Although Ferrari announced the extension of Kimi Raikkonen's contract at Monza, he yet again suffered a disappointing weekend. He also refused to offer a clear answer when asked if he was now acting as support for Felipe Massa's title campaign. That late rain shower at Spa a week earlier probably cost him more than victory there.
Spa was a huge weekend for Kimi Raikkonen. Whether he realised or not, an awful lot hung on how he performed there. His performances have left his team with an unenviable dilemma: as the championship contest enters a critical phase, which of its drivers does Ferrari back?
As Felipe Massa's form has looked ever-stronger over the past few races, so Kimi's has dived.
Leaving aside for a moment the technicalities of driving styles and front-tyre temperatures, something is not right in Kimi's world at the moment. Which is strange, because his is such a simple world: relax into his talent at the track; go home to party and play with boys' toys. What is there not to like, what is there to go wrong?
It's an approach that has served him well over the years. It's made him generally immune from the pressures that can build for those who engage more with the process of putting together a competitive campaign. There are no politics - team or human - in his world, and things that would register as concerns to others, that require energy, don't even register to him.
He fits in, and he makes no demands of those around him other than the technical ones to do with getting the car as he wants it. Within the team he's very low wattage - you wouldn't know he was there until the time comes for him to climb into the cockpit.
Sometimes, of course, he actually isn't there; he's not one for hanging around long into the night trying to uncover ever more layers of understanding of the car. He gets on okay with pretty much everyone in the team, finds its relaxed ambience so much more to his liking than the more-structured confines of McLaren, where Ron Dennis's more overt control came to jar horribly.
Test? What test?
Ferrari understood it was not getting another Michael Schumacher when Kimi was signed, knew his working methods were rather different, even if they expected the speed to be similar. Whereas Schumacher would know - still knows - which tyre and aero configuration Luca Badoer was trying at Fiorano next Wednesday, Raikkonen probably wouldn't even know there was a test.
Schumacher was retained as a consultant and sometime test driver, but Raikkonen has never shown the least bit of interest in consulting the former champion. After winning on his debut for the team in Australia last year, Kimi, about to walk onto the podium, was handed a mobile phone by Jean Todt. On the other end was Schumacher offering his congratulations; looking irritated, Kimi took the phone for no more than a second, shrugged his shoulders and handed it straight back to Todt. He's no-one's understudy, has zero interest in what his predecessor thinks or says.
It's not malice, merely disinterest.
And maybe that's got something to do with his current struggle. He's not drawing upon any of the resources available to him. He's not interested in interrogating Schumacher's vast data bank of the team, car, tyres, personnel. Massa is. Kimi's relationship with his engineer, Chris Dyer, doesn't extend beyond technical and driving matters, but Massa's with Rob Smedley does. When there was some simulator driving to be done pre-Valencia, it wasn't Kimi who went down there, it was Massa.
Kimi has never needed to engage in the peripheral stuff, and to do so now would be alien and untrue to himself; it's just not how he's wired up.
He has always relied on his talent doing the job for him. But maybe now we're seeing the downside of his low-energy approach, especially as it's being contrasted with the hard-working Massa, a man who has no problem in drawing off the experience and wisdom of those around him, whether that be Schumacher, Smedley or any one of dozens of great brains in the Ferrari team.
Then there's his age and lifestyle. There are things all of us can do in our early twenties that have relatively little effect on our physical and mental sharpness the next day, or the next few days. But gradually that changes, and the recovery begins to take longer - late twenties/early thirties usually marks that changeover. Kimi is 29 next month.
The master of Spa
But all that was forgotten as Spa's red lights went out. Here was the Kimi Raikkonen that Ferrari thought it had signed up to, an absolute master of F1's toughest, ballsiest track, driving with a ruthless steely resolve to fight his way back into the championship battle. He was magnificent in Belgium, and only the late rain and the devastating effect it has on the Ferrari's competitiveness kept him from a resounding victory rather than an ignominious crash - and a likely stint as Massa's title support man.
A Massa 'victory' and a Raikkonen DNF would seem to have solved Ferrari's dilemma.