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

Login | Create Account | Search


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.

QSI 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
International lifesaving chief speaks out on Phuket lifeguards

I see the Expat leisure class is still celebrating and dressing up to celebrate cruelty to horses - ...(Read More)


International lifesaving chief speaks out on Phuket lifeguards

Well, the world now knows what is wrong in Thailand, specially on Phuket when it comes to beach safe...(Read More)


Phuket Immigration confirms bank balance, income ‘combo’ for O-A permit to stay still available

So, those of us on O visas who have been here many years and convert their O visa annually w for the...(Read More)


Phuket weather warning re-issued

The TMD is the most unreliable weather site in Thailand! They are almost always wrong and they tend ...(Read More)


Council worker hanged to fence believed suicide, police probe hotel security guard found dead in rented room

A body found hung from a fence should - under no circumstances be moved until a police medical inves...(Read More)


Phuket Immigration confirms bank balance, income ‘combo’ for O-A permit to stay still available

Interesting little nugget of info here- “We don’t have the right to refuse an application that ...(Read More)


Patong Police hunting for foreigner wanted for $30k theft from exchange booth

Hahaha, the boys in the money booth thought they made the 'change of the month'. It must fee...(Read More)


Multi-tier prices at state hospitals now in effect in Phuket

"Kaaskop with a single p means cheese-head," my understanding is with 1 "p" it m...(Read More)


Multi-tier prices at state hospitals now in effect in Phuket

Correct Oesi, Kaaskop with a single p means cheese-head in the Netherlands. Now do your homework and...(Read More)