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The Scrutineering Bay is Badger’s way of taking a hot Grand Prix racing topic and getting people from the Sett involved to put their opinions across.
From predicting races, arguing stewards decisions to just deciding who was/is/will be the best, anything is fair game!
With the 2018 season four races old you could be fooled into thinking that the title race is between the usual rivals of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Both have now won races and are the top two in the championship, but are we underestimating their Finnish teammates when it comes to real contenders for the World Championship?
Yes – “Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas are on form right now and I’m putting my bets on Team Finn to make their comeback”
Let’s have a throwback to the year 2007 – We saw the first iPhone launched, The Simpsons made it to the big screen, Leona Lewis was number one in the UK charts with ‘Bleeding Love’ and most importantly it was the last time a Finnish driver won the World Championship. Well, by the looks of it we may see history repeat itself this year, the two Finnish drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas are on form right now and I’m putting my bets on Team Finn to make their comeback.
Will we see Raikkonen clinch the championship again before he finally retires? With such an eventful season so far and some absolutely bonkers races, Raikkonen has a huge opportunity. If he can steer clear of bad luck and incidents like in Bahrain then he could actually surprise us all. Wouldn’t it be great to see the caption ‘Champ.’ on his Instagram?
Bottas is the other Finn on the scene looking for a piece of the action. An average first season in Mercedes meant most questioned his ability and whether he was cut out for a top seat. He’s had a year to settle in, so it’s now time to fight with the very best and prove his critics wrong.
Bottas’ points this season certainly don’t reflect how he’s driven though, sitting in 5th place he deserves better. He missed out big time last weekend in Baku, after suffering a puncture in last few laps of the race. We were all gutted for Bottas and it was a heart-breaking moment to watch.
With just four races gone there’s still plenty to play for. The likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel should watch their backs, because the Finns are flying again and ready to dominate painting the world blue and white as they go.
No – “They’re both up there each and every weekend so far, but isn’t that what they’re being paid for?”
We could be on for a great title fight in 2018 and that might be because the drivers we earmarked as solid Number Twos – Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen – have muscled their way into the spotlight of their more illustrious, and both four-time World Champion, teammates.
While Bottas is getting a fair shot at winning races and only being robbed by bad luck, Raikkonen is suffering from years of sub-par performances despite being as close to Vettel as he’s ever been and being used as pawn in strategic games. They’re both up there each and every weekend so far, but isn’t that what they’re being paid for?
Raikkonen is a World Champion, albeit more than 10 years ago. Bottas is one in waiting, something that was cemented by his performances last year when he got given the chance with a top team. So with this pedigree, pole positions, wins, and even title tilts, should be on the cards all the time.
Why are we now looking at them as over-performing drivers? Again, it goes back to their teammates and the history they’ve had with drivers alongside them. Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have a penchant for mind games and gaining the upper hand in intra-team battles so the Finns were written off before the season had even started. That’s skewed our opinions on these two and we’re now, finally, readjusting.
What do you think? Are the Finns in F1 in with a shout at the World Championship? Or are we simply seeing them drive at the level we should expect?