In other words, having got closer to Vettel last year Raikkonen slipped again this year. And quite badly, in terms of the head-to-heads. Counting only sessions where both drivers finished, Raikkonen only beat Vettel in a straight fight in qualifying and the race six times all year, which is the same number of victories Lance Stroll had over Felipe Massa at Williams.
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To be fair to Raikkonen, there were at least two occasions when in ordinary circumstances he might have finished ahead of Vettel, and both of those involved potential lost wins. In Monaco he lost the lead to Vettel when his team mate ran longer in his first stint and ‘over-cut’ him. Had Raikkonen been allowed to do the same in Hungary he surely would have beaten Vettel, who had a steering problem on his car. On both occasions it seemed Vettel’s stronger position in the drivers’ championship had influenced Ferrari’s strategic choices.
And of course, Raikkonen was in the process of steaming past his team mate on his way to turn one at Singapore when the pair sandwiched Max Verstappen’s Red Bull and ended their races.
For all this, Vettel was consistently the better qualifier and had earned his effective number one role within the team. Even when the championship was over he continued to hold sway, and when the chequered flag dropped on the final round he was well up the road from his team mate.
Vettel vs Raikkonen: The scores
Vettel vs Raikkonen: Season results
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