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Still got it: Kimi Raikkonen rolls back years with first F1 win since 2013
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Posted By: Editor   |  21 Oct 2018   |  10:47 pm GMT  |  32 comments

With his time at Ferrari coming to an end at the conclusion of the 2018 season, Kimi Raikkonen was running out of opportunities in a front-running team to take another long-awaited race win.

After their upturn in pace, Mercedes looked like they had the capabilities of winning every race in the tail-end of the season, leaving many to suspect that Raikkonen’s missed chance at the 2018 Italian Grand Prix would’ve been the Finn’s last big attempt to finally win in his second stint at Ferrari, before joining Sauber for 2019.

Despite taking 23 podiums and two pole positions since he rejoined the team for the start of the 2014 season, a win had remained illusive, with Raikkonen being subjected to some poor fortune, misguided tactics or quicker, championship-challenging team-mates.

It’s a run that few would’ve anticipated. He earned another contract with Ferrari following a successful Formula One comeback with the Lotus team, where he had the measure of then-team-mate Romain Grosjean and guided the team to two wins; the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the 2013 Australian Grand Prix.

The latter win would be his last until this year’s US Grand Prix, where he executed Ferrari’s strategy perfectly; with the softer tyres, he got the jump on Lewis Hamilton to lead on the opening lap – ending his unwanted streak of 37 races without gaining a place on the opening lap.

From there, he succeeded in disrupting Hamilton’s race and profited from there need to pit the Briton again, allowing Raikkonen to control the race pace.

His win in Austin means that his run of 113 races without a win – 5 years, 7 months and 5 days (or 2045 days) –  has ended, something which he thinks will go some way to proving doubters wrong.

“It hasn’t really been a big deal for me,” said Raikkonen. “It’s been a much bigger deal for other people.

“If it comes it comes, if it doesn’t it doesn’t change my life one bit. I’m happy because we are here purely to try to win. The biggest difference is how people look at you.

” It’s nice to prove to all the people that we can still win; that’s the reason we are here for, try to win races and Championships.

“I’m glad we had a fight and it’s nice to see that we still have the speed to go for it and fight has hard as we can. This weekend we found the car that we expected to have.”

The victory is also Raikkonen’s first for Ferrari since the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix, his only win in a difficult season which resulted in him leaving the sport and turning to rallying. Given that his last win prior to that was the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix, this means that his latest win is only his fourth in a ten-year period.

By: Luke Murphy

All images: Motorsport Images

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1

So now he get’s to build up another team:) Again! Maybe Seb can go there and win when Kimi retires:)

2

A potential PR nightmare has suddenly emerged at Maranello.

Arrivabene: “Sorry to bother you at home, Pierro, but the guy we just fired just won the US Grand Prix.”

Pierro: “Fafa&)//@!”

3

As great as Formula 1 can be at times, the thing I have always found frustrating about it is there are so many variables that unlike most other sports it is unable to declare without a doubt who the best (driver) is. This has especially been true since the 2000 season when the current era of dominant teams began, serving up only 8 different WDC’s in 19 seasons, with change-ups usually occurring after a big rule change more often than not.

So while the drivers’ performances on track is no doubt an essential piece of the puzzle, money, politics, and even industrial espionage and other off-track shenanigans have influential fingers in the pie too.

So if you’re the kind of driver who races for the sake of racing and aren’t at all interested in engaging in any Machiavellianism, well then maybe your potential is never truly appreciated or realized.

4

Whitmarsh said: “Kimi is deeply frustrating, in that he’s as smart as he is, and has all that pace – and it just pisses you off that he compromises it.”

“He hasn’t realised his potential – and he isn’t going to now, which is a great shame. Very insightful, very dry sense of humour. I really like the bloke.”

5

Nice touch too that Kimi removed his hat in deference to the General who presented him the trophy. His military training still there after all these years.

6

You’re not a fan of racing if you don’t like the Finn, even just one bit.

An all and all and out and out racer yet still one of the fairest drivers on the grid. One of the fastest drivers ever.

So happy for him. The Kimster has been unleashed and with Ferrari’s pace back and Seb’s title hopes dwindling, who knows? Maybe a couple more wins before he drives again for the team he started with. As I’ve said, if the last races are as exciting as the last one, I really don’t care who wins.

Good luck to Kimi in Mexico.

7

Yes..I like Kimi. He is fair and there is no nonsense with him but “One of the Fastest ever”? A stretch too far my friend. If everything is perfect and the stars align he is a match for some of the best. Isn’t that true of most good F1 drivers though? I don’t want to put a downer on kimi but he has been overshadowed his whole career. A shame but there it is. I wish him well at Sauber. I’m sure he will do ok…and OK sums his up the majority of his f1 career.

8

Numbers do not always show the real picture. Kimi could have won easily more races with Ferrari with better strategy and more focus on him, also one or two more championships with Mclaren.

9

Did you watch F1 when Kimi was at Mclaren? By whom was he actually overshadowed back then? E.g. Montoya, Heidfeld, DC ? That was his prime when he was the best and fastest driver on earth.

10

Indeed Peter,
When Kimi drove that Newey designed car just as if he had stolen it!

Too bad they were so fragile, as Kimi certainly showed the skill and pace to win multiple WDC/WCC back then.

11

Totally agree Peter.
Kimi was MIGHTY during his McLaren years, I always felt that it was almost a travesty that he never won the WDC with them before finally clinching it with Ferrari.

A true racer, always fair, much like Mika Häkkinen which is why I am delighted that both won WDCs.
No politics, no bull, just FAST.

Sure he is not one of the absolute fastest on the grid anymore but give him half a chance and the spark is clearly still there.

I maintain that inherent pace is never lost, it is other factors such as motivation, hunger etc that creep in stealing the last tenths in the latter stages of most drivers’ careers.

12
Richard Mortimer

This is very interesting. First: congratulations to Kimi on a long over-due win.

On being one of the fastest ever? Up to the end of 2007, for sure you could say that.

2003 – Williams looked the strongest challenger to Ferrari. I remember Ralph S getting pole in France. His team mate was Montoya. Asked to explain, one commentator said “Ralph is getting more out of the car!” That’s very interesting! Also, explains something on the ‘Kimi’ dilemma “where has the speed gone?”

But, sticking with 2003, he ran Michael a close second! Oh, for a more reliable McLaren! Basically, he had the speed, but also the race-craft and the consistency.

2005 – Ran Fernando a close second (7 race wins each)! Very close, and you could argue that McLaren’s no number one policy lost them the championship, as Kimi was fighting Pablo Montoya as well!

2007 – He won (just) courtesy of Massa being used as a help-mate! However, the analysts at the end of the year said, “over the year Kimi was the best (second half in particular) and deserved the title.”

From France on he won 5 races and was the dominant driver (even though he was helped by the fire-works at McLaren).

Don’t know what happened in 2008. Kimi got beaten by Massa. OK, some races were lost by breakages, etc.

Maybe, having won the title, he lost motivation a little bit. As Nico R proved, to be 100% on it, all the time, takes so much out of you. No doubt, some drivers are more prone to these kind of pressures?

Also, one commentator said, “Kimi lost out with tyre changes. That he had a way of using the fronts to turn the car, which was difficult to do, and gave him an edge.” When the tyre regs changed he lost that ‘edge.’

So, he crashed out of F1 at the end of 2009….

But, his return in 2012 and 13 with Lotus was superb! Seemed we had the old Kimi back. Fast, consistent and great on race-craft. Witness his huge number of fastest laps!

To take that car to 2 wins, as he did, showed his class. Also, he was in title contention for much of 2012! Looked to me like that car was where it did not deserve to be…

Maybe he should have stuck with Lotus / Renault?

Something did not quite work out with Ferrari. Maybe we will never know why? He seems to have got quicker and quicker over these past seasons with Maranello.

Maybe they made a mistake backing Vettel? Mind you, without his mishaps, Seb would probably have won in the US. Also, Kimi was at the front in Italy due to Sebs similar problem…

13

Interesting developement…it must have opened up a new spacetime continuum.

I hope we’re back on the same as before again

14
Beentheredonethat

Kudos to Kimi, still I can’t help feeling that Mercs deliberately contributed to the enhancement of the show, but then the thought of putting the constructors crown at risk, doesn’t add up. Being a fan of #44, I’m really glad that Kimi won and not Seb.

I’m wondering if the sensors have been lifted off Ferrari for the remainder of races, has anyone any insight on this.?

15

Strange this article is only now appearing on my laptop version of JA.F1, some two days late!! and is not on my mobile at all.

Maybe everything is now routed through Maranello…

16

So you’re also on Arrivo…late time, glad I’m not the only one:)

17

Really happy for Kimi.
Hats off to the old fella.
If they’d given Kimi half a chance throughout the season instated of tactically bringing him in early at Pit stops or letting him stay out too long or asking him to move over. Ferrari would have more points in both Champioships. Instead Kimi was used as the sacrificial lamb for Herr Vettel.

18

Well been a Kimi fan ever since I started watching f1…I didn’t really think this would happen again. My thoughts if only Ferrari had not made him subordinate to Vettel this year. This championship would have been a lot closer than it looks right now. Ferrari have been really suboptimal with their race strategies this year. I expect Ferrari would employ two number 1s next and lec would challenge vettel next year and win a lot more races than Kimi. But at least the old man did it.

19

Superb Kimi! What a race. Well done to him and Ferrari.

Very strong comeback from Vettel from 15th too. Shame about the 1st lap incident though.

20

Such sweet pleasure to watch Kimi get a chance to go for the win without getting screwed over by Ferrari favouring Vettel! They’ve got all the bad karma they deserved for screwing him over and over. Fully convinced that Kimi could have been challenging for the world championship if they hadn’t played their games…I hope he wins at Sauber!

21

I hope he wins in Mexico!

22

Kimi got his first truly good chance to win a race this season in Austin and he used that chance right away. So happy for Kimi that he will end his second stint at Ferrari with at least one victory under his belt. And will leave Ferrari team as their latest champion. Which is kinda funny considering how many “better” drivers have been trying to win the title after him.

23

Glad to see Kimi win one.

Vettel needs more than a wingman.

24

…the way VET is driving right now, he needs more than ONE wingman.

25

Vettel needs a check up from the neck up.
He is nil race craft.

26

Get in there Kimi, get in there Max and get in there Lewis 🙂

What a race – who says F1 isn’t exciting anymore? Absolute edge of the seat tension for the last 15 or so laps and fabulous stuff between Max and Lewis at the end – plus who’d begrudge Kimi the win – not me! Although Vet might…..what might have been if only he’d been a little more circumspect with Ricci? He doesn’t seem to be what you’d call a quick learner – how many more times is he going to spin to the back of the grid when he get’s into a tussle with another driver?And the cherry on the top of the icing on the cake – Ham has an increased margin over Vet in the championship battle 🙂

Roll on Mexico – I can’t wait 8:)

ps

Sebee – once again your MMC race prediction was completely wrong! Just thought I’d mention it.

27

C63
I don’t think “circumspect” is in the skill set of Vettel, but he’ll probably have a good chance of winning “Strictly” with that regular spin💃🕺.

28

This article is back on the site! It was on post race (when I posted a comment) then it disappeared and now it’s back again! What’s going on?

29

The Editor’s tough dilemma:
Should this reasonably qualified news article be posted for the non-paying mob on JAonF1 or should we place it behind the pay-wall at Motorsport.com, so those that really matters (and who pays my salary) get the VIP treatment they deserve.

30

Editor: Apologies. We got trigger fingers and posted too early!

31

Editor you haven’t got a Stroll Jnr keypad have you? Early launch and then hit Alonso button?

32

Thanks for the update Ed’ – no worries – I thought I must have imagined it.

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