I’ve got to say I’ve never been the biggest Kimi fan. I admired his talent and his quick ascension to F1, but one thing I could never grab onto was the hot and cold nature of his performances.
For all those fellow drivers who, for one reason or another, have struggled to get the funding and opportunities to show what they are capable of but eventually fall by the wayside, it’s hard to comprehend how you could be on the F1 grid and call it in if your car isn’t quite there.
Sometimes, I know, looks can be deceiving and a car is an important part of success, but I think you could see it in his style that he wasn’t always giving it his all. I think back to some of my “opportunities” in the past where you know you don’t have a chance in hell of getting a result but you ring the car for all your worth anyway, 13th is better than 14th right?
The Tommy Byrnes of this world who have the talent to be on the front row but use all that gift and then some to just get an F1 car on the back row. Perhaps it was part of that quick rise to the top and skipping all those character building days in a wet muddy paddock as your car fails to fire up for the big race of the year where you were really going to perform for that sponsor who finally showed up.
I definitely think there is something to that, for him and to some of the latest crop of young F1 drivers. Kimi’s team mate Roman Grosjean may have even been the same, but his fall and rise has certainly built a confident and well rounded young partner for the Iceman.
That being said I heard a question the other day on another podcast (surprise to me too, didn’t know there were others) about whether the rally excursion has made Kimi a better driver (the answer on that podcast was no) but I am one to disagree.
I think Kimi’s 2-year summer vacation has done two things. I do believe that the art of Rally driving really forces you to never be comfortable and always be adaptable to an infinite amount of variables, skills that the current rules regulations demand, and it’s still (even at the top level) a grassroots motorsport where even the best driver in the world may have to change his own tire occasionally—so leave that ego at the door please.
I think Kimi did quite well. Rally driving is extremely tough and may produce the best all round drivers in the world. To win would have been a very tall order no doubt, he never got to reach the level against his piers like he so quickly achieved in F1 but the process in trying, and learning a new discipline and struggling that came with it could have been that character moment
I’m not sure anyone could have foreseen the pace the Lotus-Renault has but it is a very rapid piece of kit and has given both Kimi and Big-John the chance to show their stuff. So far this year I have not seen a hint of Kimi giving up.
I heard some grumblings about the “old Kimi” when he missed a session at Monaco due to steering issues, but Monaco is not a track where you want to drive when you are not comfortable and sometimes it’s best to stop and solve a problem than pound around and around for no gain., no driver likes to miss track time, as you know you are just letting everyone get steps ahead, so it’s a gutsy move in my opinion.
So I really am becoming a fan of the Kimi part 2 and hope he gets back up to that top spot this year. He has been driving beautifully while trying to get back in the groove and learn all the new parameters F1 has come up with so more vodka and ice cream please! And throw in a blowup dolphin and a monkey suit as well.