Kata Rocks
THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Raikkonen rolls back into the mix

Raikkonen rolls back into the mix

FORMULA ONE: It had been a long time between drinks for 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen, and the Finn made sure he savoured the bubbles after seizing victory in Austin at the weekend.

Formula-One
By Michael Lamonato

Friday 26 October 2018, 03:31PM


A Kimi Raikkonen fan celebrates at the podium ceremony during the United States Formula One Grand Prix last Sunday (Oct 21). Photo: Clive Mason / AFP

A Kimi Raikkonen fan celebrates at the podium ceremony during the United States Formula One Grand Prix last Sunday (Oct 21). Photo: Clive Mason / AFP

When Raikkonen took the chequered flag at the Circuit of the Americas he broke a 113-race win drought, the longest in Formula One history. He last mounted the top step of the podium at the 2013 Australian Grand Prix, more than five years – or 2,044 days – ago.

Raikkonen has remained an almost inexplicable crowd favourite despite his long absence from the winners circle, and the unexpected result, earnt by fending off Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in a nailbiting conclusion, sent the United States crowd – and most of the paddock – into raptures.

But even this sudden outpouring of support from his steadfast legion of fans did little to melt the so-called Iceman’s cool exterior.

“Who knows, maybe they are happier even [than me],” he deadpanned. “No, honestly, it’s been a good weekend.

“It was a great day to prove some people wrong by having a good race, but it doesn’t really change anything for me. It’s just a number. Life goes on.”

The fact Raikkonen was able to win the race at all is as noteworthy as the deed itself.

After fielding the fastest car for much of the season, Ferrari ceded the initiative to Mercedes over the last month, just as Sebastian Vettel most needed a strong technical package to eat into Hamilton’s growing championship lead.

Round after round Ferrari was struggling in areas it had previously excelled in – until a complete rollback of months of updates in Austin appeared to cure the problems ailing the car.

Ferrari was suddenly back in the fight for pole position, and Vettel was able to run Hamilton close in qualifying – but another first-lap crash dropped the German down the field.

Enter Raikkonen, who aced his launch to pass Hamilton for the lead of the race in the first turn.

BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET

Mercedes had no answer to Ferrari’s pace once Kimi was in the lead, and when Hamilton started experiencing unusually severe tyre wear in the Finn’s wake, he was forced into a series of suboptimal strategy calls that conspired to drop him to third place at the chequered flag.

“There were a lot of things we could have done better today,” Hamilton conceded. “There were certain things that weren’t optimum for us which made it look even worse than it was.”

Hamilton’s inability to convert pole to victory worked in Vettel’s favour once the German mounted a spirited comeback to fourth place, keeping his already remote championship hopes alive, albeit hanging by the most tenuous of threads.

But the result was bittersweet. That Vettel was able to pass Valtteri Bottas late in the race proved Ferrari was indeed a credible challenger to Mercedes again, but so much ground had been lost in Vettel’s title campaign that it was too little, too late.

“It took too long [to recover],” Vettel lamented. “You can see it’s good news but you can also see it’s bad news – if we have to go back to a car that has been competitive three or four months ago, surely it can’t be good news.”

The championship race goes directly to the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday (Oct 28), but with a whopping 70-point championship lead, Hamilton will need to finish only seventh regardless of Vettel’s result to finally secure the title.

“We are still in a great position,” Hamilton said. “The sole goal is to win… and naturally, if you do that, you could win the championship.”

Even after the title went off script in Austin, surely Hamilton’s fifth crown is only a matter of time.


Don’t forget to listen to Live89.5 each and every Saturday at 9am and 5pm for the Box of Neutrals radio show.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

CAPTCHA

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Phuket Poll: Environmental damage, prices too high

Great Phuket Poll. Now waiting for response of Phuket Officialdom as the outcome is significant. Sic...(Read More)


Phuket readies for HM King’s birthday

And presumably no alcohol ban? Since it's not a religious holiday? And you've made no mentio...(Read More)


Weather warning for Phuket remains in effect

As per usual here the Met. issuing a weather warning has proven to be the perfect way to bring the s...(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: Hit the dog

As bad as this was lets remember amongst all the angst that this is a DOG. Where is the uproar ofver...(Read More)


Brit expat behind bars for attacking Phuket dog

LOL. A few years ago a neighbor of mine would reach through my gate and hit my dog with a long stick...(Read More)


Egyptian tourist slashed with a cleaver on Phuket’s renowned Muay Thai street

Oh he used foul language while waiting buying a roti from the guy? I suppose that is fine as long a...(Read More)


Bridging Supply: Officials reveal B3.5bn proposal to resolve island’s water shortage woes

Maybe Mr.Fascinated could give us his own calculation for such a project instead of wondering about...(Read More)


Brit expat behind bars for attacking Phuket dog

"On march 15..." Isn't it strange that the same person is again and again involved in ...(Read More)


Phuket airport van B3k fare ‘just a misunderstanding’, say police

Mr Dek should look at the prices published at the transport desks in arrival hall airport. Moreover,...(Read More)


PM Prayut calls out Phuket van driver for overcharging Aussie tourists

.."Water shortage is always in April and May".. I thought really that we live now in the ...(Read More)