Raikkonen needs a firmer grip on the rules of racing

2015 F1 season

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The past three races have not been shining examples of Kimi Raikonen’s race craft.

It began with an uncharacteristic last-lap lunge at Valtteri Bottas in Russia which left the Williams driver in the barriers and Raikkonen facing the stewards. The outcome was the stiffest penalty handed down to a driver so far this year for a racing infringement: a ten-second stop-go penalty and three penalty points on Raikkonen’s superlicence.

Last weekend he committed a similar though less severe lapse of judgement with the same driver. This time Bottas was unaffected and Raikkonen come off worst. The stewards declined to get involved, which would surely not have been the case had they thought Raikkonen blameless.

Inevitably much was made of the fact that the same two drivers had collided again. Special significance could be attached to the fact that Bottas had been considered a likely target for Ferrari as Raikkonen’s replacement earlier in the year.

Raikkonen lost round two with Bottas
But the fact Bottas was involved in both collisions is incidental. F1 drivers don’t spend much time going wheel-to-wheel with their rivals, and when they do it is probable they will usually end up fighting their closest championship rivals who are in similarly competitive cars. Raikkonen and Bottas are almost neck-and-neck over fourth in the standings at present.

The pair avoided each other in the intervening race at the Circuit of the Americas, but here too Raikkonen wasn’t at his best in wheel-to-wheel combat. Max Verstappen saw him off so conclusively Raikkonen was left wondering whether there were aspects of the racing rulebook he didn’t fully understand.

That guy keeps pushing me off the circuit every time, when I’m next to him,” Raikkonen complained. “So if that’s legal then I will do the same next time.” He was told the team “we’re checking with Charlie”. Race director Charlie Whiting clearly felt nothing was amiss.

You can point to any number of examples of Raikkonen not experiencing these problems on his way to becoming a world champion who’s won multiple races with three different teams. A driver does not set the record for most consecutive points finishes or produce one of F1’s most celebrated fights through the field – from 15th to first at no less a circuit than Suzuka – without knowing how to handle themselves on the track.

So what, if anything, lies behind his recent difficulties? Even in his prime, Raikkonen has always invited questions about whether he has the application to match his talent. That hasn’t changed since he returned from his two-year absence from F1.

His Brazil 2012 escapade of darting up a closed escape road because he hadn’t bothered to check the track beforehand and discover it was no longer open, is one such example. Similarly last year at Silverstone he tried to rejoin the track by speeding over bumpy grass instead of taking the intended route over smooth asphalt – the consequence was a huge crash which took out several other drivers.

The rules on defensive driving have been revised several times in recent years, particularly around the controversial issue of when drivers are required to leave room for their rivals. Raikkonen’s own words suggest he may not have grasped the latest guidance fully enough to be able to exploit the rules to the limit as every professional racing driver must from time to time.

There have been earlier indications of this. In Monaco he was quick to point the finger at Daniel Ricciardo when the pair made contact as Raikkonen was overtaken. Ricciardo had opportunistically poked his car alongside his rival’s before Raikkonen began encroaching upon the space occupied by the Red Bull, with inevitable consequences.

He just hit me then I went wide, so, that’s not very nice,” was Raikkonen’s interpretation. “If that’s not a penalty then nothing is penalty.”

Once again, Raikkonen’s expectations about what is and isn’t legal did not chime in with how the stewards saw things. And while he publicly claims he will continue to make the same moves in future – it being better to keep one’s rivals in the dark – the radio messages to his team suggest the penny has dropped and he has begun to realise this aspect of his game is not up to scratch.

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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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109 comments on “Raikkonen needs a firmer grip on the rules of racing”

  1. It’s so strange, because during his time with Lotus, he always was very clean and committed in combats. He showed good racecraft and great spatial awareness. How did he loose it?

    1. @matthijs His move on Schumacher in Brazil 2012 into T1 is one of the prime examples.

      1. If Raikkonen had been a meter or so further back, Schumacher would have run him off the road too though.

        1. If you change most manoeuvres by a metre you’d have a crash. These drivers measure their precision in centimetres.

          1. No, I said a meter more back. Not to the left or right.

          2. But it doesn’t matter which direction it is in, it could still make a tremendous difference.

          3. And I’m saying the drivers measure their precision in centimeters forward, backward, left and right. Saying ‘if not for a meter’ isn’t relevant because anyone who could only position the car with that little accuracy wouldn’t be an F1 driver.

    2. *lose

      1. @jules-winfield I’ll remember, thanks

    3. Raikkonen stated over the radio that he was going to do to others what Verstappen was doing to him.

      On the other hand he has always been quite forceful in defending. That’s what lead to the whole Spa 2008 uproar.

    4. @matthijs
      I don’t think he was particularly committed in his Lotus days, especially not in 2012. I actually found him to be very timid and conservative on many occasions. Had he been more aggressive, he could have easily won Bahrain 2012 and Europe 2012.

      He didn’t impress me at all in his Lotus days. He has lost it since at least 2006/07 now. We are looking at a driver who peaked far too early and is 10 years past his prime.

      1. I agree Kimi was looking a little bit tentitive in the Lotus days. However his wheel-to-wheel performance was absolutely flawless. I remember him being embroiled in many close battles and they were all very clean. He was still rated very highly. Currently he drives disastrously for a world champion, the last three races are perfect examples. My assessment is current rules (greatly reduced aero) are completely not suiting him. He lacks adaptability and he is very sensitive to any changes and problems regarding the car.

      2. @kingshark Makes me think of that picture of RAI consuming snus (implying he consumes a certain other nicotine product – one tube thingy that’s burned as it is consumed)…..might it have anything to do with it if the picture was not photoshopped and what I think that picture implies as I wrote above is actually true?

      3. Mr win or lose
        5th November 2015, 21:49

        I think Kimi was indeed timid in his Lotus years, and indeed he squandered a few opportunities to win a race. However, the expectations were low, he outperformed his teammate and he drove very reliably, so no-one really complained. His 3rd place in the drivers’ championship in his first year after his return was just great. Even a great driver like Schumacher needed 3 seasons to score a single podium finish at his return. Strangely, since 2012 Kimi’s performances have nosedived.

        I think Kimi’s best seasons have been the seasons when tyre management was important, like 2005, when tyre changes were prohibited and 2012 and early 2013, when the Pirelli tyres were at their most fragile. Since then the tyres have become more durable and so has Kimi’s competitive advantage evaporated. Against top-class drivers like Alonso and Vettel his weaknesses show (lack of single-lap pace, lack of aggressiveness when needed and sometimes extreme laziness) and on top of that he gets treated as a second driver to make him look even worse. That’s probably why he has been so disappointing in the last two seasons, although his Ferrari years have always been somewhat underwhelming. But maybe the conclusion from his career is that his only real talent was just the ability to look after the tyres really well. That talent alone was apparently enough for him to become world champion once.

        1. A very logical observation my friend but a bit flawed.
          Yes 2005 was a year where tire change was banned and that means his ability to make his tires last longer would mean he would be faster than his rivals (Alonso,Montoya), but no he used to faster at the starting phase of the race as well as the end. Also he had some mighty Single lap Pace in his Mclaren years, he was touted as the fastest single lap driver of that time. That doesnt come by tire saving. He beat Montoya in 2005 quite convincingly and score double the points and if not for his bad luck Kimi would’ve taken all of Mclarens wins(10)
          Whenever Kimi was given a penalty that was the time Montoya took advantage to seal a victory.
          He has never lacked shear speed, I think the only thing hurting him are the rules (Tires,Aero) and he is also not the hardest of workers like Vettel is. Mclaren’s Ex-Boss Martin Whitmarsh said that Kimi annoys due to the fact that he has so much pace and potential and he never realized his potential and he probably never will.
          Without McLaren’s misfortunes in 2002-06 era he would’ve been a 3-Time WDC.

          1. Mr win or lose
            7th November 2015, 21:53

            Thank you for your response! Beating Montoya in qualifying was certainly an impressive feat, but I always felt Montoya was underperforming at McLaren (and that’s why he left). Tyre management is probably what made the difference between Renault/McLaren and Ferrari in 2005. As the Michelin teams were better at preserving their tyres, Michelin was able to supply softer tyre compounds, so their single-lap pace was better (the Ferraris suffered massive degradation or even flat tyres in the races when the Bridgestone tyres were too soft). But while Alonso suffered from massive tyre degradation in some races (like Monaco), Kimi’s pace remained very strong during the entire race.

      4. @kingshark

        Alo would been WC if he had that Lotus.

        1. can’t help but think that’s probably true. i think that car was pretty special.

    5. @matthijs He’s been racing wheel-to-wheel in exactly the same way. I never thought his way was the best. I do think Russia was inane. Kimi’s wheel-to-wheel racing is as fair as can be, which is not that great if you actually want to make a pass of defend. It’s not the car because Brazil 2014 proved that. I think it is the status, Kimi did nothing wrong in Mexico. Kimi left a little space and Bottas barged in, in the past most drivers wouldn’t put the car on the inside, especially when there’s not enough space.

    6. SpinningPlates
      9th November 2015, 23:13


      Kimi used to be one of the greatest racers ever, but he’s a depressing shadow of his former self. Ferrari know this, which is why they kept him alongside Vettel this year – don’t forget both were humiliated by their teammates in 2014. It’s quite a clever marketing strategy when you think about it – make the average driver (who happened to luck into a dominant car) look better by putting him next to a once great driver, who’s now rubbish

  2. Thank you kimi for making F1 slightly less boring.

    1. Kastor Raikkonado

      1. This meme isn’t funny anymore. There are some drivers who crashed more in the last years like Felipe Massa and people ignores this fact.

        1. Ha!
          Only in TWO accidents, he was blamed by people: he was cleared by stewards in one, and the another one was a common first corner racing accident.

          Don’t be funny. Kimi also had 3 moments last year as well: 1) AUS wet qualifying; 2) MON race: took K-Mag out at the hairpin; 3) the Silverstone one, collected Massa in Felipe’s 200th GP

        2. Pastor caused (at least) 2 accidents with Gutierrez in Bhrain and with Ericssion in Spain, received penalties for both.
          I believe Pastor did not have a lot of crashes in 2014

          1. He did crash a lot. He also binned it in China pit entrance, in Spain qualifying, collided with Bianchi in Hungary, crashed in Spa practice, then again in Singapore. He actually has a lot of on-track incidents every year. We all remember 2012 the best because he had the most competitive car in his career and it was happening close to the front. That would make easier to remember.

  3. Seriously? Maldonado basically drives his own car and others off the track on a regular basis and Kimi has two accidents in a hard fought battle and his integrity and racecraft is being questioned? Bottas is no brilliant overtaker outside the DRS either. Kimi and Alonso are the last drivers of the early 2000s when instinct was often good enough, drivers better take out a pocket edition of the rulebook nowadays before overtaking and defending.

    1. Maldonado’s racecraft has been questioned so many times it’s almost as boring as the endless Red Bull toy-throwing and the ‘bitter’ rivalry between HAM and ROS.

      1. @xtwl

        To be fair Maldonado has been quite boring the last few races. Last time he touched another car was Singapore.

        1. @paeschli 60 days and 8 hours to precise.

        2. @paeschli, if you are referring to the collision between Button and Maldonado in the Singapore GP, it should be pointed out that the evidence the stewards had showed that it was actually Button who caused the crash by running into the back of Maldonado first.

          Whilst Maldonado may not be the greatest driver on the grid, at the same time I do feel that his reputation for crashing is overexaggerated. Whilst his accident rate is raised compared to some drivers on the grid, drivers in the midfield pack tend to be involved in a disproportionally high number of accidents. Even figures like Hulkenberg, a quite highly respected driver, nevertheless have a slightly higher than normal accident rate because they are more likely to be involved in pack racing, especially in the opening laps of a race.
          In that situation, even a small mistake is more likely to cause an accident than for a frontrunning driver, who is more likely to be racing on their own during the race and therefore less likely to be in a situation where there would be another driver to collide with.

          Equally, there have been multiple instances this season where Maldonado had to retire because other drivers were crashing into him – Ricciardo caused the accident that spun Grosjean into Maldonado in the British GP, Ericsson caused a pile up at the first chicane in Monza that forced Maldonado out of the race and Button rammed into Maldonado in the Chinese GP, causing damage to the rear brake ducts that put him out of the race (although his rear brakes had been overheating since the beginning of the race, hence his spin midway through the race).

    2. @xtwl you could say that given Kimi’s talent, he should know better. Maldonado is just reckless, even if he’s calmed down a little lately. But you can’t ask for pears from an elm tree…

      Kimi, on the other hand, has always been clean in his racing, and that’s why these sort of incidents are very surprising to see, if not a bit sad.

      I’m not talking about the crash at Mexico, which I believe is just a racing incident, something similar to Vettel and Ricciardo coming together. But his move at Russia, from so far back, was way off, and he didn’t even admit it.

      1. Exactly @fer-no65, we all expect, and have seen it quite a few times in the past, that Kimi is better than what he is currently showing in battling on track @xtwl.

        And we also shouldn’t forget that actually Pastor has kept his nose clean far more than he used to in the last year or so.

      2. @fer-no65 & @bascb That’s my entire point, Kimi has been clean for so long so an unlucky streak of three crashes isn’t that big of a deal, even Hamilton had those, Button had that weird downer in performance in 2012. For all we know he would have been DOTW because of a great last lap pass in Sochi. COTA was unfortunate and if luck had been on his side he would have gone without harm in Mexico like Bottas. We’re not going to circle around Vettel and say he needs an intervention because of his first crash since 2010 either are we?

        Crashes happen and Kimi has just been unfortunate in two races accidentally with Bottas. His spin in COTA is just coincidentally between the two. Had the second for example happened earlier in the year there would be no article.

        1. Yes, most drivers suffer off races, or even strings of bad races. But Kimi has been involved in more than just these crashes @xtwl. Have you forgotten the strange spins he had when coming out of the pits?

          His last lap lunge in Sochi had no chance of ending as a great pass, nor had his move in Mexico. And he has taken himself out of contention in far more races recently. I think the article reflects that, because instead of improving on lacklustre form at the end of last year and start of this year, he has rather shown it worsen in the last 3 races.

          1. @bascb Maybe Iceman is suffering from Massa-itits.

    3. Maldonados lack of craft isn’t being questioned, many in the paddock don’t respect him and are quite vocal about it.

      Kimi though has at times been ranked as one of the best in the field and we just aren’t seeing that the last couple of seasons.

    4. (@xtwl) I agree, Raikkonen’s last 3 races is Maldonado’s career in a nutshell and we don’t here anything about his coo-coo driving.

      I think Raikkonen was put under pressure in Russia, the team radio to him was, “all or nothing Kimi on taht last lap” if I remember so it clearly was a team decision to push Raikkonen to take the stab into the corner that failed. Anything after that is now a form of added stress when it comes to close battles so I think it will pass. He is definitely no Maldonado

    5. @xtwl One person deserving criticism does not render everyone else immune from it. This article is not about Maldonado.

      1. @keithcollantine I agree completely. Maldonado was the easy example, for example Hulkenberg has had a poor series of races too but we aren’t suddenly questioning his talents which was my point. Kimi is going through a rough patch but surely will improve. On another note I too am somebody who thinks his time to retire has come, uhm in 2014.

    6. Do you really are following F1 in the last years? In this year Maldonado was only a victim in the most of cases! Plus, there are a plenty of drivers who crashed more than him in last years, like Massa, Hulkenberg, Raikkonen and Verstappen.

      People often criticize Maldonado and Grosjean for their past, but completely ignore there are drivers crashing more now.

      1. Do you really are following F1 in the last years?

        No, I only post on this site but in all honesty I don’t know what a F1 car is or what the ‘F’ stands for.

        1. I believe the F stands for Fred.

      2. I’m a big Romain fan, but he had 2 accidents in Canada and Russia by his mistakes, and the accident at start of the British GP is not very clear.

        Pastor? Ok, a summary from Sky F1 told me that half of his accidents were his faults (at least 3), I can give you the link if you need.

    7. Kimi is not upholding Kimi standards. Personally he did well for entertaining us.

      Looking bad next to Vettel… Well who wouldnt. Greatest overachiever in F1 today…

      Kinda like saying Mansel looked bad next to Senna.

    8. That’s because we hold Kimi to a much higher standard.

  4. Well, I don’t agree with the article, at least with the intent of it picturing Raikkonen as incompetent.
    The incident with Bottas in Mexico recalls me the one with Maldonado and Hamilton in Valencia 2012 where Maldonado was punished for his action although he was shoved off the track the corner before. While I do agree with the stewards on that occasion, the racing of Raikkonen to Bottas was more fair, he didn’t put him off track and yet Bottas ended up with two wheels off the track and then just kept forward. To me it is just racing incident with more blame on Bottas. Same goes for Riccardo in Monaco where the turns are so tight and you just know you really need to be surgical to make a clean pass. I don’t believe in one second that Ricciardo thought Kimi was leaving the door open, he just put his car in a space which was never going to happen unless Kimi would have yield.

    1. he didn’t put him off track and yet Bottas ended up with two wheels off the track and then just kept forward. To me it is just racing incident with more blame on Bottas.

      Do you have some great insight as to what Bottas could have done differently? If so, please share.

      1. Uhhhmmmmm… back off?!?? Yes, back off!
        You can watch some passing attempts at Turn 12 from COTA where drivers backed off in the last moment knowing that there won’t be enough space and they’ll make the turn without the front wing. So, if in lots of other moments some drivers realized the driver in front won’t make room for them to have a go, Bottas should have thought that Kimi might slam the door… which it kinda happened a little bit. In my opinion, the blame was like 50/50, maybe 40 RAI / 60 BOT, but overall a racing incident.

        1. Bottas has the inside line and was fully alongside going into the turn; short of cutting the track entirely, he had no choice but to do what he did. If anyone should have backed off, it was Kimi. But he didn’t; he turned in, fully aware that Bottas was there and had nowhere to go, and took himself out of the race.

          1. @raceprouk What is the definition of fully alongside? In this video, taken on-board of Bottas, you can clearly see that after the left turn Bottas’ frontwing never gets further along than Räikkönens sidebod. I understand there is some kind of a rule of two thirds of the car or something like that but what does the rules actually say?


            The interesting thing is that Kimi aparently was well within his rights to “guide” Valtteri out of the track while breaking to the left turn and if the collision still would have happened it would have been Valtteris fault. He just wasn’t rude enough even though in CotA he said he would start doing it.

          2. Great, someone else who has no idea what they’re talking about. Anything to absolve your beloved Raikonnen, right?

            In a million comparable incidents, the driver on the outside is at fault. But somehow Raikonnen is immune to criticism.

          3. @aalate, the information about the space a driver is supposed to leave another driver on track is defined in the sporting regulations.

            The sections you are probably looking for are 20.3 and 20.4:
            20.3) More than one change of direction to defend a position is not permitted. Any driver moving back towards the racing line, having earlier defended his position off-line, should leave at least one car width between his own car and the edge of the track on the approach to the corner.

            20.4) Any driver defending his position on a straight, and before any braking area, may use the full width of the track during his first move, provided no significant portion of the car attempting
            to pass is alongside his. Whilst defending in this way the driver may not leave the track without justifiable reason.
            For the avoidance of doubt, if any part of the front wing of the car attempting to pass is alongside the rear wheel of the car in front this will be deemed to be a ‘significant portion’.

            As it stands, the regulations are written from the point of view of a driver in the braking zone defending against another driver, since that tends to be one of the more common location for passes to take place. It does, therefore, leave a certain amount of ambiguity over a situation such as this – it would potentially depend on whether it could be argued that the short straight between Turn 4 and 5 and the small braking zone does count for the application of section 20.4.

            However, if the FIA were to have used a similar criteria for assessing the Raikkonen-Bottas incident, Bottas would comfortably qualify for having a ‘significant portion’ of his car alongside Kimi – at the point where Kimi begins to turn into the corner, Bottas’s front wing is level with the front of Kimi’s cockpit.

          4. Bottas wasn’t fully alongside Kimi but he didn’t have to be. Once the driver on the inside gets his car half-way alongside he has earned the right to space and the other driver has to leave at least a car’s width on the inside. Kimi didn’t do this so he takes the blame.

            If Kimi had left a car’s width and Bottas missed the apex and understeered into Kimi then its a different ball game but Kimi didn’t allow this to be a possibility by turning into Bottas. I rather stupid move in the end.

          5. Yes, thank you, @racectrl and the anon commenter! This was the information I was looking for. So Räikkönen should have left more space for Bottas. As it was, there was maybe 1/3rd a cars width between the white line and Kimis car.

            Now as for @raceprouk: you’ve got issues, dude. Maybe you should read my post again because I do not see any indication about trying to absolve Kimi. Do you? I asked a valid question about the situation expecting to get valid information with maybe a few rules cited for me, not a snarky comment. And I certainly am not such a big fan of the sport that I would call anyone beloved. And if you’d bothered to read my profile, you would’ve seen that I clearly support both Finns as I am one myself. No real favourites. Funnily enough, yours says you support Bottas and only Bottas. Might we even say he is your beloved Bottas, from the way you attack Räikkönen? I hope this is a side of you that only shows when you can hide behind relative anonymity, because your behaviour is not at all pleasant, and in real life your kind of people aren’t usually very liked. Now, if you can take part in these conversations like real adults(or even civilized people), let’s continue discussing about who’s to blame.

            I think as far as collisions go, this one could be classified as a racing incident: Kimi should have left space but even though Bottas was entitled to the space, it was a really tight spot and he could have backed off. If both of them would’ve been able to continue I think no penalties would have been handed out. But that is speculation that we never got to see. As someone pointed out, penalties have been handed out eventhough the driver at fault retired as a result.

          6. @aalate, my apologies; thankyou for clarifying what you were trying to say. However, I do not approve of your attitude; if you really want reasoned discussion, then stick to reasoned discussion.

        2. Jenson and Seb had similar situation just moments later in same corner and they cleared the situation because Jenson had the brains to back off. Although Valtteri had the rule given right to try overtake Kimi in that corner it doesn’t mean that he can’t use common sense and back off to avoid collision. I just don’t get why Valtteri tried to overtake in the most confined spot of the circuit instead of the long straights when he was considerably faster than Kimi at that point of the race. I think Valtteri is unforgiving personality and he went for payback for Sochi accident.

        3. That collision was on the On Board Camera video of the Mexican GP, and Bottas was doing about 30 km/h at the time of the collision. It seemed to me that Raikkonen cut in front of Bottas while accelerating, and essentially Raikkonen’s rear wheel drove over the top of the front wheel of Bottas’ car.

    2. Well, I don’t agree with the article, at least with the intent of it picturing Raikkonen as incompetent.

      100%. Good reading, as usual with Keith, but I can’t agree with the main idea. With all due respect to Keith, this sounds as if the hype with Valtteri reached a point at which we have to depict other drivers as incompetents. But to choose Kimi to do so is silly, IMO. Kimi and Valtteri were involved in two accidents, true, but when we compare the wheel to wheel record or capacity of those two, i don’t believe Kimi is the one with a deficit, to be honest…

    3. Indeed. I don’t understand how people blame Raikkonen for the last incident. Raikkonen was well ahead and had the line. Bottas should have yielded.

      Or at least that’s how it has been for the last few years.

      But then sometimes the stewards flip their judgement on the basis of if the drivers saw each other. Pretty much at random really.

      Like when Button put Hamilton in the wall on the straight in Canada 2012. Hamilton messed up the chicane and Hamilton came out with much more speed. Button should have known Hamiltonw as coming. yet he moved fully over and put Hamilton in the wall. The stewards aquitted Button because he “hadn’t seen Hamilton in his mirrors”. “Sorry officer I didn’t see there was s speed limit sign”

      Ridiculous of course, because he should have been looking into his mirrors then or simply stayed on the normal racing line.

      Or the other way around when Hulkenberg was penalized for Massa coming out of the pitlane under blue flags and then plows into Hulkenberg. There was no way on earth that Massa had the race line and yet Hulkenberg was penalized because he “knew” that Massa was there.

      That’s why drivers always immediately scream “What is he doing!” or “Where did he come from!”. So the stewards know it’s not their fault. A bit like soccer players dropping on the ground when someone coughs near them to try and het the other guy carded.

      1. Raikkonen was well ahead and had the line.

        In what universe was Raikonnen ahead? They were side-by-side going in; even Stevie Wonder could have seen that.

        1. @raceprouk, Sure come with the insults.

          Still odd that, with your perfect sight, you missed that Hulkenberg’s front wheel never was further up than halfway between Raikkonen’s wheels.

          1. I included no insult; the fact you read one anyway speaks more than I ever could. Not to mention you can’t even get the names right.

          2. Regardless of errors in names, seems that the point is valid. Which would mean it was in THIS universe!

          3. Then I suggest you both read the regulations before spouting your nonsense any further.

      2. Completely agree.

        Raikkonen runs Bottas wide at the left-hander. Raikkonen is then placed for a very tight line into the right-hander. At this point Bottas is only half way alongside Raikkonen. Bottas accelerates while he has two wheels off the circuit to get alongside, trying to muscle into an already tiny space.

        Bottas should have backed off after being run wide at the left-hander.

        1. Bottas accelerates while he has two wheels off the circuit to get alongside, trying to muscle into an already tiny space.

          And you have the telemetry to prove it?

    4. To be honest I have no better understanding of the rule changes than Raikkonen. Maybe @keithcollantine has written an updated article?

      In my opinion this incident and the one in Monaco, are not Kimi’s fault. He is ahead and his opponents basically dive at the racing line. To “leave space” means giving the place to the guy behind. If I understood the (old?) rules correctly, the car ahead AND in the racing line wasn’t forced to “leave space”, it was up to guy behind to find the right place to make a move, usually by better exiting a corner, that would allow him to be ahead and get the racing line at the next one.

      1. Basically, if your front wing is alongside their rear wheel, you have a right to space.

        1. Tell that to Rosberg in spa 2014! Oh…no…it is a different story when it involves Hamilton!

    5. Completely different incidents. Maldonado had already lost the previous corner fair and square, went off track and then t-boned Hamilton without any effort to avoid him like he was playing a video game. Raikkonen and Bottas were alongside each other at the corner entry with Bottas still on track and Raikkonen turned in on a car he should have known was already there.

      It’s also nothing like their Russian GP clash as there Raikkonen made a dive for a gap that was already disappearing where as in Mexico Bottas was already alongside.

    6. @caci99

      with the intent of it picturing Raikkonen as incompetent

      It doesn’t do anything of the sort and nor is that the intent.

  5. Kimi used to race very, very clean. I used to wonder sometimes if he was a bit easy to push around, he was so careful to avoid contact. He had the record at one time for the most consecutive finishes istr.

    I don’t know about COTA but Sochi and Mexico were poor from him though. And Monaco 2013 where he deliberately put Perez into the barrier. Something has changed, and not for the better.

    He’s always had more aggression in him than most people realised (like Ricciardo) and awesome levels of stubbornness, I guess the balance with driving artistry has shifted, perhaps with Nando and now Seb putting him in the shade?

  6. It is odd. It’s like there’s a different Kimi when he’s driving for Ferrari. He was brilliant at Lotus, but during the latter part of his first stint at Ferrari, he seemed to lose interest and now he just seems like he’s lost some of the considerable talent that he used to such good effect earlier in his career. Perhaps he just doesn’t suit the atmosphere at Ferrari and he’s feeling under pressure due to being overshadowed by two extremely good team mates. His race engineer seems a bit hapless as well, always apologising and so on. I doubt if Kimi will continue into 2017, but it would have been interesting to see him at a different team for the last year of his career. Massa has thrived at Williams and it would have been good to see how Kimi would do at a team like that.

  7. the first thing that goes when a driver gets towards the end of his career is the ability to fight close wheel to wheel battles cleanly. we’ve seen it over and over (Coulthard was a great example of this). Kimi has indeed reached that “not again” stage

    1. Yep good point. The same can be said of Schumi’s last 3 years.

  8. Taking nothing away from his past accomplishments – he could have surely been a multiple champion given reliable machinery – it’s clear as day that Kimi no longer has the incisive pace that made his reputation. I was frankly shocked Ferrari renewed him for next year.

  9. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    5th November 2015, 13:40

    Raikonnen needs a firmer grip on the rear end of his car.

  10. Most drivers I have see peak in their early 30’s. I cannot recall a single other driver who peaked at the age of 23-26, and then completely dropped the ball and never recovered.

    Even during his Lotus days, when people were singing his praise, it was pretty obvious that he wasn’t half the driver he was in his McLaren days. At Lotus he was slow in qualifying and hesitant in wheel to wheel combat, now at Ferrari he is even slower in qualifying and clumsy in wheel to wheel combat.

  11. First off, in Mexico we must assume Raikonnen was driving a car similar to the one Vettel spun, crashed and generally couldn’t keep on the track. Vettel is no rookie. The car was a handful on that surface, clearly. Raikonnen may have had more on his mind than just dealing with Bottas running parallel with him into a tight corner, although I tend to agree with Keith’s opinion piece too. The COTA lunge made me shriek (before contact) as it seemed obvious even to me as an armchair racer that it was going to end in tears.

    Secondly, @keithcollantine: Thanks for the interesting opinion piece. There’s a typo – “… fact that Bottas had been concerned a likely target for Ferrari” should be “considered”, I think.

  12. It’s sad to see Raikkonen perform so disappointingly. He really has been shocking since the middle of 2013, and has done very little since then. His racecraft at times has been questionable to say the least and he has been absolutely demolished by his team mates in both qualifying and in race trim. I just find it incredible how people can praise him for what Maldonado (wrongly, I should add) has such a bad reputation for doing, and I’m even more amazed that people believe that Russia and/or Mexico were/was Bottas’ fault. I do question whether he will even make a good number two at Ferrari next season, because he has taken so few points off of the Mercedes drivers this season compared to Vettel, and as he has lost so many points due to needless spins or crashes.

  13. The Monaco incident has no place in the context of this article. It made the conclusion sound awfully grasping, even though I agree with all the rest and yes, sadly Kimi is losing his grip on F1.

  14. Dear Keith,

    In your haste to dig up mud to fling, you forgot Monaco 2008, a clear-cut and undisputable case of Kimi Räikkönen being in the wrong. Other than that, your diatribe against him is masterclass, especially the way you have edited out the manhole cover at Silverstone last year. In the parlance of Fleet Street; if nothing else it makes good copy. :D


  15. maarten.f1 (@)
    5th November 2015, 17:22

    What is said over the radio during a race is not important. The drivers are on high adrenaline, they haven’t had the opportunity to look at their action (whereas the TV audience has seen the incident many times, from many different angles). So if they are quick to blame the other driver, I’ll take it with a grain of salt. Pretty much all the drivers do that.

    I do think Raikkonen needs to step up his game though. He’s got a contract for next year, but that’s just because there’s nobody else who’s good enough for the right price at this moment. If he doesn’t improve, next year will be his last.

  16. This is an interesting article and as a whole I agree, but @keithcollantine I really must take issue with this part again since you haven’t replied in another article where I had the same problem:

    “Last weekend he committed a similar though less severe lapse of judgement with the same driver. This time Bottas was unaffected and Raikkonen come off worst. The stewards declined to get involved, which would surely not have been the case had they thought Raikkonen blameless.”

    I really cannot understand the logic behind this firm statement. What if they thought both Raikkonen AND Bottas were blameless since it was just a racing incident? You know it’s racing, and in racing incidents do happen when there’s no need to over-police things and apportion blame. It was once a common thing in F1 even though in recent times there’s some inexplicable need to babysit the drivers as if they were little children

    And did the stewards decline to get involved in Singapore too after Hulkenberg, the(borderline in my opinion) guilty party retired on the spot? No they didn’t. So why would they do so now?

    1. @montreal95 – I think the implication is that “natural justice” prevailed in Mexico and Raikonnen needed no further punishment, particularly as Bottas survived unscathed. Thus no action by the stewards.

  17. Inevitably much was made of the fact that the same two drivers had collided again. Special significance could be attached to the fact that Bottas had been considered a likely target for Ferrari as Raikkonen’s replacement earlier in the year.

    I’ve not seen that much on this to be honest, but anyone who tries to argue any big deal of it whatsoever is purely sensationalist.

  18. I like Raikkonen, but come on, he’s always been decidedly over-rated as a driver just because people like him. It’s not just the clumsy attempts to pass Bottas, is it? He’s also made a ton of other mistakes these past two years and has been beaten easily by Alonso and Vettel. He’s just not in the same league.

  19. Just hope Ferrari will improve enough for next year. RAI is one of those drivers who get very much influenced by what they are fighting for. And of course he is going to slam the door to Bottas. He gets annoyed by running low. What’s more even if he does bother if he is going to finish 4th or 5th in the championship the Williams guys are the only ones he should be fighting so why let them pass him and score more points..
    He just needs a better car and to start from scratch. Even this year early on he had the race pace of VET and often was faster. Give him the chance to challenge for victory and he will deliver even though not in his prime now. If not we’ve seen by far the best of him.

  20. I like the guy, but it’s just a seat going to waste at the moment. Most of the midfield drivers would do as good a job or better then Raikkonen in my opinion. Bottas, Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Perez – all proven quality drivers.

    Ferrari hangs onto under-performing drivers for too long. Massa the prime example.

    1. @me4me Sorry, but all the mentioned ones are as average as it comes (esp. this season). Kimi is still plenty fast. His problem is Vettel being his team mate. None of the above mentioned drivers will give a better account of themselves than what Kimi has achieved to date this season.

      1. @evered7, I guess that’s were we disagree. Just because they are in the midfield doesn’t mean their performance has been “average”. I think both Perez and Grosjean have performed brilliantly this season – much better than Raikkonen.

        1. @me4me @evered7

          Kimi is still plenty fast. His problem is Vettel being his team mate.

          I agree with this. In Raikkonen’s comeback, he’s been outscored by over 100 points by Vettel and Alonso, but scored over 150 points than Grosjean across 2 seasons. Also Massa hasn’t been bad these 2 years against Bottas, and his main problem was being Alonso’s teammate for several years.

        2. @me4me Perez is a driver you would need if the requirement is just a second driver who brings the points. Grosjean has made plenty of mistakes this season for an experienced driver and Bottas isn’t exactly crushing Massa who himself was shown the door by Ferrari for Kimi.

          So all in all, that leads me to believe that they would probably get a lower version of the Iceman. Vettel is just on the money all season like Alonso was in 2012. No one can match up to that (leaving out Mexico, Bahrain).

          Let’s agree to disagree though. These are just my opinion based on the observation of this season.

    2. (@me4me)

      Vettel would get crushed (as he was last year) by the likes of Bottas, Hulk or RoGro. Ferrari know this, but it’s great for their marketing strategy to have another German in their seat.

  21. Please just keep posting session results and actual news/information. You don’t have the skill and the knowledge required to make this kind of analysis.

  22. I don’t get why people connect the accidents with his declining form. Yes he is way past his prime but he is faultless for the inconsistency of the stewards. He was innocent in Monaco and yet the guilty party (Ricciardo) came out clean. He was at fault in Russia and fairly penalized and in Mexico since the opinion is split we may split guilt too but it was him with the dnf and Bottas on the rostrum

  23. Overrated at Lotus that car was mega and no doubt in my mind Alo wins the title. They had great trye life it was the year even people like Perez was gertting podiums for Sauber. Alo i do not even like but in 12 he was mega. If Gro and Kimi could contend and even put Rbull under pressure in Suzuka ina downforce track that Ferrari and Mclaren could neevr compete any years of Red Bulls reign must tell you something. Alo even if he finshed 10 seconds clear every race would clearly be in a slower car as he is way faster than Kimi in race pace and so is Vet

    1. “Overrated at Lotus that car was mega and no doubt in my mind Alo wins the title.”

      This gets me all the time can’t stop laughing about it, Alonso in a faster car could not win the title. In a faster car in Abu-dhabi even with the help of the safety car could not win the race, but somehow would have won in the slower Lotus which had a race or two it was faster in.

  24. Very compelling article.
    Personally I have no elements to comment on the alleged lack of application or even laziness of KR, although many facts point in that direction.
    Furthermore I have been cultivating the idea that some of KR disappointing mistakes, volatility in performance and occasional struggle and disorientation in not ideally set up cars could be attributed to the little time that he spend in junior formulas. We should not forget that KR arrived to F1 with only 23 single-seater (F Renault) races under his belt. His formation on some fundamental aspects of motoracing might had been sketchy.
    It is possible that his indisputably crystalline talent can’t always cover for that.

  25. Kimi have to improve his performance on the next races.

  26. Time to get serious:

    2014 – The reasons Ferrari hired Kimi was because of the feed-back he gives the engineers (as opposed to the mechanics), he is one of the two best drivers currently in F1 from that point of view (the other being Jenson Button), as well as having proved that he still was a solid race driver at Lotus.

    2015 – The reasons to retain Kimi remained. In addition, being a personal friend and boyhood hero of Seb would ensure the latter quickly settled in at Ferrari.

    2016 – The reasons Ferrari retain Kimi remain even if it is clear that he probably is past his prime as a race driver. It’s exactly the same kind of reasoning that caused McLaren to retain Button, say goodbye to the talented Magnussen and make the even more talented Vandoorne wait another year for his chance.

    1. The difference is Button at least stays out of trouble. Then again, this year his car’s rarely lasted long enough to provide an opportunity to get into trouble in the first place.

      1. @raceprouk Button got into trouble in China, Britain and Singapore though.

  27. Keith I think you meant from 17th, not 15th, in Suzuka.

  28. In the Turn 1 incident when Kimi more or less went off the track, I’m pretty sure Max reacted to Kimi’s move to the inside. He only moved by maybe quarter of a car’s width, and still left plenty of room for the pass to take place. But it was enough to make Kimi think he was going to block and bail out of the attempt.

    It was one move in the braking zone, and it left enough room for the pass, so it’s in the letter of the rules. I’m still not a fan of the tactic though.

  29. Clickbait headline on Twitter “Raikkonen’s whingeing” shallow journalism.

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