Kimi Raikkonen: Championship Contender
Kimi Raikkonen: Championship Contender
BY ANDY YOUNG – AUGUST 21, 2012
When Michael Schumacher returned to the sport in 2010, he did so with the aim of winning races and securing himself yet another World Drivers’ Championship. However, three seasons into his return, and Schumacher has only just managed to return to the podium, let alone challenge for victories.
When Kimi Raikkonen announced plans to return to Formula 1 with Lotus, many wondered whether the Finn would encounter a similar difficulty in returning to his memorable and once dominant heights. The cool laid back ‘Iceman’ suffered a dodgy start to the season in Australia, qualifying a lowly 18th on his return in comparison to his team-mate Romain Grosjean’s illustrious 3rd on the grid. However, come race day and Kimi Raikkonen rose to the challenge that awaited him perfectly. Whilst Grosjean retired on the opening lap, Raikkonen rose steadily through the field to finish 7th.
Kimi Raikkonen proceeded his finish within the points once again next time out in Malaysia, before suffering from a miscalculation of the Pirelli tyres in China and finishing a lowly 14th. However, the Finn bounced back in dominant fashion in Bahrain with his first podium since the 2009 Italian Grand Prix, only three seconds behind eventual race winner Sebastian Vettel.
The Finn continued his competitiveness when the Formula 1 fraternity moved on to the Circuit de Catalunya for the Spanish Grand Prix, where Kimi Raikkonen once again finished on the podium behind winner Pastor Maldonado and Fernando Alonso. With five races already gone, Kimi Raikkonen had finished every single race so far and finished in the points in all but one race. This consistency was already beginning to raise eyebrows within the paddock, with the Finn clearly having not lost any of his competitiveness when he was away. Raikkonen could well surprise many towards the end of this season.
Kimi Raikkonen continued his consistency throughout the next two races in Monaco and Canada, albeit finishing only 9th and 8th respectively. The Finn returned to the podium once again at the frenetic European Grand Prix. As the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton suffered rare retirements, Kimi Raikkonen capitalized with 2nd ahead of Michael Schumacher in 3rd.
Although Kimi Raikkonen could only manage 5th at the British Grand Prix, this still moved the Finn into the top five in the Drivers’ Championship, only 9 points behind the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton. When the Briton suffered an embarrassingly uncompetitive German Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen once again capitalized with another podium finish. This moved the Finn above Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship, with Alonso, Vettel and Webber next on the ‘Iceman’s’ radar.
Kimi Raikkonen then finished on the podium yet again in Hungary, however Lewis Hamilton took the victory and therefore was able to move ahead of the Lotus driver in the Drivers’ Championship with only one point separating the two. The Finn came agonizingly close to snatching the victory away from Hamilton, however 2nd place was all he could manage on a circuit notoriously difficult to overtake on.
Kimi Raikkonen is currently the most successful Finnish driver in history of the sport in terms of points, podiums and race victories, and is arguably a Championship contender this season. With Lotus currently experimenting with their own rendition the Double-DRS device, which is reported to offer their cars a speed boost even when the DRS flap is closed, both Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean could well spark surprises through the latter half of this unique season.
Picture Copyright © Pirelli & Octane Photographic
Tem sido um belo retorno. Mais incrível do que eu poderia sonhar e que tem me deixado cada dia mais orgulhosa de ser torcedora deste finlandês.