Former McLaren employee Marc Priestley believes 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen could’ve won more Drivers’ Championships had he “applied himself” like Sir Lewis Hamilton, with the Finn having been far from “complete”.
Whilst driving for Ferrari, Raikkonen famously won the 2007 title at the season finale hosted in Brazil, where he beat Hamilton and Fernando Alonso to the title, in what was an unbelievable climax.
Raikkonen incredibly won the title by just one point, with Hamilton and Alonso having finished on joint second.
This was by far the peak of his F1 career, with the ‘Iceman’ having never reached the same level again.
By the time he retired at the end of last season, he’d won 21 races and claimed an impressive 103 podiums; however, Priestley is certain the Finn could’ve achieved so much more.
Raikkonen famously left Ferrari at the end of 2009, before returning to the championship in 2012 with Lotus.
He did rejoin Ferrari in 2014; however, the partnership never reached the same highs as 2009, he eventually left the Scuderia at the end of 2018 where he joined Alfa Romeo.
In his two-year hiatus, Raikkonen took part in the World Rally Championship and even dipped his feet into NASCAR, something which he did again recently at Watkins Glen.
When he returned to F1 he was still an incredibly fast driver, but the series had gone up another level with the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton having raised the bar.
Priestley worked with Raikkonen whilst the Finnish driver raced for McLaren from 2002-2006 and is certain that so much more than just one title was possible for the 42-year-old.
“Kimi was the fastest over a lap on his day,” Priestly told the Pit Stop podcast.
“But Kimi was far from being the most complete Formula 1 driver. He won a World Championship, you can’t knock him, but he only won one.
“And I firmly believe – and he had no desire to do this – but if he’d applied himself like a Lewis Hamilton, he could have gone on to win many World Championships.
“He had that amount of talent, whereas Lewis does apply, still to this day, still looking for every marginal gain, every little advantage you can.
“I think Fernando is exactly the same. They went about it in different ways those two, but I think Fernando and Lewis were the two that try to encompass everything to be the whole best Formula 1 driver, not just the bit behind the wheel.
“For Kimi, he loved being behind the wheel, everything else about Formula 1 he hated. He couldn’t stand it – he just wanted to drive.”