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Is Raikkonen worth the risk?

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Andrew Benson | 18:36 UK time, Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Kimi Raikkonen's return to Formula 1 next season creates a field with as much depth of talent as any in the history of the sport.

Six world champions will be on the grid at the start of 2012, with a total of 14 titles between them.

There are also multiple race-winners in Mark Webber and Felipe Massa, plus what I believe are certain future winners in Paul di Resta and Nico Rosberg.

But while Raikkonen's return will add another fascinating thread to an already rich tapestry, will Lotus get the driver they think they are getting?

KImi

Kimi Raikkonen left Ferarri and Formula One in 2009 to pursue a career in the World Rally Championship. PHOTO: Getty

There is no doubt that Raikkonen at his best would be a powerful addition to almost any F1 team, but can the 32-year-old reach again the sort of heights that led to victories such as that at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2005, when the Finn claimed victory for McLaren in arguably the greatest race in Formula 1 history?

Having battled up through the field from 17th on the grid, Raikkonen won with a stunningly audacious move at the start of the final lap, overtaking Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella around the outside at 160mph going into the first corner.

Although Raikkonen would go on to win the world title in 2007, the race in Japan was in many ways the pinnacle of his career. He was certainly never as consistently great again as he had been in 2005.

By the end of the 2005 season, it was widely known Raikkonen had signed a contract to move to Ferrari in 2007 as a replacement for Michael Schumacher.

Raikkonen was expected to take over the role of team leader, with Felipe Massa a dutiful number two, but the Finn's performance fell short of what was expected.

His low-key personality was always going to make it difficult to dominate a team in the way Schumacher did - or Fernando Alonso has done at Ferrari in the last two years - but more of a surprise was Massa's ability to match him on the track.

Raikkonen did take the title in his first year at Ferrari - but it was a somewhat fluky win.

Firstly, title rivals McLaren went into meltdown after the partnership between Alonso and rising star Lewis Hamilton soured.

Secondly, Ferrari engineered the victory Raikkonen needed in the decisive final race in Brazil by swapping positions on the track with Massa, who was dominating.

Having won the title, many thought Raikkonen might step up a level in 2008, but Massa became the de facto team leader. This was not what Ferrari expected of Raikkonen, whom they paid a reputed $50m a year, the highest salary in the history of F1.

Midway through 2009, they'd had enough and decided to terminate his contract a year before it ran out. After paying Raikkonen at least a full year's retainer not to drive for them in 2010, Ferrari took on Alonso in his place, despite not knowing whether Massa would make a full recovery from an accident in Hungary that left him with a fractured skull and forced him to miss the rest of the season.

The difference between the relative performances of Alonso and Raikkonen at Ferrari could barely be more stark. Whereas Raikkonen had been evenly matched with Massa, Alonso has destroyed the Brazilian in the last two seasons.

So many questions arise from this comparison.

Was Raikkonen never as good as some thought he was and Alonso simply in a different league? Has Massa been affected by his accident in 2009 in a way neither he nor Ferrari are either aware of or will admit?

Was Raikkonen increasingly demotivated at Ferrari and therefore performing under-par? Was his legendary 'partying' affecting his driving? (There is a famous YouTube film of him falling off the roof of a boat with a drink in his hand and landing on the deck on his head)

Has Massa been unable to cope alongside the dominant personality of Alonso, but was able to give his best alongside Raikkonen, a man who paid no attention to 'working the team' and simply believed his job was to get in the car and drive?

So damaged had Raikkonen's reputation been by events at Ferrari in the last five years that any return to F1, after a humbling couple of years in world rallying, was never going to be with a top team.

There are too many other good drivers out there, without Raikkonen's baggage, for that to happen. So Raikkonen finds himself in a midfield team struggling to rebuild itself and a long way from finding the form that took Alonso to his two titles in 2005-6.

In theory, Raikkonen could be just what Lotus need. If he returns fully committed, as he says he will, with a raised tolerance of all the things he grew to detest about F1 - the media and PR work - he could be a valuable addition.

But will that motivation remain once the reality of midfield life hits him, when he realises just how much of a struggle he is in for, how far away he is from the top teams where he used to reside?

And will he really help the team progress? On that subject, there's a joke doing the rounds. It's set in the Lotus engineering office at a race some time in 2012. It goes like this: "How was the car, Kimi?" "Good." "How was the car, Vitaly [Petrov]?" "Good." "OK. Debrief over."

On the other hand, put yourself in the shoes of Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez and team boss Eric Boullier. Robert Kubica, who any team would want if he was fit, is still months away from being able to drive an F1 car again - and may never be able to do so.

Having ruled out Rubens Barrichello because there are too many questions about his age - he is now 39 - and motivation, your driver choices are Petrov, Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean. Good, solid drivers all - and Senna, particularly, has shown these last few races that he has potential.

But then you remember Suzuka 2005 and other great drives. You remember Raikkonen's championship challenges in 2003 and 2005; his clinical, error-free consistency; how he was always at his best on the great 'drivers' circuits'; the way he grabbed victory by the throat in Belgium in 2009, the only race that year where Ferrari had any chance of a win.

You remember that great drivers just make things happen and you think what Raikkonen could do in your car, how much of a difference he could make.

Then it becomes easier to see why you might take the risk.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Strikes me as a big mistake. Ferrari paid Raikkonen NOT to drive for them for a good reason. He clearly didn't want to be driving an F1 car and would much rather be eating ice cream as per Malaysia 2009. No driver can get back into an F1 car after a break like this and be competitive, not even Schumacher managed it and Raikkonen wasn't competitive when he last got out of it. He's just a big name to please the sponsors and won't last 5 races before a "mutual departure" gets announced. If Lotus want to keep sponsors happy, how can the Senna name in a black and gold Lotus fail to let them down (especially in the team that used to be Toleman). Bruno must be the first relation of a former driver to drive for two of the previous generations former teams simultaneously (Ayrton drove for Toleman and Lotus)

  • Comment number 2.

    Sorry Andrew, but your are bang out of order to suggest Raikkonens world championship was as you put it, 'a fluky win'.

    Surely then Hamiltons championship was just as 'Fluky', never mind Vettel's first.

    There is no questionning Raikkonens ability and his championship win was, if anything, overdue.

    Let's stop overthinking why things didnt work for him at Ferrari, other cars were just quicker than him whilst he was there. Hence why a Ferrari hasnt won the championship since Raikkonen in 2007.

    I dont hear people questionning Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton.

  • Comment number 3.

    Considering Raikkonen was in one of the most unreliable cars (at McLaren) in an era when 60/70% of the finished the race I'd say you are wrong with. He would have won in 2005 in a reliable car and maybe even 2003 if he one or two more things went his way. To say his career is a 'less-than-flattering perspective' with Alonso is not fair and shows the typical small minded Benson article bias. Has Kimi ever been outperformed by someone who was as inexperienced as Hamilton for a whole season? Look at his teammates in comparison to Alonso. DC, Montoya and Massa (pre crash) against Trulli, Fisichella, Massa (post crash).

  • Comment number 4.

    Andrew Benson | 18:36 UK time, Wednesday, 30 November 2011

    "Kimi Raikkonen's return to Formula 1 next season creates a field with as much depth of talent as any in the history of the sport.

    Six world champions will be on the grid at the start of 2012, with a total of 14 titles between them.

    There are also multiple race-winners in Mark Webber and Felipe Massa, plus what I believe are certain future winners in Paul di Resta and Nico Rosberg."


    Absolute tabloidesque tosh as you'd expect from the bbc.

    "World champions" as measure of talent? Out of the six, Kimi Schumacher and Button are bringing down the overall talent of the grid rather than enhancing it. Kimi in particular was outperformed by Massa for his last 2 seasons.

    Multiple winners Webber & Massa who have been thrashed 2 years running by Alonso & Vettel.

    Finally Rosberg yes has proven to be cream of the crop and as good as it gets but Di Resta in the same sentence? Don't make me laugh. The very best rookies have been matching or beating teammates from year one, Di Resta has been comprehensively beaten by Sutil this season and most likely would be out of the sport for good if it wasn't for the Mercedes backing.



    .

  • Comment number 5.

    Kimi's talent for driving a formula 1 car is unrivalled if the car is quick enough for him, his aggression and superb overtaking ability is unquestionable. But Lotus Renault went backwards this year after a positive opening race. If they can improve next year I can't see them fighting for wins, maybe the odd podium if circumstance permits, but I think 5th-10th will be Kimi's aims to begin with. I definitely thinK Kimi made a good decision to choose Lotus Renault over Williams, who are struggling, though the arrival of Renault engines may see that change, though they lack driver ability in Pastor/Rubens... Or whoever they announce. I disagree in what is said about Kimis ability to lead a team, something I feel hed did at Mclaren during a difficult 2004 and certainly the following season, in which he should have been world champion. Given the tools he can do the job, without a shadow of a doubt.

  • Comment number 6.

    P.s apologies for no paragraphs, wrote this on my phone!

  • Comment number 7.

    Predictable anti-Kimi rant from the Alonso worshipping Benson. Remind me... who was the last driver to win a WDC at Ferrari? Fluky? maybe but Kimi could easily have won in 03 and 05 too. And as soon as Massa got injured, Kimi began to look like a great driver again.. what could explain that? Maybe something to do with Ferrari always favoring on e driver over the other?

  • Comment number 8.

    .
    THEY NEVER COME BACK !!

    . . . heard the saying from the boxing ring??. . applies to F1 racing as well. Ask Schumacher, he'll tell you the truth. Going through the motion now, but the hunger and incentive that spur you on isn't there any more !!

  • Comment number 9.

    I'll tell ya, if that debrief thing is what passes for a joke I worry about F1's sense of humour lol

  • Comment number 10.

    @Nibs I'm not entirely sure where you think you can get off being such a troll but hey, freedom of speech and all that. Don't know how you can say that Button brings down the quality of the field after the season he just had, if he had driven like that in his championship season he probably would have won the title with half a dozen races to go.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    By the way andrew that joke about the debrief comes from a guy who cant figure out why his tires do not work properly in relation to his teammate and took the best part of a season to figure out his starts.

  • Comment number 13.

    It could be a big mistake - I think Kimi was just a "best of the rest" during the Schumacher years, and then he got the best car in 2007 and won the title more because of the McLaren in-fighting than anything else. Hamilton and Alonso were easily the best on the grid that year and brought an aerodynamically inferior McLaren up to and above the level of the Ferrari in the hands of the "good but not great" Kimi and Massa.

    He'll bring some publicity and maybe sponsorship to the newly re-badged Lotus Renault team, but if Kubica comes back at some point and manages to reach the level he's capable of he'll make Kimi look a bit silly. If he's lucky, he'll only have Petrov as his direct comparison in the team which will help make him look good.

    The novelty of having six world champs on the grid will soon wear off when it becomes apparent that two of them (Kimi and Schumi) aren't actually as good as they once appeared to be.....

  • Comment number 14.

    @lordsnap,which race of hamilton's was affected by the "infighting"?

  • Comment number 15.

    Räikkönen (not Raikkonen - why do the BBC keep mis-spelling his name?) deserved the title in 2005, and got it in 2007 when perhaps one of the McLaren drivers deserved it more. Fair enough.

    I can't explain what happened to him in 2008. It does seem likely that his motivation was lacking, as he had already won the championship. That poses a question about why he signed for Lotus Renault, who aren't likely to have a front-running car next year. But he's not an idiot; he knows what he's getting into. Perhaps his time away from F1 has renewed his hunger for it. That will be revealed next year. In the meantime, he's the only person who knows what his motivation is like, so what's the point in speculating?

    I'm looking forward to his return, and I have no idea how it is going to go. That's exciting.

  • Comment number 16.

    Dear Andrew,
    Please keep up the pro-Alonso comments...

  • Comment number 17.

    "Was Raikkonen never as good as some thought he was and Alonso simply in a different league?"

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes, simple as

  • Comment number 18.

    With testing being so limited any driver out of the sport for a couple of years faces a mountain to climb.

    There is the comparison to Schumacher, but the key difference with Raikkonen, I believe that Kimi will have the single lap pace.

    That's what has done for Schumacher, the single lap pace is no longer there, whether it will ever return is debatable. I watched Michael for years, and I see little difference with him now to his pomp with Ferrari; some decent overtakes, a bit of wheel banging and the determination to defend his position. The actual change is those amazing sequences of laps (Hungary 1998), he can no longer produce. Many of his best drives and most memorable wins actually stemmed from his own errors, for example Canada in 1998 where he collided with Frentzen and incurred a stop/go penalty. His errors receive more attention now because his pace is not enough to claw back lost time.

    Anyway back to Raikkonen, If he is delivered a car, and his single lap pace is there, by the middle of the season he can be a challenger for good points and podiums. Can you say the same of Grosjean, Senna and Petrov? Raikkonen was shocking in 2009 but in all fairness so was the Ferrari, I think to judge him by a poor season in a poor handling car is a little harsh. For all sorts of reasons, drivers have bad years, look at Hamilton and Massa this year. If I was Boullier, I would go with Raikkonen and Senna all day long. Its a good blend for sponsors and of experience and potential.

  • Comment number 19.

    Kimi is always viewed rather critically, and a little unfairly I reckon. Kimi has a massive fan base for the obvious reasons. Fast,flash and really doesn't give a monkeys of what people think and I really respect that.
    What I find unfair is everytime Kimi is brought up.. its always the motivation factor. I'm sorry but do you know the man? do you know what he does? and he always get it right in the neck. People didn't question Lewis's motivation this season did they? yet If Kimi had a season like Lewis it would be his Motivation is gone etc..its shocking. If he has "Low motivaiton" like in 2009 when he blew the field away at Spa in 2009 and finished 6th in Brazil after having his front wing broke and set alight, then I would like to see what a "motivated" Kimi can do in 2012 with Lotus.
    6 world champions on the grid for 2012 in the sports history. Its going to be a epic.

    18.3.2012 THE ICEMAN COMETH AGAIN..

  • Comment number 20.

    How was Raikkonen's title "flukey?"

    Hamilton had only 1 mechanical error in that year, Alonso 3, and Raikkonen 7. He suffered similarly in 2003 & 2005. He could very easily have been a triple champion.

  • Comment number 21.

    Sorry, I stopped reading at "fluky win"

    Are you serious? As if Kovalinen didn't effectively play number 2 to Hamilton the following year when he similarly scraped the championship! What absolute nonsense.

    Kimi Raikonnen deserved the title that year - the McLaren was overall the fastest car that year yet Raikonnen never gave up and won more races than either Alonso or Hamilton that year.

    How you can claim to be a decent F1 journalist and yet describe Raikonnen's championship win as "fluky" is beyond me.

  • Comment number 22.

    LOL Know any world champions that are not worth the risk, when you have others who struggle to make some points. I think the lower order need a shake up and more enthusiastic and talented drivers need to be filling those seats and not just the team banks!

  • Comment number 23.

    Mark Rodgers must be a younger man than me! I seem to remember Niki Lauda was no slouch when he returned!

  • Comment number 24.

    I think you're doing Kimi a massive disservice with regard to his 2007 win. Don't forget that he had to pump in the perfomances at the end of the season to overhaul the McLarens and did exactly what he needed to. I don't think anyone doubts that 2005 was his peak, but he was still operating at a very high level in his title-winning year. McLaren did throw it away that year, due to their failure to back Alonso over Hamilton (I truly believe that if Alonso had been given preference, rather than Hamilton, he would have delivered them the title).

    His 2009 win at Spa proved that whilst not as consistent as before, the talent is still there. If Räikkönen is switched on and Lotus can provide a half decent car, then they could be the surprise package of the season. Of all the options available to Lotus in Kubica's absence (Petrov, Senna, Grosjean) not one of them can hold a candle to Räikkönen. Of course there is the risk of the whole thing not working out, but with the options otherwise available, he's well worth the risk. I personally hope we performances near the Kimi of old. Whether he can perform to those levels is far too early to tell.

  • Comment number 25.

    Sorry Mark about the typo with your name,that was slack of me.

  • Comment number 26.

    Räikkönen's 2007 champiosnhip win was not fluky.. he won in by winning the final 2 races worth 20 points, when he was 17 points behind Hamilton. Remember that he had a pre-crash Massa as a competitive team mate and had more mechanical failures than the other championship contenders, yet he won the most races, totally deserved. Hamilton's 2008 F1 Championship win could be considered more "fluky", as Massa won more races, but I think that Lewis was the best driver that season. Schumacher was still doing well when he quit, and since his return, I still rate him as one of the best on the grid, performances in Spa and Canada this year proves that. Kimi will be in an uncompetetive car, but if he can pull out the performances, a potential future seat at Red Bull in 2013 if Webber leaves could be an option. Kimi is a very quick driver and has the 3rd highest fastest laps in F1 history.

  • Comment number 27.

    Yawn .... the blog I expected in every way.

    Kimi - titles won at Ferrari - 1
    Alonso - titles won at Ferrari - ZERO

    And that despite Alonso having Massa publically made into his whipping boy half way through last season!

  • Comment number 28.

    Can't quite understand how people say his championship win was flukey, or am I missing the point? The 2007 Mclaren was a far better car, yet Hamilton + Alonso's pettiness(mainly Alonso) and incompetence to get along as a team cost them badly

  • Comment number 29.

    Well I found the blog fair and well written. Each to their own.

    Personally I have never rated Kimi, but the man is his own worst enemy. He does nothing to get people to like or warm to him. Now in some jobs that wouldn't matter, you could indeed respect it in a way. But in F1, establishing a fan base is an important part of what you are paid to do, whether you like it or not.

    My guess is that unless Lotus(Renault) have heavily geared his (doubtless very high) salary to payment by results, they will live to regret it. On the other hand, they may see Kimi as a high-profile stop-gap until Kubica returns. On balance, probably a risk worth taking for both of them - a flawed driver, with a currently flawed team.

  • Comment number 30.

    Kimi coming back is brilliant!
    Andrew, your comments are a bit unflattering.

    If McLaren Merc had given him a reliable car he would probably be a three time champion by now. Japan, as you say, superb, but what about Silverstone after a ten place grid penalty (for another Merc engine failure)

    Ferrari, title in his first year (yes with a bit of "help" from Massa & McLaren) in not the best car. Second year, Massa stepped his game up to Kimi's level. Then Kimi produces amazing performances, after Massa's demise, in what was basically a very poor car (witness Massa's Depts failure to qualify it off the back row) Ferrari realised this at the end.

    His relationship with the "press" is probably based on his not needing his ego (what there is of one) boosting by those not directly involved in making the car go faster. Oh & him not liking bullshit.

    So, please Renault/Lotus give him a decent car & he will drive the wheels off it for you.
    He may not dominate & lead a team by force of personality ala Schumacher/Alonso but give him a capable car & his speed will do that for him/you.

    Yes, I am a huge fan, welcome back "iceman"
    Pity I will only be able to read about the season in Autosport. No to $ky.

  • Comment number 31.

    Nibs @ 4.

    I tend to agree with much of what you have said but I would take issue over the Di Resta view.

    Sutil has had 4 seasons or so in F1 and no way has he dominated di Resta this year and that is to the Scots credit. Very little in the way of F1 apart from extensive McLaren simulator work and he led the way in the Force India team this year while Sutil struggled big time to get on top of the Pirelli's.

    With this season behind him they would be well matched next year although I'm not sure Sutil has the stomach for it and maybe his money will get him in at Williams.

    For a first season di Resta has done well given the limitations of a Force India. Unfair to diss him over a first season. They can't all be Lewis and have a McLaren and a World Champion for a teamate in their first year!

    As for Kimi. Love to see him do well. Comebacks are normally not on and a lot will depend on Lotus giving him something to get near the fron in. Whether they can do that and sustain it is the big question. I sense a disappointment on all fronts, but maybe the right decision on the basis Kubica is still the big hope for the team.....and the sport.

  • Comment number 32.

    @SCL,How dare you question andrew's credentials?Didn't you read that joke about the debrief? That itself is pulitzer prize winning material..

  • Comment number 33.

    @telnolies,so you think kimi has no fanbase?you frankly have no clue do you?

  • Comment number 34.

    #33 Is English your first language?

    Just if it is and you bothered to read (AND understand) my comment I didn't say he had no fan base, just that he does nothing to promote one.

  • Comment number 35.

    There's no doubt that Raikkonen is an awesome talent. Despite clear inconsistency, when he had the bit between his teeth he was (in raw pace) as fast as anyone I've seen (ask Schumacher pre-retirement).

    Massa massively stepped up his game to come to terms with this and deserves credit for improving to the extent where he, as well as Kimi, was trading blows with Alonso and Hamilton in comparable cars 2007-2008.

    Comparing Kimi and Alonso's Ferari performance is tricky. Andrew hits the nail on the head talking about Kimi's unassuming personality. While Alonso is a dominant personality and clearly calls the shots at Ferrari (as Vettel has done at Red Bull this season to previously competitive Webber's detriment), Kimi was not bothered with politics/influence and just wanted to drive.

    In short, Alonso has everything put in his favour and Kimi-Massa had a fair fight that could ebb-and-flow depending on who was on form (much like Button-Hamilton).

  • Comment number 36.

    @telnolies,explain the similarities between "establish" and "promote".Oh and add another 'l' in telnolies..

  • Comment number 37.

    @telnolies,explain the similarities between "establishing a fanbase" and "promoting a fanbase".Oh and add another 'l' in telnolies..

  • Comment number 38.

    Andrew, looks like there are plenty of people who disagree with some of your comments - perhaps an indication as to how popular Mr. Raikkonen still is and so surely there must be something good about his driving.

    I think the move to Ferrari didn't work out for many reasons. I know from my own perspective that I don't work well when my predecessor is ever present and watching - something Kimi had to tolerate continually throughout his time there.

    He still had some great drives there and certainly looked like the 'old' Kimi when Massa had his accident and gained the full support of the team.

    Watching back his time at Sauber, McLaren and parts of Ferrari reminds you of how naturally talented a driver he really is. I personally think that is definitely worth Lotus hiring him. It is up to them to pair him with someone who will help to develop the car over the two seasons so that he can produce some of the storming drives we came to expect in his earlier career.

    It is a gamble for both Kimi and the team, but I think that it has great potential to be a great move all round.

    And if you want to question his motivation, then as someone said above, I didn't see him ever as unfocused and distracted as Hamilton has been at times this season.

  • Comment number 39.

    #37 'explain the similarities between "establishing a fanbase" and "promoting a fanbase"'

    I am not here to teach you rudimentary English, you should have asked your teacher when you were at school - assuming you aren't still at school of course, in which case there may still be hope for you ;-)

    Oh all right, as you insist. To 'establish something' is to make it happen, be it involuntary or otherwise. To 'promote something' is to endeavour to make it so, whether successfully or otherwise. Now, do you need any help with your maths before bedtime?

  • Comment number 40.

    Kimi Raikkonen is and will always be my favourite F1 driver so I may be biased in my post but I am able to admit that.

    2003, 2005 and 2007 were the three seasons that involved his championship battles. Only reliability prevented him from being a three champion.

    Raikkonen probably deserved the 2003 title the most, his engine failure while leading at the Nurburgring without a doubt cost him the championship, and McLaren probably had only the third best car since it was the 2002 model. But Kimi drove remarkably throughout and to finish only two points behind Michael Schumacher was a great achievement.

    2005, again reliability was an issue but McLaren had arguably the best car in that season. Not sure if Kimi wouldn't beaten Alonso if reliability had prevailed for McLaren but it would've been much much closer. The thing I'll remember Kimi for that season though is his qualifying lap in Monza. Nearly 2 tenths quicker than his teammate AND carried considerably more fuel. Definitely not short of raw pace.

    2007, now at Ferrari but the reliability issues still remained. McLaren now have the outstanding reliability but they got badly carried away in their internal battle and threw it away. Raikkonen had two races in that season where he lost podium places due to reliability and had to really dig deep to stay in the battle. No matter what Jacques Villeneuve or anyone else says, to say Raikkonen didn't deserve the championship that year is wrong.

    Is he worth the risk? Of course he's worth the risk. Extremely happy he's come back and he's given me a reason to watch F1 next season.

  • Comment number 41.

    In 2008, Kimi was not given the right tools to work with - the car was not suitable for driving. Kimi himself said that he had a car not suited to his driving for two years (2007-08). He is not the one who makes fuss like Hamilton and Alonso and so it appears that he is not motivated. Perhaps he is just in a different league when compared to those two? (using the words of Mr. Benson). And by the way in 2009, he got podiums with a car that was not even amongst the top-3.

    Andrew Benson as usual always has this thing to glorify Alonso, the best driver the world ever saw (or according to some obscure paddock sources), in his every article. He goes to the extent saying that perhaps Raikkonen is not in the same league as Alonso maybe? Why does this question arise? Only because Alonso has 2 titles? Kimi could have had three if he had same reliability and new car in 2005 and 2003, respectively. Is the reason for glorifying Alonso because he beat Massa after his accident? How conveniently he forgets that this Massa is not the same after the accident. He is fighting with Rosberg sometimes this season, and that says a lot about his lost eminence from 2008 days where he was competing with Hamilton for championship. So either way it is not known Alonso is in a different league of Kimi. He is in a different league as a person as we know Alonso cannot tolerate competition within the team. Anyway that is not the point Mr. Benson wants to talk about.

    On one hand he calls Kimi's win fluky, but the same when Hamilton won due to Kovi's assistance or Alonso due to Fisi's or his attempt last year with Massa's assistance is not even considered. In fact he supported Alonso to the hilt during that big uproar by fans -- how much devoted can one be to a driver? Again selective bias!

    Demotivation is then shown some silly ice-cream issue where it was already known Kimi could not race (# 1 included). So what does the world want him to do? He should not have an ice-cream if he is not able to race? Do they expect them to show a brooding face like the showmaster Alonso does to cameras?

    Andrew Benson keep the worship of Alonso going ...you make yourself more silly.

    These days journos have become almost without any logic whatsoever. James Allen in his blog says Kimi is coming back for money. As if all other drivers are driving for charity or for pure love of sport.

    When someone writes an article, they fail to some out of the cocoon of their thinking and miss the big picture devoid of any bias. After all the journos are also average humans, just lucky to have a job at the right place!

  • Comment number 42.

    What a load of pointless drivel. Mrs Benson still has her knickers in a twist because Kimi destroyed Lewis in 2007. BBC is clearly letting their standards down. Kimi's speed and commitment should never be questioned. Just because he doesn't waste his time fishing for brownie points from the media, doesn't make him any less of champion. How many of the current 6 world champions have won theirs in a new team in their 1st year?

  • Comment number 43.

    Utter nonsense. One of the worst articles I have ever seen on the BBC.
    Raikkonen's flukey win? You mean when there were actually 3 other drivers with a car capable of winning the championship as opposed to the last 3 years when the winning driver has simply had to beat his teammate due to a massive car advantage.
    As I recall Ferrari and McLaren were equally matched that year and it was a proper fight for the title.
    Yes 2008 was not Raikkonen's best year but he was generally faster than Massa in the races, his problem was getting the heat into the tyres for qualifying. He also managed some amazing results in 2009 including winning at Spa whilst his team mate who was a F3000 Champion was last. Moreover, all drivers have off seasons. Hamilton this year, Alonso himself in 2007 when he struggled to adapt from the Michelins to Bridgestones. How many seasons has Button been beaten by his team mate? Ralf? Fisichella? Trulli? Barrichello in 2008? Hamilton 2010?

    Oh, and Di Resta has had a decent season but he is hardly the messiah! The best drivers beat or match their team mates in their first season. Eg Senna, Prost, Piquet, Schumi, Raikkonen, Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel.

  • Comment number 44.

    Aha nice explanation and I was right . Kimi has established a fanbase but has not promoted it. I only had fault with your first comment . Do you know anything about calculus by the way?

  • Comment number 45.

    #44... actually, I'm ashamed to admit I do :-(((((

    And technically, we are to be fair both right. Kimi does nothing to get people to like him, as in 'for the purpose of', but some of what he does makes some people like him. So, it rather depends on how you read it when you say 'Kimi does nothing to make people like him'. It can mean he does nothing for that purpose - which is what I meant, and true - or does nothing with that effect, which is what you are arguing against, and in that you are correct.

    English is sooooo difficult isn't it ;-)

  • Comment number 46.

    @matt-stone
    Quote: "THEY NEVER COME BACK !!

    . . . heard the saying from the boxing ring??. . applies to F1 racing as well. Ask Schumacher, he'll tell you the truth. Going through the motion now, but the hunger and incentive that spur you on isn't there any more !!"

    First Schumacher has past his peak (age wise), secondly he's in a really average car. Raikonnen is at his peak in terms of experience and he's still young enough to win reflex wise. Interestingly, he has a huge passion for Rally car and so does Renaults previous top driver Kubica.

    The 2 years out of F1 will have re-energized the Finn's passion for F1. I don't expect him to be the Kimi we saw at Ferrari, but more the Kimi we saw at Mclaren when he was a real battler.

    It will take him 1/2 a season to really get on top of the car. But it all depends on the car that Renault produce, if it's a flop he can't really be blamed unless he gets dominated by his team mate, whoever that may be. (Probably Petrov)

  • Comment number 47.

    "@matt-stone
    Quote: "THEY NEVER COME BACK !!"

    There are numerous occasions in the past when they actually came back. One example: Kim Clijsters. Of course there are examples to the contrary also. Anyway it proves the point that there is no evidence that this may not work out.

  • Comment number 48.

    Mr Benson,
    I think this is the weakest piece of analysis I have read in a long time. For instance, more than half of your work is a rehash of the past and doesn't add anything to other 'non-analytical' news pieces.
    Have you heard previous team chefs talking about Raikkonen? Perhaps you need to talk to some people in the know and hear what they say about Kimi's level of technical expertise and technical feedback.
    The Ferrari in 2009 was such a dog to drive that Schumacher turned it down. Then two other drivers tried it out and didn't even qualify near the top-ten. Despite this, Kimi dragged it to a win in Belgium.
    Fluky? Really? have you thought about Schumacher 03, Hamilton 08, and Vettel 10? Please get your facts right. Its embarrassing.

    Please get your facts right.

  • Comment number 49.

    #47 Since I've had to justify my use of English, do please explain how the example of Clijsters (well done if you spelt that right, I'm just copying you...) 'proves the point that there is no evidence that this may not work out' !!

    At best it is some evidence it might methinks!

  • Comment number 50.

    Beware of the Kimibots, Andrew. Even James Allen is afraid of them- don't you dare to say anything even remotely negative about precious Kimi.

    Newest rumours: Kimi has bought himself into the Lotus team and made sure he will get Nr. 1 treatment, of course. Whats that supposed to be? F1 going Nascar?

  • Comment number 51.

    # 49: you got the point. There is no evidence about Kimi's come back not working. Tell me if is there any? Past instances of some others will not count as evidence for this event, will it? Hence proved :-). We will only know next year so until then you cannot say anything.

    For everyone:
    How come Kimi got #9 in the entry list? Is it the team's choice? If the other driver who has already participated in 2011 gets the second seat of Renault, should he not get the priority of lower number? Anyway his number is a single digit even after 2 year hiatus.

  • Comment number 52.

    # 50: If only they did not put some bias in their writing -- then what to be afraid of?

  • Comment number 53.

    @blackmaddona,no its raikkonen learning from alonso..

  • Comment number 54.

    #51 Lord, does nobody here speak English.... ;-)

    'There is no evidence about Kimi's come back not working. Tell me if is there any?'

    Yes there is some.

    'Past instances of some others will not count as evidence for this event, will it? '
    Yes it will. It is evidence. How valuable is a matter of opinion.

    'Hence proved :-)'
    I lost track of what on earth you were trying to prove by this point, but since you haven't proved anything I can safely contradict you....

    'We will only know next year so until then you cannot say anything.'
    Well, seems to me I can say whatever I want actually.....

    B---, must try harder....

  • Comment number 55.

    Paul Di Resta a future winner. This nationalilistic view of our drivers is almost sickening. Lewis is quick but inconsistent. Jenson consistent but not quick enough. Any top rookie in the sport has been able to match their team mate paul hasnt done that, to my mind he is another jenson, smart anbd calm. But to suggest he is a future winner is ridiclous. He has been out performed by his team mate ( not a future winner in your eyes) and for some reason Mr Mallya wants him out in the cold for doing a very good job.
    On Kimi when he fancies it he is peerless but their are too many days when he seems to lumber around content with whatever place he finds humself in rather than pushing the car. I also think he will struggle with the tyres the same way Lewis has. There is also bringing sponsorship he has no personality why would anyone want to attach their brand to a man that is monotonous and monosyllabic at best.

  • Comment number 56.

    @addidazzler,probably because he has more fans than vettel and lewis combined..

  • Comment number 57.

    #56.... hmmm... about that help with your maths I promised... ;-)

  • Comment number 58.

    @telnolies, start counting with your fingers and you will see that I am proven right..start in asia by the way ...that I think would be more than enough..

  • Comment number 59.

    I wouldn't say Raikonnen's 2007 win was flukey. He did well to come back in the championship and take the title, although Hamilton was unlucky with that gearbox problem. Raikonnen was unlucky in other championship years when he drove well, as was Hamilton in 2007 and Alonso in 2010, when Ferrari screwed up his strategy in the last race. Formula 1 is about fine margins. The worst title miss for me is still Mansell's blown tyre in '86. Don't agree with above comments on Hamilton being inconsistent. This is the first season where he hasn't been outstanding, yet two of his race wins this year were at a level that most drivers don't reach. Button has been fantastic this year, with fast, consistent and clean performances. Looking forward to next year with 6 world champions on the grid!

  • Comment number 60.

    #58 - I did exactly as you suggested, and came out as 8 each, or 10 including thumbs, so seems you're wrong, it's a dead heat......

  • Comment number 61.

    @27

    ???????

    Alonso has not won a championship because he has a poor excuse for a car!! Kimi won in 2007 because McLaren weren't brave enough to back one driver, not because the Ferrari, or Kimi were good enough to win that year.

    People moan about the pro-Button/Alonso blogs here but some comments are truly ridiculous!!

    Fernando Alonso has outperformed that Ferrari for 2 years now, how the hell can you say otherwise????

  • Comment number 62.

    The iceman is one of my favourite drivers since i started watching F1, and even i can admit that his last couple of years at Ferrari left me disapointed.

    However, when on form, he would simply light up the track. His mclaren in 05 was the fastest of the field, albeit fragile (i seem to recall the merc engine capable over 20,000 rpm, was stated as the highest of the field!) and in his hands was a perfect match. His overtake in the last lap in Japan that year had me leaping from my seat. He was (very) fast, fearless and despite his lack of personality on camera, came away with belters in some interviews (see youtube video where he gives a pretty honest response to brundle in his gridwalk in brazil 06).

    If he does return in a similar manner in which he left F1, then my disapointment will only continue.
    But, if he finds a form reminiscent of his years before that (regardless of his cars performance) he will be simply awesome to watch.

    For me personally . . . definately worth the risk!

  • Comment number 63.

    The question was Is Raikkonen worth the risk? End of the 2012 season it will be answered. In my opinion probably one of the most natural talents in a car, a match for Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel and Kubica in pure speed, just needs a competetive and reliable car as they all do.

  • Comment number 64.

    i fail to see how barrichellos motivation is questionable, given how desperate he is to stay in F1, so to question kimis is just laughable i'm afraid. as far as driving fast is concerned, that's kimis only motivation. lets just hope he has the patience for the "out of car" activities.

  • Comment number 65.

    This article is way out of line.

    All of this "lost his form/motivation" gibberish is just that. Gibberish. It's all based on pointless speculation by so called "journalists" out of which no one particularly likes Kimi probably because Kimi doesn't care about them or what they want or think. Instead of speculation let's look at some facts.

    Let's talk about 2007 for a minute. His championship win was fluky? And someone here said his car was actually better than the McLaren? Let's get that out of the way first. In performance the McLaren and Ferrari were almost equal but the McLaren had better reliability. All of Kimi's retirements in 2007 (2) were mechanical or technical. Lewis' one retirement was driver error and Alonso's one retirement was aquaplaning.

    So Kimi had 2 mechanical retirements in 2007 vs one for both Alonso and Hamilton which already gives the McLaren drivers an advantage in points.

    Now let's look at driver performance. After the US GP Kimi was on the podium in every single race for the rest of the season except in Germany where he was on his way to a 3rd place finish before he had a mechanical failure. Infact during the entire season Kimi only finished outside of the podium 3 times not counting the 2 DNFs. Both Alonso and Hamilton finished outside the podium 4 times not counting his 1 DNF. Kimi had 6 wins while Alonso and Hamilton both had 4 during the season.

    Kimi clearly performed better than the McLaren drivers during the entire season. The only reason the points were that close was because of the mechanical problems of the Ferrari.

    Now let's move on to 2008. Kimi was still leading the championship after the Turkish GP by 7 points. Then Ferrari changed the car to be more understeery to suit Massa's driving style better because the guy couldn't keep it on the track in Malaysia. They simply backed the wrong horse. Even with a car that wouldn't turn Kimi still had races where he would have gotten great results.

    In Canada before the first pit stop Kimi was easily the fastest car on track and would have exited the pits first to take the lead of the race when Hamilton decided to ram him in the pit lane. Then the next race in France Kimi was utterly dominating the entire race until his exhaust failed and he lost power which gifted the win to Massa. Then there was the Belgian GP where Kimi again dominated until late in the race when the rain came and he had that epic fight with Lewis at the end of which he aquaplaned into the barrier. Ironic thing is that at the end of that lap he was going to come into the pits for intermediates and he would have won that race because Hamilton stayed on grooves and he would have gotten penalised anyway. There was also the Chinese GP where Kimi gave the 2nd place to Massa to help him with the championship but still Massa wasn't able to win it.

    Like I said they backed the wrong horse. Something which never would have happened had Jean Todt still been managing the team. If Ferrari hadn't changed the car Kimi would have been a strong contender for the title. There was never any drop in form or motivation to race.

    Now let's look at 2009. After Massa's accident in quali in Hungary when Ferrari was forced to stop pampering to him Kimi immediately took the reigns and took a 2nd place finish in that race. Infact including Hungary Kimi immediately went on to a string of races during the late summer where he scored the most points out of anyone in the field including the Brawn and Red Bull drivers. Including his win at Spa. This in a car that had received no updates since Hungary.

    The truth of the matter is that Santander bought Kimi out. Kimi had the option of driving with Ferrari in 2010 but saw no point to it. Santander wanted their golden boy Alonso driving a Ferrari so they bought him out. Ferrari didn't do it, Santander did.

    Funny thing is that since then Massa has not achieved anything and has been at the mercy of Alonso who has completely subjugated him. The thing about Massa is that he has always been mentally weak. Quick in qualifying but only decent in races except at a few tracks like Bahrain, Turkey and Brazil. The fact that allowed him to compete with Kimi was that Kimi didn't care about in-team politics and mind games. He simply drove his car and didn't care about being number one driver. When Alonso came into the team he immediately established his dominance because he's a primadonna and it destroyed Massa.

    Is it a coinsidence that after Todt left the team started pampering to Massa? Is it a coinsidence that the first car Ferrari designed that wasn't a direct descendant of the Brawn designed 2006 car was a complete dog? Since Domenicali started running things Ferrari made a series of horrible decisions which hurt them and made Kimi look bad. In fact the only one who gained from those decisions was Massa who looked good for one season but failed to take advantage. There's a reason Kimi is still the last person to win a DWC in a Ferrari in F1. Massa failed, Alonso failed.

  • Comment number 66.

    @Nadaliator alonso is in the ferrari...how could he possibly "outperfom" it? Did his nose grow so long that it crossed the finish line before the front wing...@telnolies please teach this guy english

  • Comment number 67.

    oh, and @39 telnolies...
    erm...but kimis fanbase has been established, whether voluntarily or not, as proven by this comments section. your turn.

  • Comment number 68.

    #66... Oh dear, how to judge between two failing students.....

    Once again, I'm forced to find in favour of both of you. Standup, your wonderfully literal interpretation of our language is correct - Alonso finished no higher in the points than did his car....

    Yet he did finish higher in the points than his car, with a typical driver, would have been expected to do.... so Nada isn't exactly wrong either. I will let both of you off a detention this time, but will be watching your future work closely... ;-)

  • Comment number 69.

    I've noticed there are several comparisons to Schumacher with his comeback, but there really shouldnt be for 3 reasons

    1. He's 10 years younger the Schumy
    2. He's been in regular competition for the last 2 years
    3. He's not recovering from a brocken neck.

    I could add that Schumy was passed his best before the end of 06 as well, but I'm not sure if how much people would agree with me on that.

    As for loosing his interest in 09, it only really happened in the last few races when he knew he was out of a drive and Ferrari had let everybody else develop past them whilst they concentrated on the 2010 car, so he only had a chance for small points anyway.

  • Comment number 70.

    ignore that...just seen posts 44 and 45. i'll get my coat

  • Comment number 71.

    #67 Erm - thank you for agreeing with my post at #45 where I make the same point and illustrate the different potential meanings of my original comment ;-)

  • Comment number 72.

    Ignore that, just seen your post at #70. Do me a favour and get mine while you're at it lol!

  • Comment number 73.

    @telnolies " yet he did finish higher in the points than his car" you lost me there mate ..

  • Comment number 74.

    #73 - the trick is in reading the rest of the sentence ;-)

  • Comment number 75.

    Am a huge fan of Kimi. Loved his driving in the early part of the decade and (as has been pointed out by several people) only reliability cost him 2 world championships. The 2007 was payback for those. But it was not "fluky". Can someone explain to me how you can fluke an entire season? You can fluke a race win (just about) but not an entire season against the cream of the crop. His final 2 races of 2007 were sensational.

    Oh and who can forget his classic "i was just taking a sh*t" comment after one of the races.

    Kimi = legend

    I will be glad to see him back, even if its in an inferior car.

  • Comment number 76.

    @telnolies leave it ,I probably do need detention...

  • Comment number 77.

    @74...no...the trick is in reading the rest of the comments before posting lol

  • Comment number 78.

    #76 Perhaps, but I found you an entertaining pupil with good potential for improvement ;-)

    A good night to you, as sadly my calculus lecture for tomorrow isn't going to write itself....

  • Comment number 79.

    #77 Ah, now there you have it!!!

  • Comment number 80.

    :Raikkonen did take the title in his first year at Ferrari - but it was a somewhat fluky win."

    I think Andrew forgot to talk about other fluxy champions, here are some

    2008 Hamilton - Toyato screwed up Glock tyre strategy
    2010 Vettel - Petrov did'nt let Alonso pass, or Red bull did'nt support Webber enough.
    2011 Vettel- Red Bull made his car too fast...
    2009 Button - something with the diffuser, I forget..

    and the list can go on.... Bottom line is Raikkonnen is a worthy 2007,he won it fair and square like any other champions

  • Comment number 81.

    jonmar -

    As stated earlier in the thread I rate Kimi very highly and think Andrew could have balanced his article better in relation to the Alonso comparison, but think you're doing a disservice to Massa. I particular the "one good season" comment.

    Kimi and Massa had 2.5 seasons together (which in most cases allows for a fair comparison over time). In 2007 Massa and Kimi were nip-and-tuck and both strongly in the title race, and Massa was ahead of Kimi in the championship at Monza when his engine failure (while he was leading Kim iin the race) effectively prompted Ferrari to put all eggs in in Kimi basket, which turned out to be the right decision. Kimi was awesome in the run in. Massa helped Kimi to the title in Brazil but fair's fair.

    In 2008 there's no doubt who was the better performer. You can't cite certain races when Kimi had his measure but I can also remember Valencia for example when Massa was a World apart in pace and pitted first (pre-refuelling) to come out ahead of Kimi.

    In 2009 we all agree the Ferrari was a complete dog but Massa had got some strong results too and had double Kimi's points before the accident.

    BTW - I rate Kimi. I suppose my point is based on a reminder of Massa's previous quality pre-accident and a plea for fairness to him rather than to denigrate a derved WDC Kimi's achievements.

  • Comment number 82.

    @80, vaishak77, in 2008, Toyta did not screw up Glock's tyre strategy, on the contary they took a gamble and didn't change Timo's tyres and their gamble payed off. If they changed his tyres early he would have been way down the field and no where near Hamilton. Get your facts right before you start claiming Hamilton's win in 2008 was fluky.

  • Comment number 83.

    I have to say I do agree with much of what this article says, and to be honest, I don't see why everyone is complaining about it so much and saying that 'its predictable' and 'backs Alonso', if you don't like it, just don't read it and don't waist time complaining about something that many others have enjoyed reading. I think someone like Andrew Benson, who probably knows a lot more about F1 than many people who have commented, has carefully thought through his argument and ensures it provides a non-biased view of the situation, summing up both sides of the argument, and alowing the reader to come to their own conclusion

  • Comment number 84.

    @83 - We're not complaining, we're expressing our views. If nobody did that, then what would be the point of this article?

    Even if I don't agree with certain points in this particular article of Andrew Benson's, I still respect his opinions.

  • Comment number 85.

    @lotuslamborghiniV12

    You're right. Perhaps I wasn't very fair to Massa in my post earlier. I'll admit that I've long had a strong disliking to him but that goes back to 2006 or so. He's always seemed weak and easy to intimidate to me and every time something goes wrong for him in a race he always blames the car or other drivers. Whereas other drivers like Webber and Kimi will just tell it like is. If they sucked, they will say it.

    In 2009 Massa did do well in points compared to Kimi. But I do believe that the team was strongly working the car to suit him better. After Massa was out for the season and the team was forced to back Kimi 100% Kimi put in performances that Massa never reached during 2009 when he was healthy and and had the upper hand. And remember the car was never updated after Hungary.

    Also in previous seasons, 2007 and 2008 Kimi's biggest problem when he was struggling was qualifying. He had a lot of problems getting heat into his tyres quickly where as Massa didn't. This is where Massa had the edge. Massa always qualified well. Even in 2008 when things were at their worst for Kimi he could put in the fastest lap of the race. I think he had the most fastest laps during that season. He did have the pace during the races but his qualifying problems set him back too much to recover. In 2009 however Kimi was able to close the gap to Massa in qualifying somewhat.

    I get defensive about it when the media and people talk about Kimi's "lack of motivation" as if it's a fact when it was always just speculation. Truth is that none of the people who write about him know anything about his motivation and Kimi himself has on many occasions said that his motivation was never the problem. It was mostly the tyres and qualifying and in 2008 a very understeery car.

    Interestingly when Ferrari changed the car back to a more oversteery handling at the end of the 2008 season Kimi immediately started performing to his old standards again finishing the season with three 3rd place finishes. One of which would have been a 2nd place but he gave his spot to Massa as Massa had done in Brazil the year before.

    All this talk about his motivation started in 2008 when he was struggling during the middle of the season but still finished 3rd in points. What I'd like to know is where is the talk about Hamilton's motivation? He has had his worst ever year in F1 losing to his team mate in points quite badly and finishing only in 5th in points, only 9 points ahead of Massa.

  • Comment number 86.

    It will probaly take Kimi a couple of races to get back into Formula One but after that he will resume is usual brillant self.

    I can't believe people are doubting a Formula One world champion. Button's had bad seasons, Hamilton's had bad seasons, Alonso's had bad seasons, Schumacher's had bad seasons, Senna had bad seasons. Everyone will have a bad season once in a while. Kimi's were in 2008 and 2009 but lets be honest, Ferrari haven't helped him have they?

  • Comment number 87.

    6 world champions on the grid bla bla bla
    pity I cant watch it without paying millions of my hard earned pounds to sky sports

  • Comment number 88.

    @85, jonmar

    actually Kimi's 'lack of motivation' has come from his youth before he came to F1. His team use to say that he would go and sleep in between Qualifing sessions and then go out and get pole. So there has been a history of his lack of motivation.

  • Comment number 89.

    This is a pretty poor blog, you should really do your research before you write something like this.

    Kimi a fluky champion?
    In 2005 his McLaren failed him far too often, he had brilliant pace and could have won the Championship, had the Renault not been far more consistent. In 2007, once again, his car never seemed to go the distance, but he pulled out some brilliant wins and deservedly won the Championship even if McLaren should have.

    As to comments about his motivation, remember Spa 2009? The Ferrari was poor throughout the year but he lit up the field when he could. I think his time in rallying has made Kimi realise he loved F1 even when he wasn't winning, so he'll give everything he can to the Lotus team (hopefully with Senna by his side).

    I'm delighted Kimi is back, another world champion who will bring something invaluable to Lotus. Oh, and you have to love his attitude.

  • Comment number 90.

    @Gopr

    "in 2008, Toyta did not screw up Glock's tyre strategy, on the contary they took a gamble and didn't change Timo's tyres and their gamble payed off. If they changed his tyres early he would have been way down the field and no where near Hamilton. Get your facts right before you start claiming Hamilton's win in 2008 was fluky."

    I'll start by saying I agree with everything you said. However many people often say that Kimi's title win in 2007 was lucky because Hamilton botched the 2 final races. However if that's true, then it must also be true that Hamilton's title win in 2008 was lucky because Massa botched the 2 first races of the season. Both drivers lost points and the other guy won the title. By this logic everyone who ever won a Formula 1 championship in a close fight finishing the season only a few points ahead of their rival won it by luck and it was "fluky".

    For the record I don't think Hamilton's title was fluky. Neither was Kimi's. However if someone considers Kimi's title fluky, they also must consider Hamilton's title as fluky or they are a hypocrite.

  • Comment number 91.

    @jonmar

    fair enough

  • Comment number 92.

    "fluky win"...?

    In the same way that every win in every race in every championship is "fluky" in that the driver in question just happens to driving the fastest* car during the race?

    [*that which reaches the checkered flag in the shortest time]


    NO driver has to be the best, he just has to beat the rest - cf. Vettel's slim but decisive lead during most this year's races.

    The thing I remember from Kimi's time, especially at Ferrari, is that he worked (and drove) hard only when he had a chance of success - and then he showed his greatness - but if it was just another day at the office, he pootled around until the race was over.

    Maybe his time away from F1 has shown him how (un)lucky he was to have his talent recognised at so young an age...

  • Comment number 93.

    To say that Kimi's 2007 title win was a fluke is great diservice to a World Champion.
    At the end of the day the man with the most points was Kimi after the last race, therefore he won it fair and square.
    Kimi should have also have won the title in 2005, he was by far the best driver, with the fastest and unfortunately the most unreliable car. And dont forget he had a team mate in Montoya who seemed to always throw away positions when kimi was unfortunate and thus gifting more points to Alonso.
    F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and for me its about the being the fastest man to the chequered flag. Alonso spent most of the 2005 season happy to accept second place and not risk trying to win!! Not in the spirit of the sport in my opinion.

    I personally cant wait to see Kimi back in F1, it hasnt been the same without him. i dont care for the press conferences, the tv interviews, the sponsorship and the politics of F1. i just want to see a man get in the car and drive the nuts off it, and there is no one better than Kimi to do this.
    A great example of this is Monaco 2005 qualifying - Alonso just put a lap on pole 0.5 seconds faster, only to see it obliterated by Kimi by a further 0.5 seconds.

    Looking forward to more of the same from Kimi!!

  • Comment number 94.

    Kini's championship is "fluky"...

    Obviously Benson's still smarting from his beloved Lewis blowing it in the face of unflinching competition from someone more experienced, more consistent and just simply faster that year.

    Let it go, Andrew. Then again, your credibility as a "serious" F1 journalist is at the same level as the BBC's credibility as a "serious F1 broadcaster", so why bother trying to be objective - just continue unfairly maligning all of Lewis' rivals in your unfathomable attempt to prove Lewis is just the bestest, fastest most wonderfullest driver in the history of the world, ever.

    I suppose we should just be grateful that you took time out from running Hamilton's fan club to put crayon to paper and scribble this tosh - always good for a laugh.

  • Comment number 95.

    The blog is pretty poor!! Seems to gloss over Hamiltons poor form this season, not being able to deal with his off track issues, which are all of his own making. Just get in the car and drive and stop moaning!!!

    Kimi was never comfotable in Ferrari, the team was still influenced by Schumacher, and the loss of Jean Todt, one of Kimi's biggest admirers left him in a team that seemed to be working against him instead of with him. He was better off staying at Mclaren, however between 2003-05 they kept giving him a car that was either poor performing or had poor reliability, therefore he had no choice but to move on!!

  • Comment number 96.

    jonmar-

    "@lotuslamborginiv12

    You're right. Perhaps I wasn't very fair to Massa in my post earlier. I'll admit that I've long had a strong disliking to him but that goes back to 2006 or so. He's always seemed weak and easy to intimidate to me and every time something goes wrong for him in a race he always blames the car or other drivers. Whereas other drivers like Webber and Kimi will just tell it like is. If they sucked, they will say it."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Fair play on most points of your comment. But I can't recall Massa ever blaming the car/team. Most memorably after Ferrari disastrously messed up his routine pit stop in Singapore '08 (when he was leading the race and in a brutal title) the responsible engineer was in tears after the race and Massa famously did not blame him, and comforted him instead. The line he reportedly said was "We win as a team, we lose as one".

    He has also said he needs to raise his game next season.

    Re other drivers - there has only been the hyped-up gripe with Hamilton but in fairness most observers (even fair-minded LH fans) would say that at least 2/3 of those multiple collisions this season were (if pressed) more Hamilton's fault than Massa's, if anything. Every driver has a breaking point (demonstrably ALL the current grid included).

  • Comment number 97.

    Hamilton's win on 08 was a bit flukey, Massa had the title in his hands right up to the point where Hamilton came round the last corner, just nipping in as the car in front lost it's grip. That said he had done enough throughout the season to be worthy of the win and everybody needs a bit of luck sometimes.

  • Comment number 98.

    I think this article is very poor. to say that an F1 world championship was a fluke is quite disrespectful, how many world championships have been won on the last race of the season?? especially in the last few years. how many amazing comebacks have we seen during the course of a season?? on top of that to say other factors such as fighting within Mclaren contributed, of course it would just like when ferrari got there tactics all wrong in abu dhabi 2010 he just did what anyone else would, take advantage. but to also give paul di resta a victory after a good season, people have been saying the same thing about nico for years, and how many other drivers have been touted for victories and world championships but failed. the disrespect to filepe after what his been through and the treatment his had by ferrari. raikkonen is a world champion, he won it fair and square in the most amazing way us fans wish we could see all the time, it was not a fluke, all their personality make them who they are you shouldnt put them down because of that.

  • Comment number 99.

    Paul Di Resta is not a driver that have been giving good results all year, Sutil have been better... I do not get why the media keep trying to make it look like he is the future of F1 when he is hasn´t giving any sign of being so. Sergio Perez is the Rookie of the year, Di Resta is a good driver but not an F1 driver...

  • Comment number 100.

    Check out Silverstone quali 2004 to see what Kimi is capable of!! Unbelievable!

 

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