Formula One 2009: Who Has What It Takes to Be World Champion?
Mohammed Ali once said, "To be a good champion, you have to believe you are the best."
The Best: Surpassing all others in excellence, achievement, or quality; most excellent: the best performer; the best grade of ore.
There are few drivers in Formula One at the moment who believe they are the best, despite having a fast car, high standards, or maybe even the most luck. However, there is one.
Kimi Raikkonen is, by a slight margin, the favourite to re-take the championship crown this season. He has claimed he will bounce back from a lacklustre season and that he is fully motivated.
The Iceman won't win the championship though; he doesn't believe, in his heart of hearts, that he is the best driver.
He is afraid of his team mate. Massa has finally proven himself and not only was he beaten by the Brazilian in 2008, but two other drivers in the shape of Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica.
How about his team mate then? Felipe Massa had a strong 2008 campaign, just missing out on the title. He proved that he can perform on all types of circuits, as well as maintaining a fast race pace.
He won't win the championship though. In his mind, somewhere, he will know that he wasn't quite good enough to take the championship last season; somewhere in his mind is the knowing that there is one other driver on the grid who is better than he is.
So what are his chances, the better driver? Lewis Hamilton will be booming with confidence after last season when he finally got that first championship secured.
He performed magnificently at Monaco, Silverstone, Hockenheim and Shanghai and held his nerve to take the championship.
But he won't win the championship, either. He is fully aware that the McLaren Mercedes MP4-24 isn't fast enough at present, and he also knows, deep down, that he was slightly lucky last season. He doesn't believe he is the best.
Robert Kubica may be silently optimistic about the forthcoming season, with BMW showing impressive testing form. He knows that once BMW are fully focused, he may have a decent shot at the championship, bearing in mind he still had the chance in Shanghai last season when BMW were focusing most of their efforts into 2009.
Kubica won't become the first Polish world champion, though. He only won his race last season because others crashed out and sometimes, BMW were well off the pace.
He may keep close friends at the F1 Poker Table, but he won't have friends in the F1 Hall of Fame in 2009.
Speaking of that poker table, who attends this club?
Bernie Ecclestone is one, Flavio Briatore the next.
And Fernando Alonso.
After a mad charge at during the second half of the season in 2008, Alonso scored more points than anyone from Hockenheim onwards and finished a decent fifth in the final standings.
He became the first winner of an F1 night race and proved he still had the speed and tactics in Fuji.
Another important factor about Alonso? He believes he is the best, as shown in F1 Racing, Issue 150.
F1 Racing: Wherever you end up, do you still believe you're the best guy out there?
Fernando Alonso: Yes.
Say no more, Fernando Alonso will become a triple world champion in 2009.
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