IndyCar Driver Review: Simona de Silvestro

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With the IndyCar season in the books and a limited amount of news to come since the season finale at Fontana, my MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and are taking a look back at the 2013 season just past. Chris and I each ranked our top 10 drivers and some of the biggest stories; now we take a look back at the field driver-by-driver.

In lucky 13th in 2013, now free agent Simona de Silvestro…

2013 SEASON PREVIEW

Simona de Silvestro

  • Team: KV Racing Technology
  • 2012: 24th Place, Best Finish 13th, Best Start 17th
  • 2013: 13th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 3rd, 1 Podium, 2 Top-5, 9 Top-10, 0 Laps Led, 15.4 Avg. Start, 12.6 Avg. Finish

DiZinno says: This was always supposed to be Simona’s breakout season with a switch to KV and a sixth at St. Petersburg – which would have been a podium but for fading tires – provided the first glimpse that the popular Swiss was back in the game after a year in the Lotus wilderness. But despite a quick start, she and the KV team fell into the lower midfield in the midseason even as her confidence on ovals improved. It wasn’t until Mid-Ohio that everything clicked once more and fortunately de Silvestro was able to finish with a flourish, five straight top-10s including her first podium at Houston Race 1. It was a big step forward for her as she and her management team evaluates potential suitors in 2014.

Estrada says: De Silvestro’s 2013 season can be summed up in six words: Good start, bad middle, good finish. Three Top-10s in the first four races were nice to see from her after being saddled with the appallingly bad Lotus engine in 2012, but as summer took hold, she fell back considerably with just one Top-10 in the next 10 races. However, things came back around for her as the season wound down and the runner-up performance in Houston Race 1 must have felt exceptional for her considering what she went through the year before. She feels confident that things are coming together for her in IndyCar, and I’m inclined to agree.

F1 2017 driver review: Kimi Raikkonen

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Kimi Raikkonen

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 7
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 7
Best Finish: P2 (Monaco, Hungary)
Pole Positions: 1
Fastest Laps: 2
Points: 205
Laps Led: 40
Championship Position: 4th

While this may have statistically been Kimi Raikkonen’s best campaign since his first year back in F1 in 2012, there is a good case for it being one of his most disappointing to date.

Raikkonen’s continued role at Ferrari has been questioned on a number of occasions, but the Finn looked capable of answering his critics heading into 2017 after impressing through pre-season testing as he appeared to get to grips well with the new-style cars.

But we soon grew accustomed to the same old story: flashes of potential, but otherwise an underwhelming, unsatisfactory campaign that saw Raikkonen be dwarfed by his teammate, Sebastian Vettel.

Raikkonen’s charge to his first pole position for over eight years in Monaco gave hope of a popular win, only for Ferrari to play its strategy in favor of title contender Vettel – why wouldn’t the team do so? – to leave him a disgruntled second.

While Vettel was able to impress at the majority of circuits, Raikkonen only looked strong at tracks that were unquestionably ‘Ferrari’ tracks, such as Hungary and Brazil. Like Vettel, Raikkonen should have racked up a good haul of points in Singapore, only for the start-line crash to sideline both Ferraris before they even reached Turn 1.

Again there is the question of ‘what could have been?’ in Malaysia had it not been for the spark plug issue on the grid, yet in Japan, Raikkonen was nowhere, finishing behind the Mercedes and Red Bulls.

Finishing just five points clear of Daniel Ricciardo despite having a much faster car for the best part of the season and the Red Bull driver’s own reliability issues sums up the disappointment of Raikkonen’s campaign.

He should have been an ally for Vettel in the title race by nicking points of Lewis Hamilton, much as Valtteri Bottas was doing for his Mercedes teammate. Instead, Raikkonen seemed to be tagging along for the best part of this season.

Season High: Pole in Monaco, his first since the 2008 French Grand Prix.

Season Low: Finishing a distant P4 at Spa – a circuit he made his own in the 2000s.