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GP Week : Issue 167
A series of sterling efforts from Fernando Alonso over the course of the 2012 season have seen the Spanish driver sitting atop the championship standings for much of the summer. On the leaderboards, it is the chasing names that have changed most often, as the Ferrari driver’s rivals win and retire. But one name has always been there, or thereabouts, and while Kimi Raikkonen may not have a 2012 race win to his name, only a fool would deny the possibility of the taciturn Finn shaking up the championship at the end of the year. Raikkonen has managed six podiums in thirteen races, and only one non-points scoring finish since returning to Formula One at the start of the season. That race, the Chinese Grand Prix, saw the Lotus driver on course for a podium before a tyre gamble from the pit wall saw Raikkonen passed by an astounding ten drivers over the course of two laps. Because while Raikkonen has yet to deliver his bosses with that first post-comeback win, where the Finn has excelled is in his consistency. So far this season he has collected three P2s, three P3s, and three P5s, plus three finishes in the lower end of the points. While his qualifying performances have yet to reach their full potential – or that of the E20 – there is no denying that in races, whatever the conditions, Raikkonen has impressed with solid performances that see him finishing towards the head of the pack every Sunday. Despite being yet to win a grand prix this season, Raikkonen remains a consistent threat in the drivers’ championship. The popular Finn is currently third in the standings, one point shy of triple race winner (and double retiree) Lewis Hamilton in second place. Given the chaotic nature of the season thus far, it would surprise no one in the paddock if Raikkonen were able to replicate the 1982 achievement of his fellow countryman, Keke Rosberg, and take the 2012 drivers’ title with only a single race win to his name. THE DARK HORSE RISES F1 >>> NEWS as_gpweek_superior.indd 1 9/7/12 1:58 PM as_gpweek_ogov.indd 1 9/12/12 4:43 PM 7 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: