A young Kimi Raikkonen fan who was reduced to tears after the Ferrari driver crashed out of the Spanish Grand Prix met his hero after the race.
Thomas Danel, six, from the French city of Amiens, was seen crying on television after Raikkonen retired following a first-lap collision with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Raikkonen’s Ferrari team responded to the outcry on social media by inviting the six-year-old to their hospitality suite to pose for pictures with the Finnish star.
The 2007 world champion, 37, also gave Thomas, who was dressed in Ferrari apparel, a pair of his racing boots.
Thomas was watching the grand prix with his parents at the final corner before they were collected by Formula One management and taken to the paddock.
In addition to meeting Raikkonen, Thomas also joined the Ferrari mechanics beneath the podium to watch Raikkonen’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel receive his trophy for finishing behind race winner Lewis Hamilton.
“This has been the most fantastic day for us,” Thomas’ mother Coralie said. “We could not believe it when they came to get us and took us to Ferrari.
“This is great for fans like us. It really makes F1 and all of its people come alive.”