Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 7
Best Finish: 2nd (Bahrain)
Fastest Laps: 2
Laps Led: 10
Championship Position: 4th
Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)
2015 was certainly better from Kimi Raikkonen. After a disastrous 2014 campaign that saw him pick up just 55 points, big question marks lingered over the Finn ahead of the new season.
Despite scoring almost thrice as many points, hitting the podium three times and finishing fourth in the drivers’ championship, we can’t really chalk 2015 as being a great deal better for Raikkonen though. The gulf in points and on-track quality between himself and teammate Sebastian Vettel was staggering, suggesting that the Finn may perhaps have lost some of his old spark.
The closest we got to seeing it was in Bahrain when he charged past Nico Rosberg late on. Had the race continued for another three or four laps, Raikkonen would most probably have caught Lewis Hamilton. However, this was a pace we saw far too rarely in 2015. I’m convinced Ferrari’s retention of him for 2016 is more tactical than because of his actual ability.
Let’s see what 2016 brings. Raikkonen’s contract with Ferrari is up at the end of next year and with the majority of the grid available, it’s hard to see him staying beyond then. Let’s hope we get some of the ‘old’ Iceman back next year for one final hurrah.
Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)
Kimi was meant to be the lynchpin, and major domino, that triggered the 2016 silly season. When he was confirmed for another season with Ferrari, it all but sucked the life out of it. Typically Kimi, I guess, because sometimes his dullness is his genius; in other years, his dullness is… well… dull.
Statistically speaking, 2015 was a massive improvement on 2014 for him. He scored nearly 100 more points (55 to 150), improved eight positions in the standings (12th to fourth) and made it back to the podium three times after a year when he failed to grace the rostrum once. Ironically, perhaps, given Kimi’s known affinity for imbibing, he wound up on Bahrain and Abu Dhabi podiums – places where champagne isn’t served!
And yet, look at the previous paragraph, then compare it to new teammate Sebastian Vettel’s season and you can see why Raikkonen considered his year only “average” while Vettel called his “miraculous.” Vettel outscored him by more than 100 points, won three times to none, and out-podiumed him 13-3, and was usually Ferrari’s best bet on Saturdays, too.
It all added up to a year where you felt Raikkonen was good, but someone who was younger and hungrier might have scored even more points. His desperate lunge on Valtteri Bottas at Russia was not something you’d expect of someone with his level of experience. If Raikkonen’s F1 sign-off comes after next year, here’s hoping he can return to form for a final time and find the top step of the podium once more.