury that had flared up a couple of races previously, and the 2007 world champion is confident that he will now be ready to begin testing his new mount when the pre-season officially gets underway at Jerez on Tuesday. The Finn is scheduled to give the F14-T its debut in southern Spain before handing over to new team-mate Fernando Alonso for the final two days of the session.

“Did I miss driving an F1 car? Not really...,” he said, “It was nice to have a break as I had to have a small operation, so I didn't really have a choice as I wanted to be 100 per cent as pain free as possible for the coming season. I think it was a good choice - the best time to have this thing done. I think we'll get enough running in F1 this season.”

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