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Top ten F1 drivers: Sixth place.

After asking you to vote for your leading drivers from the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship season, the time has come to start the countdown to the driver you voted the top star of 2008.

Over the next ten weekdays, we will be revealing the top ten in reverse order, with the winner being revealed on Friday, 28 November.

More than 45,000 votes were cast in the F1 poll, with each driver's average score out of ten then being calculated to decide the winner.

F1 Driver of the Year – Sixth place:

Name: Kimi Raikkonen
Team: Ferrari
Car: Ferrari F2008
Wins: 2
Podiums: 10
Pole positions: 2
Fastest laps: 10
Championship points: 75
Championship position: 3rd

Kimi Raikkonen developed into something of an enigma in 2008. His celebrated 'Ice Man' persona frosted over so much that many were left to wonder if his desire to scrap and to win had cooled off altogether. For much of the season, indeed, it seemed as if Kimi had left the building.

Entering the campaign as the reigning Formula 1 World Champion, Raikkonen was in most observers' eyes the favourite to repeat that success, but he did not so much surrender his crown with a fight as practically cast it away, apparently uninterested in defending the title that he had battled so hard and so greatly against the odds to claim the previous year.

The Finn started proceedings off well enough, with triumphs in two of the first four races, the runner-up spot in Bahrain and pole position in Barcelona seeing him leading the drivers' standings early on. What's more, a record-equalling ten fastest laps proved that the scintillating raw speed for which Raikkonen has become famous was still there – somewhere, at least, but seemingly only when it was too late.

After his initial flourish, however, the 17-time grand prix winner's momentum stalled to such an extent that he even went backwards, and a catastrophic error in running into the back of the Force India of Adrian Sutil in the closing laps at Monaco would in hindsight prove to be the beginning of the end of his challenge.

Raikkonen found himself on the receiving end of just such a catastrophic error himself when Lewis Hamilton clattered into the back of him in the Montreal pit-lane during the Canadian Grand Prix – a race he could well have won – and then an exhaust problem forced him to cede victory to team-mate Felipe Massa in the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours.

There followed Ferrari's dismal performance in the rain-lashed British Grand Prix at Silverstone in mid-summer from which Raikkonen did reasonably well to salvage fifth place as Massa proved to be all at sea in the sister scarlet machine, but the hard facts are that in the wake of his Spanish success in late April, the 29-year-old would not win again all year. The Brazilian did so five times.

Worse still, for four consecutive grands prix from Valencia in August to Singapore a month later he did not score at all – the final nail in the coffin of the defence of his trophy, and a showing that led many, the Scuderia's president Luca di Montezemolo notably amongst them, to question where his motivation had gone and whether he would even still be around in F1 in 2009.

Though Raikkonen's feisty drive at Spa-Francorchamps – at least until his costly mistake almost within sight of the chequered flag – and late-season resurgence of sorts has given some hope that all is not yet lost, the man from Espoo knows he will need to come out of the blocks fighting from the word 'go' in 2009 if he is not to be totally overshadowed by Massa again. Only then will we know if the real Kimi Raikkonen is back in the building – or has gone for good.


On Monday: Who did you vote fifth in the Driver of the Year poll?


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2008, Japanese F1, Fuji, 10th-12th, October, 2008
Kimi Raikkonen tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Lewis Hamilton tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Kimi Raikkonen tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner

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Ravi - Unregistered

November 24, 2008 4:41 AM

I am a Raikkonen fan, and I am disappointed at how his 2008 season has gone. I think, though, that his woes were less to do with his own performances than with the fact that Ferrari specifically threw their weight behind Massa at some point of the season, most likely after France. Schumacher said that Ferrari made some changes to the car which didn't work for Raikkonen. I would think that Ferrari persisted with them because they helped Massa. The unfortunate fact is that, as long as Raikkonen stays at Ferrari, he will have to contend with Massa being positioned as Ferrari's main driver. He wasn't been beaten by Massa as much as he was by a combination of Schumi and Ferrari politics.

squiggle - Unregistered

November 21, 2008 1:21 PM

I think I ranked him seventh, so close enough but I suppose this means that the perennially underrated Nick Heidfeld has been elbowed from the top ten. Huh.



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