Raikkonen driver of the year for Haug

Raikkonen driver of the year for Haug

Kimi Raikkonen came within three points of taking the Formula One drivers' title from six-time winner Michael Schumacher this season and the Finn gets Norbert Haug's vote as the driver of the year. Raikkonen won only one race, Malaysia, compared...

Kimi Raikkonen came within three points of taking the Formula One drivers' title from six-time winner Michael Schumacher this season and the Finn gets Norbert Haug's vote as the driver of the year. Raikkonen won only one race, Malaysia, compared to Schumacher's six victories but it was still enough for Kimi to take the challenge to the final race at Suzuka.

Kimi Raikkonen.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.
Raikkonen finished six places ahead of Schumacher in Japan but the German managed to score the single point he needed to claim the title. Mercedes motorsport director Haug thinks Raikkonen did a better job through the season despite not having the best car.

"For me he was the driver of the year compared to everyone, no doubt," Haug said, according to Autosport. "We know Michael is a very high benchmark but just look at the points standings. Kimi did not have the best technical package at each and every race, but he made the best of it. He did not score his points by luck."

McLaren used the 'old' MP4-17 chassis throughout 2003, although it was the interim D version of the previous year's car. The much-talked about MP4-18 never got into competition, beset by unreliability in testing. Haug acknowledges the technical side needs to be improved ready for next season.

"We do need to make a step on the technical package," he said. "Then we should be there. Other people will improve their packages, there is no doubt about that, but I have no worries whatsoever about Kimi."

From sixteen races, Raikkonen was on the podium ten times, with one win, seven second places and two thirds. From Schumacher's eight podiums, six were wins and the other two third positions. Whether McLaren's MP4-18 would have made a difference to Raikkonen's chances is a moot point but the 24 year old Finn will surely be fighting just as hard next season.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Kimi Raikkonen , Norbert Haug
Teams Mercedes , McLaren