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.

After eating just one chip, NHRA drag racer says: ‘I seriously thought I was going to die’

Alex Laughlin official Instagram page
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Editor’s note: Due to rain, Sunday’s final eliminations of the NHRA Carolina Nationals have been postponed to Monday morning at 10 a.m. ET. In the meantime, check out this rather unusual tale:

Remember the old Lays Potato Chips commercial from back in the 1980s that bragged “No one can eat just one”?

Well, ask NHRA Pro Stock driver Alex Laughlin and a few members of his team, and they’ll tell you they learned a very valuable lesson that there indeed IS a chip that you can only eat one of.

According to NHRA’s National Dragster, Laughlin and Elite Motorsports crew members Chase Freeman, Kelly Murphy and Brian Cunningham took part Friday night in the Paqui One Chip Challenge.

If you haven’t heard of the Challenge, Paqui Chips has produced a tortilla chip that the company boldly claims is the hottest chip ever made anywhere in the world. The secret is the “Carolina Reaper” pepper, considered the hottest chili pepper in the world, with a rating of 1.9 million Scoville units, according to PuckerButt Pepper Company.

How hot is 1.9 million Scoville units? Let’s put it this way: the Devil might even have a hard time taking this kind of heat. By comparison, a Jalapeno pepper only reaches 10,000 units on the Scoville rating. 

So while they were enjoying some downtime Friday night after the first two rounds of qualifying for the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina (suburban Charlotte), Laughlin and Co. paid $30 for one chip – you read that right, $30 for one chip, it’s THAT hot – and thought they could take the heat.

They thought wrong.

“This is the hottest chip in the world,” Laughlin said on an Instagram post that documented the entire experience, adding a warning, “What to expect: Mouth on fire, short-term loss of speech, impaired vision from tears, extreme profanity — or death.”

View this post on Instagram

Never. Ever. Again.

A post shared by Alex Laughlin (@alexlaughlin40) on

 

Laughlin’s post also includes several reader comments that Laughlin and his crew should have had milk on hand instead of water to try and cool things down because milk has a natural antidote to cool your mouth down after eating hot food.

Sunday morning, with his mouth and throat still a bit sore, Laughlin recalled the red-hot episode to National Dragster’s Kevin McKenna:

Never again. Never. Ever. Ever,” Laughlin told McKenna. “It was definitely not the smartest thing I’ve ever done.

One of our guys showed me a You Tube video and it looked like it wasn’t going to be too bad. I like spicy food and it’s usually never a problem. I’ve been to those places with hot wings where you have to sign a waiver before you eat them and that’s never been a problem.

But this? This is on a whole different level. I thought it might last ten minutes. Fourteen hours later, I was still in bad shape. I woke up at 3 a.m. and Googled “internal bleeding.” I seriously thought I was going to die. We all did.”

So if the heat from the chip was off the hotness Richter scale, where did the stunt rank on Laughlin’s own personal Richter scale?

I’ve done some dumb things, but this is right up there.

Well, I really didn’t think it would be that bad,” Laughlin told McKenna with a shrug. “I mean, it’s just one tortilla chip. Like I said, I can usually eat stuff that other people won’t eat, but I had no idea what I was in for.

“I’ve done some dumb things, but this is right up there.”

If you’re up for another challenge in the future that involves eating hot food, Alex, here’s a suggestion: Even though it’s a few years old now, maybe you should try the Ice Bucket Challenge (but fill it with milk) to cool down quick. Just a thought.

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