Analysis: Vision of Things to Come

Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso lived up to their reputations on Sunday as the men whose rivalry will light up Formula One for years to come

Analysis: Vision of Things to Come

McLaren's Finnish driver was the winner in Japan, seizing his seventh victory of the season in thrilling fashion by overtaking Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella on the last lap after starting in 17th place.

Renault's Alonso, the 24-year-old Spaniard who two weeks ago in Brazil became Formula One's youngest Champion, was no less sensational in finishing third from 16th.

Twice he overtook Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, running wheel-to-wheel and flat-out into the 130R corner as the wily German he had dethroned as Champion tried to shut him out.

Some of those watching in awed admiration felt the Spaniard's performance was even more impressive than Raikkonen's immense effort.

If anything symbolised the changing of the guard, in a season that has offered several examples, it was the sight of Alonso and Raikkonen stalking and then slicing past Schumacher's Ferrari at a circuit that the German once considered his own.

"In the whole Championship I did two or three overtaking moves and in this race I think I did 14," said Alonso, who might have won had he not missed the chicane and had to slow down to let Red Bull's Christian Klien regain position.

"And it was good. Especially that one (on Schumacher), I was much quicker on the straight...it was really risky but as I said before, there was nothing to lose today."

Title Battle

Alonso might think that, with the drivers' title sealed and delivered, but the battle for the constructors' crown remains very much alive.

With McLaren again failing to get two cars to the finish, after Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya crashed on lap one, Renault regained the upper hand and edged two points clear with only Sunday's Chinese season-ender remaining.

"We have one race left, we are leading the Constructors' Championship again, and there is a new engine upgrade to come in China. There is everything still to play for there," said Renault team boss Flavio Briatore.

Raikkonen will also want to finish the season in record-breaking style, albeit an unwanted first.

If the Finn wins in Shanghai, as he is surely favourite to do, he will become the first driver to win eight times in a single season without taking the title.

He has already triumphed more than Alonso, who has six wins, and led far more laps than the Spaniard over the course of the longest season in Formula One history.

Alonso has been far more consistent, however, with 14 podiums from 18 races to the Finn's 11.

While one dominated the first half of the year and the other the latter part, China should witness a memorable duel between the two.

"It is going to be a nice race for both teams, I think," said Raikkonen. "Last year our car was pretty quick there and I quite like the circuit, so for sure we will try to win the race and hopefully we can win the Championship too for the team.

"We just need to do the best we can and we will see at the end of the race what happens."

shares
comments
Grapevine: Senna Would Reject Williams Test

Previous article

Grapevine: Senna Would Reject Williams Test

Next article

Dennis: Title was Lost at Start of Season

Dennis: Title was Lost at Start of Season
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Alan Baldwin
How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Plus

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari Plus

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari

Ninety years ago, Rudolf Caracciola became the first non-Italian to win the epic Mille Miglia. We look at how he stacks up to the most famous pre-war ace Tazio Nuvolari, one of the drivers he beat on that day in 1931

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021