Top 10 F1 Drivers of the Year 2013:
2012 Driver of the Year position:
Having returned to the top step of the podium in Abu Dhabi in 2012, Kimi Raikkonen would have come into 2013 looking to take the fight to Red Bull and Ferrari, and winning the season-opener in Australia would have done little to temper that ambition.
Success in Melbourne, however, had as much to do with Lotus' ability to manage its tyre wear as outright performance, and Raikkonen, while a podium threat more often than not, wouldn't return to top spot through the remaining 18 rounds.
The Finn made a habit of finishing second, doing so six times in his seven other podiums, putting together a hat-trick between China and Spain, then going back-to-back in Germany and Hungary before the summer break.
Although he again finished as runner-up in Korea, the effect of not having been paid by Lotus was beginning to take its effect and, having backed down on a threat not to race in Abu Dhabi – where, ironically, he was a first lap retirement after having to start at the back following a qualifying DQ – the flaring of a old back injury precluded appearances in the final two races of the season, dropping Raikkonen from third to fifth in the final standings.
Well before that, the 2007 world champion had been confirmed as a Ferrari driver for 2014, returning him to the team that guided him to his title as a potent team-mate to Fernando Alonso...
The Finn had been linked with a possible move to Red Bull prior to his decision to return to Maranello, and the severing of ties with Lotus will comes as a blow to the Enstone team's ambitions. How Raikkonen fares against - and with - the previously Alonso-centric Ferrari set-up remains to be seen and could be a potentially divisive sub-plot for the year ahead.
's 2013 F1 Driver of the Year – top ten to date:
5. Romain Grosjean
6. Nico Rosberg
7. Mark Webber
8. Lewis Hamilton
9. Valtteri Bottas
10. Daniel Ricciardo
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