McLaren Hail 'Champion' Raikkonen

McLaren trumpeted Kimi Raikkonen as a champion in the making on Sunday after the Finn won the Hungarian Grand Prix to revive his title hopes

McLaren Hail 'Champion' Raikkonen

Even if Renault's Fernando Alonso remains the favourite with a 26-point lead and just six races remaining, despite failing to score a point at the Hungaroring, Raikkonen vowed to turn the screw on the Spaniard.

He warned Alonso, who finished 11th after colliding with Toyota's Ralf Schumacher at the first corner, to expect a determined McLaren offensive.

"It definitely looks better again and there are still six races to go and if we can do these kinds of results, and maybe something happens to him (Alonso), we can definitely still fight for the Championship," said the Finn.

"And that is what we are going to do."

The odds remain stacked against Raikkonen, with Alonso needing only to finish third in every race to be the sport's youngest champion, but the McLaren driver hoped he could keep the momentum going.

After three agonising retirements while leading this season, Sunday's race was impeccable from his perspective, even if Colombian teammate Juan Pablo Montoya retired with a suspected broken driveshaft while in the lead this time.

"That was a great drive by Kimi. He is clearly a champion in the making," said McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh.

The Mercedes-powered team made the right tyre choices, while Renault and rivals BAR got it wrong, and their car was also clearly quicker than the rest.

"We are going to do the best we can and hopefully we can close the gap in the next two races, then push as hard as we can and try to catch them," said Raikkonen.

The Finn started on the second row, after going out first in qualifying, and admitted afterwards he had taken a gamble on fuel loads by running lighter with a three-stop strategy.

"We knew we would be penalised a lot starting first and it paid off," he said. "I am pretty happy, we had a very good car.

"I was stuck behind Michael (Schumacher) halfway through the race, then I had one lap longer (after the German pitted) and passed him and we were away and that was it."

Team boss Ron Dennis apologised to Montoya but was delighted for Raikkonen.

"The Championship is back within our sights, even if the challenge is still significant," he said.

 

shares
comments
Grapevine: Liuzzi, Hopkins to Swap Roles
Previous article

Grapevine: Liuzzi, Hopkins to Swap Roles

Next article

Coulthard Frustrated by Handicap System

Coulthard Frustrated by Handicap System
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats Plus

How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats

The 2022 Formula 1 season will be remembered as a record book rewriting Max Verstappen masterclass, a completely different challenge to his maiden world championship last year, and a clear sign he is still raising his own level. But where does it stack up against the all-time great F1 campaigns?

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph Plus

The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph

Max Verstappen ended the 2022 Formula 1 season in fitting fashion with a dominant drive to victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But behind him, early season rival Charles Leclerc achieved his target of securing the runner-up spot with a well-executed a one-stop strategy to beat Sergio Perez, whose pursuit on a two-stop strategy was hampered by several critical factors

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022