It’s always hard to see a driver you admire end a race empty-handed. When Kimi attempted to pull off what would have been a spectacular overtake on Massa but ran wide as his brakes finally gave out, my heart sank. Not just because it meant the end of his race and, in turn, his historical run of points finishes, but because it marked, in a way, the end of his title hopes.
Kimi was always a long shot for the championship this season. It was always going to be between Vettel, Alonso and now that the season has progressed, Hamilton. That win in Australia was the perfect way to start a hopeful campaign; but reality has come a’knocking today, as it has on many occasions this season. I have, and perhaps everyone has, realized that the Lotus, even with the Iceman at the wheel, just isn’t capable of a sustained championship challenge.
In China, that rare front row start should have been an easy win considering the tire problems Mercedes were still experiencing. In Malaysia, the car’s lack of wet weather pace lost the team more points that should have been lost. Canada was just a disappointment, and Germany, well that win was lost to, yet again, a lackluster qualifying performance.
More than all this, though, the loss of Kimi realistically fighting for the championship means that whatever battle there is for it, be it between Vettel and Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton, all three or even just Alonso and Hamilton, will be just that much less interesting.
We’ve lost a guy to really get behind. Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton, while all posing their own formidable fan bases, are very polarizing characters. They bring out a side in fans that can get ugly. The constant booing of Vettel on the podium, which is completely disrespectful, immature and reprehensible behavior, the masked, but admittedly rare, racism that surrounds Hamilton, and the subtle .
Kimi, on the other hand, is someone we all love. His blatant dislike of the media and anything political has given us a glimpse of what we as fans all want to see in the sport. He is the voice of reason among the paddock, and an outspoken one at that.
But now, he’s gone. Mathematically, this championship is very much within reach. Realistically, and based on obvious trends throughout the season, this championship fight was over when he failed to win in Germany. A triumph there could, and should, have salvaged the dying embers of his title tilt, but another loss in Hungary and the rain of Belgium have comprehensively snuffed that once roaring fire.
Tell me what you think! Is Kimi really out of the picture for the championship?