The three Kimi Raikkonens

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On his day, Kimi Raikkonen is untouchable. Blisteringly quick over a single lap, relentlessly consistent over a stint, irrepressibly smart when it comes to the cut and thrust of wheel-to-wheel racing.

And then he turns up at the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix and puts in the kind of performance that makes you wonder whether Nelson Piquet Jnr has taken over his car. Or he meekly follows team mate Felipe Massa around for an afternoon before zipping back to Switzerland.

Raikkonen had a tough start to last season but he turned it around and was the driver to beat over the final races. With the title under his belt I expected him to assert himself at Ferrari and lead Massa home more often than not. And yet we’re still not seeing that kind of consistency from him. Why is that?

For me, Raikkonen is easily F1’s most impenetrable driver. And I know others feel the same way – back in April Clive at F1 Insight asked:

Why does he throw it off the road so needlessly sometimes? Why has he not blown Massa into the weeds yet? Why does he look so determined at one race and then apathetic at the next?

That sums it up quite neatly. In six races this year we’ve seen three different Raikkonens: the masterful world champion who blew everyone away at Sepang and Catalunya, the muted runner-up to his team mate at Bahrain and Istanbul, and the error-prone mess that showed up at Melbourne and Monte-Carlo.

Over the balance of 2007 we saw muxh more of the first two Raikkonens than the third. And as Massa, despite the odd wobble, continues to gradually improve, so we must revise our expectation that Raikkonen will beat him week in, week out.

But over the first six races of it’s starting to look as though Massa is overtaking him – and the championship points standings are beginning to bear that out.

Perhaps part of the picture has been distorted by the absence of Michael Schumacher. In his peak years of 2001-3 mistakes from Schumacher were quite rare and the thought of him turning up at a race weekend and just being off the pace was unthinkable.

Schumacher, of course, was afforded every advantage a number one driver was entitled to. Neither Raikkonen nor Massa have that at Ferrari today. So it’s possible that I’m judging the current drivers too harshly.

However I really don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the reigning Formula 1 world champion not to lose control of his car four times in six races.

Last year’s explanation that he was having trouble acclimatising to the new Bridgestone tyres is gone. And he has the best car on the grid. So what is going on with Kimi Raikkonen?

Kimi Raikkonen biography

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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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55 comments on “The three Kimi Raikkonens”

  1. He’s just not quite the master we thought he was, that’s all. Our expectations have been too high and it turns out that he’s human after all. I would go so far as to say that he is not the “fastest driver of today” and that there are several on the grid who are just as quick or quicker and far better when it comes to consistency.

    He does have more character than most, however, as demonstrated by his immediate apology to Adrian Sutil after the race.

  2. Looking again the video, it is clear that the car made a sudden violent move. For something like that Coulthard crashed badly. Kimi managed very well to control the frenetic pendulum. Unfortunately he kicked Sutil and that make he looks like thieve.

  3. Scott Joslin
    27th May 2008, 15:48

    I agree Clive – oddly enough, the more I see Kimi going through these ups and down, the more I am attracted to his enegmatic racing character. Which years ago I thought there was very little to the man. It puts perspective to his achievements and to his failures.

    Consistency is the element that he is missing but he is blindingly quick. Some drivers have consistency like Heidfield and DC but never impress through raw pace.

    He has other priorities in life and that’s why he won’t dominate like Schumacher, Senna, Prost or Lewis if the comparisons are to turn out to be true. He will be happy to turn his back on F1 when he feels he has had enough.

  4. He seems to be too lazy to ‘analyse’ what he does-be it winning or losing. That may be is the reason why others improve much more than what he does. I believe he takes piloting as a hobby and not as a profession.

  5. If Raikkonen treats F1 as a hobby then God only knows what he’d be like if he took it seriously!
    Maybe Massa really is better than we thought he was and Raikkonen isn’t coping as well as we thought he would. Raikkonen has had fast team-mates before (DC, Montoya) but none have been a threat to his title, like Massa is.

  6. Clive, he’s not the fastest? I thought he has more fastest laps than any other on the grid today, at least this season, isn’t it?

  7. I don’t think there is anything in it. He made a mistake at Monaco; not really an indicator of anything – Massa, Hamilton, Coulthard, Alonso etc. all made errors to some degree.

    Firstly, he’s got a teammate who has torn up his own formbook. The Massa that we’re seeing now is methodical and disciplined, and this is allowing his potential to emerge in a controlled manner which has thus far eluded him.

    Raikonnen is fit, talented, and is blisteringly fast. He’s not dominated his teammate (and he’s not got into a fight with him either) and I believe that what we are seeing is simply a well-rounded individual who is experiencing ups and downs of a perfectly tolerable amplitude.

    It is interesting how the ghost of Schumacher continues to haunt F1. We expect the man in the red car bearing the number one to be near-mythical in stature.

  8. Massa does continue to amaze and improve. His performance at Monaco was absolutely surprising. Perhaps we should stop being so surprised by him! Everyone has good days and bad days – Schumacher’s dominance of the sport over a period of years really raised the bar in terms of what we expect from a top-line F1 driver, I think Keith was right to point that out. This time last year we were asking the same questions about Raikonnen, after a similarly wobbly spell – he turned it around and won the title. I’m not sure that Kimi is as desperately hungry for continual success as, say, Schumacher was. I’m also fairly sure that whilst is 100% professional, he’s not prepared to consume his every waking moment with his career, a la Senna or Schumacher. His natural feel for a car is incredible – perhaps we are lucky that he doesn’t have Michael’s mindset, or we’d simply be in the middle of another replay of 2004!

  9. Robert Mckay
    27th May 2008, 16:43

    I think there’s a lot of people who saw him as the next Micheal Schumacher, and it’s not so much that he’s not as good as we thought, he’s just not so much better than the rest than we thought.

    It’s an unfair thing to say, since I’m not personally there to see or not see it, but I tend to agree with Sriram’s comment that he just turns up and drives. I don’t think he goes and analyses data for 4 hours afterwards, I don’t think he reruns every lap in his head, I don’t think he spends weeks, months thinking about the sport when he doesn’t have to. He’s so good “just turning up and driving” is still enough to blow away most of the grid, but it’s clear this approach has limitations, especially in modern F1.

    The continual throwaway comments that he makes about probably not hanging round the sport for terribly much longer only add to that view.

    Plus, it’s entirely, totally possible that he just happened to have his peak years in the seasons where the car was not a winner, and so we couldn’t appreciate it as much. This is his 8th season, after all.

  10. I think hes as good as everyone thought he was, he just doesn’t try that hard some weeks.

    He seems like a person who has become bored with the sport and will soon move on to other things. His personality never struck me as someone who HAD to be the best like a Shumi and he seems to be losing his desire.

  11. I know the race was not his best. A question; how were the Ferrari’s set up? Were they biased towards a dry track or wet? It seemed that neither he or Massa were effective near the end of the race.

  12. I’m more on the side of the people who say that he just doesn’t care enough. He’s said it himself several times by arguing that he does what the hell he wants to do and nobody is allowed to judge him. He has an abundance of talent, but I suspect his work ethic isn’t as meticulous as Schumacher’s, Senna’s or Prost’s.
    I hate the word, but he’s just not as “driven” as those legendary drivers. Now does he maybe lead a happier or more balanced life than those guys? I’m sure he does, which is of course bad for Ferrari and his fans, but he doesn’t seem to feel that he owes anything to them. He showed what he can do at the end of last season and that probably just calmed him down even more. He’s already made more money than he probably needs to have, so if he is just doing a job, I can understand him, even though I have to say that especially his performance in Monaco was very disappointing. On the other hand his apology to Sutil was very unlike any recent champion, or do you think Schumi or Alonso would have reacted that way?
    That again shows that he’s maybe not egocentric enough as a driver to get to that 5-in-a-row level of Schumacher. Maybe he just doesn’t have a huge chip on his shoulder and is just a balanced individual? Nice and boring at the same time, I guess…

  13. Haplo: He also has the fastest car of the season and fastest laps are a notoriously bad indicator of actual race-long ability. It’s clear from the comments that Kimi’s lack of consistency needs to be taken into account when assessing him as a driver. If he lacks commitment, that lessens his value as a driver.

    There have been others. Carlos Reutemann was renowned for being “blisteringly quick” in one race and then driving as if he couldn’t care less in the next. Usually we notice this tendency quite early but, for some unknown reason, Kimi has escaped until now.

    Personally, I blame the phrases “blisteringly” and “blindingly fast” – whoever invented them should be shot. They give a false impression of speed way beyond that of ordinary mortals and I doubt that anyone could live up to them. And Kimi certainly doesn’t. Yes, sometimes he’s a bit quicker than the rest – but wouldn’t Alonso be faster in the same car? And he’d do it time after time as well.

    That’s why Alonso is “the fastest driver” of today, if we disregard the new guys like Hamilton, Kovalainen and Kubica, all of whom need to prove a bit more before we grade them. Come to think of it, that’s another possible reason why Kimi is not living up to our expectations; there is a whole new generation of hotshoes in F1 now and Kimi may have missed his moment to dominate. Heck, had you put Sutil in Kimi’s car at Monaco, chances are that he’d have won! :D

  14. I’m sorry, I’ve yet to be impressed by Massa this season. His two wins are on “his” tracks, should have been spain as well but Kimi destroyed him there. In Monaco, Massa had his chance to prove me wrong with pole for the race, ends up 3rd.

    The problem is Massa is a better qualifier, but Kimi is quite better in the race. Kimi therefore has to pull a sepang or france and brazil during pitstops to get by…if another car is in between them, then of course Kimi can’t pass Massa as well.

    However, every race Kimi has started ahead of Massa, I believe Kimi has put him in the dust.

  15. Nobody has taken into account the internal politics going on at Ferrari at the moment, and the lingering
    rumours of Alonso joining the team in 2010.
    During Michael Schumacher’s time at Ferrari, the team was rock solid in every area, in every department.
    Until 2006, you never got to hear anything negative
    from inside the team, it was a completely closed shop.
    Is it not inconcievable that these rumours and
    speculation about Alonso may, and I stress ‘may’, beginning to show on Kimi Raikkonen?
    We are not used to seeing him like this very often, and his last race has to rate highly as one of his worst, even accounting for his years at McLaren.
    You would be foolish to discount him from the championship, but he is not coming across as a man
    who is in love with what he is doing.

  16. Monaco was a poor performance from Kimi, that’s undeniable. It’s not the first time that he’s had a bad race, and the same goes for his teammate and his rivals. He is a racing driver, they will make mistakes whether they are world champions or not. Alonso, Schumacher, and many of the past champions have made mistakes, some of those have been far worse than what Kimi has done. Being a champion isn’t about doing everything perfect, but about playing the game better than the rest. I know none have suggested Kimi should be perfect, but I haven’t seen anyone actually wonder what the deeper issues are.

    My opinion is that Kimi is still struggling in the Ferrari, despite being a world champion (we must remember how he closed the 20+ points disadvantage he was in exactly this time last year, and he did his homework and won the most races and then the title). The reasons are far more complex than the inane excuses such as he isn’t bothered or concentrated enough, that his attitude is the problem, or that he isn’t serious enough. That is utter rubbish.

    The concept of adapting to Bridgestones isn’t out the question, Keith. Why should it be? Simply because he’s had one year and won the title? I think not. Kimi was indeed lucky to win the title by one point last year, ut that doesn’t change the fact that he worked hard and improved his performance, kept his cool when others cracked.

    Sometimes, it will be the other way round. He loses his cool while the others don’t. At Australia, his qualifying was ruined by technicalities, he was on the limit throughout the race. Mind you, I also thought he’d ease through and get onto the podium. It certainly looked that way. He’s done it before, right? Plenty of times! I was as shocked as you guys were when he didn’t. So that can only mean there’s some fundamental differences in the Ferrari than he’s had at McLaren. Since last year, Kimi’s had problems with the tyres. It showed at Australia this year, at Bahrain, Turkey and now Monaco.

    Even Nick Heidfeld, who everyone seems to ignore on this similar issue, is still struggling to adapt to them. His boss Mario Theissen has even mentioned this. He says their driving styles are too smooth and this doesn’t generate enough heat into the tyres. Drivers like Kubica and Hamilton who throw their cars around and prefer a loose back end are fine with managing their tyres. However, Hamilton is much more abrasive with his tyres, which showed in Malaysia and Bahrain – races where he failed to reach the podium and score points. I seriously doubt if Lewis Hamilton becomes champion that he’ll never again make mistakes like he does quite often too.

    Felipe is maturing, no doubt about that. He’s always been quick but a bit rough. He’s learnt from his mistakes is now a stronger rival to Kimi. This is natural competitiveness. It doesn’t mean the other driver has suddenly become rubbish.

    At Monaco, Kimi was running in 5th place despite the drive through penalty. That wasn’t so bad. The race being wet most of the time meant he struggled to warm his tyres and thus he was nowhere near the leaders in front. He isn’t doing a better job than he’d like to be, trust me, but he’s working on it. He works as hard as anyone else out there. But sometimes things don’t go right. How much more simple can it get. And whether he’ll overcome his problems, we’ll have to wait and see.

    Kimi has had 4 offs in 6 races indeed, but let’s remember he was the only driver to have scored points in all races up until Monaco. Which is why he was leading the championship. Now he’s lost it, and is 3 points behind. Big deal. But he isn’t the only title contender to have made serious mistakes this year. Even Alonso made crucial mistake at Monaco, he’s a champion too. Lewis at Bahrain was arguably similar to Kimi’s performance in Monaco. And like racers, they bounce back.

    Just because Kimi’s got the No1 on his car doesn’t mean he automatically should be performing like a No1 over his teammate – remember Ferrari give equality to Kimi and Felipe, Felipe will beat Kimi sometimes, sometimes consistantly, but that’s up to Kimi to improve. And he did last year didn’t he? He’s struggling again with the tyres, and something else seems to be bothering him but he certainly isn’t bran dead about it.

    I’ve said enough I think, yes, I’m a supporter of Kimi since he joined F1, but I try to be as objective as possible.

    Great site Keith.

  17. After all the bad luck during his McLaren years, I’m not surprised if he just lost interest in F1. He is a very good driver. He is probably a very natural talent. F1 was the ultimate challenge for him. Finally, last year he managed to win it. Now, I’m not sure he really cares that much. He has other interests in life. I think he will be out of F1 within two years, and I think he will try to find a seat in WRC. I think he sees that as a much bigger and more exciting challenge than F1.

  18. I think Raikkonen is very loyal with his teammates and his fellow F1 drivers, and that’s why he can live with someone as fast as Massa and still be in peace, and why he was so fast and so right to apologize when he hit Sutil.

    About his speed, I just keep saying he and Massa are on the same level, and even though I disagree with what Nick (comment # 15) said, I think he has a point when he says Felipe is a better qualifier and Kimi is a better racer…

    The thing is: Massa is improving, and its impossible to deny it, but I think Raikkonen won’t be blown by him either… there will be a close and fair fight between team-mates throughout the next seasons, completely different from Piquet-Mansell, Senna-Prost and Alonso-Hamilton, which is very rare in Formula 1, correct me if I’m wrong…

  19. Kimi LOVES fighting from the back row.

    its almost as if he’s faster when he’s qualified in a poor position.

    take melbourne 2007, he fell asleep while leading the race on his own, Fuji? second half of 2005, last year? its almost as if he was driving a different car to everyone else.

    but with a lead he probably starts to think about which shampoo he should use when he gets home
    “mmmm should I use tears of squirrels or that vodka to wash my hair this weekend?”

  20. He is the second best driver in the market today, I would have to rank Alonso as the most complete, Raikkonen 2nd, followed by the others, I dont think he can be compared with Schumacher they are sooo different, Schumacher was visibly committed.

  21. damn right KB, Schumacher sold his soul for 3 tenths of a second in 1994, and duly used the extra speed to steal his soul back from Satan.

    the Devil being a big fan of irony laughed it off and bought his soul again in 2004 for 2 seconds.

  22. The only reason people are so critical of Kimi is that he is continuously dubbed as “the fastest man” in F1. The results from last year as well as this year clearly shows that he is an good driver in the best car and that there are plenty of drivers on the grid who would do equally well as Kimi given the same car. Kimi has been terribly overhyped and overrated by the Kimi fans. It was them who were predicting that Kimi would destroy Massa last year and this year, but as usual they are left scrambling for excuses. Luckily they can’t use the new tires, new team and the car not being suited for him as an excuse.

  23. Perhaps the reason why nobody (that I know of) noticed Raikkonen’s inconsistency before now was that his cars were generally less consistent than he was, the main exception being the Sauber he started in – which, as a rookie, he was expected to be considerably less consistent than he was. Only now, when he’s got a consistently-quick Ferrari (even last year’s model had days when it suffered in comparison to the McLaren – plus the acclimatisation excuse was often-quoted), has the issue been demonstrably somewhere other than with the car. It looks to me like he needs to feel challenged-but-comfy before he can give his best. Otherwise his attention wanders a bit.

  24. See I don’t look at it in the same way – that Kimi won last year & therefore as WDC he should be blowing everyone into the weeds this year.

    I see it more as Kimi didn’t win but rather Lewis – and to a lesser extent Alonso – lost the title at the last minute. To me, Kimi is winner by default.

    He was inconsistent and ragged at times last year, and let’s not forget his victory in Melbourne in a car later ruled illegal. One of his ‘dominant’ performances I agree, but with a taint over it and clearly pivotal to the eventual outcome of the championship.

    I think he is pretty much driving the same as he did last year, it just remains to be seen whether or not it works out as well for him this year or not.

  25. Going forward—-He is going to Canada where he will have no excuse for not winning. Kimi has probably the best car in F1. He won Canada in ’05 with Mac. He had fastest laps in ’05, ’06. He’s scored 33 points there. HE KNOWS THE TRACK. Let’s see if he bounces back.

  26. Kimi is Kimi, and the fact that we had chance to see several different faces of the same driver in past 6 races is what Kimi is about …

    @Pink Peril – saying that he won last year in Melbourne in illegal car is not exactly accurate, but that has been discussed before :-)

  27. Despite the result in Monaco, Raikkonen’s career is a much respected and admired one. To take over at McLaren, the seat of double champion Mika Hakkinen, in only his second season, was an unenviable task.
    He managed, in the space of five years, to see off both David Coulthard and Juan Pablo Montoya as team mates, and contend for two championships in 2003 and 2005.
    In 2005 especially, he had arguably the fastest car on the grid, but sadly one of the most fragile. With a little more luck on his side, he may well have caused Alonso some serious problems.
    His performance at Spa in 2004 stands out in my mind, with his superb battle with Michael Schumacher. The look on the German’s face said it all, he had been beaten fair and square, by a driver driving a lesser car than his own.
    His attitude and approach are polar opposites to Schumacher, or Senna, but his speed and talent are of the same calibre. Along with Alonso, he is the out and out fastest driver of his generation.
    In Brazil last year, whilst being asked about his feelings toward winning his first championship, he claimed that after ‘this, everything else I achieve will be a bonus’.
    For some unknown reason, I cannot see Raikkonen going on like Schumacher did and break all the records. He is not the same person, not the same mindset as Schumacher.
    Alonso I think is, but Raikkonen is not.
    This season is far from over, and nothing is cast in stone. He has the car, the nerve, and skill, to prevail.
    This sport needs people like Kimi, men who do everything that is asked of them, men who are true professionals and never, ‘EVER’ moan or winge in public or in the media.
    He is a class act, just as Alonso and Schumacher are and always will be, he just conducts himself in an altogether different way. He would be quite at home in the F1 of old, when drivers wore scarves and had only a bale of straw between them and the almighty.

  28. Everything was said already.
    Kimi is really fast and Kimi doesn’t care about his image. Yes he is very much a driver of the 70’s when F1 was still a sport more than a business.
    Kimi never complains, Kimi never finds a river crossing the track in Monaco, Kimi never moans about anything. We might like it or not but denying his sheer speed is nonsense. A driver that was given a seat at both McLaren and Ferrari is a pure racer.
    Let’s just listen and watch him for he is so unique.
    Alonso is fantastic, Hamilton is amazing, Kimi is… Kimi !
    One day he will get out of the car,take his helmet off, then he will say “I’ve had enough, I’m leaving”. That can be anytime… so let’s enjoy every single race before that moment happens…
    Kimi is not what we want him to be. Thanks for that Kimi!

  29. Schumi was a champion and committed to the sport he loved and Kimi should never, ever be compared to him.I have maintained from day one that Kimi is not as good as everyone makes him out to be. Yes, he has good days but more often he has bad ones. He lacks “drive” and commitment. He treats a race like any other outing and looks bored, whether winning or loosing. That is so insulting to the other drivers who are driving their hearts and souls out. If he’s bored let him leave F1 to make place for someone who has the hunger, coz those are the ones who will make wonderful champions someday. Not someone who hardly says a word and looks as if he couldnt care less. My opinion only but watching and listening to Kimi almost makes me depressed.

  30. I think Michael was committed entirely to himself. I don’t know where questions about Kimi’s commitment come from. He is certainly patchy in form but it’s impossible to judge his workload until someone at Ferrari says “Kimi doesn’t do much work.” I stand to be corrected, but I don’t think that has happened. He’s laconic and introspective. That doesn’t mean lazy or unproductive.

    Since the 90s long gone are the days of drivers buggering off to play golf after a test or practice session. I’d be surprised if Kimi isn’t with his engineers into the wee hours working on his data. If he just turned up and drove – these days – he would be nowhere.

  31. First off, I don’t think there is anything “wrong” with Kimi at all. As he said after monaco, everthing that could go wrong, did go wrong…lady luck wasn’t on his side last Sunday. And it’s certainly wrong to compare him with other drivers – they were using different machinery, different rules, it was a different game!

    For my money, Kimi is the fastest guy out there at the moment, just edging out Alonso. He’s faster and more committed into corners, smoother out of corners and lighter on the brakes. He doesn’t blame anyone else for errors, or whine or moan, and is adored by the team.

    I was lucky enough to see the Ferrari at monaco last week, and to be honest, in the swimming pool complex and Rascasse, Kimi was the only one “feathering” the throttle through the corner – rather than the ragged “on-off” style of Massa and Hamilton for instance.

    The team mistake on getting the right tyres on the car in time, must have rattled him, for sure…but it was simply a bad day. I don’t think there are 3 Kimis as the original post suggests, he’s a very, very quick driver, all the time.

    As regards trailing Massa, we should all know that following a car up close is a nightmare on aero downforce at the front of today’s cars. He’s human being, with emotions like everyone else, but I find his character more sincere and credible in public, much more than many of the other PR-driven guys. And on driving ability – my spine tingles when Kimi goes out in the car, because you know he’s gonna try and wrestle the most out of it. He’s not a purist, he’s not a professor, and he’s not an emotional hot-head. He is a driver, which we like, right?

    Massa is still too rough around the edges, and jeez, monaco is hardly the place to start saying that drivers are on a downhill slope. Lewis put it in the wall and so did 2x world champ Fernando. But I think we are on for a thrilling season and I still would place bets on Kimi for the title.

    As a final note, I’me with Evenstar (as always) and The Limit, who puts this so well…
    “He is a class act, just as Alonso and Schumacher are and always will be, he just conducts himself in an altogether different way. He would be quite at home in the F1 of old, when drivers wore scarves and had only a bale of straw between them and the almighty.”

  32. I cannot belive what I read. Kimmi is not a surprise for me. He has been most of his career in the top teams, and never performed, until last year McL lost the championship to him. I do not believe that he won it but Hamilton gave it to him. It was a miracle, dont you all remember?
    In 2005 and 06 till mid-last-season he was kown in Spain as the cars braker. Iniatilly he was nicked as the unluckiest diver in F1, but after one by one brake people started to think that the bad luck was something too much suspicious on him, and that perhaps have something to be with his abuse on engines. I dont really know if this is true, but for sure till the very end of last year he never performed as the driver who was going to dominate F1 for the next coming years.

    That is why I´m not surprised of his performence in Monte Carlo. I´d like to see Hamilton, Alonso, Kubica or Jeson if you want, even Fishy, fitted in that “rocket” he´s driving, and see if they are not contenders for a world championship.

    Let´s see what the season brings. There are three top teams but only one wich is really ahead in features, and to me those two drivers are benefited for them.

  33. By the way, any current driver on his day driving a Ferrary is untouchable.

  34. Nobody likes to lose. Nobody. The same goes for Kimi. Yes, he doesn’t break down into tears when he loses, nor does he start planning ways of making some other driver or his own team mate falter. No one can deny that he, like Robert, will only play one mind game on the driver in front, which is simply “Knock, Knock”.

    To accuse him of not being focussed enough because of a few bad races is utterly unfair. There are only two drivers he has never been able to completely blow away as team mates, Nick and Felipe. I believe that instead of writing off Kimi, we need to analyse the other drivers around him such as the rise of Felipe (I have always liked him), Robert (Starting to like, but feels too much like an ethical version of Michael) and the fall of Heikki and Nick.

    The fall of Heikki and Nick is very important to note this season, as it has allowed cars less amazing (Williams, Toyota, Honda) to get till Q3 regulalrly, and has also created the perception that the top teams (save for Ferrari) are not all that great.

    In fact, I believe that Ferrari is at the top of the tables simply because both drivers were at their peak performance after Australia. Both Kimi and Felipe are becoming regular visitors to the front row and the Podium, and this has created the illusion that McLaren and BMW are scavenging the points that Ferrari dropped.

    Sorry, I think I digressed a bit too much here, but yes ultimately, I do not think Kimi is a loser or not driven. I think he just doesn’t see the need to justify a failure. He seems to be the kind of a person who lives in the present and the future and because of this, he always looks ahead to the next race, regardless of whether he won or lost the last race.

    So Keith, I don’t think there are three Kimis, there is just one Kimi who has raced each race the best he could, and four of those races ended without him winning them.

  35. There are only two drivers he has never been able to completely blow away as team mates, Nick and Felipe.

    And Juan Pablo Montoya, who took a few wins off him.

    In fact the list of drivers he ‘blew away’ is looking pretty thin: David Coulthard, Pedro de la Rosa… and that’s it.

  36. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr
    28th May 2008, 12:28

    i agree with keith, if he really is the fastest driver in f1 his teamates wouldnt get near him, ok massa is fast and so was montoya but if kimi was the fatstest man out there he would beat them 9 times out of 10. Look at the last fastest man in f1, schumacher, how often did you see him being out qualified??? rarley, out raced?? even less. same for senna.

    kimi is very good when he wants to be but on days where he knows he cant win he dissapoints and seems to make half an effort.

    i think over a season hel always outscore massa but hel never dominate him.

    i think at the moment the fatsest driver in f1 is alonso, hes defintiley the most completete driver, then behind him i think its close between massa, kimi and hamilton and kubica are getting better all the time.

  37. I’d count Montoya as one the drivers Kimi has “blown away”. In 2005 Kimi had 122 points and took seven wins, whereas Montoya had only 60 points and three wins. Doesn’t that count as “completely blown away”?

  38. Jimi – We could end up in a very boring argument about semantics if we’re not careful!

    Here’s what I wrote about Raikkonen and Montoya at the time: 2005 driver rankings #10-1. Looking at the season I would say Fernando Alonso “blew away” Giancarlo Fisichella, but I don’t think you can apply the same term to Montoya.

  39. Some people question Kimi’s consistency,i would like to suggest them to have a nice look at 2003 season.With just 1 win in his bag he was able to fight for the Championship with Shumi.I think thats what consistency mean.With current Grid i don’t see any one with that consistency including Alonso.Alonso won in 2005 because of a reliable car,if by chance Mclaren had that consistency the Championship would have been over by mid season won comfortably by Kimi.
    I know he would bounce back and beat everyone fair and square.As far as Massa form is concerned,It should be analyzed apart from his Favorite circuit.
    I’m pretty sure he’ll win this Championship for sure.

  40. Sush u have a way with words….pure poetry!

  41. To Keith.

    Montoya did take some wins of Raikkonen in 2005, and should have won that year’s Spa GP. The fact remains that McLaren’s main threat to Alonso proved to be Raikkonen throughout the season, not Montoya.
    Just remember, in 2001, pundits were saying that Montoya would win the F1 championship. At the end of the day, that did not happen, no matter what spin is put on it.
    Raikkonen is still a superb driver. I can remember a time when people were saying some pretty ‘bad’ things about Senna, and Prost, and Mansell.
    At the end of the day, the Kimster got a nice cheque for $45 million last year. He who laughs last laughs the longest, it would seem!

  42. I don’t disagree with your points but nor do I agree Raikkonen “blew him away”.

  43. You know, I always felt Montoya had lost interest with F1 around 2005, didn’t he miss a couple of races due to injury early in the season?

  44. Ah, the tennis shoulder! Yes he did miss the Bahrain and San Marino Grands Prix, which did not help his acclimatisation into McLaren any. I can see where the limit is coming from.

  45. I agree with all those who say there’s nothing wrong with Kimi. 3 Kimi’s? Definitely makes for an interesting read. However, as some chappie before me pointed it out, that he, regardless of a win/ loss, moves on and prepares for the next race.

    He’s one very sincere and unassuming chap you could come across on the grid, with definitely a huge dose of cold (read finnish) sense of humour(remember ‘was taking a $#!|’ on Schumacher’s send off). He’s got a reputation of snoozing before the race(s). Blah, blah, blah (i sure can go on about how this chap is great, am a fan…)

    Massa, Kubica, Rosberg, Heidfeld, Kovi and Alonso(yeah well, flame me…) of the current crop to name a few, come across as rather genuine a person to me. I like that. Ones who could admit that they are human and are rather unassuming. Yeah well, Alonso has been mouthing off a bit too much, i must say. He should try and return back to his 2004 self. Saying little or nothing at all and let his driving do the talking for him. He does not need to prove his worth to someone/ anyone. His cv reads back-to-back champion (beating schu, kimi to them). ’nuff said!

    Getting back onto subject here, erm, let Kimi be. He found his head around the exploding/ breaking/ pathetic(any one?) Macca’s, only to come back strongly and be a contender again for the title in ’06 and then winning it in ’07.

    In Kimi, we trust! This is something that would be writ large on F1 currency….

    p.s: i almost forgot this one… i like how it annoys the hell out of Bernie, that he(as a world champion) wouldn’t bend over to help Bernie make some more dosh(with promo events etc…) or get him any publicity. Go Kimi!!!

  46. It was Kimi´s first test with Sauber when Michael Schumacher said: Who is that new guy who drives like that?
    I think if Schumi said like that it tells all.

    Ok,my opinion is that Kimi has lose his biggest interest to F1 and it´s all because He won title 07.
    Before this season he also said that Massa would be faster on some tracks and He would be faster on some tracks.
    Kimi is different comparing great champions like Schumacher, Senna, Prost….He also has a life out of F1…And racing is not everything to Him…
    Kimi is fastest driver on grid today(with alonso), but He is very depentend how He feels, and it´s shown when race starts…

  47. I put Kimi’s lacklustre performance in Monaco down to two things : First , he had got the penalty , which must upset a drivers mind negatively even if in a small way . Then , considering the conditions in Monaco , I would think a slightly sensible driver contesting the world championship , would err ever so slightly on the side of caution , in the event of a crash and a risk of a broken ankle . Those two factors could easily have slowed him by about .5 sec. , and the rest is history. He will be back in full form in Canada. That said , Massa , Hamilton , Kubica and Alonso , are as good . The only way we could know who the best is , if they had identical cars , which even then is not 100%. As for commitment , Kimi does come across as a bit lacking , but more in the interviews and news than on the track , so it could be a case of that’s the way his personality is.

  48. As I remember, the general view of Mika Hakkenan was similar to that of Kimi now. I think there must be a general approach to racing in Scandinavia that makes them appear uninterested in interviews and off the track.
    Kovi doesn’t appear to be like this however, perhaps he never read the manual!

  49. Lady Snowcat
    30th May 2008, 20:44

    Kimi did throw caution to the winds in two races this year to get past when the odds were stacked against…

    Those races were Oz and Monaco…

    If he’d been more circumspect he’d be in the lead of the WDC still…. but he has the soul of a racer…

    He’s the class of the field… no moans about his team or team mate …. just drives the car… and no dirty moves on other title contenders either…

    Some days it works and some it doesn’t… but the guy has class…

  50. The 50th comment on this most interesting thread where people’s opinions clearly differ through all extremes.

    My thoughts, for the little that they’re worth, are that Kimi himself knows that he was slightly fortunate last season that events conspired to allow him to take the driver’s crown from so far back, notwithstanding his stellar late season drives. His performances this year smack of a driver who knows that it is important to be in the hunt come the end of the year, but not essential to be out in front.

    There is a degree of measure to his performance and I have commented before about how he has reigned in the showboating from earlier in his career. Occasionally his brilliance still shines through though. To measure the true talent of a mercurial driver like Kimi, I think you have to do it on the basis of his best drives (usually from the back of the pack) rather than his average drives.

    For what it is worth – and again probably against popular opinion – I find Raikkonen by far and away the most interesting personality on the grid. Some of his instinctive answers to journalists betray genuine humour and intelligence, and no small sense of place.

    All that said, he is probably only the second fastest driver in the current field :)

  51. To the three or four people who have written that Raikonnen is ‘overrated’ or ‘not that fast’ or any other comments of a similar tone: You guys are being ridiculous to the point of being offensive!

    Raikonnen is one of the best drivers in the 2008 calender and that’s a fact! Now many other people who have posted their opinions as to why Raikonnen is or isn’t doing as well as he could/should be, have made many many excellent points and I have enjoyed reading them. Some of them I have agreed with, some of them I haven’t agreed with but nonetheless I can see that the writers obviously know what they’re talking about.

    But when certain people (posts 24, 32 and especially 29) try to discredit the driving ability of a fantastic driver, it makes me wonder if they know anything about driving or the sport of Formula 1 at all.

    I am most certainly a fan of Raikonnen, however if someone were to say that Alonso or Massa is better, it wouldn’t bother me as I believe there would be validity to their statement (even if I weren’t to agree). But if anyone were to doubt the ability of such drivers like RAIKONNEN, ALONSO, MASSA, HAMILTON or KUBICA then I would say ‘How about actually watching them drive?!’…..and if you still doubt their ability………then I would say that you’re blind!

  52. I think those three comments you’ve cited are a million miles from being ‘offensive’. Nor do I think it’s fair to tell them they don’t know anything about the sport just because you don’t agee with them.

    Jolene, for example, compares Raikkonen to Schumacher and claims Raikkonen lacks commitment. In comparitive terms I don’t think that’s unfair. We all know Schumacher would spend hours debriefing after races whereas Raikkonen, if memory serves me correctly, left the Spanish Grand Prix last year before the chequered flag had fallen.

  53. With all due respect Keith, I was using the word offensive to convey the magnitude of how much I believe or rather know that what they were saying regarding Raikkonens ability is incorrect.

    As I stated in my second paragraph I have no problem with people disagreeing with something I believe or something that other people believe as this is one of the things that makes this site so great. I just find it hard to believe that if someone were to concentrate and watch the way Raikkonen or any of the aforementioned driver’s in my previous post drive, that they could deny how good they are.

    In her second sentence, she said that she ‘never believed Raikkonen to be as good as people believed’. To me, she is effectively saying that Raikkonen is not a great driver…….. but he is. She certainly may be right regarding his commitment but that’s one matter, his driving ability is another and I believe that’s what she was impuning by her first statement.

    I’ll admit that my saying that ‘they do not know anything about driving or Formula 1’ was quite harsh and I certainly apologise if I patronised anyone but I believe there are certain things that aren’t really debateable. The sky is blue, stars are sparkly and Senna , Schumacher, Alonso and Raikkonen are great drivers.

  54. The fact that he states in his column that he was very disappointed with the outcome of the Monaco race, suggest that he is still enjoying his racing and he could have been fifth if it was for that accident(where on the video you can actually seen Sutil being out of shape in that corner.)Almost finishing fifth after two front wing replacements, a drive-through penalty and stopping an extra time just for dry tyres is and will always be good.

    How can people be analyzing any of the drivers’ performances if it isn’t half way into the season?

    Just take a look at some his “records” thus far:
    # Räikkönen holds the joint record of 7 wins in a single season without winning the World Title (2005), shared with four time World Champion Alain Prost, who initially set the record in 1984 and matched it in 1988, and also with Michael Schumacher, in 2006.
    # In the 2005 season, he also equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of 10 fastest race laps in a season, set in 2004.
    # He currently holds the sixth highest record for total fastest laps at 24 (jointly with Niki Lauda), thus making him the highest ranked driver still active. (Up to and including the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix)
    # He is the first driver to win on his Ferrari debut since Nigel Mansell at the 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix and the first to win, set the fastest lap and Pole Position on his Ferrari debut since Juan Manuel Fangio.
    # He is currently the highest paid driver in Formula One.
    (how can some of you doubt his ability?)

    In any case, nobody can judge any of the drivers on the grid for they are the best drivers in the world and I don’t see anyone of you up there beside them, you may have a preference but you can’t say that the other drivers are bad because in comparison to your driving skill you would be “slak kak” (meaning snail SH!T)

    As for my preference, of course I prefer Raikkonen, I’ve liked his style on and off the track since he started because he doesn’t moan and he doesn’t say he’s going to do this and that and then don’t deliver.

    For his performance in Turkey (i think) where he finished 3rd. He finished 3rd with a slightly broken front wing when kovalainen pushed his rear tyre into raikkonen on the first lap.

    As for Hamilton, he’s a great driver but I think (and i say “think”, he can prove me wrong) that he’s kind of getting a big head. He invites all these celebrities to Grand Prixs and he loves being in the spotlight, constantly giving speeches/interviews to journos and having different celebrity girlfriends at every grand prix. He’s becoming a media whore and even wrote an autobiography, (why, I ask) not even Schumacher had a bio that quick (and he had a lot more to say than a 23 year old “rookie”) Even Bernie (who’s also british) stated that he preferred Kimi being champion to someone such as Hamilton or Alonso because he’s not so flamboyant and that is good for the sport itself.

    And for Alonso, all i can say is that he IS one of the best drivers but sometimes i think he only cares about winning and not so much the sport itself (he has stated so himself in some interviews, saying that he doesn’t like to drive if he isn’t winning.)

    My main point is: It’s not ha;f way into the season, the top three are about 5 points apart and all three have each won 2 races, so it’s pretty much equal and for that reason you can’t say Raikkonen isn’t living up to expectations. I mean what about Massa, making that mistake in Sepang (which was clearly his fault) and then costing himself second place and the same goes for Melbourne (that wasn’t his fault though, but neither was it Raikkonen’s fault that his car malfunctioned.) And hamiltons performance in Bahrain and Sepang (why not start questioning their misfortunes and faults)

    JUST WATCH THE SEASON PROGRESS IN STEAD OF MAKING SILLY AND NON-CREDIBLE PREDICTIONS SO EARLY ON. (as Raikkonen has said so many times this season: “It’s a long season, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens,” or something like that.)


  55. 10 fastest laps to Hamilton’s 2 2008

    He’s fulfilled his ambition and isn’t committed enough.

    Time to hang up his boots I’m afraid.

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