When Kimi Raikkonen of Alfa Romeo begins his 66-lap challenge at Barcelona, the home of the Spanish Grand Prix, there will, in all honesty, be one thought at the top of his mind.
He’d hope to convert his P14, the position he was able to bag jostling with 20 other cars on qualifying day, into at least a point. For there is no rocket theory in it to understand that the former world champion, one who has against his name, a record of 103 podium finishes and a world championship in just his maiden season at the Scuderia, needs nothing more but at least a point to get his current season underway.
It also doesn’t cut a pretty figure to note the man who has against him a fantastic and rather surreal stack of the most laps raced in the sport’s history- 16,845 to be precise- struggling at the rear end of the field.
No score and from six races isn’t a very Kimi Raikkonen thing after all- or is it?
Last year, the Alfa Romeo he was paired with was significantly up on the pace and on downforce. A visible result of this was evident in the outcome bagged by Alfa’s experienced male at Interlagos, where a defiant P4 was evident of Kimi Raikkonen being in firm control of proceedings, instead of the other way around, the latter being his reality in a year where nothing’s really gone his way.
But most importantly, when Kimi Raikkonen clocked a 1:17:386 in his final flying run for Alfa Romeo in Q1, he did just enough to avoid being knocked out in the opening qualifying stint on the all-important Saturday.
That performance, though far from being a menacingly quick lap, was enough for the Finn to land fifteenth on the grid, which was a massive relief in that it helped him to qualify for Q2; a rare occurrence for the phlegmatic ‘Iceman’ of F1.
Next up, Kimi would go a place higher up and make it to fourteenth on the grid, in his hot lap in Q2, before being knocked out.
But in all, starting fourteenth on the grid, is any day better than effectively being a backmarker. Lest it is forgotten that back last weekend, during the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Raikkonen started the race from the very back of the field. Not the prettiest sight for someone who has against this name seven podiums at the very venue where he’ll start Round six of the 2020 season from a rather respectable P14.
Interestingly, fourteenth is also the position where Kimi Raikkonen found himself upon the completion of the Spanish Grand Prix in 2019.
Though the last he found himself on the podium was with the Scuderia Ferrari SF-16 H, the Finn then racing in his second year of that famous second spell at Maranello.
But where it stands at present, a point, though scoring it would require immense effort, would be of vital importance. Not only since it would give Kimi the much-needed motivation to compete at his best, but may just rekindle his desire of continuing in the sport where rumors are running rife that he may just be compelled to call it a day.
Although doing that would be quite a spectacle, truth be told, given not only is Raikkonen being trailed by a Renault (of Ocon), he also finds himself on the tail of one, that too, of the man nicknamed the ‘overtaker in F1’: Daniel Ricciardo. So what’ll it be for the enigmatic Finn on Sunday? Lights out and away we go.