Why Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus Title Challenge Is Still Very Much Alive

Fraser MasefieldContributor ISeptember 3, 2013

Raikkonen should be content that the future is bright
Raikkonen should be content that the future is brightVladimir Rys/Getty Images

Following his second-place finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen moved ahead of Fernando Alonso to second in the drivers’ standings albeit still 38 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel.

Many were talking up his title chances, but almost four long weeks and a Belgian Grand Prix DNF later and Raikkonen is now 63 points adrift and suddenly out of the title race again.

So is it now officially all over this year for the Finn with only eight races remaining or can he somehow reignite his title challenge? It will be extremely tough but I believe there are some straws for him to clutch at.


He Must Still Believe

We all know that Kimi can come across as relaxed almost to the point of being disinterested but once he gets behind the wheel he is a fiercely competitive individual.

He need only think back to the 2007 season when everybody had written off his title chances, focusing instead on the battle between Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

This was just perfect for Kimi, who crept under the radar almost unnoticed to snatch the title from Hamilton by a single point with a brilliant drive in Brazil. He has to believe he can do the same again.


Closing Circuits Will Suit Lotus

It’s difficult to see Lotus being competitive at Monza, and Raikkonen has never won there before. And judging by his Italian GP preview quotes on Autosport, Raikkonen doesn’t expect things to change.

Low downforce has not always been the best for our car, but the factory has been working hard to get more speed and stability for us with some changes to the car. Let's wait and see how the car goes on Friday morning and then we'll have a better idea of what can be achieved.

Obviously it was not the first time I've had to finish a race early, and most likely it won't be the last time either. That said, I'm here to race and I want to finish every time, so for sure what happened in Spa was not what we were looking for and not ideal for the championship.

Mercedes should be tough to beat, but Raikkonen has been consistent this season with Belgium his first DNF. If he can gather some points in Italy, there are a number of medium to high downforce circuits to come in hot conditions that should suit the E21 both aerodynamically and with its tyre management.


The Future is Bright

Okay, so Kimi didn’t get the Red Bull drive alongside Vettel, but it’s really not the end of the world. There’s still talk of a possible drive at Ferrari, as reported by the Daily Mail. It's a team he knows well and would slot straight into albeit alongside a tough competitor.

But should he stay with Lotus it would be no bad thing either if the financial problems are addressed.

Whatever the outcome, Raikkonen’s future is bound to be resolved soon, leaving him to get on with the job of racing. A settled driver is a happy driver. Don’t rule him out just yet.