‘I don’t mean it in a bad way’: Raikkonen shares view on Vettel failing to win Ferrari championship

Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel spent 81 races alongside each other racing for Ferrari.

Kimi Raikkonen concedes that former team-mate Sebastian Vettel’s inability to win a championship with Ferrari will ultimately go down as a failure.

Raikkonen partnered Vettel for four years at the Maranello outfit between 2015 and 2018, with the four-time world champion out-qualifying the Finn 47 times in 81 races.

The German twice challenged Sir Lewis Hamilton to title glory in 2017 and 2018, but a series of mistakes by the 34-year-old, coupled with strategic and reliability issues for the team, put pay to his efforts.

Vettel has long been renowned for the amount of time he spends at the circuit, and is frequently taking notes and discussing detailed aspects of the car’s performance with his engineers.

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Raikkonen said he noticed this during their time together, adding that he had a “very particular” way of going about his job.

“Obviously [he’s] a great guy,” Raikkonen said in conversation with the Beyond The Grid podcast.

“We had a good relationship always, and [he had] a very particular way of working.”

Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen driver for Ferrari.v1

The 42-year-old distinguished that his former team-mate does not necessarily work harder than anybody else, but he is more methodical with what he does.

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“What is hard [work], what is not hard [work]? But it might take a while [for Vettel].

“But then everybody has their different way. It doesn’t always… People say, ‘Oh, he must work hard, because he leaves the last’. Not him [Vettel], but that’s generally.”

The former Ferrari driver believes that some drivers on the grid may remain in the paddock longer into the evening as an aesthetic gesture but typically for the Iceman, he always preferred to head home once his work for the day was done.

“It’s like, if you’ve done your work, if you’re only going to stay at the paddock, or whatever it is, for an extra three hours to make sure that you’re last [to leave], that you look good,” he suggested.

“People can do what they want. I’ll do my job, and when I’m happy that everything is done as we wish with the engineers, I leave.”

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While he sees Vettel’s working style as unique, he views everyone’s mannerisms as being different in their own way.

“We all have a different way of working, and different things that we want to look [at] and see.”

Vettel won his first race for Ferrari on only his second appearance for them at the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2015, and would go on to win a further two in Hungary and Singapore that year.

11 more followed before his departure at the end of 2020 when he headed to Aston Martin for the 2021 season.

Raikkonen won his sole title with Ferrari in 2007, and believes that a driver goes to Maranello with aspirations of winning championships.

He therefore concedes that his former team-mate and good friend did not achieve what he set out to.

“We are all here to try to win, and if you don’t win, it’s kind of been a failure, in many ways,” he said.

“I don’t mean it as a bad way. There could be endless reasons for it.

“But we are here, especially when you’re in a team that we expected to win as a team, you could say that is a failure, or it’s kind of [that] the year didn’t count much, but that’s just what happens,” he added, sympathising with the German.

Raikkonen moved to Alfa Romeo at the end of the 2018 season in a swap with Charles Leclerc, who now partners Carlos Sainz at the Scuderia.

He spent the final three seasons of his almost two-decade F1 career racing alongside Italian Antonio Giovinazzi, who will now join the Dragon Penske team in Formula E.

The Finn lists him as one of his favourite team-mates.

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“I have with Antonio [a] very good [relationship],” he explained.

“Because also, obviously, we’ve been now three years in the same team, but he was at Ferrari when I was there [as a Ferrari development driver].

Due to their personalities and the lengthy period of time they spent together, Raikkonen therefore sees Giovinazzi and Vettel as the two team-mates which whom he shared the closest friendship.

“So I think it’s very similar, because Antonio was involved in a lot of things there, even those years, so we knew each other already. But probably the closest of anyone as a driver, for sure, were Seb and Antonio.”

Raikkonen and Vettel lived in Switzerland for a period, meaning that the 42-year-old frequently saw the German away from the circuit, he noted.

“But also with Seb, we used to live very close to each other, so [we] got to spend some time [together] outside of the race.”

Raikkonen retired from F1 at the end of 2021 with 103 podiums, 21 wins and a world championship.

He ended last year 16th in the Drivers’ Standings, and remains the last driver to win a title with Ferrari in Formula 1.

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