At the start of the 2017 Formula 1 season, it was apparent that Mercedes and Ferrari were similar to each other in terms of performance and that meant that 4 drivers could be in it for the title fight.
We’re now more than halfway into the season and it is rather clear that Kimi Raikkonen once again does not pose a title challenge and is supposed to aid Sebastian Vettel in his title fight. However, his opposite number Valtteri Bottas has put a couple of poles and wins together to bring himself into the hunt for the world championship.
To be fair to the veteran Finnish driver, he has had his share of bad luck this season be it unfortunate collisions or strategic errors by his team.
But the question remains : Is it bad luck or is Kimi Raikkonen just inconsistent?
Photo : Zak Mauger – LAT Images
This is what he thinks.
Kimi Raikkonen admits that his results in 2017 so far have been poor but do not reflect his true pace.
“Personally, I’m not happy with the results”, he said. “I want to win races, I want to be up there all the time and that hasn’t been the case this year too often.
“I know when things are correct and there are quite a few things that happened and you pay the price for it. Driving-wise, I have the speed, so I’m not worried about that. It’s about putting things in correct places.”
This is what I think.
I really do I believe that Kimi Raikkonen still has the qualifying and race pace to beat anyone *on his day.
Photo : Charles Coates – LAT Images
I think that he is way too comfortable now at the end of his career to play second fiddle to Sebastian Vettel. Kimi Raikkonen is more than happy to help Vettel to his fifth world championship title.
Sure he’s motivated. Like all Formula 1 drivers are. But is he ruthless and utterly selfish enough to be world champion material right now? I don’t think so.
He doesn’t overtake like he used to, he seems to drop off the race pace erratically, and it’s clear now that he’s under orders.
This is the situation he is in. Vettel is the golden boy, and Ferrari is the golden team. Winning a world championship with Vettel is Ferrari’s priority.
Historically, Ferrari isn’t known for giving their young drivers a chance and throwing them in at the deep end either. So, Leclerc or Giovinazzi at Ferrari in 2018? Very unlikely.
So in a weird way, Kimi is still the perfect fit. He hates politics, he looks content with what he has. It all just fits perfectly into Ferrari’s plans.
So the bottom line is this.
Unless Vettel and the Mercedes cars have issues that make a Kimi win inevitable, he won’t win. Unless he has an utterly dominant weekend out of nowhere, he won’t win.
*A Kimi Raikkonen win now comes with conditions applied.
Feature image : Sutton Images
– Aditya Bhat.