Soapbox: Why Kimi Raikkonen should be champion

Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Shanghai podium, 2007 | Ferrari mediaIt’s the final part of our series looking at the three championship contenders heading into the final rounds.

Today, Christine Blachford from Sidepodcast argues for Kimi Raikkonen

We’ve already had the arguments for Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Now read why Christine’s rooting for Raikkonen…

As any ticket to a Grand Prix will tell you, motorsport is dangerous.

Or rather it used to be, before the pedestrian drivers arrived with their higher cockpits and extravagant run-off areas. Sometimes you wonder if they wouldn’t rather race each other on Playstation, in a padded room, ensconced in bubble-wrap… just in case.

F1 used to be exciting, frightening and in some cases perilous. Drivers were heroes, people to look up to, to admire and adore. On the surface racing isn’t like that anymore, but peel back the covers and you’ll find a man battling for the world championship the hero’s way, a man whose mood you can judge by the quantity of champagne he consumes, and one who winds down in the winter by racing snowmobiles.

That man is Kimi Matias R???ikk???nen. The only thing you need to know about Kimi is that he’s a proper racer. Above everything else Kimi wants to win.

And it’s not just the championship we’re talking about here. He wants to win every single race, no matter what, no matter when.

He’s also incredibly brave – take qualifying in Spa 2002 for example. Back in the days when qualifying was actually exciting, Kimi was starting a fast lap just as a BAR expired in the first sector. The expectation was R???ikk???nen’s lap would be ruined. But no. Despite being able to see nothing at all, despite the fact that he had no idea if a stricken car would be blocking his path, the Finnish driver went faster in the first sector than he ever had before.

Just imagine that for a second, driving through a thick plume of smoke at top speed, with no reference points and only your imagination and memory for guidance. Some people called it madness, I prefer magnificent.

Failing that, take 2005 N??rburgring instead. You often here commentators use the phrase “driving the wheels off the car”, but rarely does a driver do such a thing. Unless your name is Kimi R???ikk???nen of course. Kimi was nearing the end of the race, but suffering from a flat spotted tyre, his car was in trouble. The front wheel was bouncing so much that fans in the grandstand could hear it ‘thumping’ over the noise of the V10.

The sensible choice would have been to pit and change the offending rubber, but Kimi was leading, and a win was at stake. Driving at almost 290km/h his car gave up before he did, and threw him into the wall.

Would he do the same again? Of course he would. At the beginning of this year, the man struggled to adapt to his new Ferrari, but it didn’t take long for him to feel at home.

Gone were the stifling, touchy-feely days of McLaren, into a new, harder, more professional atmosphere and it looks like it’s done him the world of good.

While his ex-colleagues are struggling to contain two fiery and hot-headed championship contenders, Kimi is keeping his head down. You don’t hear him complaining about equality, because he doesn’t need it.

I’m so glad that Kimi is still in with a shot at the title. The odds may be stacked against him, the chances may be slim, he’s going into the last round as the underdog, and the race will require a ‘win at all costs’ mentality. I bet he wouldn’t want it any other way.

Christine Blachford writes and reports for Sidepodcast.

Photo: Ferrari Media

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24 comments on Soapbox: Why Kimi Raikkonen should be champion

  1. Great post Christine. Part of me thinks how nice it would be, in a season that has been all about McLaren, if Raikkonen was actually able to take from under their noses.

  2. Paul Sainsbury said on 17th October 2007, 18:21

    Yeah, excellent post. I was routing for Kimi pre-season, but back then the idea of Lewis being in the hunt was unthinkable.

    Now, if Lewis doesn’t do it, I would be happy for Kimi to be champion. He has deseved it for some time now.

  3. I have to agree with what Ollie says above. After all the bruhaha with McLaren/Alonso/Hamilton this year, I’d love to see the Kimster walk away grinning – bottle of champagne conveniently tucked under his arm, no doubt!

  4. Part of me thinks that it would be best if Kimi won it regardless of whether he deserves it or not. Then at least we can forget the Hamilton Vs Alonso nonsense.

  5. Kimi is the man !

  6. oliver said on 17th October 2007, 19:34

    Somehow I can’t visualize Kimi walking off with a bottle of champagne tucked under his arm. He is more likely to have downed it all before he leaves the podium, you ever notice how he takes lots of big gulps before any feeble attempt at spraying it? This guy sure loves his drink.

    I have no doubt in my mind about the ability of Kimi, bravery or speed. These qualities have served him well up till now. The fact that he has the ability to drive the car without any outward display of emotion is in my opinion his star quality.

    Having said all that, Kimi’s failings really have been the reasons why he hasnt succeded till date. First of all, he lacks any form of mechanical sympathy towards his car, and has thus been unable to nurse an ailing car to the finish line.
    His past team managers, from Sauber and Mclaren, have always complained of his unwillingness to commit himself fully to a team, apart from during races and the general consensus is he being a lazy driver. Above all, his lacking in the area of car development do not lend him any favours to be termed a great driver. But on talent alone, very few drivers can stand as his equal.

    I believe Kimi has to win the title this year. Failure to do so will reduce his chance of ever winning it, except perhaps Ferrari gets back to the point of absolute dominance. Newer drivers are finding their feet in F1 and as these younger drivers get into more competive cars, they have shown an unwillingness to follow convention. For example a driver like Rosberg, who apart from his first year when he made some rookie mistakes, his speed and committment defies belief. Then you also have Sutil, who is hampered by an uncompetitive car. For the sake of political correctness, I will name no other new driver, but I’m sure you all know the usual suspect.

    The pay and backing Kimi receives from Ferrari, is enough for him to elevate himself from a contented racer, to a driver, consumed by that burning desire to succeed.

  7. whooh ollie – cant you just say you love kimi and ferrari in a few words instead of the big ramble you left there?? – and what the bllep bleep is the political correct remark are you spanish?? – or misquoted perhaps

  8. oliver said on 17th October 2007, 22:25

    Alan:

    This Ollie is not the same Ollie of blogf1.co.uk.
    Regarding the political correct remark. I was only trying not to drag in Hamilton’s name in here, cause it seems to cause some tension on a few of our fellow f1fanatics.

  9. nellyweb said on 17th October 2007, 22:36

    So you argument for Kimi is that he has been exciting to watch over the last few years?

    I like Kimi a lot, but this year he has been pretty lackluster until the last few races, and he has made so many driver errors it’s untrue.

    As for those incidents in the past where he drive through the smoke – brave isn’t the word – stupid would be closer to the mark. he was lucky not to be killed, or to kill someone.

  10. If Kimi DOESN’T win he needs to have a good hard look at the first half of his season. As recently as five races ago in Turkey, he lost a certain victory because Ferrari were still unsure if he or Massa would be the better chance of a championship. Had he put Massa to bed earlier in the season he would have taken that win, plus many other points throughout the season and be in the box seat on Sunday.
    His late season form has been wonderful, but the start of his season let him down.

  11. Wesley said on 17th October 2007, 23:33

    I know it’s a long shot but,I hope Kimi can pull it off.

    GO KIMI GO !!! \o/

    Where is Evenstar? GO KIMI !!

  12. All that you guys are saying just confirms that the Kimster is a racer through and through – give him an old cardboard box to use as a sled and he’d race it, just like Gilles Villeneuve used to. One of the reasons people love Kimi is because he is there to race and nothing else, no politics, no mind games, no status seeking, just show him the car and he’ll race. To those of us who remember the great racing drivers, he is like an echo of an age long gone, a reminder of a time when drivers raced for love of the sport and not for money, when business was something done by men in suits in dingy offices and not by guys in helmets. Who gives a flying f**t whether he knows how to set the car up – he doesn’t need to, he drives what he’s given and makes it go faster than anyone else alive could do. That’s what a real driver is and it really doesn’t matter whether he ever gets the championship or not – he’s the best and we all know it.

    Hmmm, that was quite passionate, wasn’t it? Next time give me Kimi, Keith, and I’ll write you something that’ll blow their socks off. ;)

  13. Hiya Wesley, I’m always gonna arrive – sooner or later :P

    Christine is becoming quite the Kimi fanatic eh? Nice little article, but I can’t help but think ‘Gosh, what have these people been watching. It’s taken them so long to realise the greatness of the Iceman’ lol

  14. Oooo, I loved your comments Clive – that’s more like it! :D

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