After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship season, my colleague Chris Estrada and I are taking a look back on how each of the 23 Formula One drivers who took to the grid fared this past year.
Finishing fifth in the championship despite missing the final two races of 2013 was Kimi Raikkonen…
No. 7 Lotus-Renault
2013 Stats: 5th Place, 1 Win, 8 Podiums, 10 Top-5s, 14 Top-10s, 41 Laps Led
Average Start: 8.4
Average Finish: 6.6
DiZinno says: F1 is better with Kimi involved, and the Australian Grand Prix victory to open the year just seemed like a refreshing tonic that could spice up the season. Sadly that was as good as it got and despite a number of runner-up finishes, the Lotus seemed just adrift of the Red Bull in the first half, then third or fourth best car in the second. The mounting frustrations set in regarding the team’s financial strife, and Romain Grosjean’s emergence in the other garage didn’t help things either. If 2012 was a season in overachieving for Raikkonen and Lotus, 2013 felt rather unfulfilled. Here’s to the “third time’s the charm” mantra for 2014 in his Ferrari return.
Estrada says: It started so perfectly, too. Raikkonen opened the season with a triumph in Australia and through the first half, he looked like a potential challenger to Vettel as Lotus’ E21 didn’t chew the Pirellis too much. But a DNF at Spa started what would be a disappointing second half of the year for him as he fought against multiple obstacles: A surging teammate in Romain Grosjean, his financial frustrations with the team, and a back injury he aggravated en route to the podium at Singapore. Eventually, his back could no longer be ignored and Raikkonen opted to leave Enstone early following a first-lap crash at Abu Dhabi. One hopes for his sake that he’ll be 100 percent going into a potentially tough match-up against Fernando Alonso at Ferrari.