Kimi Raikkonen has had enough of coming in second, and next year the Finn will be aiming higher -- and to beat the six-time World Champion, Michael Schumacher. Kimi Raikkonen. Photo by IMS LLC. "If you come in second, you are always...
Kimi Raikkonen has had enough of coming in second, and next year the Finn will be aiming higher -- and to beat the six-time World Champion, Michael Schumacher.
Raikkonen, in his third year of Formula One and the second season driving a McLaren-Mercedes, finished second to Schumacher, two points adrift after 16 Grands Prix -- and stood on the second step of the podium seven times after those races.
"I think there have been enough second places," Raikkonen reflected. "Next year will be the time to win."
The season did bring Raikkonen his maiden victory and a lead in ther World Championship, as he stood at the top of the podium in the second race of the season Malaysia, having solidly beaten the field. However, the season largely went downhill from there.
While the 23-year-old Finn stood on one of the two top steps of the podium in half of the year's Grands Prix, there were to be no more victories, and with the Ferrari juggernaut building momentum, and by the time Schumacher claimed yet another victory in the Canadian GP, Raikkonen was relegated to second place in the Championship.
Meanwhile, McLaren's much-anticipated MP4-18 car was delayed time and time again, with the team eventually abandoning the project and staying with a development version of the 2002 chassis, the MP4-17D.
On the other hand, Williams-BMW peaked in mid-season, and for quite some time, Juan Pablo Montoya appeared to be Schumacher's main challenger, until Raikkonen put together a run of solid races at the end of the season.McLaren engineering team is now working full-speed on the MP4-19, with the MP4-18 destined to be strictly a museum piece, the only key component being carried over to the MP4-19 being the new evolution of the Mercedes engine.
"This year maybe we were consistent but just not up there on the speed and hopefully we can catch up for next year," Raikkonen explained after Sunday's final race at Suzuka. "I think if we can improve as much as we did over the last winter we should be in a good position to fight for all the wins and to have a good chance to win both titles."