Raikkonen vs. Massa: Who Will Get The Upper Hand In 2009?

Raikkonen vs. Massa: Who Will Get The Upper Hand In 2009?

In 2008, Felipe Massa shocked most with a very competitive season in the Ferrari F2008. Such was his performance that the Brazilian often outclassed his world champion team mate Kimi Raikkonen, and managed to take the championship right down to the final corner of the final race at Interlagos. The Brazilian driver didn’t quite make it, but many people up and down the pitlane were impressed with the effort. With a new season almost upon us, can the Finn restore the balance at Maranello?

Kimi Raikkonen is considered one of the greatest drivers to have graced a Formula One car, and with 16 poles, 17 wins and 35 fastest laps to his name, there is little doubting his ability. Kimi finally took the world championship in 2007 and raced all last season with the number 1 emblazoned on the front of his Ferrari. The season started well for Raikkonen, but for many reasons it didn’t work out as well as previously and dominant wins from Massa left the reigning champion wondering where it was all going wrong.

To his credit, Felipe Massa really improved his form last year. Although the Ferrari was thrown off the road a few times, Massa appeared more mature, better prepared and down right racier than before. To take control of the team when pitstops were going wrong and the star of the team was off-form is admirable. But was it all a fluke, or can Massa repeat his performance in 2009?

The new car, the Ferrari F60, has caused some concern around the Formula One fraternity, but with masses of experience on their side, the Scuderia should still be in a position to win. And just as they did in 2008, the opportunities afforded to each driver will be equal to begin with. Raikkonen started 2008 slightly stronger than his team mate, Massa retiring in the first two races. An accident in Monaco and being hit from behind while in the pitlane in Montreal saw no points fall to Kimi. The Finn didn’t win a race after the fourth round in Spain, where as Massa was only just getting into his groove.

Raikkonen knows how to win a championship, having come so close with the McLaren and final achieving the title in the Ferrari. His car control is second to none and after a poor result in 2008, I’m sure Kimi will be fired up for this year. Massa has less experience of putting a championship together, but he would have learned a lot from last season. He will be fired up from the very first grand prix and will want to maximise his points haul in the early races.

So who will come out on top in 2009; Kimi Raikkonen or Felipe Massa?

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17 comments

  • I would be very surprised if Raikkonen does not prove faster and more competitive than Massa assuming Ferrari give him a car he can drive unlike in 2008.

  • assuming Ferrari give him a car he can drive

    They messed it up in 2008 though, and Massa proved (almost) capable as it was to his liking. So why not keep the car the same in terms of handling and tell Kimi to buck up?

  • I think Massa is the real deal.

    Kimi may be racier, but Massa edges him in outright speed. It will be interesting ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hi guys Ago is back ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Just thought you might be interested to know that according to a french radio Seb Bourdais has a STR contract in his hands. The choice seens to be his at last, as I understand he also has a proposal to go back racing in the States…

    If I were him I’ll say no to STR to tell them they are just a pain in the…neck ๐Ÿ˜‰ basically.

    But honestly I hope he grabs this second, and last, chance…

    Not to show he is a potential WC but to display what he can really do in an F1 car…

  • FRANKLY SPEAKING KIMI WILL DO IT AGAIN, HE WILL BE THE WORLD CHAMPION THIS YEAR; GIVE HIM THE RIGHT CAR HE WILL DO IT, WHICH I MEAN THE SETUP THAT WILL MATCH HIS DRIVING STYLE.

    200% WILL DO IT..MASSA IS GOOD BUT HE DOEASN’T LOOK LIKE A WORLD CHAMPION AND LAST YEAR WAS A GREAT CHANCE TO HIM BUT HARDLUCK..

  • Hey Ago, bonne annรฉe.

    I’ll see what I can dig up about Bourdais when I get home from work, but I’ve heard similar stories this week as well. I think STR would do well by retaining Bourdais, but like you, I’m not so sure it’s the best thing for the man himself.

    I think Massa is the real deal.

    FRANKLY SPEAKING KIMI WILL DO IT AGAIN

    It’s interesting that opinion on Massa and Raikkonen is divided at the moment. Max believes in Massa, while Steven and CHARBEL are backing Kimi.

    Any other thoughts on these two…?

    Edit: Just remembered that I can add polls to my posts – sorry, it’s been a while. So… er… poll added to post.

  • Hi Ollie thanks Happy new year/Bonne Annee to you and everybody here!

    The info about SeaBass is from today and Seb is in a radioshow tonight so maybe the confirmation from the horse’s mouth very soon now…

    About Kimi / Felipe I have much faith in Felipe who improved enormously in 2008. Him and Rob are a great team together and I am looking forward as I believe Felipe could have a very good year if “La Rossa” is up to the job. On top of that Felipe is a perfect gentleman and his joy when he wins is a pleasure to watch… not an iceman the brazilian…

  • I think Kimi will have the upper hand this year. My only basis for thinking it is from his McLaren days, and how hard he fought then to try & acheive the WDC. After a year out in the wilderness, so to speak, I think he might have had that spark re-ignited.

  • Felipe is a perfect gentleman and his joy when he wins is a pleasure to watch

    I can’t argue with that. Even in Brazil last year he took it very well. I’ll never forget the footage of him turning away from the crowd to walk back towards the podium; his facial expression showed a lot of pain. But then he turned again to face the crowds and put on a beaming smile. It couldn’t have been easy. And when he wins under better circumstances, he is certainly a very happy and bouncy chap. ๐Ÿ™‚

    After a year out in the wilderness, so to speak, I think he might have had that spark re-ignited.

    I hope you’re right Pink, because I want to see lots of drivers battle it out for this year’s championship.

  • Well, with 2 votes for Massa at the moment, I see I am not the only one who believes he will do well again…

    As a McLaren fan, I hope niether of the two drivers in red are too quick ๐Ÿ™‚ While I don’t think Kimi will be as off-pace as he was at times last year, I also don’t think Felipe will lag behind him as many expect. Massa may not be the enxt Schumi, but he’s obviously doing something right.

  • Back to Bourdais (apologies for using this article slightly off-topic) he didn’t confirm anything yesterday but the ways things were said let me believe he has a contract in hands…

    Back to subject: I’ll put some money on Massa as I believe something happened last year. We might see a much more confident racing driver this year… and Rob again should be praised for that too… I love the guy he is a character not only an engineer and these two are obviously friends with much respect for each other.

  • Stefano Domenicali made a public apology to Kimi because Ferrari couldn’t make the car handle to his liking. You have to belive that they have done everything possible not to make themselves look stupid two years in a row.

    If McLaren in 2007 could give Hamilton a car he was happy with when what he needs is the same as Kimi and at the same time give Alonso a car he could drive when he needs the same as Massa you have to wonder why Ferrari can’t do the same. Of course if they knew anything about driving they would not have two drivers who need diametrically opposed set ups.

  • I have a sneaky feeling Massa could struggle under the new aero rules unless the slicks make up for most of the lost downforce and therefore grip

    If Kimi has a bad year then I can’t see him continuing

  • I think it was obvious Kimi didn’t have any motivation at the end of the season, while Felipe had for the first time a clear chance to win the title. Felipe proved he’s good, very good, but Kimi is a question mark. Is he gonna be motivated this year? Or will he drag his car around those tracks like in some races last year?

    Although, I think the biggest question mark still is Ferrari. They proved to be clumsy in many opportunities and if they don’t give those guys a good car and make a better job off the track, is very likely Hamilton will have a much easier year.

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