Kimi R??ikk??nen vs Sebastian Vettel

Champion of ChampionsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Champion of Champions: Kimi R??ikk??nen vs Sebastian Vettel

Kimi R??ikk??nen 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 R??ikk??nen won his title. But the Finnish driver left F1 the year before Vettel clinched the world championship.

R??ikk??nen’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. R??ikk??nen won seven times but ended the year runner-up in the championship again, this time to Fernando Alonso.

R??ikk??nen 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 R??ikk??nen’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. R??ikk??nen, however, won once, at Spa, but was dropped by Ferrari at the end of the year and moved to the World Rally Championship.

Like R??ikk??nen 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 R??ikk??nen Sebastian Vettel
Kimi R??ikk??nen, Ferrari, 2009 Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Monte-Carlo, 2010
Titles 2007 2010
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
Starts 156 62
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 R??ikk??nen 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 R??ikk??nen (71%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (29%)

Total Voters: 752

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Images ?? Ferrari spa (R??ikk??nen), Red Bull/Getty images (Vettel)

169 comments on “Kimi R??ikk??nen vs Sebastian Vettel”

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  1. A good interesting comparison!

    I voted for Raikkonen, mainly because Vettel has only had three complete seasons so far.

    Kimi was unlucky in both 2003 and 2005 and then lucky in 2007.

    Sebastian worked hard at Toro Rosso and was rewarded with a race win and a drive at Red Bull to earn his title.

    A close one to be honest, but I have to say Raikkonen has it at the moment, could all change in the next few years though.

    1. My thinking exactly.

    2. Raikkonen was very competitive from immediately, Vettel hasn’t improved much regarding to errors, despite being very talented. So, Raikkonen.

    3. I think it is close, but Seb has set quite a few records (youngest this and that) and, in total, is the faster driver. Raikkonen is a world champion, but was not as good as Heidfeld, for example, when they were team mates at Sauber. Vettel has always been faster than his team mates. His victory in Monza with the Toro Rosso is historical, and his special ability in the rain is also a plus for him.
      Kimi has a good history in Spa, which also counts a lot. But all in all, I’d go Vettel here.

      1. I agree Seb has so much potential, Kimi I feel had it but was too inconsistent at times, yes he had reliability issues but also weekends where he just seemed to phone in his performances.

        Seb got my vote.

      2. Kimi beating Schumacher at Spa in 2004, alone does it for me. Vettel is not that good, not yet atleast.

    4. Kimi was not lucky in 2007, he had 2 engine dnfs to hamiltons and alonsos zero.

      1. LOL, and!

        That is how the climate of uncertainty functions under F1. What, would you rather? That they reset conditions whenver a team has a failure like a video game?
        Mr. Nick, in case you haven’t noticed LIFE functions by these rules. The skill is incorporating such failures into your plan for success and still managing to come out on top. That is what successful people in general do, sporting or otherwise.

        1. The skill is incorporating such failures into your plan for success and still managing to come out on top.

          Kimi had such failures, but by winning more races than Hamilton or Alonso, came out on top.

          1. So you reiterate my point then.

  2. this was a close one for me…there’s should be much more to come from Vettel in the next few years so he hasn’t really reached his full potential (even as world champion) and Raikkonnen clearly couldn’t be bothered in the second half of his Ferrari run.

    Raikkonnen take it this year but should this come up again next year I think Vettel would take it

    1. I agree completely. If Vettel doesn’t have the Kimi Raikkonen/Jacque Villinuve curse of not caring anymore once you get the title, then Vettel should easily beat Kimi next year, however this year, all things considered, I think Kimi comes out on top (barely).

      1. Too close to call – were it not for unreliability, Raikkonen would be a double or even triple world champion (taking into account 2003). But the disappearance of his motivation in 2008 and then 2009 is still a negative, and contrasts with Vettel, who has only risen from strength to strength and shows no signs of stopping.

        Then again, Vettel had a solid junior racing pedigree with massive support from Red Bull, while Raikkonen had only a Formula Renault season behind him before the big call. He showed tremendous maturity at age 21 for Sauber in 2001.

        Interestingly, another youngster showed equal maturity in 2001 at a much lesser competitive team – 19-year old Fernando Alonso!

        To get back to the voting Vettel beats Raikkonen narrowly.

  3. It’s got to be Raikkonen for me, Vettel hasn’t been in the sport long enough to fully prove himself against other champions. My verdict is similar to Ben’s, Raikkonen has it currently but Vettel could change that in the future.

    1. Agree with this.

      I’d also say that Vettel hasn’t had any notable teammates.

      1. ^except mark webber – can’t edit the above!

  4. This might be the tightest one yet.

    I’d have to say Vettel has done more than Kimi has in 3.5 years in the sport. But based on what they’ve accomplished RIGHT NOW, then Kimi has it. Just.

    1. No I don’t think so, Vettle won his title despite himself, in a car of devastating pace over the rest of the feild. He may well have lost a fair number of points to mechanical faliure, however Raikkonen definatley suffered more in this respect, against tighter feilds.

      10 of Vettle’s poles can be attributed to only 1 thing, beating his team mate, the car will do the rest.

      Raikkonens had awful luck over his career, he lost titles to mechanical faliure, whereas Vettle did suffer mechanical faliure, he could well have lost the title from his own, rather ridiculous mistakes, still he’s young.

      I went with Raikkonen because I still don’t see Vettle as anywhere near a complete package.

      1. I have to disagree there, mate.
        Vettel was very fast with the Red Bull in 2009 and with the Toro Rosso em 2008, so he’s always been fast.
        And Red Bull’s advantage over McLaren or Ferrari was not a big one, at all! In the history of F1, the advantage of the top car over the competitors has usually been much greater than that of the Red Bull over its competitors.
        Mansell with the Williams 1992, that car was unbeatable. Vettel’s Red Bull may have had a 0.2 sec per lap advantage, at most!

        1. This is very true. The Mclaren in 1988 was also extremely superior.. I do not of course say that Vettel is as good as Senna! At least not yet. Senna had Prost to beat in ’88 which is big a challenge as they come..

      2. Amen.

        Raikkonen was the type of driver who when given the right car (not necessarily dominating) would destroy the entire field. His McLaren years and the number of fastest laps he’s set throughout his career reflect that.

        I still maintain that Vettel actually showed that he’s a mediocre driver rather than a spectacular one last year. The RB6 was ridiculously dominant, and yet Vettel almost managed to throw the championship away.

        Vettel, in my eyes, is not even in the same league as Raikkonen.

        1. Totally agree. 2010 (and 2009) was a lesson in how to make a hash of winning the world title. When your car is over a second faster at some circuits, and with a team mate in Mark Webber (decent guy but not world champion material) this season should have been over mid season.

          Raikkonen for me.

        2. Agree completely Victor. Kimi has put together some of the best drives of the past decade. He would have been a deserving champion in 03′ and 05′ but was robbed by both the late season tire ruling and poor reliability. Can he lead a team better than Alonso? No. Is he as complete as Alonso? No. Is he faster than Alonso? You bet your ass he is. And he’s better than Vettel hands down.

  5. This one will cause some up sets, the first really modern line up. I’m thinking Raikkonen just gets it though, but we’ll see.

  6. Personally I don’t see Raikkonen as a real talented champion. yes he was fast, but he won his championship mainly because of Alonso-Hamilton internal struggle.

    1. I agree. I always found Raikkonen to be a bit overrated, and of course massively overrated by his fanbase, who apparently thought fastest laps were the ONLY indicator of pure driving ability. It seemed that he easily lost interest in races at some points, often setting quick sector times at the latter stages, too little too late to catch the guy in front. My vote will go to Vettel on this one, as the championship this year, was well deserved by any driver who won it.
      2007 was an anomaly, a lot of mistakes by the McLaren team(possibly affected by the Spygate issue) basically handing the championship over to Ferrari. It was more of right place right time for Kimi.

      1. Yup – that always frustrated me about Raikkonen, he would appear to simply ‘get bored’ in a race if he wasn’t leading or in the top 3 until the last couple of laps where he would suddenly pop in a lap record some 2-3 seconds faster than the pace he was previously running.

        Kimi did have (and presumably still has) a very dry sense of humour – Who can forget his comment around all the pomp and circumstance surrounding Schumacher’s first retirement:

        Brundle: “So, Kimi, did you see Michael receive his award from Pele? that was something wasn’t it?”
        Kimi: “No… I was having a ****!”

        1. Well, i’d personally disagree with the above – but i’d also say that Kimi’s best year wasn’t his championship winning year. 2005 and 2003 were probably better.

          1. agreed. i think spa 2004 was his best drive (though suzuka 2005 was pretty good too). i voted raikkonen. vettel hasn’t convinced yet oddly. 2010 was such a strange season.

      2. its hard to set fastest laps when you’re trying to pass someone with unpassable f1 rules. everytime he got clear of someone, he would set the fastest lap if he had clear air.

    2. He hardly had it handed to him. First of all he was obvioulsy doing better than Massa even though he had just joined the team.

      AND Raikkonen (and his Ferrari) was simply faster than Alonso at the end of that season

      Indeed Hamilton gave away the championship by failing to keep his lead (helped by poor strategy deciscions from McLaren)

      Raikkonen still had to beat Alonso and Massa.

      1. Massa and Raikkonen had very very similar paces in 2007, Massa lost out because of more mechanical trouble or lack of luck. If you look at the numbers and races, that is the inly conclusion to get.
        But, again, Massa is stronger than Webber.
        And you have to judge Vettel by his whole career – he was voted best driver in 2009 despite Button’s title!

        1. Why on earth he was called best driver in 2009 is beyond me.

          Vettel made 3 incredible blunders in 2009. That resulted in 4 non scoring finishes. That’s hardly something worthy of a WDC pretender.

          I think it’s more that people tend to forget about the first half of the season and indeed Vettel did have a reasonably good end of 2009. Also they tend to look at points scored. Not so much at “points scored simply due to the car”.

          BTW read Keit’s perspective on whether Massa lost the 2008 championship due to bad luk: The Massa Delusion

          1. Massa didn’t deserve the title 2008. But Kimi didn^t deserve it 2007!

          2. I’d never seen that article before, thanks! This was pretty hilarious though:

            Funny that he should have had so few car problems given that the entire McLaren team was biased against him and it was all a big conspiracy to make Hamilton the champion.

          3. Well if we were to talk about who deserved what titles, I’d say Montoya in 03, Schumi in 04, Kimi in 05, Schumi in 06, Hamilton in 07, Massa in 08. But that’s not the world we live in.

  7. I had to go with Vettel, because I think he has the potential to be really great and I certainly don’t think his enthusiasm for the sport will wane now that he’s champion, which is what sadly seemed to happen with Kimi.
    This was a hard choice for me though, and I’m not surprised it’s so close. Ultimately I don’t expect Vettel to get far in this Champion of Champions even if he does get past Kimi in this round, because as others have said he’s still very early in his career and has yet to really prove himself.
    That said, in this round they are both one-time champions and Raikkonen’s performance in the seasons following his championship win do count against him, for me.

  8. A tricky one, but based on future potential I’ve gone for Vettel. Seb has a long career ahead and I can only see him getting better, and even at the moment I really can’t think of any area of driving where Raikkonen might be better than Vettel.

    I’m going to get mullered for saying this but I’ve always felt Raikkonen was a bit overrated and I really didn’t like his lethargic attitude towards the sport.

    1. Haha, just got done replying to the guy above…but yes I agree with your last statement.
      I dont know about anyone else but it also bothered me that a supposed top driver never seemed to show passion for his craft, and never seem to fully ingratiate himself into it. Top drivers, usually when they win a championship, come into the next season hungrier and willing to defend/prove their title merit. Raikkonen in 2008 was just…embarrassing.

      1. I wish I could have an embarassing season and still win 2 races and finish 3rd in the championship!

        Has to be Kimi for me. To sum it up in a few words he has huge talent, a massive turn of speed and was very unlucky not to have won more WDC’s.

        1. Thats how good Raikkonen really was. If he wasn’t in title contention, setting fastest laps on every track, beating his teammate every race then its a disappointment already.
          (god i love how much people are gonna hate me for a comment like that)

          1. hahahahaha, yeah, hated it!
            I must admit that I feel Massa is the more talented driver, compared to Kimi.
            (Now I’ll get some hate!)

          2. magon4, I don’t think you get hated for that. Frowned at and ignored maybe :)

    2. I agree that Seb will probably win more championships in the future but for what they’ve both achieved so far I still voted Kimi although it was a tough one.

      I also agree that Kimi is a tad overrated but maybe that’s just because he has a very strong fanbase and they cheer him on very loudly.

      Some days I liked Kimi’s attitude and I think when he was under pressure it probably served him well but it was also incredibly frustrating because maybe if he gave a little more he could have been that much better.

      Sammy I’m not sure his motivation did dip that much after his title. Maybe it did but when I look at 08 I don’t think it was that bad. He was taken out in Canada, Ferrari got their strategy completely wrong at Silverstone, at Japan Hamilton went a little crazy at the start and that hurt him, his exhaust issues cost him a win at France, he was leading Spa until it rained and the F60 struggled and at China he practically had to park up to let Massa through. I think Kimi generally suffered a lack of commitment but I don’t think it became massively worse in 08.

      1. To see Kimi’s lack of motivation, look at the other races of 2008. He was anaonymous at races like Germany, Hungary, Valencia, Monza, Singapore.

        Regarding the poll, I would give it to Kimi but only because it is being held in 2010. Vettel has had just 3 full seasons in F1. There are so many titles he is yet to win.

        I don’t think it matters much who wins this round though. The driver who goes into round 2 is sure to get knocked out by the driver who is paired against the winner of this poll, whoever it may be.

        Both the drivers are pretty mediocre when compared to other World Driver Champions.

    3. I think people confuse “lethargic in interviews” with “lethargic attitude towards the sport”

      The reality is that Raikkonen was always pushing to the limit. That’s why he got those fastest laps. He just would not give up.

      Indeed that meant that he would have crashes (like Monaco 2007, Spa 2008, Singapore 2008 and such) just like Hamilton crashed in Monza 2009. Still it’s a sign of a driver who is always pushing rather than “lethargic”

      What he DID say was that he’d rather be fighting for a win rather than just give his all for a P5. I’d say a WDC has the right to say something like that. Alonso, Hamilton and Schumacher would say exactly the same.

      1. So how would you explain his complete lack of focus at times during the 2008 season? Clearly the car was there–Massa won with it for chrissakes–but where was he??
        I would think winning the 2007 championship would prove the impetus for a hungrier drive, for him to ‘turn it up a notch’ as they say…but he did not deliver.
        Monaco 2008, Spa 2008, Hungary 2008 just to name three, all of which were tracks were Ferrari had the edge, were opportunities for him to stake his claim in the championship and prove his worth as one of the transcendent drivers of his generation, but all for naught.
        For me there would always be ‘something’ thatll separate him from the likes of Shumacher, Alonso and Hamilton.

        1. smellyjelly (@)
          12th January 2011, 13:04

          Lack of focus? It was clear that he was the favourite for the title in 2008. He was great at the beginning of the season. But Ferrari have done a big damage for Kimi with the car development. How funny that he was great during qualifyings and during the races at the first half of the season and tada… suddenly everything’s changed after that. Also luck wasn’t on his side. Canada, France… I don’t think I should tell anything. Spa? Don’t you think he was good enough till the rain came? F2008 was bad in rain, and Kimi couldn’t do anything. Win or lose, there wasn’t any other solution for him. Still people questioned his ability to drive in rain! Even though he’s had great races in rain with McLaren. Monaco? Well, first damage came from the team and Kimi had to pay the price for it. The crash with Sutil was his fault, all right. How come that it lasted a couple of races when Ferrari changed the suspension and Kimi was good enough again. He could have won in China easily but had to give the position to Massa. There are a lot of “if’s” of course but I think mainly bad luck hampered him.

        2. Lke I said, indeed sometimes he pushes too hard. For instance before Spa 2008 he said he had to win or his championship hopes would be over. In the end he was too determined to win and paid the price.

          In Monaco the team didn’t get his car ready on time, so Raikkonen’s race was ruined even before the start (or at least when he got the drive through). He drove a great come back race, but lost it on the bump at the exit of the tunnel. Again he probably took too much risk. His pace was fine though.

          In Hungary indeed Raikkonen was off the pace, but that was during the period that Ferrari had changed the car to suit Massa. When they reversed these changes on Raikkonen’s car for the Spa weekend, Raikkonen was faster than Massa again.

          1. He was definatly a win at all costs driver and sometimes it all goes wrong, Nurburgring 2005 and Spa 2008 perfect examples.
            Both could have potentially given him shot at the title if he had backed off and picked up the points. But as much as consistency is rewarded it has to be the other approach i favour in a driver.

  9. I have to go for Vettel, the sheer amount of raw tallent is what pulled me over the line.

    I have a deep respect for Kimi, and yes he was unlucky in 2003 en 2005, but I was very dissapointed with him in his final year at ferrari, it seemed that his motivation just left him when he was not in the best car.

    SO vettel it is, come on to win a race with “minardi”….gotta respect the hell out of that

    1. Red Bull car with Minardi DNA! :D

    2. smellyjelly (@)
      12th January 2011, 12:43

      Oh my, I admit I’m a die hard Kimi fan, I can understand why others might not like him but please, do not come here and say that Kimi wasn’t motivated in 2009. That’s nonsense!!! If some F1 drivers have a bad and slow car then everybody feels sorry for them but if Kimi had a bad car then he’s lost motivation! Come on! Kimi was motivated and did as hard as he could even though Ferrari ended his contract! They got rid of their world champion and it was a disgusting step. Oh, yes, it was his fault that the car was a dog.
      A lot of people say that it was almost impossible to win with F60. Engineers in Ferrari said that: “looking at the data, Kimi has once again been doing things in the cockpit of a very difficult car that one can hardly believe. He is going beyond what, theoretically, the F60 would be capable of.” All the other drivers that have replaced Massa said that the car was really hard to drive. And there was the flame in Brasil in the pitlane. Who would say that he wasn’t committed enough to drive the race till the end with burning eyes?
      Ok, I know it’s totally useless to say anything Ferrari did the “big brain wash”. They ruined Kimi’s image totally. Remember, they have done it to their world champion. If Kimi did a mistake then it was that he didn’t defend himself.

      1. Well his best form in 2009 coincided with the growing rumours Alonso would be signed for 2010 and ended when it was confirmed. Hmmm.

    3. wow? in 2009? when he set what, 5 straight podiums with a POS car and even won a race? WOW you are delusional.

  10. Kimi. Vettel’s probably quicker on a Saturday but Kimi’s wheel to wheel racing ability (although I do believe Seb is fine at overtaking) and his general cool nature swing it for me.

    1. yeah kimi can overtake, i don’t think vettel can. look at silverstone ’10, has to barge cars out of the way.

    2. Seb’s fine at overtaking if you like crashes…he should really work on that part of the racing :)

      1. Oh please… if vettel can’t overtake, Hamilton can barely overtake since 9/10 he either punctures somebody else’s tyre or damages his car in the process, yes vettel needs to work on it…when he isn’t leading and messing up his qualifying times so shhhhhhhhhh.

        1. Hamilton can barely overtake since 9/10 he either punctures somebody else’s tyre or damages his car in the process

          Come on, a glance at the data shows that’s a gross exaggeration. You may not like the guy but you can stop short of making stuff up surely?

    3. I’m not in the “Vettel can’t overtake club” but I agree that his racecraft is certainly not as good as Raikkonen’s was. I really couldn’t imagine Vettel carving through the field in Suzuka 2005 like Raikkonen and Alonso did.

    4. I agree with Steph – what a surprise! Kimi was a brilliant qualifier and a fantastic racer too.

      Also, his exchanges with Martin Brundle on his pit walks were always… enlightening. His deadpan humour was brilliant.

      But anyway, I’d say for speed they are probably equal, but Kimi’s racecraft I would say was better. Also, he didn’t whine over the radio. He got on with the job. Worthy of more than the one title he won.

  11. As everyone has said so far, Kimi.

    Kimi showed fantastic race craft over his entire career. Only ever let down by machinery, and towards the end either “Vodka hangovers” or apathy. I am a die hard Kimi fan, but even those that don’t like him generally agree that he was robbed of at least one Championship through reliability problems. Put Kimi in a car on a good day, on a real track (like Spa) and he is second to none.

    It’s a really unfair comparison in many ways for Sebastian too simply because of the difference in experience. Seb may well end up eclipsing Kimi’s record in F1, and even the record of Alonso and others. But then so many firebrands start strong and fade so quickly in this sport. So at the moment, voting for Seb in this comparison is only a decision that a rabid Seb fan boy would do. No disrespect to the guy. He’s a great driver, but very very inexperienced.

  12. I wanted to vote Kimi however after he lost interest I lost respect. Vettel gets my vote!

    1. I voted for Vettel. I can’t vote for someone as the greatest ‘Champion’ when he wasn’t bothered about his last few years in F1 and lost interest.

      Kimi could have been a multiple champion at Ferrari if he’d tried. I think Vettel WILL go on to be at least a double champion. So he gets my vote.

      1. Well. Thats quite a harsh judgement really, saying ‘if he tried’. I don’t think any F1 racing driver can get into a car and not try. The media essentially decided that when Kimi didn’t win a race, he wasn’t trying – and this has been blown out of proportion.

        Vettel is very good – but he has shown no wheel to wheel capacity and often wins his races from pole position. His car for the last 2 years has also been the best for at least half the year. We still haven’t really seen what Vettel can or will do yet, its too early to call him great and too early to call him an undeserving champion – or whatever the fans will call him in years to come. Kimi was fantastic for a good 5/6 year period in a row – his last years were not as successful, but he still won a race…!

        For me, Kimi gets it.

        1. “The media essentially decided that when Kimi didn’t win a race, he wasn’t trying – and this has been blown out of proportion.”

          Indeed and the haterz went with that.

          His car breaks down (again!) and he’s eating ice cream and they start shouting “Kimi lost all motivation!!!”.

          1. Agreed. I am an admitted Raikkonen fan, but it’s annoying that nobody, fans or haters, can get past the media-introduced “Kimi can’t be bothered” hype. You either have to defend him from it, or you’re the one bringing it up. And it’s the exact reason why I’m kinda happy for him that he got out of the media-circus and got at least one championship for his efforts.

          2. I don’t mind people thinking that Raikkonen lost interest. That creates the image that, if he had tried, he would have beaten anyone, anytime. Isn’t that a fantastic image to have? Also things like, the day Massa was ‘out of contention’ suddenly Raikkonen was back on top of his game, so clearly Massa turned the team against Kimi. Despite no motivation and lack of interest between Hungary and Japan he was the driver who got the most points in a mediocre at best car that wasn’t even being developed anymore.

            Don’t worry guys, I’m not a Kimi fanatic but its obvious, the thrashing of the finn has lead to a situation where you can either love him or hate him which leads to both sides drifting apart more and more. I believe Raikkonen was a brilliant driver and a nice person and on the other hand I don’t dislike Vettel (he comes from a town just 15km from where I come from) but I don’t think he is as good as he is percieved (yet).

  13. Raikkonen for sure, Kimi did so well to win the title in 2007, one of the truly great seasons. The problem with Kimi is he has the pace to match and beat anyone on the grid but half the time just can’t be bothered. I think the McLaren days really put kicked him about a bit with all the reliability issues (Mika had the same).

    Vettel on the other hand is quick, but he has only had Mark as a worthwhile team mate and lets face it, Mark is not a great driver, just average. If he can pull out a result in a car that is on equal pace to it’s competitors then I will rate him higher but in my mind he is still that petulant little runt who will always make a silly move.

    I’ll give it too Raikkonen purely because I think he could get more out of a car that wasn’t on the pace.

  14. Maybe someone already asked it before, but Keith, how did you pair the drivers? Is it just random or according to some statistics, results, etc..?

    1. I would have said it was drivers that were close together and easy to compare, although Farina vs Schumacher breaks this trend, so not entirely sure!

    2. That’s an interesting question…
      I assume he just picks whoever he feels like ie random…
      Kimi got my vote!

  15. Kimi never had a luxury of a dominant car under him, competitive but not dominant, unlike vettel in 2010. having said that at least with performances vettel showed from 2008-2010 i pick him as a better champion only because his raw talent

  16. Not that difficult for me. Vettel hasn’t been around long enough to prove his worth. Raikkonen was fantastic for most of a decade, with his best year probably being 2005. People are particularly harsh on him for his championship winning year as well as he won it almost by stealth. For me though, he was a worthy champion and his strings of fastest laps prove that too. Some of his laps were just unreal

  17. Unfortunately, as much potential as Vettel has, he hasn’t been around long enough and I’ve no doubt in a few years this result will be very different.

    However Raikonnen, but for reliability, could easily have been 3 times champion and, as we’re comparing the drivers and not the car, he takes it for me. Points per Start/Finish and % reliability are in Raikonnens favour also… the other stats are skewed by Vettels short career, we’ll see where they are in a few years tho.

    At the end of the day though, neither of them are going through to the final round.

  18. By far the toughest one so far for me but Kimi edged it.
    I genuinely believe him to be one of the very fastest to have ever graced the sport, right up there with Senna, Peterson, Rindt Villeneuve. The lack of a more complete skill set will scupper him in future rounds though.

    I remember reading a piece in Autosport just after Kimi moved to Ferrari in which McLaren team members expressed regret at him having left the team and said, incredibly, that based on the telementary, they believed he was the outright fastest driver McLaren had ever employed!

    1. Kimi was undoubtedly one of the fastest drivers of all time.
      I had not read that article but will go hunt it out. Thanks for the heads up.

  19. such a hard decision, so soon :S

  20. Raikonnen for sure, Vettel will have his time, if he doesn’t keep breaking cars. In response to RIISE’s comments regarding Mark Webber as an “average” driver, time sheets over the season beg to differ and if Kimi’s fastest laps don’t impress people well someone better tell Seb as they both like to show how talented they are. These 2 guys against each in equal cars would be nice to see.

    1. How can you say that Vettel is breaking his car when we are comparing him to Kimi. Do you remember how his car was at McLaren? Designed by the same man who did Vettels 2009 and 2010 cars and the thing those cars have in common is that they are super quick, but it was often that they didn’t make it to the flag.

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