Kimi Raikkonen’s future at Ferrari has been much talked about this year, with the Finn’s contract at the Scuderia set to expire at the end of the season. But the 38-year-old believes he is still delivering his highest potential – and the statistics back him up, too…
Despite being the oldest driver on the grid, Raikkonen has perhaps proved he has plenty more to give in F1. This year, he has played a vital part in Ferrari’s challenge for world championship glory, with his team narrowly trailing Mercedes in both standings.
The Finn has delivered eight podiums for Ferrari so far in 2018, an impressive feat given it is more than he managed over the course of last season, and he currently sits third in the drivers’ standings behind leader Lewis Hamilton and his Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel.
Even when you go back to his 2007 championship-winning campaign – his one and only title triumph – the experienced racer had the same number of top-three finishes at the same stage of the season, and he has no doubt that this is one of his most consistent displays in the last decade.
“I don’t feel like I drive any differently than 10 years ago,” Raikkonen said. “I think I drive pretty well in my own books at least. That’s enough for me.
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I could drive as well as I feel I should. That’s my tool to measure, and decide when it’s enough. Who knows? Maybe I’ll wake up one morning and I don’t know how to go fast anymore.
“I don’t think there is a time, it’s more feelings, how do you feel yourself doing - good or bad. People say the speed would disappear but to this day, I don’t feel it has disappeared for me.
“Like I say, maybe I wake up one morning and it’s not there anymore. It could be like that. But I don’t think you put a date on it - it’s more if you have it, if not, that’s it.”
So when we can expect to find out whether Raikkonen will remain with the Italian squad? Well the Finn, speaking ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, doesn’t think it will be this weekend.
“I don’t know. Obviously at some point, that’s for sure. But you probably can’t expect anything here, that’s what I’ve learned in the past. We’ll see. I don’t know."
He added: “You need to talk to the team. It’s not up to me. It’s not my decision in the end.”
Raikkonen sits on 146 points, two ahead of nearest rival Valtteri Bottas, heading to Monza.