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Midseason Report: Grading Kimi Raikkonen

With 10 races gone and nine remaining in the 2013 season, Kimi Raikkonen is Sebastian Vettel’s closest challenger, albeit a seemingly vast 38 points behind. Whilst I must confess that I didn't expect Kimi to be in the top two at this stage of the season and would be surprised if he remains ahead of either Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton by the season’s end, I’m pleased that he is.
Raikkonen is a welcome breath of fresh air to a sport seemingly overpopulated by PR-manufactured robots. The Finn is different. He’s nicknamed the "Ice Man" because of his chilled persona and relaxed attitude that has seen him asleep in the garage only minutes before the start of a race.
He also isn't afraid to say what he thinks from his now famous radio exchange to his engineer in Abu Dhabi last year to saying that someone should "punch Sergio Perez in the face" after the McLaren driver crashed into him at Monaco this year as quoted in BBC Sport.
Just type Kimi Raikkonen into YouTube and you’ll get a number of amusing clips ranging from drunken antics on boats to being kidnapped into signing a contract and his latest Renault advert where he’s hanging out on a beach with no idea as to why he’s there apart from the fact that’s where his car took him.
His fascinating personality aside, the Finn is also quick. And importantly this season, in the James Allison masterminded Lotus E2,1 he also has a car that suits his driving style and the chassis seems to be better suited to manage the Pirelli’s high rates of degradation better than many of its rivals.  
Raikkonen got off to the best possible start in Australia, making one less stop than his rivals en route to a comfortable victory. If Australia was a welcome surprise, Malaysia was a reality check as Raikkonen was slapped with a three-place grid penalty for impeding Nico Rosberg in qualifying before losing part of his front wing at the start of the race. The Finn eventually finishing seventh.
He qualified second in China, and despite losing places at the start and suffering damage in an early contact with Perez, his race pace remained strong and he made his final stop earlier than Lewis Hamilton before dialing in a couple of quick laps to put him second—which is where he stayed.

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