I think Kimi is basically in a lone, gray zone as far as driver talents are concerned. It’s clear to see he isn’t as fast as Hamilton or Vettel, not as complete as Alonso or Vettel and he isn’t exactly a talented youngster with a lot of speed like Hulkenberg, Grosjean. I would put him above Button, though, because he might be a great racer; his natural ability is probably surpassed by 8-10 drivers on the current grid.
While I do like Kimi’s presence, it’s mainly because he is someone else. I’d never defend his poor manners, but it’s amusing to have him there from a spectator’s point of view. Honestly, I can understand why his engineer wasn’t very happy with the public displays of friction and the subsequent milking of them by the Lotus team last year.
Kimi seems to have slowed down a little since 2003-2006. His first 2 Ferrari years were utterly inconsistent (I remember my respect for him taking a HUGE nosedive after Spa 2008; I’ve never seen a top driver bin it that bad before or since.) and in 2009 he seemed to recover a little, even if he couldn’t push the car beyond its limit. The past 2 years kind of feel like those first 2 Ferrari years a little; an inconsistent car, but perhaps a lot more consistent driving from Kimi. I’d say he’s done good; but not great, which was what I expected of him. People tend to gloss over Lotus’ team orders to Grosjean, but I personally feel Grosjean was faster than Raikkonen in the races where it happened this year.
With Vettel’s current form and Hamilton-Mercedes panning out to be a winning combination, rationally I don’t think Button, Raikkonen or Alonso can win another title unless they get a dominant car like the 2002 or 2004 Ferrari (relative to the rest of the grid). It’d be a shame, but not a lot more than Fittipaldi not winning more titles, Lauda missing out on the ’76 title, etc.