Whatever those guys said, that’s how every F1 fan felt on Sunday when Kimi Raikkonen FINALLY broke through for his return to the top step of the podium. A day after we find out Zsolt Baumgartner is still alive, Raikkonen wins the race. What a wild weekend.
A chaotic United States Grand Prix saw Raikkonen snap a 113 race winless streak that dated back to Australia in 2013 when he drove for the Lotus F1 team (really just Renault). While Raikkonen led a majority of the race it was the championship battle that had everyone crunching numbers.
Lewis Hamilton needed to gain 8 points on Sebastian Vettel to win the title on Sunday but he failed to do it. After losing the lead in turn 1 at the start of the race to Raikkonen the 4-time champ just rode in second. At that time his championship hopes were secured as Vettel was squandered in the mid-pack following a spin while battling honorary Texan Daniel Ricciardo.
Daniel Ricciardo’s day would only last a mere 8 laps before his car died on him. If you want to talk about Red Bull sabotaging his car I’m not going to stop you, but I’m not saying it either. Because of the stricken Red Bull on track, a Virtual Safety Car was issued.
Under the VSC Hamilton was told to do the opposite of Raikkonen when they came by pit road. The Ferrari stayed out so the Mercedes of Hamilton ducked into the pits. Mercedes deployed a two-stop strategy at that moment and while it looked like the right call at the time it ultimately was not.
Hamilton drove his British balls off to catch Raikkonen again. As the Finn fended off Hamilton for the lead it appeared as if Ferrari was going to use Raikkonen to back Hamilton up into the clutches of the field and ultimately Sebastian Vettel. Raikkonen came over the radio and said “I don’t want to play silly games” so Ferrari pitted him and ultimately gave him the upper hand in the race.
Raikkonen would go on to win but it wasn’t without drama. For the final 10 laps, the last Ferrari World Champion was being chased by Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. At one point the top three were separated by less than 2 seconds.
Hamilton tried to get around the inferior Red Bull but pushed wide as he tried to make a pass on the outside. Hamilton would have to settle for third. Vettel finished fourth meaning the championship will continue to Mexico City next weekend.
Kimi’s win on Sunday is likely the most popular F1 win in a decade. A fan favorite beloved around the world for his short answers, radio transmissions and all around behavior finally gave the people what they wanted. Not that he hadn’t been trying but on Sunday Ferrari allowed it to happen.
Asked after the race how he felt Raikkonen responded with “It feels better than finishing second.” We understand that, Kimi. Never change.
One of the more random things after the race in the cool down room a 39-year old Raikkonen was talking to a 21-year old Max Verstappen. Kimi won his first F1 race when Max was 5, that’s a wild stat.
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