Kimi Raikkonen: Ice-man or Ice-cream?
Think about Kimi Raikkonen, what are the first words that come into your head? Dull? Unmotivated? Vodka? Ice-cream? Lackluster? Dare I say it, dreary? (source: twitter)
But why don't things like World Champion, 18 times Grand Prix winner come to mind? This is the Jaime Alguersuari (age) of 2001 - except Kimi had less experience before coming into F1, and scored 9 points in his debut season.
Unmotivated, huh? What about when he was involved in a first lap collision when racing at Monaco in his early career. He ended up on the wrong side of the safety fencing where he drove until he ran out of road, he then lifted his kart back on the track and continued racing - everyone thought he had retired. He soon caught the pack, and finished third!
And there was the time that his steering wheel actually came off, again at Monaco, but he continued to race.
Not heard about those before? Me neither.
Why, why, why?
Kimi doesn't give a hoot about the press, journalists, media, marketing, and the like - how many monotone interviews have we heard, and his famous vacant catchphrase "will try to do better next time".
I think it's because Kimi treats the press with such contempt, journalists have created this persona of non-motivation, and the latest label they've attributed him with is money-grabbing.
Just looking at Ferrari's fortunes this season. Why has the line been how bad Massa's replacements are, or how difficult the F60 is to drive? Why not Kimi's doing a darn good job?
Even when pitted against Felipe Massa, whose regarded as rather good, it was Kimi that scored the first points of 2009, and the team's first podium (Monaco).
Luca Badoer was never going to be a match for the 2007 World Champion, so comparisons are futile, but the Finn did chalk up a win and a third in the races when paired with the Italian - not bad by anyone's standards.
Then Giancarlo Fisichella came to the Scuderia on the back of a scintillating performance for Force India in Belgium. There he took pole position, and 2nd in the race, being beaten by only Kimi and his KERS.
Giancarlo was everything that Badoer wasn't, full of confidence and had lots of track-time. Despite this in 5 races he was unable to do any better than Badoer - a string of non-points-scoring positions and being consistently knocked out in qualifying one.
In the same time Kimi scored 13 points, a podium, and comfortably out qualified Fisichella at every opportunity.
I think it's an injustice that the story has been how disappointing Fisichella is, or how tricky the F60 is to drive, rather than praise for the only man (other than Alonso) to have beaten Michael Schumacher in the current F1 field.
Oh, and it's completely insane that he hasn't get got a drive for 2010, credit crunch or not!