By Stephen Williams @SWilliams1702
Written in association with Missed Apex Podcast. Listen in the player below the article.
Kimi Raikkonen may have had a slow start to the 2017 season but things may soon start to change. Ferrari boss, Sergio Marchionne has questioned the Finn's recent form after failing to appear on the podium this season. However, Formula One heads to a circuit where in the past five seasons Raikkonen has finished second four times. Unfortunately for Kimi, in Bahrain the champagne is replaced with rose water!
Ferrari and Mercedes will once again be the favourites going to the Bahrain Grand Prix. With the hot temperatures despite it being a night race, good tyre management will be important, a strength of Raikkonen's in the past. The understeer that has been affecting the Finn's performances in the opening two rounds should be less apparent where the Sakhir Circuit is much more of a rear limited circuit.
With Sergio Marchionne displeased at Raikkonen's start to the season, what better chance does Kimi have to respond than at one of the Finn's most successful circuits. The hurry up he is being given by Marchionne may be the wake up call he needs to get his season back on track. Also, having two poor weekends where the car set up has not been to Kimi's liking, you would hope has meant Ferrari have learnt from their mistakes, and be able to rectify this weekend.
It's an important race for both Finns at Ferrari and Mercedes. So far this season they have been thoroughly out performed by their team mates who have each won a race and finished second ensuring there is a tie at the top of the championship. A response is needed as soon as possible so that both Mercedes and Ferrari do not favour Hamilton and Vettel for the drivers championship. It could already be argued that Ferrari had put Kimi on an inferior strategy to Vettel in China, despite Kimi informing the team that his tyres were not performing and needed to pit, Ferrari kept him out. By keeping him out it limited his chance of hunting down the Red Bulls for the final podium spot.
As a Kimi fan before Lewis Hamilton's arrival in the sport, it can be difficult to watch Raikkonen struggle. Sometimes though it can be because of a poor position or poor car set up that Kimi doesn't appear to have the same hunger to race as when he is at the front. Let's hope the old Kimi can come back this weekend to put pressure on Vettel and Hamilton in the title fight.