Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2017

2017 F1 team mate battles: Vettel vs Raikkonen at Ferrari

2017 F1 season review

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In their third year as team mates at Ferrari the balance of power between Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen was more like it had been in 2015 than in 2016.

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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Sebastian VettelQ
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Kimi RaikkonenQ
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2017 F1 season review

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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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  • 22 comments on “2017 F1 team mate battles: Vettel vs Raikkonen at Ferrari”

    1. Your comments about Hungary were an important point to bring up Keith. By not allowing Raikkonen to take the lead from Vettel, who was clearly struggling at the time, Ferrari showed where their loyalties laid concerning their drivers. I have criticized Kimi in the past, but these drivers rely on the ‘full’ backing of the team in order to be successful. It has been obvious that Ferrari, as they did with Massa and Barrichello before him, have used Raikkonen as a number two driver in relation to Vettel.
      Even to a veteran like Raikkonen, that must effect his confidence. Naturally Raikkonen’s age is against him, he surely now is in his twilight years as an F1 driver. I seriously doubt a young driver, full of ambition, would be as placid as Kimi has been towards Sebastien Vettel.
      The broader picture though for Ferrari is that this approach affected them in the constructors championship. To win that, you need both drivers scoring big points most of the time, something that Mercedes were able to achieve with Hamilton and Bottas.

      1. Ferrari showed their loyalty is to winning the championship. Going into the race, Kimi was 79 points behind Seb. No team boss in their right mind would think twice about making sure their lead driver walked away with maximum points.
        Kimi had 10 races into the season to show Ferrari why should back him, but he sadly hasn’t shown that ability. It made no sense to let akimi win that race.
        It was the same situation in Monaco. People blame Ferrari for shuffling their strategy, but when Kimi pitted, Seb was a second a lap quicker than Kimi on older tyres.
        Kimi has had all season to make a stake in the team, but he’s failed to do so.

        1. +1000. Raikkonen has been embarrassing this season.

      2. I broadly agree with your comment until the last sentence. Ferrari couldn’t give a %&$! about the constructors- because they receive ‘royalty payments’ for being the only team to have competed in F1 for every season since its inception. For that reason- Ferrari can afford to be stone dead last in the constructors, but 1st in the WDC and still consider their season a “success”.

      3. Kimi did that to himself by being nowhere at the half point of the season.

        How many years must we make excuses for Kimi because he’s funny. His results in the past 4 seasons have been, quite frankly, absolutely awful, and he still gets the drive in 2018 as well. It’s almost as bad as Stroll in terms of an unjustified seat, it really is.

      4. @HeMan.

        Do you think Ferrari’s approach would be different if Ocon or Ricciardo where in that car instead of Kimi? Would they risk upsetting Sebastien Vettel like that? Don’t forget, Daniel gave Vettel a hard time when they were both at Red Bull.
        I agree with you comments, but would be interested in your opinion on who Ferrari should replace Raikkonen with when Kimi does go?

        1. It’s really irrelevant who they place in the other Ferrari (I’d personally like to see Ricciardo or Sainz). But if halfway through the season, they’re 80 points off the championship leader who happens to be their teammate, it would be madness to expect the team to treat them both equally.
          Regarding 2014, I think Vettel just had a really off season. I don’t think the season was representative of his pace relative to Ricciardo. I’m not making excuses – of course he underperformed, but he had the lions share of poor reliability all year (especially during testing when drivers need to get to know the car); plus he just got off the back of winning 4 titles back to back. There had to be some mental strain after all that.
          Despite that, he had some genuinely good results that season (Malaysia, Singapore, Spain, Japan)
          Not taking anything away from Daniel though – he was my driver of the year that season.

      5. By not allowing Raikkonen to take the lead from Vettel, who was clearly struggling at the time, Ferrari showed where their loyalties laid concerning their drivers

        I highly doubt VET would’ve kept the Mercedes at bay with that car (wouldn’t keep up with RAI, which would’ve meant no DRS, etc), whereas RAI was able to keep the Mercs at bay (with DRS, a healthy car and all).

        So you’re telling me RAI getting a race win should be more important than ensuring a 1-2?

        Though having said that, while I don’t really believe things like this I wouldn’t really argue much against it

        Raikkonen, that must effect his confidence.

        The broader picture though for Ferrari is that this approach affected them in the constructors championship. To win that, you need both drivers scoring big points most of the time, something that Mercedes were able to achieve with Hamilton and Bottas.

      6. “It has been obvious that Ferrari, as they did with Massa and Barrichello before him, have used Raikkonen as a number two driver”

        That’s not quite true is it.

        Massa was allowed to establish himself against Kimi and did so in 2008. He was also allowed the same against Alonso in 2010, when after Alonso won the first race against the superior Red Bull, Ferrari allowed Massa to take crucial points off Alonso in Australia (he lost the champiosnhip by 4 points)

        1. “Fernando is faster than you” +7 points.

    2. Vettel is the driver of the season, finishing the season in 2nd with a bumper car?

      *we need a sarcasm button*

      1. IMO Vettel is the driver of the pre-summer season.
        Hamilton beat him left-right-centre since Belgium.

        I find it very difficult to give VET DOTS after his Baku, Singapore, Mexico’s Snafu’s

      2. It was only Vettel’s talent that gave ferrari a shot at the championship this year. I reckon it would have been evens between him and Lewis in the current Ferrari.
        Vettel is currently ahead of Lewis for ‘driver of the decade’ if you subscribe to stats like most of lewis’ fans do

    3. Kimi should not be in F1, he does well in 2 races, the rest of the year he is mia, you can win the WCC like this, and you can’t help the nº1 driver like this. To be fair to him, Ferrari also screwed him a couple of times.

      1. Ferrari don’t have the managment to deal with two top tier drivers, they’ve admitted this. To be fair so have Mercedes and they looked a lot more relaxed without Rosberg being a nuisance ;)

        The hard facts are, which will rub people up the wrong way, is that only Ron Dennis relished 2 top drivers in the same team and he gave us some of the best battles in F1.

    4. Kimi was the only full time driver to not make up places on the start, what about that. If Ferrari is smart they go and have a chat with Sainz or Ocon.

      1. Or tell Kimi to qualify a few more place back ;)

      2. @flatsix
        Whatabout Singapore, he blasted past Verstappen in the start ;)

    5. @keithcollantine it’s just a typo but on the board that shows who finished ahead in quali and race you have written GRE instead of GB. Oh, how I wish that was not a typo and we had a Greek Grand Prix. Wishful thinking…

    6. Go home Kimi.

    7. Kimi is over the top – sorry to say.
      I think its getting kind of embarassing for him to stick around.
      But probably Ferrari cant handle two two drivers and their egos. And Vettel probably couldnt handle to get too hard competition.
      I know its against Ferraris way of thinking but it would suit them to put a younger promising driver next to Vettel.

    Comments are closed.