German GP: Kimi trouble

So what’s going on with Kimi Raikkonen? The unofficial word from inside Ferrari is they’re getting a little ‘disappointed’ with the world champion’s inconsistency. Qualifying at Hockenheim was a good example when he could do no better than sixth.

Raikkonen had been struggling all weekend to find a good set-up. He seemed to be making progress when running with low fuel during the first stage of qualifying. But, having got into Q3, the ‘car was not as good’ when they put in the fuel needed for the first phase of the race.

‘Not as good’ translated into half a second slower than his team-mate, Felipe Massa, who shares the front row with pole sitter Lewis Hamilton. And to make matters worse, Raikkonen is behind the Toyota of Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso’s Renault; two difficult cars to pass.

I may be wrong, but you get the impression that there are some Italians who would quite like Raikkonen to retire at the end of this year and leave the way clear for Alonso to join Ferrari. Now that would be something to savour. The double-world champion never gives up with the Renault, a car that is not the best and, sadly, is unlikely to be as the season reaches the half-way point.

Raikkonen is fantastic value when he’s on it and takes the car right to the edge in a manner similar to Hamilton. But, too often this year, he’s had weekends when he would have been better off staying at home. Or on his yacht drinking vodka with his mates. Monaco, for instance.

Massa defended his team-mate at the post-qualifying press conference when he said that Raikkonen was simply having a bad weekend. ‘It happens to all of us,’ said Massa, a reference perhaps to Brazilian’s nightmare at Silverstone – which didn’t impress Ferrari either.

There’s word that Santander, the Spanish-based sponsor who moved to McLaren last year to accompany Alonso, is in discussion with Ferrari.

Interesting, don’t you think?

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