The Question of Kimi


No passing through my dirty air please
There is no doubt that the 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen is a popular driver. His directness and monotone I don't care attitude is loved by a good majority of F1 fans the world over and that has maybe created this current elephant in the room. No one seems to be asking the question so I feel I have too, and believe me I'm bracing myself because I know passions will run high. Are we currently watching Kimi in decline or was he maybe not as good as we thought?

Due to the battle at the front in Canada it went under the radar that Raikkonen trundled into 10th out of 11 finishes almost a minute down. The biggest surprise about the result is that actually its not a surprise, its kind of how Kimi's season has been going. His season seems to have been full of half collisions, untapped speed and funny little spins when he loses the back end through slow corners at the oddest time. Whilst we keep hearing about how difficult the Ferrari is its fair to say we haven't seen Fernando Alonso doing the same thing. After 7 races Kimi is 51 points behind Alonso (over 2 race wins) and this was billed as the closest team mate pairing of the season.

The question I have to ask is though should we be shocked that Kimi is so far behind, has he really been in top consistent form prior to going to Ferrari? Well the answer to that is a simple no because in their last 7 races together Grosjean beat him 5-2. You do have to take into account his back problems and fall out with the team but lets be honest even the wreckless Grosjean of 2012 was pushing him more than we all expected. So is it just a simple question that Kimi has not been as good as the great Kimi of his 'first' career?

There is no doubt how brilliant the Kimi of 2003 was or the fact that but for a Mclaren seemingly made of chocolate he'd have streaked to the championship in 2005 but when he moved to Ferrari things become a bit murky. Whilst the history books will record that 2007 was his title year we all know that the performances of Kimi Raikkonen will not be whats talked about when the 2007 championship is discussed. In fact it won't even rank in the top 5 of things talked about.

Which brings us to a main sticking point on Kimi's greatness argument - a driver by the name of Felipe Massa. Whilst Kimi beat Massa in 2007 I think a few will be surprised how close they were and lets not forget Massa handed Kimi the win for his title. Massa won hands down in 2008 and was certainly on his way to doing the same in 2009 before his accident. Kimi appeared lack luster and it was only when Massa was injured and Kimi became the sole focus of the team that he seemed to blossem again. By that time the damage was done and he was dropped by Ferrari as we all know. But it was all time to recover right? Sure enough he was back in 2012 and he seemed his old self again seemingly putting in great performances for the Enstone team. Meanwhile Massa was being shown up at Ferrari by Alonso and pretty much had everyone saying he wasn't the same driver as before his crash and shouldn't be in a Ferrari. Which is where now stands the issue we have to look at.

7 races in Kimi is in a worse place compared to Alonso than Massa was this time last year. So does that mean we were all being very harsh on Massa or does it mean we were all over rating Kimi? Is Kimi's current form a driver in decline or maybe, just maybe, Massa has always been his standard anyway and we've all been rating Kimi far higher than he should be because he is so popular.

I'd like to think its a decline or a bad patch as I don't see anything of that driver from 2003 I want too and would love to see it again but I can't help but look at the facts and think maybe Raikkonen was not up there with the Hamiltons and Alonsos like we thought.

Over to you guys to give thoughts and I realise I'll need a tin hat for this one.
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Like I said elsewhere:
It should be quite easy to compare Raikkonen en Massa to each other, after all they've been in the same team for 2½ years.
During that time: Raikkonen 203 points Massa 213. Raikkonen 8 wins, Massa 9. Raikkonen 5 poles, Massa 12. Quali: 20 Raikkonen, 25 Massa.
The difference is that Raikkonen won the WDC with one point, while Massa lost it with one.

Based on that I'm not surprised that Raikkonen isn't close to Alonso. I'm just surprised that he's doing so much worse at Ferrari at the moment than Massa did the last three years.

I agree with you that Raikkonen was not in the league with Hamilton and Alonso.
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Tin foil hat... a tin foil hat. RasputinLives

Tin foil hat is conspiray theories(ahh those heady 606 days). A tin hat is when you expect things thrown at you.

I know Kimi has a big followimg so was kind of expecting big shouts of NO!!!!! But it appears most people are on the same page as me even if they weren't reading it out loud.
I did expect Alonso to beat him, I guess that means I thought Alonso was better... The thing is Raikkonen could have been a triple world champion if '03 and 05' went his way!
I always said that Kimi was going to have trouble at Ferrari and wanted him to stay where he was. When you are the "new boy in town" going against a long-term driver on any team, the first year (at least) will be problematic. The chances are that the car has been tailored more to the driver they are most familiar with as they already know what he likes.

Then there is always the matter of palace intrigues and Ferrari is a notorius hotbed of politics and behind-the-scenes maneuvering. And Alonso has shown himself to be rather adept at politics and maneuvering. The big question will be: how will Kimi look in a second season at the Red Menace team, assuming he gets a second season.

I would also say that, given their ages, it is highly likely that Kimi, Alonso and Button are all declining.
Points haven't shown the true picture.

I know you are quick to knock him down, but in Malaysia he was looking good until he got tagged by someone and got a puncture. Bahrain he was faster than Alonso but fell foul to the lead driver pit stop rule. Spain he was a victim of the strategy favouring Alonso despite being ahead. Monaco he was on for a podium until the clash with Chilton.

His race pace has been equal to Alonso's throughout this season, but whoever leads before the first stop usually wins, and when Raikkonen's been in that position other factors have affected him.

Grosjean was nowhere near him in 2012 bar a few races.

As for Massa handing the title to Raikkonen is simply not true. I re-watched the 2007 Brazilian grand prix again, and Raikkonen was fueled heavier than Massa and stuck to him, and jumped him in the stops, the commentators where quick to point out that Massa was also trying his hardest to beat Raikkonen and tried to get the fastest lap too.

When the two where paired together, Raikkonen lost out on more wins out of his control than Massa did, add to that, in 2007 he scored the most wins and most points in 2007 despite reliability issues. 2008 he lost several points from Monaco to Valencia outside of his control, 3 possible wins and 2 podiums. 2009 the second half of the season was phenomenal in a car that hadn't been developed since Massa's accident, and before then despite Massa being ahead, Raikkonen had several mechanical retirements and was the one pushing for the win at Monaco.

Up against Alonso it's not looking great at the moment, and he has looked at sea in some races, Australia, China and Canada, other than that he's been with Alonso despite several mechanical gremlins on his side, the results just haven't been there.

As for him being nearly a minute down is not actually true since he was a couple of seconds behind Magnussen until the last lap when the safety car came out.

Hopefully it turns around, and we see Ferrari challenging for the win and an actual fight between the two, the car right now is just shocking.
Lets face it Alonso isn't exactly having the season of his life either In Monaco he was completely anonymous in fourth place and he didn't exactly shine in Canada I think the team as a whole are failing not just Kimi it isn't mentioned as much but they are in a similar situation as McLaren, just not good enough considering their respective budgets at least McLaren seem to have some sort of plan whereas Ferrari are just a complete mess.

Also who is outshining whom at RedBull at the moment...?
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Slyboogy I don't disagree with any of your points really - other than I guess I meant Grosjean pushed him in quali in 2012 - but it all seems to be a story on constant repeat for Kimi. There is always seems to be some reason that he's not performed and I'm just suggesting maybe he never reaches that point of performance because he's rated higher than he is.

Points may not tell the story but points are the name of the game and what the sport is about. If you ain't scoring them nothing you do means diddly.

Mephistopheles I agree that Alonso is not having the season of his life which is why its all the more worrying Kimi is so far down.
Räikkönen should never have returned to Ferrari. He was awesome with McLaren, but he never really felt comfortable with the Italian team. After a decent 2007 season, 2008 started well for him, but then suddenly he lost interest and faded badly. His performance at the end of 2009, when he was the first driver, was indeed stunning. Lotus used the same trick in 2012 and it really paid off, but when the team hit financial troubles, it all went wrong and Räikkönen faded badly again.

This year Räikkönen's driving style doesn't seem compatible with the turbo engines. Based on his years at McLaren it is fair to say that Räikkönen and Coulthard were closely matched when the car was bad (early 2004), but Räikkönen clearly got the upper hand when the car was capable of winning races. Alonso, however, is quite the opposite: he completely blew away Massa when the car was slow and hard to drive (early 2012), but when the car got better, Massa's relative performance improved.

This year the Ferrari clearly has a bad (inefficient) engine, which holds them down. I don't agree that Alonso is not having a good season. He's done the best he can (his 3rd place in China was a truly great performance and even in Monaco he managed not to wreck his car with his brakes failing at one side) and as Räikkönen has also been unlucky, the gap between the two drivers is huge.

Maybe we only get to see the "true" Räikkönen when he can fight for victories again, but it may take something like a decade for Ferrari to sort out all their problems I fear.
Alonso is Alonso. He is just a little further down the order than usual because Ferrari.

Raikkonen is massively underperforming here.

There have been some worrying signs since he left McLaren - Massa getting relatively close, those days in 2012/13 when he and Grosjean pulled up to the back of Vettel/Hamilton but couldn't get past...

But I don't think this pudding is proven quite yet.
I have always found Kimi's demeanour rather tiresome and that hasn't changed since his return to F1. Going back to Ferrari was never going to work but I suppose the pay cheque was just too great and, as we know, Kimi is very motivated by money, until he gets in the car it would appear. This years cars don't suit his style and he is struggling to adapt. I suspect he will be gone by the end of the year, if not before.
Raikkonen seems to need the car to be a perfect match for him, if it is then he can be blindingly fast. Unfortunately this season the car has not suited him, look how much time he lost over the feel of the steering and his seating position.
I wanted him to do well and challeneg Alonso so I am disapointed in him so far but it is still quite early in the season, the car is a dog and you would expect him to take a wee while to settle in to the feel of a new team, new design, engines, brakes etc etc. I'll reserve judgement till the end of the year. But if he does not start pushing Alonso (wherever they are on the grid) I can't see Ferarri paying him mega bucks in the hope it gets beter...they will get in someone younger to fill in when Alonso does eventually move out.
Well you'd have said Jules Bianchi with him being Ferrari youth and all that but he's being beaten by Max Chilton this year so obviously that means Max is favourite for the seat ;)

In all honesty I can't see Ferrari getting rid of Kimi after one year (unless Vettel is suddenly avalible) so I think however well or bad tge rest of the season goes Kimi will be there next year. As long as he wants to be of course. If he has 2 bad years I can see him not getting a third.

Thats a lot of ifs and buts though and right now my main pondering is what Kimi is struggling so much with on the car and why it seems to be only his issue. We have seen a lot of strange spins from him in places we wouldn't expect and at times we wouldn't expect. Its all a bit odd.
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