Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen scored his 12th podium finish of the season and his third in a row at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Iceman who took victory in the United States last month followed this up with a third place finish in Mexico and then on Sunday completely outperformed his team mate in Brazil to finish in third place.
Raikkonen has been extremely consistent in 2018 whereas at times such as at him home Grand Prix in Germany, Vettel has been erratic which has lead to a number of mistakes which saw him miss out in the championship battle to Mercedes Lewis Hamilton. It was announced in September ahead of the Italian Grand Prix that Kimi would be leaving Ferrari at the end of the season to return to the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team on a two year contract and he is being replaced by Charles Leclerc.
At the Italian Grand Prix Kimi took pole position. In Brazil on Sunday with both championship’s no longer available to them Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene was seen on the pit-wall making hand gestures to signal to his team that they should switch Vettel and Raikkonen’s positions allowing Kimi to get clear of the German and go after Mercedes Valtteri Bottas which he did and he overtook the Finn to take a podium place.
Vettel’s lackluster performance on Sunday begs the question, should Ferrari have replaced him instead of Raikkonen?
Kimi remains Ferrari’s last world champion having taken the honor in 2007, his first season with the Prancing Horse and with Charles Leclerc having been extremely impressive during his time at Sauber, somewhat similar to Kimi’s debut season with the Hinwil based outfit, could we see a situation where he not only beats Vettel in his first season with Ferrari but wins the championship, it is a very real possibility.
It has also been reported in Italy that senior Ferrari engineer, Jock Clear will be named as Leclerc’s race engineer and the Englishman has plenty of experience with championship winning having been with Mercedes during their early championship winning seasons and also at Williams as Jacques Villeneuve’s race engineer when he won the championship in 1997.