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Formula One: The A to W of drivers in 2017

There are high hopes for Vandoorne in his first full F1 season … well, there would be if he wasn’t being asked to drive that McLaren with its Fred Flintstone power unit.
With impressive results at Formula Renault and GP2 level, and a job as McLaren’s third driver since 2014, Vandoorne found himself called up to replace the injured Fernando Alonso at last season’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Boom. He outqualified team-mate Button and finished tenth, making him the first reserve driver to score debut points since one Sebastian Vettel back in 2007.
Vandoorne can walk the walk and, regardless of how McLaren and Honda address their challenges this season, he will be judged against team-mate Alonso. The early signs are encouraging – Vandoorne already has the feel of a driver who’s going to be in F1 for the long-run.

Formula One: The A to W of drivers in 2017

In 2008, with nothing more exotic than Formula Ford for experience and no money to speak of, Kevin Magnussen took work as a welder.
His father, Jan, had broken into F1 but saw his career wither at Stewart GP – but that F1 link would prove crucial. When Kevin was a toddler, he received a birthday present from McLaren boss Ron Dennis and a letter saying he should give him a call if he ever got as good as his dad.
Which is exactly what a friend did, on his behalf in 2009, after Magnussen Jnr landed sponsorship to let him compete in Formula Renault.
Fast-forward to 2014 and Magnussen made his McLaren debut with style, finishing a remarkable second at the season’s opening Australian Grand Prix.
But… he finished the season a lowly 11th, despite having Mercedes power, and McLaren took his seat away. His F1 return, with Renault in 2016, was sufficiently competent to land him a drive with Haas for this season but you get the feeling Magnussen is going to have to start delivering on that early promise soon if his F1 career is not to stall, like his father’s did.

Formula One: The A to W of drivers in 2017

When Raikkonen started in F1, it was 2001 and Shaggy was No.1 with It Wasn’t Me – the year’s best-selling single, if you please. It really was that long ago.
Shaggy wasn’t the coolest guy in town, though. That was Kimi Raikkonen, Ice Man in the making, who received his F1 Super Licence having driven in a grand total of 23 races, mostly Formula Renault 2000 affairs, and is said to have been asleep half-an-hour before his F1 debut in Melbourne.
Since then, he’s become World Champion, had a break from F1 to race rally cars and trucks, and established himself as the hardest interviewee around. Respect.
If his F1 career is in its twilight years, 2017 may well be Raikkonen’s best chance at finishing on a high. The new Ferrari has impressed in testing and, whatever Mercedes and Red Bull have up their sleeves, tifosi everywhere will be hoping that Kimi can get back on top of the podium at least once – his last victory was in a Lotus at the start of the 2013 season, and his last win in a Ferrari was way back in 2009.
One other thing. He was fastest in the pre-season tests. He’s still got it.

Formula One: The A to W of drivers in 2017

There are high hopes for Vandoorne in his first full F1 season … well, there would be if he wasn’t being asked to drive that McLaren with its Fred Flintstone power unit.
With impressive results at Formula Renault and GP2 level, and a job as McLaren’s third driver since 2014, Vandoorne found himself called up to replace the injured Fernando Alonso at last season’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Boom. He outqualified team-mate Button and finished tenth, making him the first reserve driver to score debut points since one Sebastian Vettel back in 2007.
Vandoorne can walk the walk and, regardless of how McLaren and Honda address their challenges this season, he will be judged against team-mate Alonso. The early signs are encouraging – Vandoorne already has the feel of a driver who’s going to be in F1 for the long-run.

Formula One: The A to W of drivers in 2017

In 2008, with nothing more exotic than Formula Ford for experience and no money to speak of, Kevin Magnussen took work as a welder.
His father, Jan, had broken into F1 but saw his career wither at Stewart GP – but that F1 link would prove crucial. When Kevin was a toddler, he received a birthday present from McLaren boss Ron Dennis and a letter saying he should give him a call if he ever got as good as his dad.
Which is exactly what a friend did, on his behalf in 2009, after Magnussen Jnr landed sponsorship to let him compete in Formula Renault.
Fast-forward to 2014 and Magnussen made his McLaren debut with style, finishing a remarkable second at the season’s opening Australian Grand Prix.
But… he finished the season a lowly 11th, despite having Mercedes power, and McLaren took his seat away. His F1 return, with Renault in 2016, was sufficiently competent to land him a drive with Haas for this season but you get the feeling Magnussen is going to have to start delivering on that early promise soon if his F1 career is not to stall, like his father’s did.

Formula One: The A to W of drivers in 2017

When Raikkonen started in F1, it was 2001 and Shaggy was No.1 with It Wasn’t Me – the year’s best-selling single, if you please. It really was that long ago.
Shaggy wasn’t the coolest guy in town, though. That was Kimi Raikkonen, Ice Man in the making, who received his F1 Super Licence having driven in a grand total of 23 races, mostly Formula Renault 2000 affairs, and is said to have been asleep half-an-hour before his F1 debut in Melbourne.
Since then, he’s become World Champion, had a break from F1 to race rally cars and trucks, and established himself as the hardest interviewee around. Respect.
If his F1 career is in its twilight years, 2017 may well be Raikkonen’s best chance at finishing on a high. The new Ferrari has impressed in testing and, whatever Mercedes and Red Bull have up their sleeves, tifosi everywhere will be hoping that Kimi can get back on top of the podium at least once – his last victory was in a Lotus at the start of the 2013 season, and his last win in a Ferrari was way back in 2009.
One other thing. He was fastest in the pre-season tests. He’s still got it.

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