Kimi Raikkonen: the driver debates

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Are Kimi Raikkonen\'s 2008 title chances over?  He doesn't think so.
Are Kimi Raikkonen's 2008 title chances over? He doesn't think so.

Kimi Raikkonen, the reigning world champion, is the final F1 racer to come under the scrutiny of our driver debates series and.

With four races left to run Raikkonen is in serious danger of losing his title: he could even fall out of championship contention in Singapore this weekend. What’s gone wrong for Ferrari’s number one in 2008?

Another Hakkinen?

In many ways the two Ferrari drivers have confounded the expectations of them this year: but while Felipe Massa has often exceeded them, Kimi Raikkonen hasn’t always lived up to them.

When was the last time we saw a reigning champion remain with the same outfit and same team mate, yet struggle to beat his team mate as often as Raikkonen has often done this year?

The Belgian Grand Prix showed us Raikkonen at his best. The conditions on the opening laps were made for him: where the McLaren has been the best car on a heavily wet track this year, the Ferrari has excelled in drying conditions. Raikkonen found more grip than Massa did; and unlike Lewis Hamilton he didn’t overstep the mark. He brushed Massa aside on the first lap, motored past a stationary Lewis Hamilton on the second tour, and led most of the afternoon.

But glimpses of such form from Raikkonen have been rare in the second half of 2008, although he started the season with wins in Sepang and Catalunya. It seems the opposite of what happened last year, when he enjoyed a clear up-swing in performance in the middle of the season.

Part of that is down to reliability problems: the broken exhaust in France, the engine failure in Valencia. But those are not the only reasons why he’s scored only 22 points in the last nine rounds.

It is often said of Raikkonen that he lacks the application in matters such as testing and post-race debriefs that his predecessor, Michael Schumacher, was legendary for. Raikkonen’s steely, quiet persona in front of the media probably exaggerates an impression that he does his best work in the cockpit and leaves the technical stuff for others to worry about. But there’s no doubt that, at present, the F2008 is presenting the Ferrari drivers with technical and driving challenges that Massa is doing a superior job of responding to at the moment.

In some ways Raikkonen reminds me of Mika Hakkinen, who could dominate races in the manner of Schumacher, but had other days when he just didn’t figure.

Starting with Sauber

Like Massa, Raikkonen got his F1 debut courtesy of Peter Sauber’s team (one year before Massa, in 2001). It’s amusing to look back at Autosports from seven and a half years ago and read stories of Max Mosley huffing and puffing about how this youngster, with a mere 23 race starts to his name, was not ready to race in F1 yet, and should spend his first few races on probation before getting a full super licence.

Raikkonen’s immediate ease at the wheel of an F1 car quickly eclipsed the presumptions of Mosley and many others in the F1 paddock. The following season Raikkonen was in a McLaren, leaving behind a very put-out former team mate Nick Heidfeld (who had previously enjoyed McLaren’s backing).

He was twice championship runner-up with McLaren in 2003 and 2005 (when his manager believes he should have picked up his first two world titles) and he was due a title when he bagged one for Ferrari last year. But this championship success has not, as many expected, ushered in an era of Raikkonen dominance.

Despite not carrying his late-2007 form throughout 2008, and despite Raikkonen seeming to care just as little for the celebrity of being an F1 driver as he always has, he and Ferrari have re-committed to each other until the end of 2010. Whatever Raikkonen’s problem is this year, it clearly isn’t a great concern to Ferrari. They could easily have signed another world champion – Fernando Alonso – in Raikkonen’s place.

Fastest laps

Another curiosity about Raikkonen, and one that has been mentioned on this site several times, is his propensity for racking up fastest laps. He’s set 34 of them in 134 starts, more than any other driver, bar Prost (41 from 199) and Schumacher (76 from 248). This year alone he’s scored nine fastest laps in 14 starts, many of them races where he otherwise didn’t figure.

What does this tell us about Raikkonen? That he’s a quick driver who’s had unreliable cars? That’s he prioritises race setup over qualifying pace? Or, as he once suggested, that he occasionally gets bored during races and entertains himself by nailing the fastest lap?

As mentioned earlier this week there is now a debate in the Ferrari camp about whether all its efforts for the end of this year should go to Massa, who is 20 points ahead of Raikkonen. Stefano Domenicali said:

The fight for the two titles will be very close. Kimi and Felipe met president [Luca] di Montezemolo who made it very clear that, as usual, Ferrari’s simple target come the end of the season is to win both titles. Both drivers will be working towards this target over the remaining four races, knowing that, as always for the Scuderia, the good of the team comes first.

Is this Ferrari’s way of saying Massa’s their man now? Raikkonen said: “Only when I no longer have a mathematical chance will I be totally at the service of the team.”

It would surely be madness for them to rule Raikkonen out of the championship now hunt after he came from such a long way back to win last year’s title.

Share your thoughts on Raikkonen’s qualities of a driver – and chance of retaining his title – below.

Read more about Kimi Raikkonen: Kimi Raikkonen biography

This concludes the driver debates series on active F1 drivers. The series will return during the off-season to look at some great drivers of past Formula 1 championships.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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53 comments on “Kimi Raikkonen: the driver debates”

  1. I’m a big fan of Raikkonen. I would say his 2008 title hopes are put for a test now due to his
    – Uncommon mistakes
    – conventional bad luck
    – Ferrari’s struggle with the wet weather races
    – Lack of balance between qualifying and race setup
    – Poor qualifying strategy

    But, I don’t think that it is all over yet!!! There are four more races, I guess he’ll give some good try there! Title chances, he don’t have to think about it right now… if it has to happen he should do the best for the next four races and luck should favor him a little more than his efforts! It can hardly happen, but I’ll like him for his politeness and driving style forever!!!

  2. KIMI as the fastest laps suggests is clearly the fastest driver in the grid.The problem with him is just the technical input he gives back.I am sure he is not too techie just as SCHUMI.I work for the company which provide software solution to FERRARI F1 team and in one of our CEO’s interviews he said “SCHUMI is only driver who knows how the car feels just by hearing the sound of its engine…..AWESOME”.KIMI just lacks that.

    Just a TRIVIA…..
    Also in one of the interviews NICO ROSEBERG was asked who he feels is the fastest driver on grid.He answered without even hesitating a moment “Of course it is KIMI .HE IS REALLY FAST OUT THERE”.
    This question was asked during the time when a 7 times CHAMP and 2TIMES CHAMP were Still driving.

    Given a fast car which is designed to KIMI’s style I am sure he would have won more than others and be a WORLD CHAMP now..

  3. I am also a huge fan of Raikkonen, and like Mani, believe that his chances of winning the championship are very slim (though still possible) for the same reasons that Mani provided.

    I’m also of the firm belief that, ceteris paribus, Raikkonen is the fastest F1 driver around. Not as ‘complete’ as Alonso, not as good an overtaker as Hamilton, but certainly the quickest round the track!

    I also love the fact that he doesn’t pander to the media. Much like Webber who is known for saying what he likes (which I admire), Raikkonen doesn’t talk if he doesn’t want to (which I equally admire).

  4. Most overrated driver on the grid.

    Very good but certainly not the second coming of Villeneuve.

  5. I should really qualify that!
    * He was slower then Heidfeld in his first year.
    * He spent his McLaren years breaking his cars and beating DC (massive acheivement).
    * As a Ferrari driver he shares honours with Massa.
    * He scores far too many wins by tooling around for a stint and passing people in the pits.

    He is a heck of a fast driver, but there is this odd cult among F1 fans that he is awesome. He’s not. Some people love his attitude to the media and no nonesense personality. Yeah, this is like the silly girls at High School that fawn over silent brooding boys before finding out that in reality they are dull and boring.

  6. Keith, it would be interesting to know exactly which part of the race he sets these fastest laps. Perhaps towards the end when most drivers go into preservation mode? Kimi is quick but overrated in my opinion. And he reminds me of Hakkinen too : you cant believe the hype!

  7. He started at Sauber and for once I agree with Max’s position on the matter – a driver so inexperienced as he was ought to have been scrutinized in his first few GPs. It turned out that he was alright but it could have been otherwise.
    Despite the fact that he was ok for F1, I believe Kimi has been grossly overated throughout his career. In his first year he lost to Heidfeld and yet he got the gig at Mclaren that somewhat staled Heidfeld’s career (a bit of an injustice). At Mclaren he managed to beat his teamates but they were hardly first rate drivers anyway (Coultard, De La Rosa and a demotivated Montoya). This story that he should have won the 2003 and 2005 championships can only be described as a self serving delusion from his manager. If the FIA had not helped Der-Meister-Cheat by banning the Michelin tyres, Montoya would have won the 2003 title – not Kimi. In 2005 he had a run against Alonso and lost – fair and square. The fastest lap thing is a ludicrous ploy. Something to save face. You are the fastest man, you win the race. Most of the fastest laps are set in the end of the races, when fuel is low and tyres have become semi-slicks. While the race leader is saving his car, a lackluster Kimi goes and sets the fastest lap because there is nothing to be lost. In fact, he did it a couple of times in 2006, just to have an engine failure (and subsequent 10 position demotion in the grid) in the run up to the next grand prix. I bit dim witted, isn’t it?… Which brings me to his coolness..He does not speak much because he is not able to – not in English at least. He is not the first F1 Finn lost for words: Hakinen couldn’t (as in was-not-able-to) speak much either. And Kimi became champion on account of being incredibly lucky – he did not so much won the championship as Lewis found a way to lose it.
    He is not a bad driver, but come on, he is not great. I root for Massa, but I am well aware of his (Massa’s) shortcomings. In the last two years kimi and Massa have been pretty much level at Ferrari – a trully great driver would have blown Massa out of the water.
    (in time: Hamilton is not a great either, having a better car in terms of reliability, pace and wet whether grip, he is just 1 point ahead of Massa after 14 races. I am no fan of Schumacher, but he would probably have won the championship by now if he were in Felipe’s (or Kimi’s) place)

  8. Jolene:

    He has the fastest lap in the whole race amongst the drivers. not only a part of it.

  9. I totally agree Antifia. Still schumi is the most complete driver. or should I say team?

  10. CD: I know what the fastest lap means. My question is at which point in the race it was set. The middle stint or last stint? Or am I now really a smurfette today?

  11. Antifia, I couldnt have said it better myself. And you answered my question about the fastest lap. Agree with you on each count except the part about Schumi.

  12. He must have been a good boy recently to get the contract to the end of 2010. So what was all the rubbish that he was saying earlier this year, hinting that he might be moving onto something new and more interesting? Has he been seeing other teams in secret, and been given the cold shoulder? Perhaps hes not determined enough to appeal to say DTM or NASCAR teams?
    So, his reward for keeping quiet and letting Massa win the Championship this year is an extended contract…..
    How will he be feeling this time next year?

  13. Keith,

    Congratulations, for this wonderful series. I must to say that the amount of material, fresh ideas and insights that came up from those debates were worth read and a great source of study. Some of my posts about drivers in my BLOG are very influenced by this great stuff provided by you and the commenters. Thank you, Keith, thank you, guys

  14. DG – Raikkonen says he never said anything like that:

    I never said [retirement] was [an option]. It was all you guys. It was not what I said. I said I had a contract for the next year at least and then we see after that. I have a couple more years and we look when the times comes for what happens after that. I always had a contract for next year anyway. I never said I was going to retire, it came from you guys. I still enjoy it. I still drive as well as I can.

  15. Thanks keith – any chance of looking back and seeing what he actually said?
    If it was badly reported then fair’s fair, but if he was deliberately misleading (as I can recall), then its either a strange PR coup or a garbled Finn…

  16. Hi Keith, I was wondering cause I couldn’t really tell by the tone of your article if you actually rate Raikkonen???

    I remember some time back, actually I think you posted a comment on another site, that you thought: Raikkonen, Alonso, Hamilton, Kubica and Webber were the best drivers on the grid. Do you still think the same way??….and if so, where does Raikkonen rank?? I’m excluding of course the ‘2008 Season Driver Rankings’ of a few months ago since that was about performance this year not so much ‘all-round’ ability.

    p.s. sorry, you may not be able to answer due to ‘journalistic impartiality’ but I was just curious.

  17. I’ve said this already but in evaluating Kimi in the wet or dry, you have to look at the MP4-23 fiasco. Kimi needed a car with super sharp turn in and understeer bias and he and JPM disagreed on this. Sound familiar? This was of course poison to JPM, who didn’t mind drifting through turn 1 at Indy at 220mph. Kimi got his way as team leader, and you had a car that could not heat the tires, and thus could not qualify well, but, was eventually pretty quick in the race. Sound familiar? Kimi is a fast driver but his style and set up limitations are real and its hurting him big time now. Every driver has weaknesses and the 2008 Ferrari exposes a clear weakness for him now.

  18. Kimi is the fastest, when he wants to be, Alonso is overall the best. That has not changed in years.

    Also, Keith, in terms of FLs, Kimi is only 2nd to Michael going by % (34 of 134 is 25%, Prost’s 41 of 199 is 20%).

  19. Dorian – With the ‘driver debates’ series I’ve mainly been trying to follow a neutral line with the articles themselves, to serve as a starting point for a debate. Of course, once the debate’s up and running I don’t mind getting my hands dirty…

    Raikkonen confounds me. When he was with McLaren my general opinion of him was “very quick, rarely ragged”. This year he’s not been as quick (compared to his team mate) and there’s been quite a few mistakes as well. The mistakes I’m not so concerned about – Hamilton and Massa have made plenty as well. But he seems to have lost his way with the car somewhere and, given his problems at the start of last year, it doesn’t look like a one-off. That said, if we get the kind of Raikkonen in the final four races of this year we had in the last four races of 2007, he could still keep his crown. Without such an upturn in performance you’d have to conclude it’s been a poor year for Raikkonen on the whole.

  20. F1Fan – I only looked at total laps: in terms of percentage we’d have to add the likes of Fangio (45%) and Clark (38%) and probably others as well.

  21. Kimi is a good person and a driver but is seriously overhyped. He is no way “the fastest man in F1” like many of his fanatics and apologists claim to be. The only reason Kimi looked so fast is that the McLarens he drove were in a league of their own when they weren’t breaking down.

    Last year and this year has shown that Kimi is not the driver everyone thinks he is. Do you really think that MS would be having the same problem Kimi is having? The “new tires, new team, new car” excuses were fine last year. But not this time around.

  22. Kimi Raikkonen is I guess the fastest man in F1 now, but ONLY when the setup is perfect for him, and well everyone knows that he isn’t Schumacher (the one with the 7 titles).

    As a firm Kimi fan, it’s hard to see him tooling around the midfield in cars not suited to him running behind guys whom he should be ahead of… and it’s hard to see why he doesn’t do some homework to improve the car to his liking (assuming all the news of him being not the best car developer are true). Maybe he is and it isn’t really helping :)

    Well hopefully someone at Ferrari will turn the screw on his car that makes everything right and he still wins the WDC this year :P

    Keith – wonderful site.

  23. Internet,

    “new tires, new team, new car excuses were fine last year”

    … last year Kimi won the title, what excuses are you talking about ?

    I agree, he is having a sub-par year in ’08, but he remains the fastest, when wants to be. 9 FLs in 14 GPs says a lot about his speed. I think his problem is somewhere in his head. Perhaps he is having personal problems, who knows.

  24. i think that Kimi is a mediocure driver in a fast car, it is the same with both ferrari drivers.
    i know he won the title last year but it was all pure look, i mean what were the odds of hamiltons engine cutting out, it was ridiculas and stupid end to a brilliant season.
    Also he brings so little personality to the sport, trying to interview kimi raikkonen is like trying to interview a dead trout, he is really boaring and doesn’t even seem to care about F1.

  25. RAIKKONEN IS A GIGANTIC PILE OF UTTER ****!!!!

  26. I think Kimi will be forgotten about sooner rather than later once he retires, espicially is he doesn’t win another title. I think Fernando is probably a better driver all round, and once Lewis irons himself out fully, I should think he will be too.

    I was so confused as to why Kimi never won a title earlier though, he was very quick in the McLaren, yet never turned it into anything of any worth.

    I think there are drivers both on the grid and who have recently left it who could have done better with the machinery and chances he’s been given.

  27. no Lewis talk please Ajokay.
    god i’m getting bored of that.

    he clearly is “THE FASTEST MAN IN F1”, but this year I don’t rate him.

    his success is a bi yearly thing. Take 2005, superb perfomance from him (Suzuka anyone?, Nurburring?), 2006?… oh dear

    and any Kimi fans whinging about McLaren giving him a crap car in 2006 because they knew he was moving to Ferrari are lying to themselves, the car was good, he just couldn’t be bothered…. take Brazil 2006, the minute he was racing ShoeMaker he suddenly decided to give him a hard time for several laps, before laying off.

    on his day, he’s the one driver all others are scared of.

  28. @Sush: Like I said, the 2005 McLaren was in a league of it’s own when it wasn’t breaking down. That’s what gave Kimi the false reputation of being “the fastest man in F1”.

  29. I wouldn’t call it a false reputation, I don’t like Kimi, i’m not defending him because I’m a fanboy.

    He’s fast, just not fast everyday, like Schuey. But why is he posting fastest laps regularly, as opposed to his teammate?. Surely in the same car Massa would have the same ratio for fast laps?

    same goes to Heidfeild, stop posting fastest speed trap times and fastest laps and start winning a RACE! you silly short cuddly german you.

  30. …. although have a shave you… and you button, yes i’m looking at you.

  31. You don’t like ’em spikey and rugged then Sush?

    Kimi wouldn’t be doing so bad if they still gave points for fastest laps. I think they should do that, and another for pole position too.

  32. Kimi is a good number 2 for Felipe

  33. Overrated?? – hahaa. I support Mclaren as a constructor but general opinions aside, whos the most successful team in F1? – Ferrari. They chose Kimi to be their main driver when they had the option for going for Alonso. Whos the most successful F1 driver in history? – Michael Schumacher. Im pretty sure Michael had a say in who would be his successor. So these accomplished and experienced people are all wrong and delusional??

    Fastest laps dont count for anything? – yea, aces do not matter in tennis aswell :P

    ignoring the facts, does not change the facts.

    its been a bad year. Ferrari has made some pretty glaring strategic errors. Qualifying set up has been the main issue for Kimi. Race pace is still awesome.

    As for the personality thing. Raikkonen was born to be a racer, he wasnt trained to become one. No simulators, no textbooks, no funding, no racing schools. Just go out there and get em!. He came from nowhere, through a completely unconventional channel and thats what makes him so unique. Personality has to be looked as a whole, not just by media interviews. Does anyone remember the Snowmobile-Guerilla costume event?

    So what if he likes a drink? All others go ahead and have their cranberry juices.

    Your a man first, everything else after…

  34. I think Kimi is over-hyped due to sympathy people have for him. Sympathy for not winning in 2003 and 2005.

    Kimi Raikkonnen is like a bubble which is now going to burst, like the dot-com bubble or the current investment-banks bubble.

  35. Jolene – Good point but I’ve not got that data to hand!

    Becken & Daks – Thanks!

    Taimur – I don’t think anyone had mentioned the drinking thing before you did.

    As for fastest laps…

    I think what some people mean when they say “fastest laps don’t count for anything” is literally that: Fastest laps don’t give you any points.

    The fact that Raikkonen has set so many fastest laps demonstrates incontrovertibly that he is capable of driving an F1 car very quick. I don’t think anyone is seriously going to dispute that.

    But it’s no use setting the fastest lap in a race if you finish out of the points – which is exactly what happened to Raikkonen at Monza. If Raikkonen were being the fastest driver on the track over a single lap on Saturdays instead of Sundays, then he’d be starting more races from pole position and scoring a whole lot more points.

    So, while fastest laps tell us a lot about how quick Raikkonen is, when compared to his success rate in qualifying and the races this year it also points to the root of the problems he’s having at the moment: lack of pace over a single lap in qualifying.

  36. I mentioned the drinking thing cause of the general image which somehow goes against how an F1 driver should be.

    His lack of pace over one single lap has been, for most part due to the car, not the driver.

    Talk about points if we are discussing the championship. From a purely ‘driver debates’ point of view, points are irrelevant.

    All in all: its been a bad year(it can happen), but theres no doubt that hes a great driver.

  37. I’m bored with Raikonenn fans saying “he is the fastest when he can be bothered”. when he is off the pace, he is simply not bothered. Well done, great defence mechanism!
    Isnt he paid by Ferrari to be “bothered” and fast all the time.

  38. When Alonso went to McClaren in 2007 and drove the 2006 McClaren he was quoted as saying, “Now I know why Kimi was having such problems last year.” The meaning of the statement is clear.

    Raikkonen has always been an excellent wet weather driver. But this year’s Ferrari is a disaster in the wet. Add the mechanical failures to wet problems and, even if you ignore his qualifying problems, Kimi’s record would put him up with both Hamlton (who virtually never sets fast lap) and Massa. The take is that the problem has been solved. If it rains in Singapore, we’ll find out if Ferrari’s wet weather shortcomings really have been corrected.

    As far as who is the fastest driver, you have only to look at Spa this year. Only the last minute rain prevented Raikkonen from equaling the great Jimmy Clark’s record of achieving four consecutive wins at the track that demands the most of F1 drivers.

  39. Terry – I seem to remember Michael Schumacher passing quite abit of times in the pits for the lead…in the 2004 car even.

    Ferrari obviously have not set up the car for Kimi, when you have Michael Schumacher and Massa doing the testing obviously they are testing for Massa.

    Kimi is never not bothered, it is just impossible to pass…seriously, who has passed for the lead this year in dry conditions? If Kimi isn’t bothered, how does he all of a sudden have incredible pace once the guy in front pits? If he started 1st every race, he’d finish 1st. If Kimi started 2nd every race, he’d most likely finish 1st.

  40. I think Sush’s statement that Raikkonen’s performance varies bi-annually is interesting which leads onto another point – the 2003 car was no world beater in terms of pace. In fact the chassis was a year old. Kimi had only 1 win that year and still came within a handful (2?) of points of taking the WDC that year. What happened to the error free, always on, always “bothered” driver of 2003?

    My thought is maybe Kimi should have brought his Mclaren Race engineer along to Ferrari :P

  41. As I have said before:

    Kimi Raikkonen is one of the absolutely most naturally gifted drivers in the history of automobile racing. He may even be the most naturally gifted in the history of Formula One. His sheer speed, his ability to gut out an unworldly lap well beyond the car’s capability when he needs it most, his car control: no one in Formula One today has this combination, and very few have ever had it.

    His year so far is down to:

    * Lack of focus (which hasn’t always been his strong suit), which has bred
    * Avoidable mistakes
    * Struggles to get hard tires up to temperature (while he has been the quickest in F1 on the soft compound)

    While I’m a McLaren and Hamilton fan, I have to be intellectually honest. This leads me to the inevitable conclusion that Raikkonen is the best out there. I miss him in the Silver Arrows.

  42. I really like Kimi. But honestly, if he is forced to fully support Massa’s title campaign, how much can he help?

    He almost always qualifies behind Massa. So in most races Kimi’s “support” will not be of much benefit to Massa. (Unless they can find a way to switch helmets and cars when it’s raining!) :)

  43. In the short time I’ve been following the sport, Kimi has appeared to me as a driver with tremendous natural talent- he appears to be someone who simply refines his talents, rather than needing to build and develop them. When he’s on top of his game, he’s nearly unbeatable. But when something goes wrong for him, he can’t seem to catch up and come back into contention as easily as some others.

    The party aspect of Kimi dosen’t bother me- as long as he’s not out breaking the law or doing anything that seriously detracts from his racing performance, it should not be an issue. But I think when things go wrong, the many critics and pundits in the F1 community point a finger at him for being too active outside the car.

    For those of you in the U.S., a good comparison I can make for Kimi’s style is that he reminds me a good deal of many of the big-ticket wideouts in the NFL- Plaxico Burress, Randy Moss, Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson, and of course Terrell Owens. All of them have tremendous natural ability, but they only excel with the proper tools- a good quarterback throwing the ball, the right offensive system, and of course the big stats every week. When things don’t go their way in that regard, they tank out and we see them “taking plays off” in some cases.

    In my eyes, that’s how Kimi also operates- tremendous talent, but only wins big when everything is in line for him. Not to say that he can’t win when the cards are stacked against him- that was on display at the end of last season- but he lacks that Schumi-style domination factor that would make him a truly dominant competitor.

  44. Thank you, Paige, to say that Kimi is the most naturally gifted driver, because I’m feeling the same way!

    I do believe that Kimi is the fastest driver on the grid. The record has said it all! But, yeah, I also believe that he probably have some personal problem that make him failed in some races. He have no problem with his focus when he racing, but he might be have some focus problem in qualifying time. Most of his mistake in qualifying are made in the Q3, I’m not really sure is that because of lack of focus or qualifying pace.

    I won’t compare this season championship with the last one (coz it absolutely a different case), but I still believe that he will find his best form again soon and hopefully won the championship (it quiet impossible, but hoping something good is not a wrong thing). However, he’s one of the best driver out there.

  45. We all too quickly forget that we are always comparing Raikkonen with Schumacher, which is perfectly natural as Raikkonen is driving the great mans car, yet unfair in its comparison because Schumacher was unique.
    I often wonder on how Michael Schumacher would be fairing now, if the drive at Ferrari had remained his, racing against the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica. I would not bet against him, that is for sure!
    In his sixteen year career, he raced against plenty of legends himself. Senna, Prost, Mansell, Hill, Villeneuve, Hakkinen, to name some, yet on the whole, achieved to optimum of any of those drivers. Much was made of his relationship with Ferrari, of his technical imput towards the team, but there was one overriding gift that Schumacher brought to the table, and to Ferrari.
    It was his uncanny knack of getting a result when the result looked impossible, when the chips were down and things were conspiring against him. When he was under the greatest of pressures, when other drivers would have cracked and thought, ‘oh well, I did my best’, Schumacher kept pushing. That is a rare commodity in a race driver, and for me, the biggest difference between Schumacher and Raikkonen.
    Kimi Raikkonen is a superb driver. His pole lap at Monaco back in 2005 was nothing short of perfection, beating Fernando Alonso when the Spaniard thought he had it in the bag. At Spa in 2004, he took the fight to Schumacher and succeeded in beating him, much to Michael’s discomfort. However, when the car is not with him, when he is not comfortable, it would appear that Raikkonen struggles, as Keith said, like Mika Hakkinen used to.
    Hakkinen was lightning quick too, fast, highly talented, but would often struggle to overcome problems mid race. Schumacher though, had Senna’s right boot and Prost’s brain, he was always thinking, always on the ball. So seldom were his mistakes, so seldom did he lose. He really was one of a certain group that comes along once in a generation if best.
    Raikkonen can still win the championship, even though his chances are slim, but we must always remember that this young guy climbed into the most successfull driver’s car in the history of grands prix racing, and was crowned champion in his first year. He has flaws, as do his rivals, but he has the talent to win again.
    Apart from Fernando Alonso, he is the only other driver on the grid who knows first hand what ‘it’ takes to win a championship.

  46. Apart from Fernando Alonso, he is the only other driver on the grid who knows first hand what ‘it’ takes to win a championship.

    Yep, that it takes luck and FIA not being on your back.

  47. Hmm..I’ve been reading all the previous posts and can’t resist a response. Being a Kimi fan (who believed in him till the end in 2007 when others were writing him off)I am also surprised about his form. I don’t want to agree or disagree whether he’s ‘the fastest driver’ in F1 because unless he races the others in the same car, you can’t really compare can you? But I do think he’s very fast and I don’t think he’s over-rated. Even the best comperes who have lists of data at their disposal have said over and over that Kimi has remarkable talent. But I do agree that his attitude gets in the way sometimes. Then again, I don’t think he is dull at all!! Oh no, I love listening to Kimi speak. He is so different to others who keep on talking and talking. THe fact is, we all are different. While I like Kimi’s style another might not. So what??? Don’t put him down just because you don’t agree with it. We all have a right to have a favorite!!

  48. I for one will not be interested in F1 if Kimi stops racing. Mass is too temperamental- really good on some days and really bad on others (remember him spinning at least 5 times in the wet?!). Plus he’s too intense. Hamilton is breaking the driver’s code of conduct whenever possible. I used to admire the guy but now he seems totally desperate. I mean, if everyone drove like that, we’ll have one pile up after another. Alonso and Heikki are much better disciplines drivers.

  49. yeh i agree CHamika, Kimi is dull but worthy. ALonso is alot more exciting to watch. But how dare Lewis take risks, what does he think this is? a competition?

  50. btw- no one doubts Kimi is fast but can he race? I think his race craft is poor, hes blindingly quick on an empty track, for sure the quickest. But him or Ham in traffic, id back Ham 9 x out of 10

  51. he’s fast, he has the gift, but he’s not feeling the need to win. and he’s not thinking about the car at all. does this make a great driver or just a fast one?

    another myth about kimi – his coolnes. see him when cameras are not on him: bangs the steering wheel, pushes people, makes faces. he’s got emotions and lets them out, but he’s also building that iceman image so he controls himself when needed.

  52. 2005 was when I came to the conclusion that Raikkonen was undoubtedly the best. Yes, McLaren had the quickest car on the grid, but it wasn’t THAT much quicker than the Renault. There are two instances in particular that literally made me jump from my seat:

    1) Monza qualifying. Raikkonen outqualified both Alonso and Montoya when he had 5-6 laps more fuel than them on board. I don’t care how good the McLaren was: when you pull out something like that, especially when it’s over your teammate who has a reputable record in F1, then you are bloody awesome.

    2) The outside overtake of Fisichella going into turn one at Suzuka. That’s one of the greatest overtakes in F1 history. Period.

    Kimi Raikkonen’s DNA was programmed for a Formula One race car. He may just have more natural ability than any other driver in F1 history. In fact, I’d argue he does.

    As for his partying: it adds greatly to his appeal. I’m sure we all wish we could drop our trousers and get into the act with a stripper at a club. ;)

  53. i think everyone is going hard on kimi this year coz he is the world champ………. if we look at the year as a whole its been a bad year for kimi….. but if we look at the first four races…….. then kimi dominated………. even though he did didnt have a clear run in the first race….. he proved why he was a world champ……….. after that its been a whole lotta nonsense………… the mistake by ferrari in monaco…….. the hit from behind by lewis…….. the exhaust breaking off at magny cours…… he lost a total of abt 20 points there……… then you look at the qualifying probs he has faced during the year……… how much of this has been raikkonen’s fault?????? maybe at two grand prix’s where he made a mistake on his hot lap……… and after all that…… the king had to relinquish his position at spa……. he could have easily made it four in a row……… until lewis cheated and overtook kimi……….. i would like to add again…….. CHEATED………. by now kimi is abt 20 points behind lewis……… then in singapore………. massa makes a stupid mistake………. the whole race overturns and lewis is two places ahead of kimi……… kimi has to finish ahead of lewis to have any chance in for the title………. he crashes…….. i agree its his fault but whats he supposed to do…….. sit there and take fifth……… or do something…….. he did…….. and now with three races to go… its almost over but i would like to ask one question……… if kimi had finished in monaco without the stupidity frm ferrari……. if massa would have stayed to help kimi in france when his exhaust broke [i’m sure if Schumi was there that would have been the case!!!!!] and if lewis hadnt hit him frm behind in the pits and overtaken him illegally at spa…………. he would have had abt 30 points more than what he has now………. the ferrari is bad in the rain, unlike when schu was around…….. i agree that schumi was god in the rain………. but if he had this car then even he would have had to work his socks off!!!!………… as far as kimi’s racing ability is concerned jus go ask Schumi or Alonso, who have stated publicly that raikkonen is the best opponent they have ever had……… now i ask one question……. HOW MUCH OF THIS HAS BEEN RAIKKONEN’S FAULT????????……….. that should answer the critics………..

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