Formula 1: Kimi Raikkonen’s car catches fire during Abu Dhabi GP practice session

Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo caught fire during the second practice session ahead of Sunday’s season-ending Abu Dhabi grand prix.

It was feared the incident might turn into a repeat of last month’s terrifying fireball episode involving Romain Grosjean’s car at the Bahrain GP, where he was treated in hospital for burns to his hands.

But luckily this time, Finn Raikkonen, who is nicknamed the Iceman, safely and quickly got out of his cockpit.

Marshals speedily then put out the flames before Raikkonen took over the extinguisher himself.

He added some finishing touches, aware of key areas of the machine that his team would not want to be burnt.

His car suffered an engine failure towards the end of the evening session, and was brought to a halt with flames pouring out the back.

A radio message from the Alfa Romeo team to Raikkonen urged him to get out of the car as fast as possible.

“You have a big fire and get the hell out of there quick,” said the team radio.

But despite spending a few seconds trying to disconnect his radio as he got out of the cockpit, Raikkonen played down the incident.

“There was nothing scary about it,” he said. “It’s just a shame that it gets some fire and gets all messed up, trying to put the fire down. It’s one of those things.”

Asked how much damage the blaze had caused, Raikkonen said: “I don’t speculate and we will see.

“For sure there is some damage, hopefully it is mainly bodywork, but we’ll see. Obviously it’s a different engine and gearbox than we run tomorrow, but yeah, it’s just a bit more work for the guys obviously.”

The episode took place with 17 minutes to go in the 90-minute practice session and it briefly halted proceedings for other drivers.

Raikkonen will have a different engine fitted for the remainder of the Abu Dhabi weekend.

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