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Lotus retains Raikkonen “Better the devil you know”
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Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Oct 2012   |  4:47 pm GMT  |  135 comments

Kimi Raikkonen will drive for the Lotus F1 team again next season, a move which was widely anticipated, after no real sign that he was in the running for a seat at Ferrari, McLaren Red Bull or Mercedes, all of whom have confirmed their drivers this summer. There is no word in the statement about the future of Lotus’ other driver Romain Grosjean.

Raikkonen’s comeback from two years away in rallying has been very impressive, he lies third in the drivers championship, the after a competitive season, with six podiums among 16 points scoring results out of 17 races. Only China was a blank; a race were he was in the top five in the closing stages but tried to go too far on the tyres and lost out.

His comeback stands in stark contrast to Michael Schumacher who has only managed one podium in his three years back in the sport.

What Raikkonen has lacked in qualifying pace this year he has more than made up for in consistency, particularly in contrast to his team mate Romain Grosjean, who has cost the team a significant number of points through getting involved in incidents with other drivers. For a a variety of reasons, Grosjean has failed to score points in eight races, almost 50% of the total and only outscored Raikkonen once, in Canada.

Team principal Eric Boullier said at the weekend that he would confirm bothe his drivers for next year before the last race in Brazil. It’s slightly unusual for them to announce separately, with no word about Grosjean’s drive for next year. But perhaps they are keeping him focussed after his recent misdemeanours. There are no serious signals around that they plan to go with anyone else for 2013.

But Raikkonen has used his experience to bring home the best results the car is capable of, lacking as it does that last few tenths of qualifying pace which have meant that victories have eluded them.

In announcing the renewal, Lotus headlines its press release, “Better the devil you know”, an elusive line, to which no further reference is made in the rest of the document.

There is a bit of the devil in Kimi, but there have been no stories this year of the kind of high-octane, devil-may-care lifestyle Raikkonen enjoyed in his previous F1 career. He has said very little, got on with the job and kept his private life out of the papers.

As for his decision to commit to Lotus, despite rumours swirling around this weekend in India that Genii was looking to offload the team amid questions over finance, everything seems to be functioning normally, even if development has tailed off slightly in recent races. THe team had new parts in India and good race pace, but lost some time with development of its double DRS which never actually raced.

“I think my return to Formula 1 has gone pretty well and the team has done a very good job all year so far,” said Raikkonen. “To be honest, I didn’t expect to be fighting for the Drivers’ Championship this season when you look at where the team was in 2011, so it has been great to be on the podium so many times and to score points on a regular basis.

“This season has shown me that I still love racing as much as I ever did. Obviously, I would have not come back to the sport if I did not feel like this. Driving a Formula 1 car still gives me the same inspiration and I feel the same passion for it.

“I think to be able to perform better in the races I have to find more from myself and from the car in qualifying. This season has shown that you have to be on first two rows to be able to win every time. It’s important to improve our grid positions for 2013. That’s one of main targets for me.

“I feel very comfortable with Lotus F1 Team and we share the same philosophy of racing. Continuing with the team was an obvious choice for me and I’m looking forward to making another step forward together next year.”

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135 Comments
  1. Jesus says:

    “But Raikkonen has used his experience to bring home the best results the car is capable”

    I don´t agree. He should have won at least a couple of races at the start of the season when his car was the fastest,

    1. Elie says:

      Lotus were never the fastest they were ode on the first three. But both Mclaren Aust/ China & Red Bull thereafter.

    2. Antti says:

      First, Lotus was never the fastest car, that honor belonged first to McLaren and later to Red Bull. Second, Kimi also needed to learn a completely new way of driving a formula 1 car, given that he had never driven with full tanks and the tires were completely new to him. Add to that the technological advances since his departure and lack of wheel to wheel racing experience for two years, I’d say his early season was phenomenal.

    3. Maneesh Maharana says:

      Lotus was never clearly the fastest car for the whole duration of the weekend ever this season except maybe Hungary .

      The teams were struggling to get to grips with the tyres and dialing in the cars which was an opportunity ( though even lotus was learning) lotus could have exploited better (with lesser degradation and warmer condition advantage). But don’t you think a driver does indeed need some time to be back at his best .. So expecting kimi to be back on form from race one is too much to ask .

      Add to that the renault engine disadvantage :
      1)Malaysia
      2)Shanghai
      3)Spa
      4)Monza
      5)Korea
      6)India

      Even in these above listed races the Straight line speed(already lesser) had to be compromised for grip. (Sitting Duck)

      And keeping the statistics in mind – Kimi with no wins to his name is Sitting Third in the championship

      KEEPING ALL THAT IN MIND

      Kimi has had a stellar year second only to Alonso

      Driver of the Year has to be Alonso – Maximised Results from every race possible

      Kimi is right behind him — especially on the race days …. Faultless CLEAN Driving

    4. manu says:

      he should win Bahrain, but his team failed to deploy undercut strategy by pitting him at the same lap as vettel with slower pit stop ……..lMAO

      anyway, lotus only has pace to win on 2 occasion, but in these 2 occasion, the lotus didnt has the pace for qualifying.

      Hardly the fastest car out there, mclaren was the car to beat earlier.

    5. Erik says:

      If you look back on India you will see that Kimi is on it! He fought massa all the way despite now being in an inferior car compared to the Ferrari. He even passed Massa at one stage only for Massa to pass him straight back. For me this showed that massas car was superior and Kimi had no right being that close to the Ferrari, yet there he was.

      Would have been awesome to see him back in a McLaren…

    6. F1fan4life says:

      I don’t believe he should have won a couple of races but I do think if Alonso were driving the Lotus he’d have more points than Kimi. Kimi the champion who was beaten by Massa in the Ferrari team that supposedly only backs one driver. Additionally while GrosjeAn has improved he was thoroughly outdone by Alonso at Renault. My point is that Kimi has driven well… but I have a feeling that Alonso in the Lotus would be fighting for the title as he is now.

      1. mayberth says:

        not really, the ferrari nvr develop the car in kimi favor purely because kimi didn;t visit the factory often enough while they had no choice but to use massa input(Schumacher said the same thing in an interview back in 2008 and claim that kimi nvr come to them unlike Massa) Kimi did well in 2007 and first half of 2008 when he comfortably leading the wdc. Things get ugly when the new development kick in and outdone kimi badly. In 2009, when massa injured, the team had to relies on kimi input again, but the team no longer in favor of developing the F60. Without further new parts, kimi clinch 5 podiums and a win. According to Edd Straw, the team asked kimi why didnt he told them earlier, and kimi replied, he did, only once. It was kimi fault for not being a LEADER as alonso does now. But i see a change in Kimi on his stint in Lotus, he recommend to the team in testing new parts although it will cost him time in free practice sessions.

        As for grosjean being outdone by alonso, bear in mind Fisichella nvr score any point being kimi ‘s teammate. How does that pan out for you??

        And what about Jarno Trulli that regularly outperform Alonso only to be kicked out from the team with 3 races remaining??

        Still a great driver in your opinionns??

        My point is, hindsight is a wonderful thing. Circumstances changed everytime, you cant assume it will be the same.

        Massa ‘s poor form is due to he no longer enjoy having a say on the car development that he had in 2007-2009 when kimi just throw it away.

        Regards,
        Mayberth

      2. Kay says:

        Love your detail thoughts and opinion on this =)

      3. Kimi4WDC says:

        You living in a dream world mate, more points in Ferrari, while watching Ferrari/Force India and Mercedes passing by on the straight?

      4. Nick says:

        Alonso the prima donna would thrown out his toys and quit the team by now if he was at Lotus. Ferrari are kissing his feet and he still throws tantrums and the same old moaning “the car is not fast enough” after every race and you think he could’ve lived with Lotus’ many strategic bungles and poor development pace.

    7. Kay says:

      Is there another F1 that I’m not aware of where the Lotus had the fastest car of the field?

  2. Irish con says:

    Kimi has always been my favourite driver for his attitude to racing. He doesn’t want nothing else other than to drive the wheels off something fast. He has and always will be a class act tho his savagely fast qualifying days seem to have gone since he left McLaren.

  3. Pranav says:

    James, do you see Kimi driving for another big team after 2013? He seems to have burned bridges with both McLaren and Ferrari (or atleast that’s what I’ve heard elsewhere).

    If the rumoured Vettel move to Ferrari happens in 2014 or 2015, do you see Kimi going to Red Bull? He has affiliation with them from rallying, has the same kind of mentality that Red Bull would like, and has shown the speed needed to get at the front in his first season after his return.

    Any snippets?

    1. Gary Naylor says:

      Oh, that’d be a good pairing!

      Get Raikkonen at Red Bull with Webber, Vettel over to Ferrari. Hamilton and Rosberg pushing in the Merc’s and Button in the Macca. Probably get Di Resta in the other seat at McClaren and 2014 would be a legendary season!!

      1. Pranav says:

        I don’t see Webber driving beyond 2014. If he can win a championship in the next two years, great for him. I don’t see him doing a Barrichello and driving for another 500 years before retiring.

      2. tom in adelaide says:

        DiResta? Really?

      3. Simmo says:

        Di Resta is a good driver, so I don’t see why not.

      4. Pranav says:

        The British people love Di Resta.

      5. Ross says:

        Beaten by Sutil last year and will be beaten by Hulkenburg this year yet people keep touting him for the top seats.

        A midfield driver at best.

      6. Beka says:

        a clever guy, but not instinctively fast enough. Hulkenberg is outperforming him even having spent the last season on the bench. Fair and square.

  4. Mark says:

    That does seem like an odd title for the announcement. Almost adversarial in tone, like Lotus are holding their nose and reluctantly re-signing him. Frankly, I think Lotus are lucky to have him. Without Kimi’s efforts the team would be waaaaaayyy down the constructor’s title hunt. Let’s hope that next year’s car is even better and we see Kimi back on the top step.

    1. Antti says:

      In the press release itself, though, Lotus is praising Kimi, essentially giving the credit for the good season the whole team has had to Kimi, so I doubt they feel any reluctance in keeping him.

      1. Doohan says:

        +1 I don’t believe many people have actually read the release. Just going off the quotes they’ve gathered off news sites

    2. ch says:

      Agree, and EB would be whom I’d replace before KR.

    3. AuraF1 says:

      Perhaps it was a slightly French attempt at humour – considering Kimi being made to do sponsor events is like getting blood out of a drunken stone.

  5. MISTER says:

    I think you’re a bit harsh on Schumi, James.
    The only time when Mercedes had a good car was this year when Rosberg won..and Schumi was running second when his car broke down.

    The Lotus on the other hand this year has been one of the top 2-3 front runners for most first part of the season when Kimi had some good results.

    Having said this and not being a Kimi fan, I can admit he put some impressive drives considering he’s been away for 2 years.
    I wish he would be more enthusiastic and lose the grumpy face.

    1. Mitchel says:

      I think it’s because his head to head versus Rosberg isn’t great at all..

      Not that I know what it is off the top of my head, but Nico’s had a few podiums, one win, and beaten Schumacher in points each season. Schumi’s done better in qualifying this year, but has had some awful, Barichello-esque luck this season.

      1. [MISTER] says:

        I haven’t done the stats either, but I am pretty sure if you take out the races when Schumi’s car broke down..he outscores Rosberg.

        Anyway, my point was not to compare Scumi with Rosberg, but to compare the car Schumi had to drive since his comeback and the car Kimi had. In 3 years the Mercedes had a few podiums and one win. That is pretty embarrassing for a team like Mercedes.

    2. MJ says:

      I agree, but all the journos, including James Allen know that they get good hits by hacking on Schumi every chance they get.

      1. Simmo says:

        Which seems to be more and more often now…

    3. AuraF1 says:

      It’s been clear that Michael needed a few seasons to get up to speed, he started to show a bit more of his old talent this year but as he said he’s had a 50% retirement rate – sometimes through his brain fade moments but more often by a truly awful mercedes that fell to bits more often than not.

      Kimi on the other hand got up to race speed much faster than Michael. But it’s clear his quali pace will need a few seasons yet.

      Perhaps it’s because Kimi is a lot younger than Michael, or maybe it’s just the car they got on their return. Hard to know what made the difference really.

      1. Wade Parmino says:

        Yes, I agree. Raikennen had been out for less time, the rules had changed much more for Schumacher (2006-10), Raikennen is much younger (he is still younger than Schumacher when he retired the first time). In addition to this, MS has had a terrible/mediocre car. Rosberg has more experience than Grosjean as well, making team-mate comparisons unbalanced between KR and MS.

    4. Craig in Singapore says:

      I think you’re maligning James a bit. All he’s done is state two facts;

      1. “His comeback stands in stark contrast to Michael Schumacher” – fact.
      2. “who has only managed one podium in his three years back in the sport.” – fact.

      Also, you’re forgetting Monaco this year where Mercedes was very good – pole position for Schumi and Rosberg 3rd. If it hadn’t been for Schumi’s brain snap in Spain he would have started from pole and things may have turned out differently (yes I know he had an equipment failure but when you’re out in front at Monaco you set the pace and the equipment isn’t pushed as much, IMO). Rosberg finished 2nd.

      1. James Allen says:

        I think most people in F1 and watching it would agree that Kimi’s comeback has been a success and Michael’s hasn’t. There are all kinds of reasons for that, one of which is that the Merc hasn’t been good enough. But it’s been good enough for Rosberg to score plenty of points up until the second half of this year where they have been slow.

      2. MISTER says:

        James, you wanted to highlight Kimi’s successful return to F1 by comparing it to Schumi’s, but you made no reference to the machinery that they are driving. Mercedes it’s been a dog of a car and still is. This year Schumi’s car had terrible reliability while Rosberg had no problems.

        I just think it’s not fair to compare apples with oranges.

        On top of all this, Schumi is 43 and it’s been away for 3 years not 2 like Kimi. And also Kimi has been rallying in these two years while Michael was probably horse back-riding.
        I think we get enough of Benson’s Schumi bashing articles. We don’t need more of that.

      3. James Allen says:

        The level of machinery has nothing to do with it

        It’s driver performances judged on their merits. It’s clear that apart from a few races last year and several races this year MS has struggled to match Rosberg and has certainly not had the consistency of Raikkonen

        If you asked 10 F1 engineers at random to evaluate Kimi’s comeback and MS’s comeback they would give you the same view as me

        I’ve nothing against MS, always got on well, gave a nice chat when we bump into each other and I wrote two books with him

        But that shouldn’t blind me to the reality

      4. Wade Parmino says:

        Sadly for Schumacher, it was his car that kept breaking down when Mercedes had some reasonable pace earlier in the year.

      5. madmax says:

        “It’s clear that apart from a few races last year and several races this year MS has struggled to match Rosberg”

        When both finished races this year Schumacher was 6-1 up finishing ahead of Rosberg

        Last year races finished – Schumacher 6-7 down on Rosberg

        I fail to see how your statement is clear from the facts??

        If you ask 10 engineers is a pointless statement that anyone in your position can use to try to make out their point is valid.

    5. Megan says:

      Lotus is 4th in the WCC, it has been a good car in the beginning of the year but it is still lying 4th in championship. In 2010 and 2011 Micheal also had a car that was lying 4th in championship. Saying it is only because of the car that Kimi has had a better comeback is not being entirely honest.
      In the 3 years of Micheal’s return his teammate has scored a few podiums and one win while Micheal has only scored one podium. In comparison Kimi has scored double the amount of podiums and points then his teammate. Micheal has been extremely unlucky this year with all of his technical issues and team mistakes. But he himself has also made a few mistakes, Kimi on the otherhand is 3rd in the WDC because he basically hasn’t made any mistakes during the races. I understand why Schumacher fans might be unhappy with all of the technical issues. But when it comes to comeback comparisons against Kimi, it really isn’t just car. That being said I feel Micheal has done a good job for his age.

      1. madmax says:

        Don’t like saying anything bad about Kimi because I am a fan. But this year he has been out qualified by a rookie who lost his seat a few years ago because he wasn’t good enough.

        That same rookie would probably be right up with Kimi if not better in the race stats if he hadn’t been involved in crashes in something like 50% of the races in the first lap.

      2. Megan says:

        What exactly does that have to do with a comparison between Kimi and Schumi? I am a fan of Schumi but the fact is, he also had the 4th best car in 2010 and 2011, just like Kimi had this season. So saying Kimi has a better car is a moot point.

        Grosjean wasn’t let go because of his performances, Renault wanted to get rid of the team at that time. His qualifying wasn’t far from Alonso whilst entering F1 in the middle of the season. He did a much better job against Alonso that year then what Fisichella managed when he entered Ferrari during half of the season. And Lotus had enough faith in him to give him another chance this season. Grosjean’s crashes however is his own mistakes. To say someone would score more then their teammate if it wasnt for their own mistakes is straw-man logic. It isn’t Kimi’s fault that Grosjean has had a few first lap issues. But luckily Grosjean has finished a few races and in 95% of them he ended up behind Kimi.

        Kimi’s qualifying has improved since the British GP. But Kimi has also had all sort of problems in qualifying like kers failures, gearbox penalties, differential problems and team strategy. Of course you dont get points for qualifying, Kimi has outscored Grosjean 14 – 2 that is one of biggest margins on the grid between teammates.

      3. madmax says:

        Because the best way to compare drivers is generally against the only other with the same equipment as it is difficult to know how good or bad the car is.

        In 2010 and 2011 the big 3 teams shut out all the others unlike this year where the tyres spiced up everything with the 7 winners in 7 races.

        It’s not Kimi’s fault Grosjean’s crashed so many times but where as Grosjean is 9-7 up in qualifying, that’s the main reason he is being destroyed 9-2 by Raikkenon in races both finished.

    6. coronwen says:

      “I wish he would be more enthusiastic and lose the grumpy face.” No! That’s what’s so good – he’s the one I wait for when they are doing the corral interviews because he says it like it is. The rest just use a compendium of platitudes. His “I don’t care about the other drivers … ” a few GPs ago was classic , and exactly what a GP driver should say. Plus it’s the Finnish way I think – Tommi Makinen, Juha Kankkunen, Keke Rosberg – all world champions and just the same. Watch Kimi on Top Gear to see what he’s really like – http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xpdyeu_kimi-raikkonen-at-top-gear-2012_auto

  6. alam says:

    Hi James,

    I have a technical question for you regarding Kimi.

    At Indian GP on the long straights Massa was using all of his KERS while Kimi was using only about 75%.

    Do you think the way of the way drivers use KERS can compromise them?

    1. Pranav says:

      There was no point in Kimi using the rest of his KERS since he was hitting the rev limiter and using more KERS would make no difference. Their downfall was a shorter 7th gear compared to Ferrari, nothing else.

      Obviously, using KERS on different parts of the track gives different results. For example, in the first lap, you will always find the frontrunners spending all their KERS if they have to, in the first few straights, to get away from the DRS effect.

      As the race progresses, drivers will use their KERS as per what they see in practice and whatever gives them the best cumulative laptime instead of single sector performance.

    2. Chromatic says:

      I’d also like to ask James if he has known a top driver and a top engineer like Mark Slade together go the wrong way on set up as Kimi and Mark did on the saturday?

      @ Alam, btw, Massa has the fastest car on Sunday with a top speed on the straight of 320 k, Kimi only 310 k

      1. mayberth says:

        i know lewis hamilton scew up his car setup countless time. And vettel too in monaco, spa etc.

        Is normal really, drivers are desperate for more, some time took a little bit too much of risk, and it didnt work out.

      2. James Allen says:

        That has always been the case, happened to countless drivers of the years

  7. Terry says:

    Kimi is a great talent in any motor sport he competes in. That’s why Mika and Michael backed him up to get his provisional super license when he started his F1 career,They knew he was a talented race car driver.

    So what if Kimi hates doing press conferences and doing public appearances. That’s just his nature, He’s a racer that all he needs to be.

    After he wins a few more WDC retires from F1. I can’t wait to see what he does in a WRC return and maybe endurance racing and his other racing activities he does for fun .
    Terry

    1. [MISTER] says:

      Hi Terry. I am not trying to be negative about Kimi, but if all drivers would be like Kimi we wouldn’t have a drivers press conference..or after race interviews. For example I want to hear from them after the race about their strategy and the car problems and all other little things that a keen F1 fan would like to know. Kimi doesn’t or rarely offers that.

      I get what you say about being a racer and that’s it, but Kimi looks like he’s in pain when he speaks. Zero enthusiasm!

      1. Timmay says:

        I am a keen f1 fan since 1992 and this means mothing to me (press conferencing). Especially these days.

      2. Chapor says:

        You like the generic “Yes, the race was good, we had a a good qualifying which we put to good use. We struggled a bit with setup in practice, but in the race the track came to us, I want to thank the team for excellent work etc. “? If you are lucky Webber might say something interesting, the other people are just giving rehearsed speeches… Or in the case of Vettel prattling on for about half an hour. His interviews are as long as the Austrian national anthem…

      3. speedy_bob says:

        I don’t think you get any real info from the press conferences. It’s all too much orchestrated. On strategy, most of the time you get nothing more then what was already obvious in the race, or what you can read in JA’s report afterwards with much more detail in that.

        Drivers are just too carefull (and they should be) in revealing bits and pieces. You want the opposition to keep on assuming and second-guessing. Only if it’s blatantly obvious, drivers will reveal anything “crucial”.

        I think journo’s that have been around a long time, prolly like JA, can confirm it’s much harder these days to catch a driver out or “ambushing” him into revealing important stuff.

        The “ambushing” still continues, but it’s become more childish in that whatever you say WILL be taken out of context and speculation is based more on one’s own fantasy then anything else.

        But I do have to praise the likes of JA and Joe’s blog for trying to keep silly speculations to a minimum. It’s what separates their work from the vast amounts of non-quality journalism on F1 out there.

      4. MISTER says:

        Then why are we having these post race interviews? Why is all the media gathered and waiting for the drivers to show up?

  8. GM Grand says:

    Awesome news. The elusive answers from Kimi the last month or so made me nervous. For all I know he could grow tired of F1 again and go to Nascar or something. Knock on coânda exhaust and failed DDRS.

    1. Agree, great to see him stay – he adds so much to the spectacle

  9. F1fan4life says:

    I like Grosjean as a person but as a driver, he is hit-and-miss… literally. I would like to see another year from him, but I would rather see Nico Hulkenberg get a better drive. I hope Ferrari have signed him for 2014, if not I’d like to see him at Williams or Sauber. I want Senna to have another year as well… he doesn’t have as much overall race experience as others so I feel he’ll steadily improve.

    1. Stephen says:

      Pretty much agree with everything you said. My guess is this time next year (if not before) McLaren will be kicking themselves for missing out on Hulkenberg and opting for Perez instead.

    2. only1halen says:

      Bruno is out at Williams after being used by a team looking for money and some sort of absolution for the death of Ayrton Senna. Everyone knew this was nothing more than a one-night-stand except Bruno! Being forced to sit out Fourteen FP1 sessions by the team was disgraceful and insulting.

      I expect Bruno will move down the grid once again in 2013 for the second seat at Caterham. At least with Mr. Fernandez, we know his true motives when hiring a number two driver.

      1. simon mawdsley says:

        worth remembering that Senna had all but been signed for Honda 2009 before it became Brawn.

      2. James Allen says:

        Really? I’m not so sure about that

    3. colin grayson says:

      grosjean ? more hit than miss unfortunately

  10. Guillermo says:

    James, I’ve been surprised that teams haven’t rushed to sign Kimi. Is it his salary demands? His temperament? Has he burnt his bridges with the top teams?

    On paper, he would have been a great fit in any of the top teams and even teams lower down in the grid would massively benefit from his consistent point scoring. In short, I don’t think there is a team on the grid that wouldn’t be strengthened by replacing one of their drivers for him.

    1. No space at Ferrari, he probably does not want to go back to McLaren, Mercedes are happier with Hamilton given the history.

      So Renault was his best option.

      I do think though there is a good chance of him going to Red Bull in 2014 should Webber not perform in the first half of next year

    2. Mark V says:

      One thing I am sure they know when dealing with Kimi is that he pretty much holds the cards: he has demonstrated this season that his top form remains intact after two years away. But perhaps more importantly, he won’t bend over backwards to get a seat. He already has a WDC, has money to burn and is willing to go race other types of cars if it suits his mood and the situation. In other words, most teams would need him more than he needs them, and the teams that have the most to offer also have the most to lose by bringing in someone who might upstage their incumbent star driver.

  11. Elie says:

    That’s a bit cheeky he’s no devil but a pure demon behind the wheel & already this year he has reminded us why he is a great champion. His racing speed is prodigious and his evasive skills are second to none. His micro-second wheel time at Suzuka while on the outside of Hamilton coming of the pits was unreal !-most other drivers would have touched or worse!. Check out this video on YouTube:http://youtu.be/sDnnfizWCm4
    Unlike every other driver you can never say he is not fair every single time. & we all know how awesome his overtakes are !

    I’m pleased to see Kimi relaxed and happy – hopefully find a bit more quali pace if possible. I really hope 2013 has Lotus making a step forward because they will come under attack from Mercedes and possibly even Williams. I think it will be even tougher than this year. What do you reckon James ?

  12. Monza01 says:

    It was really a no brainer for Kimi to stay at Lotus.

    Nevertheless, I’m sure he would have been a good choice for McLaren but then with Perex, the Mexican connection will be worth many millions of extra dollars to them and it would have cost a great deal of cash to buy Kimi out of his obligation to Lotus as the performance clauses were met.

    Overall, the difference in the cost to the team between the two drivers would have been very considerable.

    Pity.

    1. Chromatic says:

      Kimi did not like the 35% of the year commitments to sponsors events that Jens has to do in and out of season for McLaren.

      BUT : Perez’s contract probably doesn’t mean they can’t replace him any time they want, if Kimi was to be tempted back….. I don’t think they are over the moon with nabbing Perez, there was just no better option.

      1. surya kumar says:

        I do agree with the fact that Mclaren were making a knee jerk reaction. My feeling is that they were caught unawares when Lewis confirmed that he was leaving and that left them little choice. However I was more surprised and truly beleive that Nico Hulkenberg can do a better job than Perez in that Mclaren.

  13. Timmay says:

    The news of his comeback was the best and he has done well. I think he has one more championship in him but doubt it is with Lotus. I hope he goes to Red Bull and leads from pole to flag every weekend and it is really boring.

  14. madmax says:

    “His comeback stands in stark contrast to Michael Schumacher who has only managed one podium in his three years back in the sport.”

    That’s a very harsh comparison and one that sounds like from someone who would have us believe all cars are the same so he can take a cheap shot at the legend he actually wrote books about.

    How can you compare the front running Lotus this year to the slow and unreliable Mercedes, Schumacher’s had this last 3 years? The only time it had any speed was the start of this season and it kept breaking down.

    1. James Allen says:

      Would that be the same slow and unreliable Mercedes which won the Chinese GP from pole?

      1. Simmo says:

        Yet could have got a 1-2 had it not been unreliable…

      2. Amit says:

        One Swallow doesn’t make a summer. I think to judge Schumacher’s return just on basis of one race is, poor to say the least and for it to come from a you, it’s preposterous. Either you expected too much from him or your views are just impetuous. All i can say is put any other driver from Schumacher’s age group (Barrichello, Coulthard etc. would struggle to get within a second of Rosberg’s time. Of course Coulthard and Barrichello may not be the perfect yard sticks to match Schumacher against, but the fact is that Schumacher has massively dented Rosberg’s stock. A lot of people spoke very highly of Rosberg before he teamed up with Schumacher. And though he beat Schumacher on points every season, it should in fact have never been a contest.

        As for comparisons against Kimi, i think the lotus was one of the stand out packages this year (I am a huge Kimi fan, but, I am sure the same car in Alonso, Vettle or Lewis’ hand would have more than a few better results), so maybe it’s the case of car flattering the driver rather than the other way round. James along with other readers if this blog i hold your views very highly and believe that you have a better insight/understanding of f1 than most journalists, but i think sometimes your comments are inexplicable.

      3. James Allen says:

        We aren’t judging from one race, judging from three years, not one race!

      4. mayberth says:

        “I am sure the same car in Alonso, Vettle or Lewis’ hand would have more than a few better results”

        I doubt that. The team has been slow in pit stop and blunder in tyre strategies, inability to perform undercut to improve position. It will be the same or worst with others behind the wheels. Those drivers you mentioned all had better car than kimi, lewis in particular was behind kimi in the driver standing. You can said he been unlucky, well kimi faced alot of kers, hydraulic and antiroll bar failure issues, but he bring the car home with decent points everytime he faced the issues. Hamilton wasted many points by his own blunders (valencia, Spa, Korean, Indian gp etc). Put kimi in mclaren, and he will challenge for the wdc easily.

      5. Ben says:

        Well, that’s the problem here- judging. Whose judging is the most accurate? Has everything taken into account to give the correct verdict? I only know what I read/see here or other media- definitely not enough to judge.

      6. Elie says:

        Amit, I think the post was really trying just to state the facts because so many people compare the comebacks- which I agree is a little disparate.(def no MS fan! ). But where I think the biggest surprise for me was that Mercedes not improving & fine tuned through driver input which was something Michael was exceptional at previously. especially given it won in China.

        The Lotus was only the fastest car in a straight line- if you watch the speed traps carefully you would have noticed this. Also through change of direction it always lost ground- this why Lotus finally did what Mclaren and Redbull had on their car since the start of the year -the Coanda exhausts & even Ferrari at Germany. It was never going to be quite enough just being good on tyres, and fast in a straight line- some updates at Hungary – nose cone / wings helped. But if you noticed how hard Kimi had to fight that car by Spa you would know it was no where in the league of the big boys and their development rate. It was something everyone feared from the start of the season.

        I think people need to look at where Lotus were last year and even Eric Boulliers expectation for 4th to understand what that car was capable of- to think it made 2nd several. times earlier really surprised him! This is not just down to great driving but fantastic input and set up which is something only high calibre people like Kimi bring to the table. It’s why Grosjean did so well immediately too.

        The best test would be put the top 4 guys in the top 4 cars each let them do 10 timed laps in each car, giving 4 points for the fastest lap down to 1 point for the slowest. Tally them up and I don’t think you will find much in it. Given how quickly Kimi settled back into putting a car on the podium – I know who I would bet on. The others have had their way in their mega dollar teams for years- don’t ever forget that.

      7. Yes James, that was the very same Mercedes whose’s right wheel was not properly fitted during the first round of pitstops.

      8. madmax says:

        Yes, and like I said what kept happening Schumacher’s car when it had some sort of speed?

        Dis his car make it to the end that race?

    2. Craig in Singapore says:

      Hilarious! You could reverse your own logic and say that most of “the legend’s” first stint in F1 could be disregarded as he had dominiant machinery.

      1. madmax says:

        Craig,

        You need to brush up on your F1 history. Like every other F1 world champion Schumacher won championships in a dominant car but unlike most other F1 world champions he also won not just races but championships when the car was not regarded as the best.

      2. Chapor says:

        Like…?

      3. madmax says:

        1994,1995,2000,2003

      4. madmax says:

        Unreliability in the last race of the year cost him championships in not the best car in 97(broken radiator was why Villeneuve starting catching him),98 and 06.

      5. Craig in Singapore says:

        Hence the use of the word “most”.

      6. madmax says:

        A dominant car in 3 years out of 20 is hardly most years. (2001,2002 and 2004)

      7. Wade Parmino says:

        My belief has always been that to win consistently in F1, there must be a great driver with a great car.

        Great driver + average car = overall average results. Average driver + great car = overall average results. If either one of these variables is below average/poor, then poor results will be achieved. It never seems to balance out to me, results tend to align with whichever variable is lowest.

        Both driver and car are needed to make a winning formula. Although I must admit Alonso has certainly challenged this school of thought this season. But overall and in the long-term, I think it holds true.

  15. Greg says:

    Best driver on the grid this year in my view!

  16. Thompson says:

    ??? …The title of this piece is a bit odd, kimi was a cert – he has done an excellent job this year.

    Will he get faster, I’m not so sure (you can almost see old father time lurking in the background of his interviews, just waiting for the right time to leap out and turn him into an old man)

    He deserves his place on the grid imo but the distance some of you are looking into the future….wow.

  17. Chromatic says:

    Very odd title they put on, could it be because a french speaker is the author perhaps?

    In any case this guarantees Sky’s subscriptions for next year!!!

  18. vicnsi says:

    I was a big fan of Michael in his heyday. But to me, it’s apparent now more than ever, that he came back into the sport from retirement ‘primarily’ just have fun – maybe even *gasp* to escape boredom.

    Meaning he can’t possibly have been as determined as Kimi has been thus far to not only be on the podium repeatedly, but to actually attempt to win races. I am convinced that if Schumacher actually had this same depth of determination, he would definitely have had a few victories by now.

    Happy for Kimi though. and can’t wait to see him back on the top step of the podium!

  19. Tay says:

    Was there ever any potential for Raikkonen to take Hamilton’s seat at McLaren? Why didn’t that conversation ever come up?

    1. mayberth says:

      it did according to highly rated journalist from Finland, he must had confirmed from kimi during the summer. But kimi had activated the option automatically as he overachieved than those clauses required from him….sad!!

  20. Chromatic says:

    some of Eric Boullier’s statements to the media are baffling, to the point of being inept.
    - Kimi took a while to come up to speed [NOT TRUE]
    - A win this year is not on the cards [DEFEATIST, even if true]

    The Hamilton of team principals?

  21. jb says:

    His comeback has been very impressive. He is more consistent and professional than ever! He squeeze the max out of the car every race. His quali pace is still lacking a bit. I suspect he is not super confident pushing the tires or steering not giving him the feedback he likes at quali pace. This brings me to the next point, he did very well learning the new tires, new rules, new car and new team.

    Now, it is up to team Lotus to give him the car he needs to win. It is great to have Kimi back in F1. I would love to see more of him on podium. His mono-toned understatements are the best!

  22. Sri says:

    Everything was good with Kimi and Lotus. 2 things need improvement:
    1. Qualifying pace of Kimi – Imagine what he could have done from Grosjean’s position in the starting grid in the initial part of the season. A few victories would have been in his grasp.
    2. Lotus strategy has been poor – They do not seem to be imaginative in undercutting or doing something out-of-the box. Granted that they did not want to lose points and end up with nothing in taking up some aggressive strategy, but they should have at least in a couple of positions tried undercutting etc. which they did not. Maybe this conservative strategy allowed them to get points every race, but they surely missed victories and higher point finishes also a few times due to this approach.

    But overall a very good result. I hope Kimi can maintain his #3 position by the end of the season as it looks a bit unlikely now with the performance of McLaren and RedBull being better than Lotus. Still it shows that the other three drivers (JB, LH, MW) have been poorer than KR this season as they had a faster car throughout.

    1. joshua says:

      I agree but not on the other drivers all being poorer…. Jb had severe set up issues in the first half and although LH is faster, hes not 1 second quicker over a lap. How much of this is team or jbs fault is the difficult part.

      LH would have 50+more points just on Spain and Singapore alone, which are team and reliability errors 100%.

      Whilst I agree the lotus package with KimI has been brilliant, I don’t think its fair to say the drivers have been poor. The mclaren team however have grossly underperformed.

  23. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James, given the issues surrounding Lotus Cars, has there been any info on whether they’ll remain sponsors next year? Will that have an impact on their second driver? Has there been any rumour on who might take his place?

    1. James Allen says:

      I think Lopez has decided that Lotus is the brand they are building the team around and the deal is in place to do that, even though Lotus Cars is no longer putting in any money.

  24. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Perez was nearer the win than Kimi, and Hulk is younger and showing the same consistency than Kimi lately.

    I think also that Grosjean has more potential to get a win than Kimi, if he puts all together. So Lotus should confirm Grosjean for 2013, but without a rush, it is good to see him finishing all the remaining races this year.

    1. Kimi4WDC says:

      Pic could have won the Championship by your reasoning. There is a bit of void in that part of “puts all together” – that’s actually why we have World Champions, they are able to do it as compare to others.

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        I think Grosjean will win before Kimi, sorry.

      2. manu says:

        yea, you think. doesnt matter really =)

  25. Chris Chong says:

    Lotus should sign Kobayashi – that would give them the most exciting driver lineup in F1!

  26. Hawkbill says:

    Not a surprise that many people are still defending Schumy’s performance during his three years of comeback. But come on guys, he is not a young man anymore. When people gets old, the reflex is getting slower. Remember the accidents when he hit the back of Bruno’s car in Spain and Jean Eric’s in Singapore. Slow reflex!

    1. Dan Orsino says:

      Barry Kallow is planning a return I’ve just heard.
      Soon zimmer frames will be seen speeding up and down the pit lane

    2. madmax says:

      Do you remember when Button and Vettel hit the back of a HRT earlier in the year?

      Or when Verge locked his brakes at the start of the last GP?

      What about the Sauber drivers at the start of Korea?

      Grosjean, Maldanado??

      Are they all getting old and loosing their reflexes?

  27. Megan says:

    According to the Finnish press Kimi was already locked a contract at the Spanish GP, as that is when the clauses of the contract was met. Mclaren was properly never on the cards. But Kimi doesn’t rule them out in the future.
    But hopefully Lotus can now really start to take a step forward and give Kimi a car that is really capable of atleast fighting for the championship.

  28. Dan Orsino says:

    I like every bit of this except for one — I GOTTA PAY SKY AGAIN NEXT YEAR
    damn it

    1. Kimi4WDC says:

      I wish I could pay Sky (Region blabla). I can’t comprehend with the global coverage F1 have, why we still dont have $5 a month subscription for everyone over internet around the world.

      1. colin grayson says:

        the rights elsewhere make a fortune for bernie and co , no way would he allow it

  29. Robert says:

    The difference between Kimi and Schumacher, is that Schumacher has been responsible for a number of crashes and scored less then half the number of points then his team mate. Kimi has scored twice the number of points as his team mate. In F1 the first thing to do is beat your team mate; Schumacher has not done that since his return.

    In the past he was the best, and he is a 7 time world champion. But in the past 3 years he has been mediocre and if it were not for his past he would not have kept the car for as long as he did.

  30. Chad says:

    It strikes me that James has received a fair amount of vitriol for his suggestion that Kimi Raikkonen’s comeback has been more of a success than Michael Schumacher’s. Regardless of the relative merits of the cars, the relative quantities of luck, the number of points scored by each driver or the number of podiums achieved, objectively Raikkonen’s comeback has been more of a success. That’s not a slur on Schumacher. It’s just an objective comment. No need to brood over the sacrilegious injustice done to your favourite driver…especially when James’ comment was actually only to compare the number of podiums that each driver had achieved. He didn’t even subsequently disparage Schumacher, he simply said that the two comebacks were in “stark contrast” to one another. Regardless of any mitigating factors, by comparing podium achievements, James was simply supplying an objective statistic.

    As a side point – great news about Kimi… Christian Horner, if you’re reading this, put him in a Red Bull in 2014. It’ll be the best partnership since Mozart met Da Ponte. Fact.

    1. Chad says:

      “James Allen Reply:
      October 30th, 2012 at 12:57 pm

      Exactly. Thanks”

      …I’ll assume that applies to me too then James…

      ;)

  31. simon mawdsley says:

    quite a few people taking James’ “stark contrast” comment to mean “schui is a waste of space”. Schui’s comeback has not exceded, or even reached, expectations. kimis comeback has exceded expectations. both have had good and bad performances, but kimi has impressed more. pretty simple really.

    as i was told as a child at school “READ THE QUESTION BEFORE ANSWERING, MAWDSLEY!”

  32. johnston says:

    What about Kobayashi?
    Any recent paddock talk of him?

  33. ruthvin says:

    Shchumacer was brought back into the sport just to up the image of f1 and to bring back sponsors . lot of people dont even remember this. he was aged and knew that the new generation was catching him better machinery or not.
    KImi is a great driver . he was the fastest in his days just like vettel is now. he never makes mistakes and his overtaking skill is second to none. his gretest asset by itself is that. he made some amazing overtakings this year. . tactically renault are slow and hence they lost thee bahrain race. . BUt coming back to the point kimi and schumi cant be compared. schumi is now far too old to be in f1.

  34. KGBVD says:

    What about his little spat with the Lotus engineers over the steering racks? He apparently demanded a different incarnation at every race up to Monaco, which, naturally, angered the engineers.

    It seemed to blow over after that, but he made some similar rumbling about the failed DDRS adventure.

    I get the feeling that Kimi can be a bit diva-ish with the technical team. And for some reason, I don’t see him staying at Lotus for years (prob to RB to replace Seb in 2014).

    1. Sri says:

      I always find this funny that when Kimi does not demand much from technical team which was what pointed out as a drawback in his Ferrari years, he is branded as lacking motivation. When the same driver demands exactly what he wants, he is branded as petulant, lacking adjustment capabilities etc. I think Kimi tried his best to change the steering wheel and then he stopped making fuss perhaps he began like it or just gave it up as something that cannot be changed after few races of his voicing concern. What more could he do so that he would be seen as a driver that is giving the right feedback without being stubborn or diva-ish? I’m sure if Alonso does the same, people will write saying what a thorough professional he is! I remember media jumped on to this issue and someone started this ridiculous rumor (Villeneuve?)that Lotus would like to replace Kimi in mid-season. Any sane brain would not come to that conclusion and this idea was accepted by some media people shows what kind of IQ they have. No wonder Kimi hates giving interviews because he knows what b-s some media write.

  35. Ocebe says:

    Average driver finish position:

    Kimi: 5.41
    Vettel: 5.47
    Alonso: 5.71
    Webber: 6.06
    Lewis: 7.47
    Massa: 9.12
    Button: 9.47

    I would like this to get the WDC rather than points.

    1. Dean Cassady says:

      Good one.
      I agree with you on who the best driver has been this year; and your numbers show it.

  36. Dean Cassady says:

    Kimi is the best driver in the world right now, bar none.
    There was all of this talk at the end of the 2012 Indian GP weekend about how Alonso did such a great job, and how all of the experts would like to see Alonso in the same car as Vettel, and then he’d really show them.
    I say, let’s see Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton and Kimi in the same car, with which each of them has the same experience.
    Kimi.
    If Kimi had been in this 2012 McLaren, or Red Bull or Ferrari, he would have already won the championship.
    Well, if he can’t take it this year, then next year; 2012 WC would suit him somehow.

    1. KGBVD says:

      That’s quite the claim.

      A driver who was ousted from the sport; tried and failed at WRC; comes back to much fanfare, only to reveal that he seems to have forgotten how to pass. He also seems to be unable to come to terms with the DRS zones – how many times has he been repassed on an outlap in the DRS zone?

      Kimi is in a fast, reliable car, but takes no chances (beyond one hopeless attempt to pass on the outside per race – he should have won Bahrain). He trundles around and finishes mid-points. Top marks.

      1. Dean Cassady says:

        KGBVD:
        your comment is ridiculously out of context and seemingly regardless of the machinery and team realities at the moment.
        How many years was Kimi in a Ferrari before he won?
        Did not Alonso have the same kind of superiority in machinery, as Vettel does now, during his world championship winning years, at Renault?
        There is no reasonable denying Alonso`s vaunted team management capability, neither his in-car determination and capability.
        However, until we see him head-to-head in the identical machinery as Kimi, without a `team-advantage`on either side, then no one is going to ever know who would win a straight fight; neither you, nor I.

        However, until that day, you are welcome to your opinion (I can see by your comments that you are not a great fan of Kimi – good for you), and I am welcome to mine.
        Kimi rules!
        All your writing won`t change my mind, no need to keep on trying.

      2. KGBVD says:

        Out I’m context I’m not too sure about. It has been this year that Kimi has failed to understand the strategy behind DRS, and that it is better to attempt a pass on the inside (or even that, if you’re lucky, MAYBE you can try MORE than once to pass someone).

        By your standards, the only thing that Kimi has proven is that he’s better than Grosjean. Before that, we can deduce that he is worse than Massa (which no one could possibly believe– so a reliance on a ‘equal machinery’ comparison tell you nothing).

        You can argue that Kimi’s 1st place in ’07 and 3rd place this year are essentially down to Hamilton screwing up. I haven’t seen anything special, particularly since RG is picking up podiums too (when not bouncing off other). He wouldn’t be third if a few other drivers stopped driving like morons.

        That Kimi never had dominant machinery MIGHT just be down to the driver’s inability to express that dominance. Not all drivers can: Webber looks like a shadow compared to his teammate and Rubens could never do it in either a Ferrari or a Brawn.

        Kimi is good, and I like him quite a bit. But ‘the best in the world’ he is not (THAT is Loeb, without question); he’s not even the best in F1 this year.

      3. Dean Cassady says:

        As previously stated, KGBVD…
        KIMI!
        I write following the Abu Dhabi GP, and I have to admit, after all your banter, I was pleased to see Kimi on the top step and Vettel and Alonso below.
        Don’t shoot the messenger.

      4. KGBVD says:

        I’m very pleased to see Kimi win; it just unfortunately proved two of my points.

        Firstly, that he can’t pass anymore. Was that ANOTHER failed, half-hearted attempt to pass on the outside during the race? Even DC picked up on that.

        Secondly, by some freak coincidence, Kimi once again benefited from Hamilton dropping out. If he didn’t this would have been another Bahrain.

        If he put in a blinder of a drive from, say, the back of the grid to, say, the podium, then yes, it would be hugely commendable and I would have to eat my words.

        As it stands, Kimi was the 4th fastest driver on Sunday, and lucked into the win (if the race was 2 laps longer, he wouldn’t have). Good for him though!

  37. Kimi4WDC says:

    Best thing about this news, is that we get to see Kimi racing for another year :)

  38. alam says:

    James,

    From the title ‘devil you know’ are we to assume that is how you view Kimi.

    ‘Man of Mischief’, rebel etc, I think Kimi was let down by Mclaren from 2003- 2006(4 seasons) which has made him the kind of person he is(Am I bothered, Cath Tate) .

    His recent statement on his Qualifying in Suzuka tells all when he states he doesn’t care if he ruined other drivers hot laps. But Im sure we all know the essence of the statement is ‘crying over spilt milk’.

    So I feel empathy for Kimi when commentators poke fun at him. Though i agree, he does like to odd drink.

  39. Reg says:

    @KGBVD. I think you have amnesia. Because you forgot the 2005 Suzuka where Kimi started from 17th then won. And how about his overtake in Spa against MS?

    And when LH’s car failed in Abu Dhabi, why is Kimi the one who inherited the lead? Of all the drivers, it was Kimi. Was it luck?

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