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F1 2016 Driver Review: Kimi Raikkonen

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Kimi Raikkonen

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 7
Races: 21
Podiums: 4
Best Finish: 2nd (Bahrain, Spain)
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 186
Laps Led: 7
Championship Position: 6th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Coming off the back of two tough years with Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen enjoyed an upturn in fortunes through 2016. He appeared more at ease with the SF16-H than its predecessors, allowing him to even push the Mercedes drivers close in Bahrain, finishing second.

Raikkonen came within a second of his first Ferrari win for eight years in Spain, only to be left frustrated by Max Verstappen through the second half of the race, and he returned to the podium in Austria, capitalizing on the clash between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.

But through the second half of the year, Raikkonen was disappointing. Sure, Ferrari lost ground to Red Bull in the pecking order and was firmly the third-best team, yet Kimi still struggled to match teammate Sebastian Vettel through the races (he did win the qualifying head-to-head 11-10, though).

We’ve not quite rediscovered ‘old Kimi’, but the Finn proved through 2016 that he remains a competitive, talented and quick racer. Given the right tools, he could really push Vettel close.

Is there another chapter to be written in Raikkonen’s lengthy F1 career in 2017? Bwoah, maybe!

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Kimi Raikkonen is F1’s most senior driver in terms of age – 37 – if not race starts after his two-year hiatus in 2010 and 2011, and was back to his best form in recent years this year with Ferrari.

Raikkonen struggled with Ferrari’s 2014 chassis, notably in the front end, but found the 2016 chassis happier to his liking. Beating Sebastian Vettel head-to-head in qualifying this year, 11-10, was no small achievement. He also increased his points total and podium finishes this year from 150 and three to 186 and four this year, although dropped in points from fourth to sixth because of Red Bull’s improvements.

Only in Spain did he really look like winning but Raikkonen did put up his usual great efforts in the Middle East, going well at both Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. He also didn’t back down in his season-long spat with Max Verstappen, and provided a bit of a rivalry for us to talk about this season.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.