Winning the title in his first season in Ferrari colours was the ideal way for Raikkonen to answer those who wondered if he adequately could fill the team's Michael Schumacher-shaped void. It was achieved in style, too - not since James Hunt in 1976 had a champion recovered from such a large points deficit.
He will never have his predecessor's work ethic or ability to invigorate a team, and he remains prone to invisibility when the car is not to his taste, but at his best Raikkonen is a ruthlessly efficient winning machine. With Ferrari looking ominously strong in winter testing, he starts 2008 as favourite.
The Brazilian established a clear upper hand over his team-mate at first, but it was Raikkonen who strode through to snatch the title - although in fairness to Massa he had the worst luck of the top quartet last year. Nevertheless, with Raikkonen now comfortable in the team, Massa needs to prove himself again in 2008 to avoid slipping into an unofficial number two position.
He easily eclipsed team-mate Robert Kubica too, despite the Pole ending 2006 on such a high. But Kubica seems more at home in the F1.08, so will the tables turn again? With BMW targeting victories this season, the stakes are now even higher in the intra-team battle.