There has been countless words written and spoken about Kimis issues when it comes to heating up the tires to get the ultimate one lap pace from the car. Some say he is a bad qualifier. Some blame the current rules and regulations. And some blame the tires. I believe the answer is simple. Kimi is not a bad qualifier. He was doing pretty darn good up until the infamous 2008 season. What you may be able to call him is a driver that doesn’t adapt well. Is that a weakness, an Achilles heel? Sure. Every driver has one or more. Sadly,
Kimis weakness is very visible and tangible since it affects his qualifying performance.
I like to call him a finely tuned machine that is very sensitive to minute (as in small) changes. In the desperate attempts by the rulemakers of F1 to make F1 more viewable, they have over the years made a mockery and a mess of the rules. That goes for engine, aero and mostly tires. The end result is that they clip the wings of true naturals. Take Lewis Hamilton last year. He was outqualified by his teammate. Even though he is regarded as the best qualifier by many. Sebastian Vettel was outraced and outqualified by an inferior teammate. And Kimi struggled like a rookie with the car. Why? Because of regulations that remove the peaks of natural talent. Changes in aero that would fix the problem cannot be made due to restrictions. Some drivers thrive and some don’t. It is akin to a lottery and it doesn’t display true talent fairly. It muffles it.
Is this season frustrating? Yes. A bit. But I will take this year over 2003, 2005 and 2008 any day. It is not like Kimi or his teammate is in the running for the championship anyway. 2015 is the Mercedes championship. If Ferrari had listened to Kimis demands in 2008 (as they do now), Kimi would have easily won the 08 championship while Massa and Hamilton competed in who could make the most mistakes and penalties. But poor starting positions killed that. But since they listen to Kimi now – why hasn’t it been fixed? Well, if they had the tires from 2008, it would have been. But the tricky Pirelli tires that are getting flak from many drivers are not an easy dance partner. What is more – they compounds change from race to race. Simply, it’s a mess. One tire manufacturer was supposed to be a good thing. But it isn’t. The way things are now, I would rather welcome another manufacturer and a tire war like we had before.
I didn’t start following F1 to watch an Eco race. For Gods sake. Save the tires, save the gearbox, save the engine, turn it down. Save the fuel, save the whales. It’s a joke to me. A travesty. I want to see drivers dancing on the edge of what is possible. Engines screaming at full song. I want to lose my breath when an F1 car goes by me as the sound pierces my entire body. I am sad to say this, but I am falling out of love with the sport. It has betrayed me and every fellow fan. It dances to the tune of political correctness like everything else these days. As it stands, I am not even sad if Kimi doesn’t drive next year. He and his fantastic talent has also been betrayed. He is amazing at saving tires due to his smooth style. But that is the exact thing that gives him trouble in qualifying.
Kimi is a Formula 1 legend just like Gilles and Stirling. And he is a world champion as well. Something they never achieved. He is the last of a kind. Last boyscout, last of the Mohicans, last rebel standing. When he leaves, the last traces of rock n’ roll will also be gone from F1 forever. We will be left with a youtube generation of racers. Pathetically trying to look rebellious in a media groomed outfit. Kimi was right when he said he was born in the wrong era. Had he raced in the 70’s with fat tires and few restrictions, he would have massacred his competitors, crossed the finish line and banged a photomodel in his camper before the last car had crossed the line.
The Monaco race? There would have been nothing interesting for me to say if not for that final Safety Car shake-up following the Grosjean-Verstappen crash. Ok, one other thing: Ferrari did a fantastic job getting Kimi out ahead of Ricciardo in the stops. Helped along by Kimis purple sectors.
Two things about the crash. Grosjean said over the team radio that it was “stupid”. Be quiet Grosjean. You have lost the right to ever call a move stupid. Not only because of Spa 2012, but all your other bonehead moves. Also – Verstappen was not 100% to blame. If you look at the video, you see Grosjean making an all too late jerk to the right while braking very early. Another bonehead move from the French. He should have chosen either the outside or inside line from the start. You can’t just jerk-block in the last second in the braking zone. I give Grosjean 45% of the fault with that move. Still mostly Verstappens fault as you have to anticipate this kind of thing from your competitor. Perhaps especially Grosjean.
What about the Kimi-Ricciardo incident? Well, there must be some real idiot stewards present. One of them was a Swede so that probably explains a lot. But my fellow Dane, Tom Kristensen was the driver steward, so I should probably stay quiet. But if you
penalize Alonso for bumping into Hulkenberg – why on Gods green earth wasn’t Ricciardo penalized for EXACTLY the same move in the EXACT same corner!? Unbelievable. Is it because Kimi didn’t crash into the wall like Hulkenberg? Well, I guess Kimi must apologize for having the skills to avoid that.
Alright, that was my emotional side talking. Would I have said the same things if Kimi had made that move on someone? Probably not. But the thing is – he doesnt need to muscle his way through. As proven by his fantastic final laps in Monaco 2013. That is how you
overtake, you miserable grinning Aussie git.
Finally, the Mercedes blunder. Why they felt the need to pit Hamilton, I will never understand. It is not like he needed fresh rubber for those last few laps. But they gambled (or rather calculated wrong) that he would get out in front of Vettel and Rosberg and they lost monumentally. It is a great result for the championship. But I do feel sympathy for Hamilton. That must be horrible. Vettel is always there being happy and chirpy on the Mercedes drivers behalf. His comment to Brundle “I’m happy” was perfectly timed in a pretty gloomy interview session. It’s my kind of humor and something I probably would have done as well in a similar situation. Not to toot my own horn or anything. 😉
Next up is Canada. Usually that track produces great racing. All I want for Christmas is a front row starting position for Mr. Raikkonen. In the right conditions for the Ferrari, he would give those Mercs a run for the money during the race. As much as I hate the current state of affairs in F1 as previously mentioned, I will remain an optimist.
Take care now.
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Soren, your review can make me smile and cry at the same time. Smile, because your enthusiasm and infinite love for Kimi strengthens my belief Kimi is unique and deserves our unconditional support. Cry, because I feel to be confirmed in my suspicion we will lose him sooner or later if conditions wont be changed in F1. But when time comes I would let him go with a little smile though, knowing he has his own family, a wonderful wife and a charming little baby boy… And would say goodbye to F1 most likely.
Thank you for that. Well, Kimi is at an age where he must leave soon anyway. No matter what, he can look back at a Formula 1 career that is one of the most memorable and cherished of all time. He is an enigma and that irritates some people and others accept him as he is and appreciate incredible talent when they see it. Anecdotes of Kimi and about Kimi will be part of F1 folklore forever.
Soren, glad to read your review, Kimi is my favorite driver since early McLaren maybe ,(can not push my memory that hard). I have the almost same views about his technics and mentality,(typical Fin!!! I have never ever seen comments and reviews as you are putting on words, terrible, too good, very glad that I got your connection here.
Thank you, sir. I am glad too. Kimi is like a fine wine. Simpletons and riff-raff do not understand it, nor are they able to appreciate it. What people do not understand will always be criticized. Thankfully, many many people know a true great when they see it.
mate you just wrote every word i want to say. i wouldnt even watch F1 if kimi wasnt there. i actually lost passion to follow F1 since they put those stupid limitations and standarized everything and exactly as kimifan100 is saying i feel very sad coz i am afraid kimi wil quit at the end of the season. there wont be much to watch and much to follow. there are talented drivers but i dont think i have the passion to watch a race without kimi.
i just wish your words reach the F1 management so they can wake up and stop killing the sport. i dont blame redbull as they want to leave the sport because of these limitations.good work mate good work and keep it coming coz you really entertain us by just reading your text
Cheers Ahmed. Appreciate it. I do think Kimi will race next year as well. But whatever happens, it won’t matter to me. Kimi leaves an awesome legacy behind. Formula 1 will probably never see a personality or a natural talent like him again. But his career will be celebrated for years and years to come.
I think Kimi and his crew must sacrifice some Sunday speed when it comes to his setup.There has to be something they could alter in his setup to enable better tyre heat generation during qualy conditions.
Also Ferrari never gets it wrong with Vettel when it comes to track position and traffic,tyre blankets etc…
Or maybe he is more demanding while Kimi just shruggs his shoulders?
You may be right in that, gibbon75. It would be worth it sacrificing speed for a better grid slot. I’m not sure it’s that simple. But I won’t pretend to know anything about what should be done. It is not an easy task or it would have been fixed by now.
Rest assured that Kimi does not just shrug his shoulders. That is the narrative many believe about Kimi. But feedback from all his engineers through his career and now also Arrivabene tells a very different story.
Vettel on Ferrari’s lack of quali pace: “If I had the answer then I would go down straight away and tell everyone what to do, so obviously it’s something we need to try and understand,” Vettel said. “Whether there is something we can change with the approach we are taking with the set-up or there’s something we need to change with the approach of how the car is made.” Vettel said there was no excuse for being consistently off the pace of Mercedes. “Obviously there’s a key to understanding it, because some part of the race is decided on Saturday and if we struggle in cooler conditions it can happen once, twice but we need to make sure we get on top of it, so if it keeps happening it’s not an excuse, it’s a mistake and it’s bad for us so we need to work hard and make sure we fix it.” ~ source: espn.co.uk
Love the blog Soren. However, I disagree with you with regards to Kimi’s qualifying pace. I think he has lost a crucial 2 tenths over the last few years. Whether its due to tyres being changed or him getting on in age is up for debate. It doesn’t change facts and blaming the constant rule changes isn’t good form. Indeed, Kimi himself would never blame it on that as evidenced by his comments in the past.
Ricciardo’s move was like something out of a video game when you turn damage “off” in the settings. You just bump the guy ahead of you out of your way and go past. However, Kimi left the door open there. He knew there was a hot headed Red Bull behind him. He knew his tyres were not as fresh. Why on earth did he leave a gap there? Contrast that to Vettel handling Hamilton and you see my point. It hurts to say this but I think Kimi has fallen out of the elite group of current F1 drivers (Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso as much as I detest him).
This was a terrible weekend for him and I hope it was rock bottom. I have a feeling if he doesn’t get it together by Austria, its 90% certain Bottas will be in the 2nd Ferrari next year. Qualifying a second behind your teammate and finishing 4th and 5th while the other guy gets podiums doesn’t make for good reading. I just wish it was 2005 again…….
I think Ferrari will sign Kimi for 2016 as he and Vettel work together very well,so the team needs this harmony when it comes to development and catching up to Merc.
But I don’t know about Bottas; he didn’t prove me anything so far.What he did this year is that he kept two Ferraris behind him on two occasions,by exploiting Merc/Williams top speed.
Last year was the same; he shined on the power tracks and he scored podiums when other teams were let down by weak power units or weak reliability.
Thanks Vivek. As for Kimis quali pace. You may be right, I may be wrong. Or vice versa. To determine if a driver has lost 2 tenths or less or more comes down to guesswork and what one perceives from their vantage point. As you say, it is up for debate. He may have lost a tiny bit – but from my vantage point, not enough to not be able to get a front row slot with a great lap and tire problems solved. But that is mere speculation at the moment.
Sure, Kimi could have closed the door better. But to say that he has fallen out of the elite group is quite a stretch and I strongly disagree. He would have won Bahrain on merit if he had started on the front row. Even without Hamiltons brake problems. His pace was second to none. No, I maintain that his problems lie squarely in qualifying. And that is serious enough.
As for Bottas – you didn’t notice that he had the same tire heating problems Kimi had? And even worse in qualifying? Don’t see the improvement in getting Bottas in to be honest.
Cheers Soren. I admit I may be overreacting with regards to Kimi’s position in the pecking order.
I forgot to mention this in my earlier comment but: Am I the only one who thinks the safety car’s engine noise was louder than the current F1 cars?
Haha. I doubt you are the only one. The sound from the 4 litre twin-turbo V8 in the AMG GT is fantastic.
Do you think Kimi’s and Vettel’s relationship has soured a little?
Watched Sky sports interview with Seb and he was asked about his great friendship and he said he doesn’t not get along with him ( sorry for double negative) and he finds him honest, blah,blah..
Then during drivers parade they were at opposite ends of the truck. Kimi talking to Bottas up the front and Vettel literally at the very back. Not what we’re used to seeing?..any comment ?
No, it hasn’t soured. Vettel only wanted to define that they were friends, but that it wouldn’t be correct to call them close friends since they only see each other at work these days. And now they both have families. To be close friends you would have to see each other from time to time outside of work and they don’t do that. Pretty sure that Vettel just clarified that. They both share data with each other and chat regularly at race weekends. I can imagine it will be easier for them being closer friends later in life. An F1 driver has an incredibly busy schedule.