The battle for second place: raikkonen takes time out

The battle for second place: raikkonen takes time out

This time, kimi raikkonen left everyone alone in abu dhabi for the time being. The finnish formula 1 driver simply stayed away from the track. Not for the first time this season.

Already in belgium, he had danced the usual media rounds. At that time it was about his future. But indisposition prevented his appearance at the track a day before the training rounds. This time, probing questions had awaited him after the verbal duel with lotus race director alane permane.

So is raikkonen – still. He will hardly be able to afford such things in the coming season when he drives for ferrari again. And that with fernando alonso. "Humanly, i can’t say anything about him because i don’t know him well enough personally," the 32-year-old spaniard stressed on thursday. "As a driver, he is a rough champion and very, very fast."

Maybe even so fast that he can knock alonso off second place in the world championship rankings in the last three races of the season and score a small prestige victory against the proud iberian before the team duel. 24 points behind raikkonen. The "iceman" will not be afraid of the "samurai. Even though alonso tweeted a picture of himself in front of a giant self-portrait in a ferrari red overall on thursday.

But that’s not why the finn stayed away from the track on yas island. No, raikkonen, it was said by the team, had not been able to ride because of the evening race (start 17.00 local time) to avoid having to adjust to the different time zone (plus three hours compared to CET). A hitherto unknown way of preparing for the race, which starts at dawn and ends in darkness. And that raikkonen won in 2012. On the way to his first victory after his return to formula 1, he radioed to the command center: "leave me alone!. I know what I’m doing."

His old and new employer got another taste of the "cult figure" raikkonen last weekend. There raikkonen afforded itself a short word duel of the unflatigeren kind with permane. Team boss eric boullier even felt compelled to apologize for the dispute. Raikkonen had not wanted to give way to his faster colleague romain grosjean in india on heavily degrading tires. "I race against all the same. Against drivers from other teams and against my team drivers," stressed raikkonen.

This will be even more the case next year, when the two tattoo-wearers alonso and raikkonen were allowed to give each other a pinprick or two on the track. For four years now, the spaniard has been trying in vain to achieve what his soon-to-be 34-year-old teammate succeeded in doing at the very first attempt: becoming world champion in a ferrari car.

In his first comeback year, raikkonen finished third in the world championship behind vettel and alonso in the lotus. Before the rough price of abu dhabi this sunday (14.00 CET/RTL and sky), the ranking is the same, but raikkonen has had one more day of rest – and as we all know, he needs it most in abu dhabi.

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