Mexico GP: What May, May Not Work In Kimi Raikkonen’s Favour?


The first time that Kimi Raikkonen, 42, contested at the Mexican Grand Prix was back in 2015. In the second year of his (then) second stint with the Scuderia, the driver race-retired. This is when he had qualified fifteenth on the grid. Since then, Kimi Raikkonen has bagged two podium finishes at the venue, including a best-grid place finish of P3, earned during the years of his Scuderia Ferrari stint.

However, at the last Mexican GP, circa 2019, the Finn registered a DNF.

With two DNFs in past half a decade and two podium finishes, the Mexican Grand Prix has been either a hit or a mishit for the most experienced driver on the grid.

There’s been no middle path for the Iceman so to speak!

So how will the 2021 Mexican GP turn out to be for Kimi?

For starters, the Alfa Romeo driver will consider himself a tad bit fortunate to begin the run from tenth on the grid. A P10 is what Kimi Raikkonen bagged, which is when he had actually crashed out in Q2.

A series of penalties including one each to Esteban Ocon and Yuki Tsunoda, the latter a defaulter in the final Q3 run, has seen Raikkonen’s fortunes turn for the better in that the Finn starts inside the top ten (P10).

The job now during the Grand Prix, of course, will be to push as hard as he possibly can and see whether a respectable race-finish is possible.

The chances of this, however, will be difficult- if not entirely impossible- since the drivers right ahead of Kimi happen to be Vettel, Leclerc and Ricciardo, in ninth, eighth, and seventh, respectively.

What factors may and may not work in Kimi Raikkonen’s favour?

Now, in here rest two possible situations.

Knowing the veteran driver’s skill (and penchant for speed), the possibility of giving drivers immediately out in his front a good fight cannot be ruled out.

This year alone, Raikkonen’s made the most positions inside the opening lap within seconds from the five red lights going green. That number is 42.

or someone who’s been described as “way past his best” and on other occasions, “just not the force he used to be,” this is a telling number. 
A reminder even that age is but a number. At the same time, it serves legions of Kimi Raikkonen fans the tempting idea that the man’s still got it, and what he would have gathered had he been aligned with formidable machinery. 

But the bright side said, what’s slated to hurt the unflappable driver is the old stalemate, i.e., the Alfa Romeo strategy for their number#1 driver, or the lack of it.

So how’s that?

For the longest time, the strategy that the team have contended with for Kimi is the classic overcut against any strong midfielder. How does that pan out?

Ask Kimi to stay out and stay out for a longer first stint.

Which is precisely why even in events such as the US Grand Prix, a demanding circuit with elevation changes that never suited the insipid Alfa Romeo, Kimi was on the go. So how was that? Instead of going for the undercut, Raikkonen was easily up into the top ten and that was by lap 10.

In fact, in the opening lap itself, he’d made up three places. But when he did pit, which wasn’t before the midway stage, Raikkonen was left to beat the traffic up front. What was peculiar about the US GP was that the Finn did fight his way back to break into top-ten again but that was less due to a concerted team effort and more down to other drivers boxing for the second time.

Such has been the narrative of the laconic driver who’s been a miser with words and baffles one and all with how low key he remains despite contending with the fact that the team’s strategy- or the lack of it- have done his fortunes no good.

Shouldn’t a driver who makes up fine places very early into a contest be supported with a better strategy so that, at least, one of the two cars can compete and give a fight, at the very least, to another on the grid?

But truth is, not much can be expected from Alfa Romeo for the Mexico race, this is unless and until the team decides to reward its loyal racer with something to sit back happy with.

Why have there been no questions put up to Fred Vasseur and why’s Kimi himself kept mum all this time and not demanded explanations for a complete lack of planning in the strategy department happen to be subjects that are key but won’t be considered absolutely essential truth be told.

But what can be said with certainty, however, is that knowing Kimi Raikkonen, he’ll go for the fight the moment the five lights go green at Mexico. Let’s see what he can do at a venue where he’s never even emerged second on the podium despite having strong cars in 2017, 2018 seasons.


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