Kimi Raikkonen was once the most dominant driver in Formula One, winning the Drivers’ Championship in the 2007 season. Since then he has not enjoyed the same level of success, placing only as high as third in the standings in eight attempts, and he spent time away from the sport, taking a two-year break between the 2010 and 2011 campaigns.
The Finn won the crown during his time with Ferrari, but on his return to Formula One in 2012, he signed on with Lotus. He won two Grands Prix with the team, performing above expectations on his comeback with a third-place finish. He started the 2013 campaign with a victory at the Australian Grand Prix, but his term eventually petered out. The 37-year-old has not won a race since then, a run which is in danger of reaching 100 meets should he fail to win the Spanish Grand Prix.
Despite his lack of victories, Raikkonen has been consistent in the 2018 season. He has finished on the podium in three of the four meets this term, leaving him in third place in the Drivers’ Championship. As a result, the Ferrari driver is backed at odds of 50/1 with the bookmaker Betway as of May 10th to win the crown, although it will take a lot of hard work to dislodge Lewis Hamilton. We’ll now look back at how Raikkonen has endured his 100-race drought without a win.
Return To Formula One
After his two-year break, Raikkonen was consistent in his first season with Lotus. Despite the car’s deficiencies, he managed to become a constant figure in the top ten and was able to place on the podium in six races, including a run of three on the bounce at the German, Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix. He ended the campaign with a victory in Abu Dhabi, which allowed Raikkonen to claim third place in the Drivers’ Championship, although he was well off the pace of Sebastian Vettel at the top.
Raikkonen returned for the 2013 season had the perfect start to the term, defeating Vettel and Fernando Alonso in Melbourne. However, that would be the high point of his campaign, although he did reel off three second-place finishes on the bounce in China, Bahrain and Spain. Raikkonen finished fifth in the Drivers’ Championship, once again performing above expectations. His displays caught the eye of Ferrari and their reunion was set for the start of the 2014 campaign.
Early Ferrari Struggles
Raikkonen’s first season with the Italian outfit was a nightmare from start to finish. Ferrari were well off the pace of Mercedes at the top of the sport, while the Finn failed to record a podium finish in the 2014 season for the first time since his first year in the sport with Sauber in 2001. The next season was an improvement for Raikkonen, although his term began with a retirement at the Australian Grand Prix.
He was a consistent presence in the top ten before finding a semblance of his best form towards the end of the year, placing in third in Singapore and Abu Dhabi. He finished fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, but once again Mercedes were the cream of the crop in the sport. Even the presence of Vettel at Ferrari was not enough to close the gap, highlighting how far the Italian team had fallen behind their rivals at the top.
Improvement and Potential Return To Pole
For the second season on the bounce, Raikkonen was forced to retire from the Australian Grand Prix. He was consistent throughout the term, but he could not produce the results that he and Ferrari were looking for to put pressure on Mercedes at the top. The Finn notched four podiums over the course of the campaign, placing in sixth in the Drivers’ Championship. The failure prompted Ferrari into dramatic changes to their vehicle for the 2017 season, wheeling out the SF70H.
It had success for Vettel as he battled Hamilton for the crown, although he lost out vying for the title. Raikkonen’s form had a slight upturn, increasing his appearances on the podium, but failing to end his drought without a triumph on the circuit. Ferrari and Raikkonen have been consistent once again at the start of the 2018 campaign, notching three podiums in four appearances. However, to come into contention for the crown he will need to end his run without a victory.