It was billed as the race the Nico Rosberg had to win, but Kimi Raikkonen stole the spotlight overall – indeed, if it wasn’t for Ferrari playing conservative with his race strategy in the middle of the race, Kimi could have won the whole thing.
How could you describe Kimi’s 2014? Disappointing? Maybe, but then again, as we heard on the radio after the race finished, unless Kimi’s winning he’s going to be disappointed. The best word to use would be uninterested. Fernando Alonso had the measure of him, and last season’s Ferrari wasn’t to his liking at all.
But come a new season, come the old Kimi. The new Ferrari suits his driving style, is easier on it’s tyres than their main rival Mercedes, and the carrot of a 2016 contract dangling in front of the Iceman has set him loose once more. And while Sebastian Vettel has had the lion’s share of plaudits considering his win in Malaysia, Kimi has only been hampered by his qualifying positions, and that puncture in Sepang. His time was coming and we all knew it.
Bahrain came at the right time and he took the opportunity with both hands. Indeed, his pace on the harder tyre built that opportunity, matching the pace of the Mercedes on the softs to keep him in contention. Had there been more laps, we’d have seen a carbon copy of a pass like the one he pulled on the struggling Rosberg, only it would have been on leader Lewis Hamilton.
There’s no doubt we’ll see more from Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel as the season wears on, as they’re the main challengers to the threatened Mercedes domination, but don’t rule out a resurgent Flying Finn – the Kimi we know and love is back.