by Ed Gorman
EG writes: Earlier this month Leonard wrote this comment in response to my post Four Drivers, Five Races:
"It would be nice if you invited your non-British F1 journalist
friends(those who are not in direct competition with your paper)to this
blog for more on-the-scene input into these discussions. Say some
Americans, Canadians, Australians, South Africans, Germans, French,
Italians, Indians, Japanese, Brazilians and of course Spanish
colleagues that cover the circuits with you. It would not only give a
broader perspective but I think it would be extremely informative both
technically and sporting wise for us the readers."
Taking up his suggestion I asked the Finnish journalist Heikki Kulta
for his view on Kimi as we go into the last three races. I hope you
find it interesting. By the way, if you want to follow Heikki’s
work(and you read Finnish) you can see it most days in Turun Sanomat
published in Turku.
Kimi – the living example of Finnish sisu – by Heikki Kulta
"If there would not be a bad luck, the Finnish racing drivers would
not have the luck at all." That is how the Finnish fans are used to
approaching Formula One. As a nation we feel that all the luck always
goes to the main rivals of our stars.
The shining example is Kimi Raikkonen. For sure, Kimi would have
deserved at least one championship during his five years’ spell with
McLaren. It was the bad luck of Raikkonen that stopped him clinching
the title both in 2003 and in 2005.
This is Kimi’s debut season with Ferrari – and again he seems to have had more than his share of unbalanced bad luck.
The fight for the title for Raikkonen is like driving against a
one-way-road during the rush hour. You can do it, but it is very, very
difficult. You are not allowed to make the slightest mistake, while
your opponents, heading in the opposite direction, can go flat out just
watching sometimes to their mirrors.
For Kimi it is an advantage that he is not in this position for the first time. He is used to finish the season as a hunter.
Four years ago Kimi went to the final race at Suzuka nine points
behind Michael Schumacher. The German champion needed only one point if
Raikkonen would have won the race.
The fighting Raikkonen finished second. Schumacher was very nervous,
but got his point and the title. From the last three races they both
got 21 points.
Two years ago Raikkonen had a mega-fast McLaren, but the worst luck
of his career. Fernando Alonso got away from him in the first quarter
of the season and, as much as Kimi tried, the gap stayed the same. In
the last three races Raikkonen got four points more than the Spanish
Obviously, the strongest asset of Raikkonen is that he never gives
up. Whatever happens Kimi always puts all the bad things behind him in
such a short time and is ready to go for it again and again.
This year in Monaco Raikkonen made a mistake in qualifying and hit
the barrier in Q2. Kimi managed to bring the car limping back to the
pits and pushed the team hard to let him try again with that badly
damaged front suspension – against all the risks.
Of course, the Ferrari had stayed put. It was over. But it just
shows how motivated the Finnish star is to give everything for it.
Kimi’s a real fighter. We Finns call that sisu. You need a lot of sisu in the rough game of ice hockey. Raikkonen loves ice hockey, plays the game himself and probably gains from that.
The word sisu is impossible to translate into English. It
means more or less the fighting spirit. But it is not just the normal
fighting spirit. It is more like the attitude David had while he had to
meet Goliath back in the olden days.
This time the Goliath against the David of Finland is the
reliability of the McLaren cars. Without both Lewis Hamilton and
Fernando Alonso stopping at least once in the last three races
Raikkonen does not have a real change for the championship.
At the end of the day, Hamilton has also an important mental and
physical assistant from Finland – Aki Hintsa, the doctor of the McLaren
family. So Hamilton knows something about Finnish sisu, too.
I think this is exactly what made us support Kimi, right? The will, the determination, the bravery, no matter what. Not only is it great character, it gives the fans real pleasure to watch – something an F1 driver should be all about.