Kimi Raikkonen went from an early spin to producing over 100 laps on his first day of Formula 1 pre-season testing but saw the funny side on his return to familiar surrounding at the rebranded Alfa Romeo squad.

Raikkonen made his F1 debut back in 2001 with the Sauber squad, now running under the Alfa Romeo name for 2019, and is relishing his new role as experienced team leader as he got to grips with the C38.

But the Finn made a rookie error spinning off on a cold track just five minutes into pre-season testing, only to shake off the mistake to notch up 114 laps on day one with a best lap of 1m 19.462s to take fifth on the timesheet.

Raikkonen, who will still be racing in F1 when he turns 40, raised a smile at both his false start and the marathon number of laps he was able to complete.

“For an old guy it’s a bit hard!” Raikkonen joked. “Not really, I’m not surprised. I think we expected that everything would run smoothly and, apart from my spin, it did.

“We started with a spin, because we never learn from every winter as the track is very slippery because of the cold conditions.”

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Raikkonen credited the improved reliability of the V6 Hybrid-era cars for the huge number of laps completed, with Alfa Romeo one of six F1 teams to break the 100-lap barrier on the opening day, with no surprises striking his team.

“Any team expects to do a lot of laps, but ten or 15 years ago it was a different story,” he said. “Now the cars are more reliable, a lot of work has been done on the car to make it reliable.

“It’s important to do a lot of laps because we only have limited amount of days that we can do testing, we need to put in laps to learn about the car. I’m not really surprised at all.

“Obviously last year with those weather conditions was a different story, but this winter it’s going smoothly on the car side and I’m hoping to put in even more laps every day as that’s the key to learn things and getting to be ready for Melbourne.”

The 2007 F1 world champion hands over to young Alfa Romeo teammate Antonio Giovinazzi for day two of the first pre-season test.

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