Kimi Raikkonen : What Kind of a Comeback Can We Expect from the Flying Finn?
It must have been a great feeling for Kimi Raikkonen to take control of a steering wheel of a Formula One car again on Tuesday after two years away from the riches and glamour present only here.
Though Kimi topped the time charts during his first stint, the opportunity to announce the dream comeback to the world will only arrive about five weeks from now, when the Formula One season starts in Melbourne, Australia.
Many had cast their doubts about whether Raikkonen would be able to handle Formula One again after a break when it was revealed that he would be one of the drivers for Lotus Renault. The best way to silence them would be to be in the points in Melbourne.
In 2009, even before the season was over, Kimi was contacted by Toyota to race for them. Talks broke down, presumably because Kimi refused to the offer of a low salary and the fact that he would not be driving a race-winning car.
Fast forward to February 2012, and he is humble enough to admit that he had not acquired the habit of winning as such and he would be happy just to race this season. In the same interview, when asked whether F1 was the best thing one may engage in, he added that there were more things that one could do with life.
Such responses must have brought back memories of the cool, calm and composed Finn that so many people admired and fell in love with. Since Kimi left F1, those very fans of his have been dying to hear more news about him, and the story about him returning would have done them nicely.
So what can we expect from the Flying Finn this season?
Remember Braun and how they took everyone apart to win the championship along with Jenson Button in their very first season?
Well, I will certainly not be audacious enough to forecast the same for Raikkonen and the newly formed Lotus Renault team, but the thing with Kimi is that you may never rule it out. It is a tall task, but so was winning the Drivers’ Championship when he trailed by 17 points with two races to go in 2007.
For people that may know only about that particular exploit of Kimi's life, well, wait for some more. Heard of Sauber, anyone? He, along with another talented driver in Nick Heidfeld, got Sauber to finish fourth, their highest position ever.
Kimi scored nine points that season, his first in Formula One, after a mere 23 races. Yes, you heard it right: 23. The F1 President, among others, was skeptical about granting an F1 super license to such an inexperienced driver. Raikkonen proved them wrong by scoring his first points in his first race.
It is very clear that Raikkonen is from a rare breed of drivers who can have a profound impact on any team's standing and any car's performance.
Another unique ability of his is to overtake others with considerable ease and panache. Even the legendary Michael Schumacher may able to tell you and his grandsons (if he wishes to) about those manoeuvres that Kimi inflicted upon him. Kimi himself admits that he missed the wheel-to-wheel stuff and physical racing with cars in reach, something that was absent in rally racing.
When all is said and done, I predict our hero will regularly challenge for the points in every race. As far as the Drivers’ Championship goes, he is the dark horse and will do very well to even come close to the drivers of the trio of RBR-Renault, Mclaren and Ferrari.
Even after taking into account the magnitude of competition, I will stick my neck out and predict that he will split at least one of those drivers from the remaining five come the end of the season.
That in itself would be the Drivers’ Championship won for all of Kimi Raikkonen's fans.
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