F1 2014 Driver Review: Kimi Raikkonen

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Kimi Raikkonen

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 7
Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums (excluding wins): 0
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 55
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 12th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

2014 was supposed to be the year that Ferrari returned to the top of Formula 1 with the strongest driver line-up in the history of the sport. However, with a terrible car and an off-boil Kimi Raikkonen, it simply wasn’t to be.

For the first half of the year, Raikkonen was anonymous, finishing no higher than seventh before the Hungarian Grand Prix in July. He had been set for the podium in Monaco after a good qualifying and good start, only for contact with Max Chilton under the safety car and then a crash with Kevin Magnussen to drop him outside of the points.

Later flashes of brilliance did follow, particularly in Belgium, where the Spa-specialist finished fourth, but all in all it was a disastrous season for Raikkonen. Perhaps it wasn’t a lack of motivation, but more difficulties with the car and the new regulations for 2014. Next year, he’ll be working alongside one of the few drivers he gets on with – Sebastian Vettel – and it could hold better things for the Finn.

With his contract expiring at the end of next season, Kimi needs to step up and prove his worth to the new regime at Maranello if he is to remain at Ferrari for more than just one more year.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The 2007 World Champion ended a disastrous 2014 season, his return to Ferrari, in a career-worst 12th in points. Yet somehow Kimi Raikkonen ended the year in a more solid standing with Ferrari than he started, and that spoke volumes about what a weird year it was overall for both parties.

The stats are crushing. Raikkonen banked only one top-five start (fifth in Bahrain) and one top-five finish (fourth at Spa). He ended six spots, and more than 100 points down on teammate Fernando Alonso. For the first time since his rookie season at Sauber, Raikkonen went a season without a podium, and even that year he scored two fourth-place finishes and ended 10th in the points!

The usual trademark Kimi apathy in press conferences, which was endearing for most of his two years with Lotus, was gone as Raikkonen offered few colorful quotes or sound bites throughout the year. There were so many races where you’d look up and see him fighting over 12th or 13th and thinking, is this real life? In spite of all this, with Alonso’s departure and the management turmoil that surrounded him, Raikkonen was the one measure of stability throughout the year – the problem is that his stability was resigned to the midpack, a place neither was familiar with.

Marvin Musquin’s Indy win may have come too late

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Marvin Musquin answered one question at Indianapolis last week, but the biggest one may well plague him for the next six weeks.

Musquin has won a battle, but can he win the war?

After standing on the podium in eight of the first 10 races, Musquin finally showed the field he was capable of winning in Indy when he grabbed the holeshot and led every lap on the way to Victory Lane. He was never seriously challenged and it was the Musquin that Supercross fans expected to see all season.

It was a long time coming. Musquin must have felt like victory was just around the corner after finishing second in the overall standings in Anaheim II’s Triple Crown race. He was third in the first Main that night and second in the last two Mains.

As it turned out, that single race defined his season until last week. Musquin stood on the podium all night, but he finished two spots behind Cooper Webb in the first Main and was one spot back in the second. It was only as time ran out that he was able to beat Webb by a single spot in the third Main. If Musquin had won either of the first two Mains, he would have had the overall victory – denying Webb his first career win in the process.

Webb’s Anaheim win revitalized the rider and gave him the confidence to rattle off four more wins in the next seven races.

Meanwhile, Musquin scored podium finishes in the next seven races, making him almost perfect. In another season, a record like that would have been enough to give him a comfortable points lead. In 2019, he sit 14 markers out of first, which is the points’ equivalent of the difference between first and 11th in one race. In other words, Webb cannot lose the points lead at Seattle unless he finishes outside the top 10 while his teammate wins.

Looking at the numbers another way the scenario is not quite as hopeless. Musquin needs to shave only 2.3 points off Webb’s lead each week to win the championship. Three points separate first and second. Five points differentiates first from third, which is where Webb finished in Indianapolis. Webb is vulnerable as his 10th-place finish at Glendale and an eighth at San Diego attest.

Those bobbles came early and Webb seems to have forgotten how to make a mistake.

A third-place is Webb’s worst finish in the last six weeks and since Anaheim II when Musquin started his impressive string of podium finishes, Webb has recorded an average finish of 2.2. That came with a worst finish of eighth on an extremely muddy and heavy track in San Diego. Musquin has a worst finish of only sixth, but his average of 2.8 still lags behind Webb.

Worse still, since Anaheim II Musquin has finished behind Webb in every race except for the outlier of San Diego.

It is no longer a question of keeping pressure on Webb. Musquin cannot expect his teammate to make a mistake; he has to find a way to pass him on the track. If Webb adds only two points to his lead at Seattle, Musquin’s fate would no longer be in his hands. He would need to gain 3.2 points per race. With that scenario, Webb could finish one spot behind Musquin every week and still win the championship.