Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Shanghai International Circuit, 2018

2018 team mates battles: Vettel vs Raikkonen at Ferrari

2018 F1 season review

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Does Ferrari’s decision to drop Kimi Raikkonen say more about him, his incoming replacement – or his team mate?

After all Raikkonen performed more convincingly alongside Sebastian Vettel this year than he did last season. Each finished ahead of the other eight times, and Raikkonen’s share of Ferrari’s points total rose from less than 40% to 43.9%.

But perhaps that just serves to indicate Vattel’s points tally should have been higher. After all, he blitzed his team mate 17-4 in qualifying, but had Raikkonen’s car not broken down in the final race, Vettel would have ended the year with fewer podiums than his team mate.

Bringing Charles Leclerc on board for the 2019 F1 season is an atypical move for Ferrari, who tend to prefer a stable line-up of experienced drivers. Will Leclerc do to Vettel what Daniel Ricciardo famously did at Red Bull in 2014?

With the change, Ferrari runs the risk of losing the harmonious relationship it enjoyed between its drivers. Whenever he was asked Vettel, heaped praise on Raikkonen

But Vettel’s remark there was “no rush” to bring Leclerc in showed he was quite happy with the status quo. As well he might have been because even in a season which does not rank as one of Vettel’s best, he still held the upper hand.

Faced with the supreme challenge of defeating Lewis Hamilton at the peak of his powers, Vettel may not welcome the arrival of a hungry young charge in the garage next door. Next year’s contest at Ferrari will be riveting.

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Sebastian Vettel vs Kimi Raikkonen: 2018 Ferrari team mates performance comparison

Season scores

Who was ahead?

The table below shows at which races Vettel qualified or finished in front of Raikkonen:

Sebastian VettelQ

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Quotes: Dieter Rencken

2018 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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34 comments on “2018 team mates battles: Vettel vs Raikkonen at Ferrari”

  1. That swing between qualified ahead and finished ahead must be embarrassing to Vettel.

    1. indeed it goes totally against the trend for qualifying, a spin of fortunes in racing situations

      1. I didn’t expect to see a 50/50 on Finished Ahead; maybe time to adjust my full year ranking for Raikkonen.

        PS you win @johnmilk

        a spin of fortunes in racing situations

    2. Given that Raikkonnen wasn’t fighting with equal machinery for a big chunk of the year (running an old spec Powertrain for way longer than shout reasonably have been expected, due to the failures he had early in the season) and that he was subject to strategy calls that compromised see his races, I actually think think he did a better job than Vettel this year.

      1. 6 Ferrari cars on the grid, only Kimi had to run and old spec?

        1. The tinfoil is strong with this one.

      2. While what you said is debatable, there’s no question the difference in points between vettel and raikkonen is way too small when you expect the following:

        1) Vettel is a number 1 driver, raikkonen a number 2
        2) Vettel is at his peak, raikkonen 4 years beyond
        3) Raikkonen had many more mechanical problems and retirements through no fault of his own, whether it were his mechanics or unlucky crashes

        Vettel was simply faster than raikkonen most of the time, but the number of mistakes totally ruined that, just like verstappen vs ricciardo.

  2. With the change, Ferrari runs the risk of losing the harmonious relationship it enjoyed between its drivers. Whenever he was asked Vettel, heaped praise on Raikkonen

    It is a necessity for them, they need two drivers capable of applying constant pressure to the Mercedes. Yes they are gambling that Leclerc can be such driver in his second season, but what alternative did they have if it wasn’t him? Plus puts pressure on Vettel, having the upper hand for so long will eventually lead to complacency, I think it will do him good. For us is a win win situation, we either see Vettel charge for the tittle or a young promising driver delivering, what more do we want?

    But Vettel’s remark there was “no rush” to bring Leclerc in showed he was quite happy with the status quo.

    It is a trend to point fingers a Vettel and Ferrari, and certainly rightly so, but when it comes to the driver line-up people like to bring that quote out, conveniently forgetting what he said next, there is “no rush”, but when you are younger “you are always on a rush”. An argument could be made otherwise, both would be silly in my opinion

    1. Yes they are gambling that Leclerc can be such driver in his second season, but what alternative did they have if it wasn’t him?


      1. Yes, it seemed to me Ferrari arranged Raikkonen’s contract so its end coincided with Ricciardo’s contract ending at Red Bull. I don’t know why they didn’t follow through with their plan, but maybe they feared having a re-run of Red Bull’s Vettel – Ricciardo problems.
        Mind you, I thought Mercedes had put Bottas on a one year contract for the same reason, and again they too didn’t follow through either.

      2. Alonso, even better.

  3. Additional to that, Kimi has had 4 DNF none of which his fault, which translates to at least 50 points lost, whereas Vettel has enjoyed perfect reliability all season. So the actual Vettel-Kimi difference during the season is in the region of 20 points… Pretty embarassing for the No1 driver…

    1. Exactly, ferrari ran with 2 number 2 drivers, one due to his raw speed no longer being there at that age, the other due to mistakes, mercedes had a number 1 driver and that’s reflected in the points.

  4. In some races Kimi’s strategies made little to zero sense and he had more DNF’s than Vettel despite never putting a foot wrong in the races. So overall Kimi should’ve finished ahead in the points. A fantastic season from him, but it’s gonna be fun to see him in a wheel-to-wheel racing more often comes next season.

    1. @huhhii

      You’re right. If you add some of the points Kimi lost due to mechanical DNFs, the score board would look a whole lot different. 15 points in Bahrain, 12 points lost in Spain another (potentially) 12 to 15 points in Spa and 10 points in Abu Dhabi. He should have had 49 to 52 more points more. Which would put him at around 300 points, just 21 points short on Vettel.

      And as you mentioned, he got a lot of ‘wing man’ strategies and #2 driver treatment at Ferrari. If it was equal treatment within the Ferrari garage, I reckon he’d have beaten Vettel this season.

      1. Yes, I think he did very well considering he was the Number 2 driver.

        1. Ricciardo and Rosberg did well for a number 2, Bottas and Kimi are disasters.

          1. A number 2 driver who almost beats a number 1 is a disaster? I’d say the disaster is THAT number 1!

          2. @esploratore
            No, but thats not what i said either.

          3. @esploratore

            And regarding Vettel he needs to get his focus back or his chances are running out but thats another story.

  5. ”more about him, his incoming replacement – or his team mate?” – Difficult to choose.

    Overall, SV once again fared better out of the two albeit not so significantly this season than in the previous three.

  6. There’s a few drivers that need to step up next year or it could do some irreparable damage to their reputations – Ricciardo needs to convincingly beat Hulk, Bottas needs to at least stop letting other cars finish between himself and Lewis – But Seb has probably the most pressure… If Leclerc, a driver only in his 2nd full season (and first in a top-flight team), finishes anywhere near a 4-time champion with over a decade of F1 experience behind him, even his biggest supporters at Maranello will start to ask questions.

    I think, despite what Lewis and Toto like to say to the media, things are lining up for Lewis to equal Schumacher’s record in a red car… probably in his first season with them. What a fairy-tale that would be him, for Ferrrari and even Micheal’s legacy, I’d say.

    1. @joeypropane I think that if Hulk beats Ricciardo, it will improve his reputation more than it will harm the latter’s. Ricciardo has more than established himself as a very good driver; he beat Vettel comprehensively in 2014 (even if the latter struggled with his car), and has been a capable teammate to Max. He is obviously not as fast, but showed time and again that he is capable of at least following closely behind his teammate, if not matching him, and Max has risen to the status of one of the fastest drivers in the sport right now.

  7. I know it is unlikely, but I’m hoping to see Kimi on the Podium again in 2019.

    1. He won a last race, got a lot of podiums lately, he should be fine, however ofc a podium on sauber would be more special given how hard it is; with ferrari, red bull, mercedes a podium is an ordinary event.

    2. Sauber is a team that has been improving them most and I think with Kimi and all of his experience developing cars they will be battling for the upper midfield. If Perez can get the odd podium with Force India I don’t think it’s unrealistic for Raikkonen to it with Sauber.

  8. This season as much as anything prove that kimi no longer had the speed to stay with Ferrari.

    Sure he was a steady hand and brought the car home, not an undesirable trait but the fact is he rarely was capable of taking the fight to the mercs which is what the team needed.

    His delta to Vettel in qualifying was around 0.250 of second far worse than bottas to hamilton which was around 0.150. 5 of the 8 times he finished ahead of Vettel were the races in which Vettel had incidents.

    He showed flashes of brilliance but overall he was anonymous far to often this season and lacked consistent pace and that’s why Ferrari gave him the chop.

    1. Correction 7 of 8 races kimi beat Vettel were due to incidents. Only race kimi looked quicker than seb was Brazil and if I recall seb had to let kimi pass

      1. Australia race = raikkonen > vettel, only reason vettel won (vsc).

    2. When your number 1 driver performs at 70% of what’s expected by him and the number 2 driver performs at 85% of what’s expected by him, even though he’s still slightly worse than the number 1, perhaps you should look at replacing the number 1!

    3. @pantherjag Keep in mind while comparing the qualifying delta that: A) Kimi was never given the Spec 2 Ferrari engine that Vettel raced with from Canada to Hungary. Kimi had to race with the same Spec 1 engine from Spain til Hungary, because his Australia engine broke down in free practice in Spain and had to be replaced (just like in 2017, this season Ferrari chose not to give him the upgraded Spec 2 engine to avoid grid penalties), so he was at a disadvantage in during those qualifying sessions and races.
      B) Ferrari only gave Kimi fuel for the first half of Q3 in Spa, so while the track was improving and his team mate was out on the track for another lap, Kimi was filmed getting out of his Ferrari and shaking his head helplessly at his parked car in the garage. Without fuel for that second run, Kimi was out of the fight for pole in Belgium, so that delta shouldn’t be taken into account either.

      None of Kimi’s 4 DNFs were due to driving error, so the 8-8 in the 16 races where both Ferrari drivers finished the race is a very good result. As for Vettel letting Kimi pass in Brazil, that was because although Kimi was running ahead before the pitstop, Ferrari chose to pit Vettel first instead of giving preference to Kimi and that’s how Vettel got ahead of him. However, when it was clear that Kimi was the only one with a shot at the podium, Ferrari ordered Vettel to let him pass.

      Kimi’s 12 podiums in 17 races vs Vettel’s 12 podiums in 20 races speak of his consistency. His 3rd place in the WDC, only behind Hamilton & Vettel, was well deserved and proof of how much he fought despite mechanical/operational failures and questionable strategies.

      1. @adhyra

        A)…..From what Iv read their is ambiguity as to if Kimi git the upgraded engine in Canada or not. Auto sport reported he did where as a blog from will buxton says he didn’t.

        Regardless kimis speed trap figures from Canada to Hungary are similar to Sebs suggesting the improvements from spec 1 to 2 were negliable

        B)…..when calculating the delta I used the q2 times for spa which where pretty much identical

        1. A) You can trust Will Buxton’s report. Check the FIA website and you’ll find there the table with the elements of the PU used by each driver during each racing weekend and you’ll see that after the demise of his first ICE (Spec1) in FP in Spain, Kimi was given a new ICE (another Spec1) for the race (that sadly failed, provoking the DNF). Only in Spa he got his third and final ICE (the Spec 3), so that’s why he never got a grid penalty. In Canada Kimi got a new and final turbo (Spec2), but since he had to change that element in Spain as well, he had to complete the season with the Canada turbo instead of getting the Spec3 version introduced in Spa. So as you can see, from Canada onwards Kimi and Vettel never raced with equal PU elements again.
          B) Ok.

  9. Kimi finished closer in points to Seb compared to Bottas & Ricciardo to their respective teammates and that’s all while having more DNF’s than Seb.

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