2017 F1 driver rankings #11: Raikkonen

2017 F1 season review

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Kimi Raikkonen ended the season 112 points behind Sebastian Vettel, which was a pretty fair reflection of how far off the pace of his world championship contending team mate he was.

No doubt Ferrari leant in Vettel’s direction once it became clear which driver was their best bet for the championship. Two races illustrate this. In Monaco, with Raikkonen running ahead of Vettel, the latter was allowed to run long at the end of his first stint which allowed him to jump ahead of Raikkonen. This could be taken as a ‘hands-off’ policy of letting their drivers pursue whichever tactics suited them best.

Kimi Raikkonen

Beat team mate in qualifying 4/19
Beat team mate in race 2/16
Races finished 17/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 260/962
Qualifying margin +0.28
Points 205

But in Hungary Ferrari denied Raikkonen the chance to do the same, bringing him in immediately after race leader Vettel’s pit stop to ensure he was protected from rivals behind. So we can chalk up some of Raikkonen’s points deficit to preferential treatment.

Not very much of it, however. Give Raikkonen that win back and he would still be almost 100 points behind Vettel. And while Ferrari were partly responsible for the fact Raikkonen ended the year win-less, it’s not as if all five of Vettel’s victories were handed to him by the team.

Nor is it the case Raikkonen had a much less reliable car than Vettel. He was involved in a few first-lap collisions, at least one of which he could have reasonably blamed his team mate for. But had Raikkonen qualified as well as Vettel, who started from the front row nine times more than his team mate, he would have been better-placed to avoid them.

Among Raikkonen’s better races was Silverstone, the one time he started and finished ahead of Vettel all season. The only other other occasion both Ferraris finished with Raikkonen ahead was in Mexico, where Vettel hit trouble on the first lap.

The rest of the time Vettel finished ahead. On seven of these occasions, including each of the opening three races, Raikkonen was far enough behind Vettel could have made another pit stop and still come out ahead of him.

Both Ferrari drivers made errors during 2017 but Vettel’s tended to draw more attention because of the championship situation. Raikkonen lost a place by going off at Montreal, copped a needless penalty at Spa by failing to slow for yellow flags, and compromised his race in Japan by crashing his car in practice (receiving a gearbox change penalty) and going off again in the race.

On balance, Raikkonen drove better in the second half of the season than he did in the first. By that time his championship hopes were already over, though at the final round he was able to spare himself the ignominy of finishing behind Daniel Ricciardo in a much less competitive and reliable Red Bull.

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Over to you

Another scrappy season for Raikkonen, he has shown pace here and there but not taking a victory in an outstanding car like the Ferrari must be a disaster. This in my opinion could be his best year in his second Ferrari stint, but all that says is how woeful his previous season here have been.

What’s your verdict on Kimi Raikkonen’s 2017 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than him? Have your say in the comments.

Add your views on the other drivers here:

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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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82 comments on “2017 F1 driver rankings #11: Raikkonen”

  1. Its very frustrating for other drivers and also the fans that this overrated and over the hill driver, is retained by Ferrari for yet another year…

    Its not going to be better, he has been under performing for years. He should have retired 3 yrs ago.

    1. He’s not overrated if you consider how good he was, but those years have long since past. He’s just in it for the paycheque now.

      That car was comfortably on par with the Mercs – Ferrari screwed themselves out of both championships by hiring an average hack and an old man. Both drivers got slaughtered by their prior teammates, and it shows.

      1. What’s annoying to me is he keeps saying that if he thought he couldn’t win a title he wouldn’t keep racing.

        You know what must happen for raikkonen to win a title? Ferrari must make a dominant car around the likes of 2002 and 2004, and vettel needs an accident like schumacher in 1999, taking him out long enough for raikkonen to recover enough points!

  2. I’m happy Raikkonen is no higher than 11th, but I would’ve probably swapped him with Massa, based on achieving what the car is capable of

    Just a suggestion (although I’m a bit late with this), it might be worth putting the driver’s final championship position in the information box at the top

    1. I would add my paper in the suggestion box as well. It would be interesting to have the point tally as % of team mate.

      I hope that Kimi doesn’t follow Massa’s road along the decline road in F1. He has lost some of his superb and is suffering the comparison with Vettel. It feels like he should leave soon.

      I am quite sad about the drivers in F1 the last few years. We had quite a lot of veterans staying longer than they should and pay drivers mean that teams have less capable drivers with some experience to chose from. One of the result is showed by Williams and their difficult driver choice. Whoever they pick it won’t be someone which will drive the car to its fullest capability which is really sad for such team. Money depth is greater than ever, but the talent depth is shrinking I am afraid. Probably why we have such a clear cut from the top 5 drivers of this year and the rest.

  3. Such an outstanding car. That Ferrari was so good and fast, it’s so fast, oh my god. I once saw a Ferrari from this year. Except I didn’t, because when I looked it was already gone so fast it was. Oh boy!

    1. @rahnarlsmenves Can you even begin to imagine how fast the car which beat it by 146 points must be!?

      1. @psynrg oh, that car is slow, so slow, the Mercedes is definitely no the best car this year, even the Red Bull was faster, it definitely was Hamilton’s speed that won Mercedes the title this year, and also Bottas’ victories, those were also thanks to Hamilton’s speed, so overdrove that car, I only wish Hamilton was driving for Haas instead of Mercedes, he’d be winning every race then, such fastness on the Haas.

        Not as fast as the Ferrari though, but, you know, Hamilton’s speed.

        1. This comment is so dripping with sarcasm

        2. Thanks for the chuckle, @rahnarlsmenves!

  4. In a car which was good enough to challenge for the championship Raikkonen never looked like he had the ability to drag his SF70-H into the fight. Even if he did get the Monaco and Hungary wins, he would have been 14-4 down on Vettel in the races.

    He is well past his sell by date and I honestly hope that Ferrari have the courage to promote Charles Leclerc to a race drive in 2019. All this “Ferrari don’t take chances on young drivers” stuff is nonsense, Red Bull and McLaren (with Hamilton and latterly Magnussen and Vandoorne) have shown that young talent can flourish if given a chance. Ferrari also signed Gilles Villeneuve with only a solitary start to his name, so it isn’t like they haven’t done it before…

    1. He is well past his sell by date

      he even passed ‘use by date’ ;)

    2. Enzo Ferrari was signing the drivers he loved and almost no wdc (Fangio was the exception), after him they wanted the available best between the WDC (Prost, Schumacher, Alonso, Vettel)

  5. Kimi’s been on the decline since he rejoined Ferrari, I can see the gap between him and Vettel getting bigger next season. He’s very fortunate that the Red Bulls were extremely unreliable, otherwise that championship table could’ve looked much more embarrassing.

    1. @davef1


      Who would have thought that Kimi would have a championship contending car and he wouldn’t even take a victory all season. The Red Bull drivers took 3 victories among themselves and they were anywhere between 0.3 seconds to 1 second a lap down on the Ferrari’s on almost all the circuits. As you mentioned, Kimi got lucky with Red Bull’s reliability, or else he’d have finished 6th in the championship.

      Overall, quite an embarrassing season for Kimi…. but bwoah…. it’s not like it matters to him anyway.

  6. Fair position.
    Those statistics look terrible, and I doubt that Vettel is still #1 (as he was mid-season).

  7. This 11th place seems reasonable. But he was driving the 3 best car on the grid, behind the two Mercs.

    On a few occasions this year he was too slow to even protect Vettel.

    Raikkonen has had a great career. But it is time. I’d take the risk and go with LeClerc.

    1. i was surprised when they re-signed him for 2017, let alone 2018. i really thought they would take a punt on ricciardo (even vettel said he would be ok with this, in public at least). i would have put several drivers ahead of kimi this year – massa, vandoorne, grosjean, even the sauber drivers.

  8. Räikkönen’s form has always depended on tire wear. He was great in 2005 (no tire changes allowed) and 2012-2013, the early years of the Pirelli era. This year the extremely durable tires really hurt him, as he had nothing to compensate his lack of outright pace with. He usually failed to set a clean lap in qualifying and he was just slow on race day, which is also the main reason why he lost a potential win in Monaco.

    1. @f1infigures

      Would have to disagree. As far as I remember, the 2005 tyres were extremely durable. They could be pushed very hard for long distances without having to worry about degradation. Kimi was awesome in those years.

      I agree that Kimi managed well with the brittle tyres in 2012, but that was primarily because the Lotus was really easy on it’s tyres, not so much because of his driving style per say.

      1. @todfod People often remember the Bridgestone era for its durable tires, but make no mistake. The ban on tire changes posed great challenges to the tire manufacturers in 2005. The tires had to be very fast (because of the tire war), but still they had to last the whole race. Especially Ferrari suffered that season. Their Bridgestone tires were either durable but slow, or they were fast but not durable enough (they even had to retire in a couple of races thanks to excess tire wear). Räikkönen, on the other hand, was able to go incredibly fast without wearing out the tires too much. When tire changes were allowed again in 2006, everything returned back to normal. Räikkönen failed to even win a race that season.

        I think recent years have shown that in 2012 and 2013 the Lotus was quite an amazing car. Even at the end of 2013, when the re-introduction of 2012-style tires greatly benefited Red Bull, Lotus was the only team that could offer them some resistance.

  9. One of the main reasons that Vettel was able to fight for title was that Bottas and Raikkonen were not stealing those points despite being in competitive cars..

    1. Same thing applies to HAM… so what you imply is that it should have been a 4-way title fight. Until 1 point it was, overall, a 3-way fight, BOT having more than some math chances to win the title. Anyway, what this proves is that the drivers are not equal (better or worse), therefore RAI finished so far behind because of him… and not somebody else!

  10. petebaldwin (@)
    12th December 2017, 12:19

    I think 11th is to high to be honest – most got closer to the maximum their car could do them Kimi.

    1. count me in here. one could make a good case for felipe, pascal and even romain being above kimi, in pure performance.

  11. If (granted, a big if) RB, McLaren and Renault are closer to the front next year, and Kimi doesn’t improve, where will he end up in the championship standings? Surely behind the RB’s and perhaps even Alonso and Sainz/Hulkenberg?
    I’ve been saying for a few years that this must surely be Kimi’s last season in F1, so I won’t say it again for next year, but I do hope Ferrari will make the right decision if the difference with Vettel becomes even larger.

    1. Kimi was retained by Ferrari because Vettel really liked him as a teammate. It’s kind of obvious that Vettel would like him – 1) Kimi isn’t interested in playing politics in the team to get preferential treatment.
      2) Kimi doesn’t take it to heart when his team sabotages his race victories to help Seb.
      3) Kimi doesn’t usually like speaking to the press, so there’s no chance of him commenting on team favouritism.
      4) Kimi isn’t particularly quick or motivated anymore
      5) Kimi isn’t interested in fighting for a WDC

      1. True, though I suspect he could be dumped as soon as the competition gets closer at the front providing he’d be unable to at least serve as a rear gunner for Vettel. And Ferrari will still keep an eye on WCC too.

        1. @spoutnik

          I honestly believe that Kimi will be replaced once Ferrari lose faith in Sebastian…. which I predict could be some time next season. I don’t think Vettel is capable of delivering a title for them, and I would see Ferrari vying for Ricciardo or Verstappen to get the job done.

          1. @todfod interesting view. Ricciardo at Ferrari in 2019 would be nice. I think Verstappen will try a few spells more with Red Bull provided Honda gets its act together (which I doubt). Red Bull is on a thin line, probably hoping to keep Verstappen up until 2021 and have a dominant engine/car at that point.
            And while I doubt too that Vettel is capable of delivering them a title probably Alonso would have come much closer, probably a last race decider but still end up second again, because Ferrari can’t be anything but second for quite a few years now.

  12. This was one of his better seasons as he challenged for wins and probably should of had 2. Which would of been 3-2 with his teammate and when you consider first lap accidents the gap is still not great looking but not as bad.

    But that is just a reflection of how poor he has been for the past few years. Time for himself and Ferrari to move on.

    Could of thrived in a Williams just like he did in a lotus.

    1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      12th December 2017, 13:37

      “of” or “have”? (Sorry, my English-teacher side just kicked in).

      1. Should of is something I’ve seen a lot, it’s obvious they mean should have.

        Also “try to do this” and “try and do this”, sometimes you can come across these expressions.

  13. The points system for the constructors championship should be changed to disincentivize putting a mediocre or washed up driver (like Kimi) in the second seat.

    Perhaps apply a -50% points modifier for constructors points on the car that finishes first within a team. That would greatly increase the importance of having 2 good drivers and prevent top teams from filling second seats with has beens just to please their favoured child.

    1. Actually never mind points modifiers, just go with average team finishing position. A team finishing 1st and 6th will score 18 points and 30 points will go to the team finishing 2nd and 3rd.

      1. Could be fun! though needs a bit of refinement as no teams would ever take rookies aboard anymore.

    2. The current FOM revenue distribution model means that Ferrari don’t have a financial incentive to put a more competitive driver in the second car. As long as they get their “longest standing team” skim of F1’s revenue and a Constructor’s Championship bonus they won’t care if the second car doesn’t have a chance of winning a race.

  14. In this month of December, all I can think of is that Kimi is Santa, in his red race suit trimmed with white.

    He’s happily gifted points (that he could have taken for himself) to the drivers ahead of him. And you can’t fault his generosity, because he also gave a healthy dollop of points to those behind him as well.

    There’s no point in having the fastest sleigh – what matters is the joy you bring – and Kimi did that in spades to all the drivers around him.

    He might be #11 in the driver ranking, but he’s #1 in the Santa ranking.

    In 2018, we’d like to see Kimi the Iceman, not Kimi the Santa? Can we F1 fans have that as our Christmas gift, pretty please?

  15. The only reason I’d place Raikkonen so high is that he has a signficant disadvantage no other driver on the grid (except maybe Vandoorne, and Wehrlein in a way) had in 2017. That big, invisible ‘NO. 2’ stamped on his car, overalls and helmet. And on his forehead, so he couldn’t forget even when he took his racing stuff off.

    Can’t be a good place to start from, and some lack of performance would be expected.

    1. I don’t totally agree. Though it’s clear that Ferrari favoured Vettel around the early-middle of the season, Raikkonen’s performance had already made it abundantly clear that Vettel was the one to back.

      If Raikkonen had secured a win, or even beaten Vettel a few times in the first 5 or 6 races, then Ferrari would have no cause to back Vettel over him at that stage.

      1. It wasn’t a new thing though… Vettel has been the obvious No. 1, ‘guy we hired to win the title’ at Ferrari since the start of 2015. Raikkonen knew exactly where he stood before the first wheel had been turned in 2017.

        1. I know it’s not a new thing, but each year is a clean slate. Assuming they have the same equipment (which, granted, might be a big assumption), the team will back whichever driver becomes clearly the best bet for the Championship. If Raikkonen and Vettel had swapped results before Monaco and Raikkonen was leading the WDC, 50 points ahead of Vettel, do you really think Ferrari would still have backed Vettel, to the detriment of the clear “best bet”?

          Of course, this is hyperbole and you can place safe money on Vettel being Ferrari’s best chance again next season, but IF Raikkonen has the better finishes early in the season, Ferrari would be mad to back the other driver.

    2. A Finnish problem it seems

  16. I would agree if cars were equal in Ferrari , that I doubt but have no proof . Strategy too plays a key factor and if you are N2 driver in a team , then your strategy is always in favor of N1 driver. As a Raikkonen fan , I agree he has lost his touch , especially one on one racing… Further, N2 driver does get a car designed for N1 driver, and is hard to setup to your specs.. Lets hope 2018 brings closer racing for the top 4 5 teams and enjoy some real dogfighting.

    1. You are absolutely right.
      I have proof though. If you look closely to some pictures of the Ferrari, you will clearly see the number seven on Kimi’s cars, while Vettel’s has the number five. Some people miss this, but it is there, I mean, honestly!

  17. Wehrlein, Massa, Grosjean and Magnussen got closer to their cars’ best than Raikkonen. I love the guy and hope he succeeds every single race but, come on! The frustration of Kimi fans is too high!

  18. Put a descent driver in the other Ferrari and Vettel’s championship hopes would look quite different. If Vettel had a Bottas, Sainz, Ocon or Perez in the other Ferrari- then things would look very different. One thing I have observed about Vettel over the years is he really doesn’t like pressure. RE Baku or several foul mouthed races in 2016.

    But of course we know that due to Ferrari’s “heritage/royalty payments”- whatever you want to call them- they couldn’t give a &%!# where they finish in the constructors. So long as they win the WDC their season is a success. I hope Ross will call their bluff so they are forced to field two competitive drivers.

  19. No doubt Ferrari leant in Vettel’s direction once it became clear which driver was their best bet for the championship.

    From Melbourne then?

    As Neil says above, Ferrari have leant towards Vettel since he signed for them, so I think this suggestion of them waiting until it’s clear which is fighting for the title is very generous.

    It’s obvious Raikkonen hasn’t been capable of a title fight in years and Ferrari (and everyone else) know that before a wheel is turned he isn’t in contention so they lean towards Vettel from Melbourne, which is logical.

    He’s no.2 at Ferrari and will be the again in March. Don’t let their PR talk fool you into thinking they are equal at any stage in the season.

    1. Same with Bottas tho

      1. Disagree. Bottas was in the title fight up until the summer break. Kimi was out of it waaaay before Monaco.

        1. The team bosses voted Raikkonen higher than Bottas, i’d agree with them.

    2. @deej92

      I mean it’s kind of obvious he’s a number 2 driver. Ferrari are the only team to have publicly announced how they are against a 2 rooster philosophy. They have clearly mentioned that they have a #1 driver and a #2 driver policy out in the public. They’ve had it for decades, so I don’t see why people would even argue that Kimi isn’t a #2 driver.

  20. I’ve been a fan of Kimi since his debut, but if I were to speculate, I’d say that he’s more a journeyman now. I suspect that he’s just extending his contract to raise money for his family. One can hardly blame him, but it doesn’t seem like he minds too much playing no. 2 to Vettel.

    1. 5 straight years with no wins would certainly qualify.

  21. Given the car Ferrari had, I’d put Raikkonen much lower than 11th. He’s really only there, surely, because he was driving one of the top two cars and managed to haul in some points. But against that, he never made any impression on the championship battle and, much worse, never seemed remotely interested in fighting for the title. Even Bottas briefly appeared like he might be in contention in the first batch of races. Then when Vettel quickly became the obvious Ferrari hope for the championship, Raikkonen did nothing really to take the battle to Hamilton and Mercedes. His decision to race for first corner with Verstappen and his team mate Vettel at Singapore also showed little interest in assisting the latter and may even be a major factor in the collision and a serious dent in Vettel’s title hopes. Ferrari are clearly okay with this lukewarm racing from their number two, though, so really they are to blame more than Raikkonen, who’s just doing the minimum asked of him.

    1. “Ferrari are clearly okay with this lukewarm racing from their number two, though, so really they are to blame more than Raikkonen, who’s just doing the minimum asked of him.”

      Exactly – we aren’t seeing Kimi at his best because Ferrari (or Vettel) won’t allow it. Rigged against Kimi.

      1. I wouldn’t say rigged because Kimi’s default nonchalance or lack of the same driving ambition as other fast drivers (Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Verstappen, Ricciardo maybe, etc.) means he’s ended up in this position. I think he just likes driving fast around a track, wherever he ends up at the end of the race. And that’s what Ferrari let him do.

  22. He’s lucky to be that high up.

  23. He hasn’t been helped by a 2017 car built to suit Vettel’s style of driving more than his. With its high rake, Ferrari’s car looked like a red painted red bull.

    1. Personally i think your giving him too much credit. He’s passed his best by a long way

  24. Really, 11th? I think he would still be in the top 6 if the circumstances were more fair.
    First, Kimi has had one hand tied behind his back from day 1 – Ferrari made it clear he was the number 2 driver and treats him as such.
    That’s the way it’s always been with Ferrari. Maasa was treated the same way with Alonso and Ruebens with Schuey. This affects a drivers psyche and Kimi is no exception.
    I don’t think it’s a coincidence Kimi is more often than not a victim of poor or questionable strategy, slower pit stops and cars that don’t handle as well as Vettel. Does anyone believe Vettel doesn’t get preferential treatment such as newer upgrades the same as he did at Red Bull with Webber?
    It isn’t a HAM versus BOT situation where the drivers are treated relatively equally. He is doing exactly what he is told to do.
    And Kimi is even tempered and doesn’t have meltdowns as in Baku and brain burps as in Singapore all but throwing away a WDC.
    Give the guy a break – he drives for Ferrari.

    2 more DNF’s than VET

  25. Get Ricciardo in that seat already! Time for Vettel to put his – you know what – on the line against a tougher team mate (Yeah i know 2014) I think 11th spot is perfect Keith

    1. I’d expect Vettel to walk out of Ferrari before they put a competitive driver in that seat. He just seems to be too much of prima Dona to endure another beating.

  26. There is one error in the description – Raikkonen went off in Canada because of a brake failure, not a driving error.

    Other than that, relatively fair, though I’d put him 7th or 8th. People would be saying many more positive things had he won the three races he would have done with better luck.

    He would probably have won in Azerbaijan had Bottas not thumped into him – given the circumstances that ensued to give Ricciardo the win. He would also have won in Monaco had Ferrari allowed him to stay out longer and had they not inserted him back into traffic – probably deliberately. And as already mentioned above, he would have won in Hungary had he been allowed to stay out longer for the overcut.

    He has generally been unlucky and he’s not as far behind Vettel as Bottas is behind Hamilton – and that’s in qualifying, where he’s usually weaker than in races.

  27. Alex Nicklisch
    13th December 2017, 3:29

    “…at least one of which he could have reasonably blamed his team mate for.”

    just as he could reasonably have been blamed by his team mate for that incident…

    in fact, if one does insist on assigning fault for the singapore crash, then that fault can reasonably be chalked up to kimi, which would then be a major blunder on kimi’s season given its significance for his teammate’s championship chances.

  28. Agree with his ranking, though possibly massa could’ve been just ahead of him, but overall I also agree with all the rankings so far, only 1 thing I would add here: you said “By that time his championship hopes were already over, though at the final round he was able to spare himself the ignominy of finishing behind Daniel Ricciardo in a much less competitive and reliable Red Bull.”

    I would add “not for good driving, as ricciardo was gonna finish that race in front of him and his reliability record was already bad, when he had another mechanical DNF”.

  29. Something about Ferrari and Raikonnen just does not work.

    Even when he made his comeback, he was mostly excellent at Lotus. The fans of both the team and the driver are being done a huge disservice by forcing this arrangement.

    Having said that I do think Kimi should just retire now and make way for LeClerc etc

  30. remember while he was with lotus, who can deliver what he did with lotus? Ferrari need to treat him equal as Vettel. give him a car suite his driving style.
    winning with lotus, winning in Australia is all down to him an the team.
    but when pirelli switch compound, lotus loss out to other cars big time.
    and even when lotus stop supporting kimi, he still beat Roman.

  31. Generous ranking. But how do you rank a driver who drives against an exceptional teammate? Kimi last what 4 years has Alonso and Vettel for company, between a rock and a hard place.

    Bottas is now in this situation, hard to judge.

  32. From where I’m sitting, Kimi has been on a decline ever since he won his championship in his maiden year with Ferrari. He seemed to lose all motivation to fight anymore after that. I find it incredibly frustrating that he still has a seat. He is so unexciting to watch.

  33. He will get shown up big time if the Renault engine’s any good. Red Bull will be out of sight, and the Renault four are all much hungrier than Kimi, now that Alonso, Vandoorne and Sainz are among them.

  34. Kimi has more people making excuses for him than anyone. Quite simply, he’s washed up at this point. He had entered Jenson Button territory, in that he has hung on too long. Just retire already.

  35. Should be next to Palmer.

  36. “Just tell him to give me the steering wheel. COME ON, give it to me!”

  37. Hulkenberg and Sainz over Kimi?
    Don’t tell that to us – Kimi knows what he’s doing.
    I visited Imola 2017 and the first and foremost signs around the track werer “Kimi for president”
    Kimi please don’t stop drinking, your only failures this year were due to tyres and accidents.
    I believe any open vote will place him number 3 IMHO.
    Forza, Kimi!

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