Raikkonen might have been the public face of Finnish bad luck over the last couple of weeks but he’s not the only one suffering from a lack of good fortune and decent teamwork
Those that have taken advantage of the muddled Finnish gambling laws to back their fellow countrymen in their sporting endevours haven’t had the best of luck recently, and indeed if we leave out the somewhat disappointing performance by the Men’s Curling team in Halifax, Nova Scotia where they narrowly missed out on a deserved Bronze, you’d have to say that Finns, especially those behind the wheel, have had a dreadful few weeks.
Finnish Bad Luck
• Raikkonen & Bottas
• Laukkanen in Kenya
• Support crew AWOL
The most obvious victim of this run of bad luck was, of course, Kimi Raikkonen, whose pit crew managed to make a complete pig’s ear of his stops in the Australian Grand Prix, first race of the calendar, leaving a tire to come adrift, and the poor Finn to retire on the 42nd lap despite having been putting in some of the consistently fastest lap times on the track that day. At the time he was stoic about the whole affair, but in Malaysia they drilled the pit crew hard.
Of course in Malaysia Raikkonen’s pit crew performed flawlessly but Kimi had other issues that weekend, the changeable weather played merry hell with his qualification runs, the heavens opening at just the wrong moment and leaving him unable to make it out of Q2, putting him 11th on the grid. Not that, with his abundant experience and talent, he couldn’t come back from this little set back, and indeed he was expected to bound up the places as soon as the lights went out.
Finns Fight For Good Fortune In Formula 1
Unfortunately his first lap saw him gain a small contact and a large puncture just beyond the entrance to the pits leaving him to limp around an entire lap on 3 wheels. This put him right at the back of the field and, quite probably, wondering just how bad his luck could get. Putting in a stellar performance he finished 4th, but that compares with his teammate who walked away with a win over the dominant duo from Mercedes.
Meanwhile Bottas Valtteri didn’t manage to finish the Australian Grand Prix either, relatively few cars did, and whilst he managed to move up from an 8th place on the grid to finish 5th, he is still racing in the shadow of Mercedes, and indeed Ferrari, and whilst Williams have the maturity as a team to take it on the chin without whining (something Red Bull might want to try) it is still unfortunate for those that like to bet on sport in Finland that such a talented young driver arrives at his peak just as Mercedes rush so far ahead of nearly every other team.
Naturally we are all hoping that the victory of Sebastian Vettel won’t be a solitary blip in a season set to be completely overshadowed by Mercedes technical superiority, and Raikkonen will be out to prove that in China, with Bottas just as anxious to improve on his results so far. Ferrari will be hoping that long back straight will allow their straight-line speed to come into play, but do remember in Malaysia it was more the Mercedes team’s mistake on tire usage rather than the German’s driving that got the win for Ferrari.
Laukkanen Left To Lose
But if Raikkonen’s crew have learned their lesson, elsewhere in the motor racing world there are teams that haven’t, and for one particular Finnish driver this cost him a race he’d all but won. Oddly this wasn’t because the team failed to reattach a wheel correctly, but because for some reason as yet unfathomable the support team simply didn’t show up. If Kimi Raikkonen over in F1 was angry at his team in Australia that is nothing compared to Tapio Laukkanen’s mood in Kenya.
Going into the final day, no, worse, the last half of the final day, in the Kisumu Safari Rally, the one time British and Finnish champion had built up a very comfortable lead just some 11 seconds short of being a whole six minutes ahead of the rest of the field, but with is car having suffered a broken rear right arm he needed maintenance at the Loldaiga Gate roadside service stop. Maintenance he should have got, but didn’t, because his support truck just wasn’t there. Perhaps they were sat back gambling news from the finish of his victory would arrive making their trip unnecessary.
“I have never seen anything like this before.” he said, with far more restraint than you would expect from a man so spectacularly let down, “They had all the parts, but they were just not there.” They were, in fact, still at the main service at Meru Teachers Training Institute. Every other team managed to make it to the Loldaiga Gate roadside stop, just not his. “It’s a big disappointment I must say.” he said understating the matter with typical Scandinavian cool. It remains to be seen how cool the Finns you can back at ComeOn! Sportsbook will remain if their luck continues to be quite so atrocious.