Kimi Raikkonen might have gained “many World Championships” if he had devoted himself to F1 like Lewis Hamilton has, says Marc Priestley.
The Finn solely reached the Components 1 summit as soon as, that being in 2007 when he pipped Hamilton and Fernando Alonso to the Drivers’ title in a dramatic climax at Interlagos.
Aside from that it was one thing of a profession stacked with unfulfilled potential, despite the fact that Raikkonen retired on the finish of the 2021 season with 21 race victories and 103 podium finishes to his title.
There would absolutely have been extra of these had he not taken a two-year sabbatical in 2010 and 2011 to attempt his hand at rallying and a short expertise in NASCAR.
Priestley labored intently with Raikkonen throughout their time collectively at McLaren, however they have been on reverse sides when the Woking-based workforce had Hamilton and Alonso gunning for glory in 2007 towards their former driver turned rival who had left for Ferrari.
Though that turned out to be Raikkonen’s yr, Priestley says there might have been others as well as had there been better software from a racer who was solely concerned with what occurred out on observe, somewhat than the additional parts that kind a completely rounded competitor.
“Kimi was the quickest over a lap on his day,” former senior McLaren mechanic, and now media pundit, Priestly advised the Pit Cease podcast.
“However Kimi was removed from being essentially the most full Components 1 driver. He gained a World Championship, you possibly can’t knock him, however he solely gained one.
“And I firmly imagine – and he had no want to do that – but when he’d utilized himself like a Lewis Hamilton, he might have gone on to win many World Championships.
“He had that quantity of expertise, whereas Lewis does apply, nonetheless to this present day, nonetheless in search of each marginal achieve, each little benefit you possibly can.
“I believe Fernando is strictly the identical. They went about it in numerous methods these two, however I believe Fernando and Lewis have been the 2 that attempt to embody every thing to be the entire greatest Components 1 driver, not simply the bit behind the wheel.
“For Kimi, he cherished being behind the wheel, every thing else about Components 1 he hated. He couldn’t stand it – he simply needed to drive.”
Raikkonen gained three of the final 4 races in 2007 and completed third within the different to pip the McLaren duo by only a single level.
Learn extra: A traditional Kimi Raikkonen story together with blue dye and an electrical razor