Kimi Räikkönen, 32, returned to formula number one with moderate expectations in 2012. The world champion, who had rested on the rally trails for two years, signed a contract with Lotus, and the team was expected to fight hard for middle caste rankings.
Read more: Hard revelations from K-Räikkönen from the ex-boss - “Didn't even come to say hello”
However, the skeptics' heads turned very quickly when the Finn got off to a good start.
Räikkönen took the championship and took second place in the fourth race of the season. Vire continued and Räikkönen rose to the podium as many as 15 times during his two Lotus years.
Ricardo Penteado, who was Lotus' engine manager at the time, opened the background of Räikkönen's splendor in an interview with Motorsport.
Räikkönen’s raw talent is no secret, but one thing made Penteado’s lip still round.
- Kimi is a world champion in acrobatics. He also has an incredible ability to observe things in three dimensions. Kimi is a true natural talent; he perceives free spaces animally well and is able to predict when competitors will be somewhere, Penteado marveled.
Räikkönen discussing with his race engineer Mark Slade in 2012.
Photo: Antti Puskala
Räikkönen shone in real places, although the preparation for the competitions was very minimalist compared to many of his brothers in office. Penteado had to get used to the special ways of working for a Finn for a long time and he did not finally learn all the whims of this.
In both seasons, Räikkönen led Lotus to fourth in the manufacturers' World Championship series.
Penteado wondered how Räikkönen, for example, had not found out before the first lotus race in 2012 how the car's steering wheel works and what each button does.
- It was a race and no more training. Kim, for example, had no idea how the steering wheel works - I was furious at how that was even possible. He wasn’t lazy or careless, it was just his way of acting. He waited for us to go talk to him, he described.
Although Räikkönen sometimes drove the stables to rage, Penteado still remembers him with warmth.
- He's a good dude. He’s undeniably a really different type, which I think is cool.