March 20, 2013 by thedavidryan
Schumi vs. Kimi – Who had the better comeback?
When most people retire from their profession, they often spend their time watching Countdown and waiting to die. Rarely will someone get so bored of retirement that they decide to leave Countdown behind and head back into their old job. Formula One however, is a different matter.
In 2010, after four years away, seven time world champion Michael Schumacher returned to the sport as part of the Mercedes AMG Petronas team alongside fellow countryman Nico Rosberg.
Two years later in 2012, former world champion Kimi Räikkönen announced his plans to return to the sport as part of the Lotus F1 team.
While both drivers have been hugely successful during their first stints in Formula One, returning to the sport a few years after your peak can have mixed fortunes. Therefore today’s blog will look at Michael Schumacher vs Kimi Räikkönen in who has had the most successful comeback.
Round One: Anticipation
While it was exciting to hear about the return of the Iceman Kimi Räikkönen at the start of the 2012 Formula One season, nothing can compare to the king of modern F1 dusting off his crown and heading back to the track. Michael Schumacher is the most decorated Formula One driver in history with an astonishing seven world titles to his name. So the return of such an iconic superstar to the sport will unfortunately always supersede the return of the enigmatic Räikkönen.
Winner: Michael Schumacher
Round Two: Return race
The first round of the 2012 season kicked off at Albert Park in Melbourne and saw the racing return of Kimi Räikkönen. Unfortunately Räikkönen began the season by qualifying 17th for the Australian Grand Prix after making a mistake on his last flying lap. However, he recovered his weekend during the race the next day, as he finished in a respectable 7th place.
In contrast Michael Schumacher’s 2010 return race in Bahrain was significantly more impressive. The once dominant German qualified in an admirable 7th place, one position higher than the 2009 world champion Jenson Button. On race day Schumacher was able to find his racing groove and place the Mercedes AMG Petronas car in a tidy sixth place.
Winner: Michael Schumacher
Round Three: Consistency
Unfortunately, Michael Schumacher’s impressive start to his Formula One return did not last long. In his first season back the German star finished ninth in the driver standings with zero wins, zero poles and zero fastest laps throughout the 2010 season. Things improved slightly the following year as Michael Schumacher finished in eighth overall, but once again that first win since returning continued to elude the seven time world champion. Schumacher’s final year of his return was his worst since 1991, as Schumi finished in thirteenth position as the season concluded. While the year was a complete disaster for both team and driver, the legendary driver did manage to stand on the podium in Valencia, finishing third, and set the fastest lap in his home race at Germany’s Hockenheim circuit.
Kimi Räikkönen on the other hand has been much more successful and consistent since his return. The Finn has already notched up two wins since coming back to the F1 grid with impressive victories in the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and most recently the 2013 Australian Grand Prix. Räikkönen also finished third in his come back season and claimed a mightily impressive seven podiums with one fastest lap. The most remarkable statistic however, is that Räikkönen is currently on an unbelievable point scoring streak after being in the points for the last eighteen consecutive races.
Winner: Kimi Räikkönen
Round Four: Impact
While Michael Schumacher is universally appreciated by fans and critics around the world, the German has always been known for his prickly personality. Michael Schumacher has also been surrounded by controversy his entire career whether it is pulling dubious moves out on track or by having an entire team work round him in order to keep him happy. Suffice to say the paddock was happier to have the esteemed driver back than the man himself.
On the other hand Kimi Räikkönen is a cult hero and is adored by everyone in the Formula One community. Kimi is one of the best characters to ever pull on a racing helmet and F1 is a much better sport for having him race in it. His comeback season highlighted this perfectly as the Finn was on course to win the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix before his race engineer contacted him on the team radio, only to be greeted with a now infamous reception from the Iceman:
Winner: Kimi Räikkönen
Round Five: The verdict
While Schumacher’s first race was the more impressive out of the two, the German ultimately failed to deliver the goods on track. His below par performances were deeply disappointing and his final season was a disaster that slightly tarnished the legacy of the once feared driver.
Kimi Räikkönen on the other hand is seemingly going from strength to strength since his comeback. With the new F1 season only one race old, Kimi has already bested Michael Schumacher’s returning three year period in the sport. With one race win already under his belt this year, it looks highly likely that more wins are on their way for the Iceman.
Winner and Comeback King: Kimi Räikkönen
So there we have it, Kimi Räikkönen wins the ultimate comeback showdown. Don’t worry though because I know what you’re thinking, Kimi is probably still heartbroken that Schumi isn’t on the grid anymore right? Wrong:
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