Champion of Champions
Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel won their world championships in dramatic fashion, coming from behind in the closing stages of the season.
Vettel made his debut the same year Räikkönen won his title. But the Finnish driver left F1 the year before Vettel clinched the world championship.
Räikkönen’s first F1 team was Sauber, who he drove for in 2001. He quickly dispelled concerns over his lack of racing experience (he was only given a super licence on a provisional basis at the start of the season) and was snapped up by McLaren at the end of the year.
He quickly got on terms with team mate David Coulthard and scored his first F1 win at Sepang in 2003. Although it was his only win that year he was in the running for the championship until the final race.
The following season was a disappointment with the largely uncompetitive and unreliable MP4-19. Its successor was a tremendous improvement – easily the quickest car, but prone to failures. Räikkönen won seven times but ended the year runner-up in the championship again, this time to Fernando Alonso.
Räikkönen jumped ship to Ferrari in 2007 and results came quickly. He won his first race and first championship with the team, overcoming a 17-point deficit in the final two races to snatch the title from the McLaren drivers.
He started his title defence strongly with two wins in the first four races. But team mate Felipe Massa forged ahead and a four-race point-less streak, including crashes in Belgium and Singapore, killed off Räikkönen’s championship hopes.
Vettel made a one-off appearance for BMW in Indianapolis in 2007, picking up a point on his debut as he stood in for the injured Robert Kubica.
A mid-season switch to Toro Rosso led to a full year with the team in 2008. Vettel marked himself out as a man of the future with pole position and victory in a streaming wet race at Monza.
He graduated to Red Bull in 2009 and won four times to finish runner-up in the championship to Jenson Button. Räikkönen, however, won once, at Spa, but was dropped by Ferrari at the end of the year and moved to the World Rally Championship.
Like Räikkönen at McLaren, Vettel came to learn the strengths and weaknesses of cars designed by Adrian Newey: great performance but questionable reliability. His RB6 failed him while leading on several occasions in 2010. But he also lost points with costly mistakes.
However a late-season charge brought him three wins from four starts. Having been fourth in the championship with two races to go he snatched the title from Alonso in the final race.
Which of these drivers should go through to the next round of the Champion of Champions? Vote for which you think was best below and explain who you voted for and why in the comments.
|Kimi Räikkönen||Sebastian Vettel|
|Second in title year/s||Lewis Hamilton||Fernando Alonso|
|Teams||Sauber, McLaren, Ferrari||BMW, Toro Rosso, Red Bull|
|Notable team mates||David Coulthard, Juan Pablo Montoya, Felipe Massa||Vitantonio Liuzzi, Sebastien Bourdais, Mark Webber|
|Wins||18 (11.54%)||10 (16.13%)|
|Poles||16 (10.26%)||15 (24.19%)|
|Modern points per start1||9.60||9.21|
|% car failures2||19.23||12.90|
|Modern points per finish3||11.89||10.57|
|Notes||Signed by McLaren after a single season with Sauber||Won in first full season for Toro Rosso|
|Championship runner-up in third season and again in 2005||Championship runner-up in second full season|
|Won title in first season for Ferrari after stunning late-season turn-around||The youngest ever world champion|
|Bio||Kimi Räikkönen||Sebastian Vettel|
1 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of races they started
2 The percentage of races in which they were not classified due to a mechanical failure
3 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of starts in which they did not suffer a race-ending mechanical failure
Which was the better world champion driver?
- Kimi Räikkönen (71%)
- Sebastian Vettel (29%)
Total Voters: 752
Read the F1 Fanatic Champion of Champions introduction for more information and remember to check back tomorrow for the next round.
Have you voted in the previous rounds of Champion of Champions yet? Find them all here:
Champion of Champions
- Ayrton Senna voted Champion of Champions by F1 Fanatic readers
- Champion of Champions in stats
- Champion of Champions Final: Senna vs Schumacher
- Ayrton Senna vs Juan Manuel Fangio
- Michael Schumacher vs Alain Prost
- Ayrton Senna vs Jack Brabham
- Juan Manuel Fangio vs Jackie Stewart
- Alain Prost vs Niki Lauda
- Jim Clark vs Michael Schumacher
- Jack Brabham vs Lewis Hamilton
Images © Ferrari spa (Räikkönen), Red Bull/Getty images (Vettel)