Abu Dhabi: 14-time Middle East Rally Champion and Fia vice-president Mohammad Bin Sulayem believes his Finnish friend and Lotus Team driver Kimi Raikkonen deserves all the praise for staging such a gallant comeback to the Formula One scene. “He has been sensational since his return. He came over to the UAE several times and tried his hand at rallying, but finally he realised that he simply fits in so well in Formula One,” Bin Sulayem told Gulf News.
After making his F1 debut in 2001 with Sauber-Petronas, Raikkonen, who was crowned world champion with Ferrari in 2007, broke off from Formula One to compete in the World Rally Championship for two years from 2010 to 2011.
However, at the start of this season the 33-year-old Finn joined Lotus alongside Romain Grosjean, and now lies third in the drivers’ championship with 173 points — thanks mainly to the three second places at the Bahrain, European and Hungarian Grands Prix earlier this year. “For me, he deserves all the glory that he can get for merely staging such a recovery after being away from racing for so long. What he has done is exceptional and to have him third in the drivers’ championship is simply too good,” he added.
“This is simply the best that could have happened to Kimi.”