Top 10 F1 Drivers of the Year 2012:
2: Kimi Raikkonen
October 17, 1979
Crash.net F1 Driver of 2011 position:
Kimi Raikkonen's return to F1 after two years pounding the forests in the World Rally Championship was the talking point of the pre-season, but 'The Iceman' still needed Lotus to bounce back from its poor second half showing in 2012 if he was to recapture former glories.
While the E20 was only randomly a match for McLaren and Red Bull, Raikkonen somehow kept himself in touch with the frontrunners until Abu Dhabi where, ironically, he finally claimed the team's only victory of the season but was still mathematically eliminated from the title race.
The year started solidly for Raikkonen, with points in both Australia and Malaysia and only extreme tyre wear in the closing stages denying another top ten in China. Indeed, the Finn had been running as high as second overall when the problems struck and he lost ten places in just two laps to eventually wind up an unrepresentative 14th overall.
He duly bounced back to shown what might have been, with back-to-back podiums in Bahrain and Spain, and featured in the leading group through most of the summer, returning to the podium with fellow champions Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher in Valencia. Germany, Hungary and Belgium all produced successive top three finishes, but predictions suggesting Raikkonen would become the season's eighth different winner kept having to be adjusted before he finally hit paydirt after Lewis Hamilton's McLaren expired in Abu Dhabi.
The Finn also had looked set to become the only driver to complete every lap of the 20 races until an Interlagos detour ended in a locked gate rather than the support race pit-lane he had been expecting, resulting in a lapped tenth place.
As deadpan as ever, Raikkonen also kept audiences amused with his radio conversations and press conference appearances, including the now infamous 'I know what I'm doing' uttered en route
to victory at Yas Marina. He should be a contender for honours in 2013 if his team can keep pace with developments.
Top 10 F1 Driver of the Year 2012 results so far:
3. Lewis Hamilton
4. Sebastian Vettel
5. Jenson Button
6. Nico Hulkenberg
7. Mark Webber
8. Sergio Perez
9. Felipe Massa
10. Kamui Kobayashi