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Drivers with great natural speed who lacked in other departments


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#1 Group B

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 20:01

Another winter warmer thread, brought to mind by discussions in other threads. Which drivers have demonstrated the greatest potential for natural speed but never been able to turn themselves into a consistent complete package? The first three that come to mind are Ralf, Rubens and Massa; all of them have had numerous weekends when they were in the groove and blisteringly fast, but numerous other weekends when they forgot to turn up. So, who else springs to mind?

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#2 P123

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 20:06

Coulthard was another who could beat anybody on his day.

#3 jcbc3

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 20:10

How far do we go back?

Going by the list of GPwinners that didn't win a championship we can mention:

Reutemann
Peterson
Webber
Ickx
Arnoux
JPM
Gilles
Watson
Pironi

All drivers that at some point during their career had week-ends of utter domination and thus showed speed.

#4 sopa

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 20:12

Doesn't this logic apply to all inconsistent drivers then? Many drivers could achieve a great result on "their day". I don't see anything extraordinary about Barrichello or Coulthard or other people like that. In fact, they were outPACED by their team-mates on most weekends. Where was their great natural speed that didn't come out?

Perhaps we could discuss about drivers, who were consistently fast, but due to other reasons (racecraft, commitment, luck) haven't achieved results. Prime example from 2012 - Grosjean. Match to Kimi in qualifying and race pace not shabby either, but less than half points of Kimi. Because this is what OP is asking. Great natural SPEED on a consistent basis. And Grosjean has loads of it.

Edited by sopa, 26 December 2012 - 20:15.


#5 Boxerevo

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 20:19

And Grosjean has loads of it.

Didn't see this speed consistency,can someone show me or disprove it with facts.



#6 ric

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 20:20

Another winter warmer thread, brought to mind by discussions in other threads. Which drivers have demonstrated the greatest potential for natural speed but never been able to turn themselves into a consistent complete package? The first three that come to mind are Ralf, Rubens and Massa; all of them have had numerous weekends when they were in the groove and blisteringly fast, but numerous other weekends when they forgot to turn up. So, who else springs to mind?

Remember Heinz-Harald Frentzen - speedwise on Schumi's level (or above), but, say, a little bit too lazy for the big bang.
Not forgetting that his 1999's Jordan season had been a class of his own.

#7 Sin

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 20:24

Heinz Harald Frentzen, he was my favorite driver back 1999 onwards.... he did great that season in Jordan, his problem was the lack of mental strength it seems... when he was in Williams he didn't get along as well as he did in Jordan probably because he didn't feel as well in that team. of course that is just my guessing :o

Would say Grosjean too, but I'm certain he will do better next season :)

Edited by Sin, 26 December 2012 - 20:25.


#8 sopa

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 20:24

Didn't see this speed consistency,can someone show me or disprove it with facts.


Surely didn't see speed consistently, because he crashed out early and couldn't show any speed.;) But it wasn't lack of speed that yielded him so few points by the end of the season.

#9 JSDSKI

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 20:39

Chris Amon
Carlos Reutemann
Juan Pablo Montoya

Edited by JSDSKI, 26 December 2012 - 20:41.


#10 prty

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 20:52

Raikkonen.
*runs*

#11 Requiem84

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 21:00

Maldonado!

#12 Velocifer

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 21:01

Montoya and Hamilton comes to mind. Great natural speed, but lacking championship temperament. (although Hamilton scraped one over Massa)

#13 ensign14

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 21:06

Montoya and Hamilton comes to mind. Great natural speed, but lacking championship temperament. (although Hamilton scraped one over Massa)

Montoya lacks discipline (won't keep off the burgers), Hamilton lacks full race intelligence (couldn't dictate strategy like Button).

Drivers like Danny Ongais, Jarier and Brambilla might count for this; both had blistering speed at times but not often enough over a consistent run. Peterson had speed but lacked technical ability; put everyone in identical cars and Ronnie would win the first race, but probably not the title. I wonder which drivers lacked stamina, that might explain how e.g. Moreno and Modena looked good in lower formulae, where the physical demands were less, but flopped in F1.

And of course Senna and Michael Schumacher lacked morals.

#14 Hans V

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 21:06

Of relatively recent drivers Fisichella, Ralf Schumacher and Alesi springs to mind as quick on their day, but apparently without a clue why. Blindingly fast when everything was right, but unfortunately for them that only happend a few times each season.

Edited by Hans V, 26 December 2012 - 21:07.


#15 JSDSKI

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 21:26

I wonder which drivers lacked stamina, that might explain how e.g. Moreno and Modena looked good in lower formulae, where the physical demands were less, but flopped in F1.

I think the lower formula guys (and most of those we are speaking about) didn't lack for anything but finding the last tenth or best race pace through setup,

To me, that's what really sets a WDC apart. Communicating with their tech team and being able to reproduce laps so the engineers have something to base their changes on. These drivers (and their engineering team) quickly figure out what pace the car has, they set it up to run consistently at that pace, and then they manage their rhythm and marks throughout the race to maximize points.

Guys like Stewart, Prost, Schumacher, they just never seemed harried or out of rhythm. Always far ahead of the car and the race.

#16 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 21:35

Montoya lacks discipline (won't keep off the burgers), Hamilton lacks full race intelligence (couldn't dictate strategy like Button).


I think that's an experience thing, Button has seven seasons over Lewis.

#17 mnmracer

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 21:37

Mark Webber is lightning fast on his day and, it seems, on his tracks (Monaco, Silverstone, China, Suzuka), but he can't seem to keep that speed over a season, and at some tracks just seems lost.

#18 ensign14

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 21:45

I think that's an experience thing, Button has seven seasons over Lewis.

Maybe, but Button wouldn't have tweeted team data in 2005. And other drivers have made tactical moves early(ish) in their careers that proved inspired - Hunt at Zandvoort in 1975, for instance.

#19 Red17

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 21:49

Raikkonen.
*runs*

I don't see why you should run. Kimi's personality is actually one of the traits that makes him stand out, and he was not the only one. The issue is that most drivers nowdays are PR robots.

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#20 Mauseri

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 22:01

Doesn't this logic apply to all inconsistent drivers then? Many drivers could achieve a great result on "their day". I don't see anything extraordinary about Barrichello or Coulthard or other people like that. In fact, they were outPACED by their team-mates on most weekends. Where was their great natural speed that didn't come out?

I agree. Occasional fast weekends could be explained with some luck and setup factors playing to their hands. I think Coulthard for example had strong race craft but was not brilliantly fast. Barrichello just performed very rarely, although on his day he was as fast as anyone. Natural fast drivers may also be occasionally struggling, but at least they should be very fast quite regularly.

Perhaps we could discuss about drivers, who were consistently fast, but due to other reasons (racecraft, commitment, luck) haven't achieved results. Prime example from 2012 - Grosjean. Match to Kimi in qualifying and race pace not shabby either, but less than half points of Kimi. Because this is what OP is asking. Great natural SPEED on a consistent basis. And Grosjean has loads of it.


Edited by Mauseri, 26 December 2012 - 22:13.


#21 HaydenFan

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 22:02

Montoya was a basket case of epic proportions. Great driver, maybe the fastest guy on the F1 grid during his career, but he struggled with the on thing that kept him from being the world champion; other cars on the track. He wasn't a real good overtaker at the end of the day. His ballsy passes would wow, but at the same time, he did have a knack of ending his race early.

To get an real idea of the intention of the original post, you need to think about the young drivers in the junior formula whom just didn't get themselves to F1, regardless of speed. Like Dan Clarke or Takuma Sato. Wickedly fast, but found themselves in the wall a lot in North America.

Edited by HaydenFan, 26 December 2012 - 22:05.


#22 TigersWood

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 22:14

Hamilton is very fast but he messes up with the set up so often, and he makes a lot of strategic mistakes lime those two DNF in 2010, and his heroic 2007 ending.

#23 P123

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 22:25

Montoya was a basket case of epic proportions. Great driver, maybe the fastest guy on the F1 grid during his career, but he struggled with the on thing that kept him from being the world champion; other cars on the track. He wasn't a real good overtaker at the end of the day. His ballsy passes would wow, but at the same time, he did have a knack of ending his race early.

To get an real idea of the intention of the original post, you need to think about the young drivers in the junior formula whom just didn't get themselves to F1, regardless of speed. Like Dan Clarke or Takuma Sato. Wickedly fast, but found themselves in the wall a lot in North America.


Montoya was an excellent overtaker. Overtaking was most certainly not one of his problems; on the contrary it was a major strength. He did spin off a few too many times, but only one of those involved another car.

As for the young drivers, Sato had his chance in F1 with Jordan and Honda. In terms of junior formulae, the list is probably endless of those who have shown great pace there but never transferred it to F1.

#24 P123

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 22:30

Hamilton is very fast but he messes up with the set up so often, and he makes a lot of strategic mistakes lime those two DNF in 2010, and his heroic 2007 ending.


You can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of times Hamilton has 'messed up his setup', so it's an invalid criticism unless you are confusing the two McLaren drivers. Strategic racing mistakes, as in knowing when to attack and when to hold back, is perhaps his main weakness. But Hamilton is consistantly at the front, so he's not really in the mould of the drivers mentioned in the original post.

Edited by P123, 26 December 2012 - 22:32.


#25 ensign14

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 22:42

Thinking about the question in reverse, the driver who had most of everything - speed, technical ability, racing intelligence, determination, calmness &c - was probably Jack Brabham. I doubt anyone would consider him the fastest of his time, but surely he was top in at least a couple of the other fields.

Surtees would be of a similar mould, but he lacked political nous. Manoeuvred himself out of the 1966 title, and never managed to nail a GP win as a team owner/operator, during a period in which lesser drivers like Mosley, Oliver, Williams, Ecclestone &c managed it.

#26 Juan Kerr

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 22:55

Montoya and Hamilton comes to mind. Great natural speed, but lacking championship temperament. (although Hamilton scraped one over Massa)

Hamilton could've won the championship every year he's driven in except 2009, amazing driver and perfectly capable of winning multiple championships. He is a good chunk faster than anyone on the grid.

#27 Bloggsworth

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 22:58

Button - He can never convince people subscribing to this forum that he is any good...

#28 Jimmy

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 22:59

Trulli.

#29 ryan86

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 23:07

One thing that seemed to constantly go against both DC and Rubens was the start of the season. Whilst their teammates got wins and points, they usually through both a mixture of bad luck and their own fault found themselves already behind the 8 ball by the time we were 3 or 4 races in. When your teammate has 30 points and you've got 12, the momentum for your challenge is already out the window.

Edited by ryan86, 26 December 2012 - 23:11.


#30 ensign14

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 23:10

Hamilton could've won the championship every year he's driven in except 2009, amazing driver and perfectly capable of winning multiple championships. He is a good chunk faster than anyone on the grid.

That is Velocifer's argument though - he has a 20% success rate in landing titles and even that came at the death. However unlike Velocifer I'd suggest that Hamilton was not the major factor behind the other failures.

#31 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 23:13

Montoya was a basket case of epic proportions. Great driver, maybe the fastest guy on the F1 grid during his career, but he struggled with the on thing that kept him from being the world champion; other cars on the track. He wasn't a real good overtaker at the end of the day. His ballsy passes would wow, but at the same time, he did have a knack of ending his race early.

To get an real idea of the intention of the original post, you need to think about the young drivers in the junior formula whom just didn't get themselves to F1, regardless of speed. Like Dan Clarke or Takuma Sato. Wickedly fast, but found themselves in the wall a lot in North America.


Did you miss Sato's two stints in F1?

#32 karlth

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 23:17

"Lacked in other departments" often should be read as: "Didn't have a championship worthy car."

In the modern era Rubens comes to mind as a driver that on his day was supreme but lacked consistency over a whole season. Montoya as well, although a lot of his problems had to do with tire management. Ralf like other classical drivers, Coulthard, Button, could be almost unbeatable in perfectly setup cars but struggled when the car fought back.



#33 Juan Kerr

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 00:00

Button - He can never convince people subscribing to this forum that he is any good...

He would've looked a lot better if his teammates didn't show him up. The fact is he simply was not as fast as Ralf, Fisichella, Trulli, Barrichello and Hamilton and I'm British, I'd love to support him but I just can't.


#34 jj2728

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 00:07

Surtees would be of a similar mould, but he lacked political nous. Manoeuvred himself out of the 1966 title, and never managed to nail a GP win as a team owner/operator, during a period in which lesser drivers like Mosley, Oliver, Williams, Ecclestone &c managed it.


Big John was never one for political niceties for sure, but in '66 he had Tavoni firmly against him because Tavoni was convinced that Ferrari needed an Italian driver to uphold it's honour. And it didn't set well in Maranello that Surtees had crashed heavily the previous fall in a Lola T-70 and had quite extensive injuries from the accident. That he was faster in pre-season testing for the '66 season than his teammate Bandini dispelling the notion that he wasn't fit for return caused much gnashing of teeth. At Monaco he pleaded for the 2.4 liter V-8 that Bandini used, claiming that the new 312 was underpowered and unsuited to the track, of which as team leader he should have been allowed, but it was to no avail. After winning in Belgium, instead of being congratulated, Tavoni could only lament that it took him far too long to pass the Cooper-Maserati of Rindt. And the final nail being the fiasco at LeMans. Ferrari's mis-management and ineptitude cost both they and Surtees the '66 WDC.

#35 Jimisgod

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 00:28

Montoya and Hamilton comes to mind. Great natural speed, but lacking championship temperament. (although Hamilton scraped one over Massa)


:up: Hamilton is probably the fastest guy out there, but his one championship was only achieved by the very slimmest of margins. Two more (2007, 2010) could have been his, but he nuffed his chances with errors. Only in 2012 did he reach the consistency of Alonso and Vettel, but the car was unreliable... so he quit to go to a team with no direction. :well:

I think Hamilton is just a little mentally weak. Challenged by Button in his "home", he beats Button 2 out of 3 years and still quits for Mercedes. :confused:

#36 Mauseri

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 00:39

Button - He can never convince people subscribing to this forum that he is any good...

Could it be that, despite of doing good job most years, he just is not the type of this thread? Quite the contrary. Steady driver whose strenght is making good use of his potential?

#37 ClubmanGT

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 02:05

Amon. Close the thread.

#38 boldhakka

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 02:50

Raikkonen.
*runs*


Agreed. I'm surprised OP didn't mention him, he's the classic example of the thread title.

But there seems to be some discrepancy in how people are interpreting this thread.

Edited by boldhakka, 27 December 2012 - 02:51.


#39 Obi Offiah

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 03:49

Amon. Close the thread.

I don't think Chris Amon is a mod here.

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#40 George Costanza

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 04:43

Hamilton could've won the championship every year he's driven in except 2009, amazing driver and perfectly capable of winning multiple championships. He is a good chunk faster than anyone on the grid.



Same could have been said about Michael Schumacheer.

He could have been an 11 time World Champion...

#41 Scorg

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 05:01

Heinz Harald Frentzen, he was my favorite driver back 1999 onwards.... he did great that season in Jordan, his problem was the lack of mental strength it seems... when he was in Williams he didn't get along as well as he did in Jordan probably because he didn't feel as well in that team. of course that is just my guessing :o

Would say Grosjean too, but I'm certain he will do better next season :)


With regard to Heinz that view has been shared by some in the media. When he moved from Sauber to Williams he was expected to just get on with it. And dealing with Patrick Head is no easy task as he found out so when things did not go right for him there the team were quick to give the blame. But as was seen at Jordan, which was a team known to care more for their drivers as they came in he was made to feel at home at at ease and the results followed. 2010 could have been just as good if the car was a lot more reliable.

#42 soarer

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 08:25

Jarno Trulli.
Trulli was the fastest by clear natural speed. But he was susceptible to power steering and tires

#43 2ms

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 09:50

Agreed. I'm surprised OP didn't mention him, he's the classic example of the thread title.

But there seems to be some discrepancy in how people are interpreting this thread.


It seems to me that the one year Raikkonen had a WDC-capable car, he won it! Every other year the car's either been hopelessly unreliable, too slow, or in the case of 2008 got screwed up in the middle of the season by wrong development path.

Do you think some people are including (in "lacked in other departments") not having competitive enough equipment? Nonetheless, he still so handily beat so many of the other drivers being mentioned here such as Coulthard, JPM, Fisichella (i.e. was big part of the reason why they were perceived as unsuccessful) , along with being on the "WDC podium" 50% of his career, so it's not as if he hasn't been damn near just as successful as anyone else.

#44 Anderis

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 10:09

It seems to me that the one year Raikkonen had a WDC-capable car, he won it! Every other year the car's either been hopelessly unreliable, too slow, or in the case of 2008 got screwed up in the middle of the season by wrong development path.

Love this. :lol:

If one driver had bad part of the season (Button) the general consensus is that he is too sensitive for car changes and therefore not consistent enough to challenge the very bests on a consistent basis. If another driver had bad part of the season (Raikkonen), he just got screwed up by wrong development path. ;)

#45 Group B

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 10:30

It seems to me that the one year Raikkonen had a WDC-capable car, he won it! Every other year the car's either been hopelessly unreliable, too slow, or in the case of 2008 got screwed up in the middle of the season by wrong development path.

:lol: :rolleyes:
That 'wrong development path' didn't seem to stop Massa getting within a gnat's cock of being WDC.

#46 2ms

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:12

Ok so what's the objection here exactly? That Raikkonen had a ton of great seasons, but he had one season where, according to you, he should have continued to lead the championship as he had been, even after there was a redesign of the front suspension that caused him to not be able to get heat into the front tires so adly that he got an incredibly shameful 3rd in the championship?

#47 Anderis

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:28

I've expressed my objection in previous post. If Button can't cope with car upgrades that don't suit him, it's his fault, but if Raikkonen can't, it's team's fault. This is the tendency I can see on this board. Not a problem with you or Raikkonen.;)

#48 Group B

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:33

Ok so what's the objection here exactly? That Raikkonen had a ton of great seasons, but he had one season where, according to you, he should have continued to lead the championship as he had been, even after there was a redesign of the front suspension that caused him to not be able to get heat into the front tires so adly that he got an incredibly shameful 3rd in the championship?

Nobody said it was 'incredibly shameful'; there is some middle ground between that and your lofty suggestion that Kimi has always extracted the very most from his machinery. The truth lies somewhere in between; Kimi's had some brilliant races and excellent seasons, but like most drivers he's also had his (relatively) poor ones.

#49 2ms

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:54

Then maybe we agree. I never said he extracted the very most from his machinery. I only pointed out that he hasn't had the best machinery as often as some others and that, nonetheless, he's been damn successful anyway. This being the case, I don't think he himself has particularly lacked things in other departments. Rather, as a matter of fact, I frankly think he may be the most complete driver in F1. Or at least was overall across his career (i.e. don't have enough data on Vettel yet). I am sure there is a driver who you personally think is most likely to be the most complete in F1 as well. Maybe even it's Raikkonen if you would really think it through without bias ;)

Edited by 2ms, 27 December 2012 - 12:06.


#50 ensign14

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 12:18

Rather, as a matter of fact, I frankly think he may be the most complete driver in F1.

No - lacks the dedication. Like spending three days before the USGP this year in Vegas. Such a freakish talent though that it's not really apparent. Should have won the '08 title but turned off having climbed the mountain and chillaxed; given the Ferrari was good enough to push Massa to within a midge's minim of the title, Raikkonen should have won it by Monza.