Time For Ferrari to Rubbish Massa and Put Full Support Behind Raikkonen
Scuderia Ferrari has certainly (and deservedly) suffered a poor 2009 season up to this point. Their car is noticeably behind on development, and it has now even been surpassed by McLaren, who looked to be the tortoise of the field to begin the season.
Reliability issues and strategy blunders have contributed to a pointless mess of a season heading into the Bahrain Grand Prix.
To top it off, they have squandered what credibility and honor they have as a team in pursuing an easily dismissible TR case against the teams with the double-decker diffusers, which all along reeked of sour grapes from a team that simply got outwitted.
In the process, they proceeded to personally slander the man—Ross Brawn—who is as responsible as any for the team's golden age during the Schumacher era.
After today, they finally have their first three points of the season. If they wish to restore what credibility they have as a team, it is time that they throw full No. 1 driver status and support to the man who earned them those three points today.
Kimi Raikkonen, simply put, is a vastly superior driver to Felipe Massa. He has demonstrated time and again that when he is motivated, he is by far the quickest driver in Formula One.
Massa has had very good drives, but they simply do not remotely compare to Raikkonen's numerous displays of sheerly legendary brilliance: winning from the butt end of the grid in Suzuka, outqualifying Fernando Alonso and Juan Pablo Montoya on six laps more of fuel, his rash of fastest laps and pole positions scored even when things weren't going right with the car, etc..
Some may legitimately question Raikkonen's level of motivation at times. It's well known that he's not the type who works as hard as Lewis Hamilton on fitness or Fernando Alonso on car development.
Massa certainly seems to be the more motivated of the two, which is plausible given the questions he has faced time and again about his driving ability. But when Raikkonen has even average fire, there's simply no question which of the two is the better driver.
Today's race is yet another demonstration of the difference between the two. Both drivers had KERS on their Ferraris. While Raikkonen had no more fresh option sets left, he nonetheless got a terrific start, overtaking Massa and another car.
Raikkonen proceeded to run very quickly the whole race on worn option tires, and he proceeded to hold off a vastly quicker Timo Glock, who had fresh options on the final run, on the much slower prime tires.
Massa did suffer front damage, so his race was compromised. Nonetheless, Raikkonen demonstrated skill in scoring a great points finish from a poor starting position and circumstances that, quite frankly, Massa never has.
He's also demonstrated the motivation he's had in past years in which he has contended for championships.
Ferrari seem to have favored Massa of late. He has gotten the better fuel strategy when the two drivers have both made it to Q3, and the personal sentiment within the team reportedly favors him.
But this is Formula One, not a popularity contest. If you want to win and advance, you have to back your most talented people. And Kimi Raikkonen is simply Ferrari's most talented driver.
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