Kimi Raikkonen is often described as having a limited personality: nothing could be further from the truth. His typically Finnish demeanour is simply brevity in person; why use ten words when two will do? The above quote – that of the title – was his response to an engineer informing him he was in the lead, and by how far, in his Lotus. The last thing he needed, after all, was added distractions.
Granted, Lewis Hamilton’s broken down McLaren gifted Raikkonen a win, but it was a popular one nevertheless. Kimi was fault-free in a race where even Sebastian Vettel seemed intent on making things as hard as possible for himself, and despite the relentless pressure of Fernando Alonso’s fast-closing Ferrari in the final stages he emerged victorious, the first Lotus driver to feature on the top step for many a year. That the team carries no direct links to the great Team Lotus of old is conveniently overlooked.
Alonso was, as always, superb in Abu Dhabi, hustling the Ferrari past Mark Webber in the opening stages and chasing down the leaders as best he could. Webber’s race, in a Red Bull starting from the front row, was a disaster. A poor start, a couple of controversial incidents, and eventual retirement after an accident not of his doing did not a great weekend make.
Vettel finished third; that in itself was an achievement, the German having started from the pit lane. In doing so he remains ten points ahead of Alonso in the title hunt. Red Bull has described the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Vettel’s best race. His scrappy, car-damaging first stint doesn’t really merit such acclaim. One can’t take anything away from him, however, for he delivered when it mattered most, and his pressuring of Jenson Button’s McLaren to take third place in the closing stages was text-book perfect.
Next is Austin, Texas, an unknown quantity. The fat lady hasn’t sung just yet, but I get the feeling she will be doing so in America.