The 2013 season has quickly raced to the halfway mark with 10 races done and nine to go. Once again, Sebastian Vettel, with four race wins so far, looks the man to beat. The reigning world champion (172 pts) holds a significant 38 point lead atop the drivers’ standings and must be fancying his chances of winning a fourth straight world crown. The two men with the best chance of stopping him are Kimi Raikkonen (134 pts) and Fernando Alonso (133 pts). It would also be somewhat premature to dismiss Lewis Hamilton (124 pts) from the fray, who picked up his first win for his new team in Hungary last month just before the mid season interval.
Going Off Track
So simply put, the action witnessed so far points to a potentially exciting second half of the season. And there’s also plenty going on away from the track to keep fans hooked. The rumour mill is in overdrive with question marks hanging over the futures of both Alonso and Raikkonen. This could well play into the hands of Vettel in the title race. Ironically, if there’s one person the 26-year-old German owes for being handed that slender advantage, it’s the man whom he shares no love lost with, his teammate Mark Webber. The moment the Australian announced his decision to quit the sport at the end of the season, the imminent vacancy was bound to be a source of distraction for drivers of rival teams. And it wasn’t too long before Raikkonen and Alonso’s names emerged as potential replacements.
Kimi a second chance
The latest development according to former race team owner Eddie Jordan is that the Austrian side have finally settled on 24-year-old Daniel Ricciardo as Vettel’s partner for 2014. Jordan, now a pundit with BBC, claims that this has led Raikkonen to turn his attention towards securing a return to the legendary Italian team he raced for from 2007-09, winning the world title in his first season. It’s worth noting that Jordan boasts an impressive track record regarding such predictions. Back in 2009, he famously predicted Michael Schumacher would step out of retirement for the 2010 season, even naming the team the seven-time world champion would be driving for. Then, at the start of September last year, Jordan revealed that Schumacher would retire for a second time making way for Hamilton to replace him at the German team. He was dead right on both occasions.
Message to Massa
It certainly doesn’t spell good news for Felipe Massa, the man who will reportedly make way for the Finn’s return to most successful team in the sport’s history. The Brazilian has had an inconsistent season thus far and has been told he needs to improve to hold a chance of earning a new contract, with his current deal set to expire at the end of the year. A similar warning from the top did the trick in the second half of last season as Massa managed to find some consistency. This time though, his employer’s patience may well have run out especially with a red-hot Raikkonen seemingly available.