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What Happened the Last Three Times Marquee Drivers Joined Ferrari?

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Räikkönen - Alonso - Vettel

What do the three big names have in common..?

By The Editors

Thu, Apr 11, 2024 07:34 AM PST

Over in Melbourne, Carlos Sainz somehow found a way to reign supreme at the Australian Grand Prix, despite being just two weeks removed from surgery to resolve his battle with appendicitis. And if that wasn't enough, teammate Charles Leclerc came home in second place, completing the first Ferrari one-two in over two years and reigniting their championship hopes in the process. The Scuderia duo took full advantage of an early Max Verstappen retirement to romp to victory, and they will be hoping that there is more success around the corner.

But El Matador, despite impressing so far this term, will be out of a seat next year. The Maranello outfit has opted to bring in seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton at the start of next season, aiming to aid the Brit in his quest of breaking the outright record for most titles won - he is currently tied on seven with Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher. But where does that leave Sainz, and where will he be driving next year? The obvious answer would be a straight swap with Hamilton that would see the recent Aussie Grand Prix winner head to Mercedes.

However, another option could be Red Bull Racing. Verstappen is the clear number one with the Austrian outfit, but it is also clear that current teammate Sergio Perez simply cannot keep up with the Flying Dutchman. That could prompt Christian Horner and Co. to turn their attention elsewhere. This term, they will have no such worries, if the bookies are to be believed. Online F1 betting odds providers have made the reigning triple world champ a huge -1800 favorite to make it four titles on the spin this year, despite only four races taking place.

But with a new main man set to head through the doors at Maranello, what happened the last three times the Scuderia brought in a marquee driver?

Kimi Räikkönen's Dream Start in 2007

Finnish driver Kimi Räikkönen joined Ferrari in 2007, stepping into the considerable void left by the retirement of Michael Schumacher. The German icon exited the sport not on top, but as runner-up to Fernando Alonso and Renault, who claimed back-to-back world titles in 2005 and 2006. Despite that, Schum was considered the greatest driver of all time, and the Flying Finn certainly had the biggest of boots to fill.

But Räikkönen's debut season with the Scuderia was nothing short of spectacular. He won his maiden race at the Australian Grand Prix, a feat only achieved by a select few before him. And that was a sign of things to come. Throughout the season, Räikkönen showcased his exceptional talent, but it looked as though he would be pipped to the title by one of McLaren's frighteningly quick duo, rookie Lewis Hamilton and reigning champion Alonso. All the bets were going his way (ours would have been too) but just as the young Brit had one hand on the title, disaster struck.

The Stevenage-born star crashed out of the Chinese Grand Prix in the pit entry in a race that Raikkonen would go on to win, setting up a tantalizing three-way showdown in Sao Paolo for the crown. Once again, Hamilton would endure difficulties, while Raikonnen would come out victorious, claiming the title by a single point in the process.

Fernando Alonso's Promising Beginning in 2010

Spanish driver Fernando Alonso moved to Ferrari in 2010 with high hopes and the ambition of securing his third World Championship. Throughout the season, the two-time champ was as consistent as they come, reeling off podium after podium, despite being in just the third-fastest car on the grid.

Victory in Korea and a double retirement for the Red Bull pair of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber left him in pole position for the crown. But the German ace went on to win the following race in Brazil, while Alonso could only manage third, setting up a four-way scrap at the final race of the campaign in Abu Dhabi. The Spaniard headed into it as the championship leader and favorite, but an early pitstop left him stuck behind the Renault of Vitaliy Petrov, and with the Russian driver much faster on the straights, Alonso was unable to overtake.

As such, he languished way down in seventh and with Webber one place behind him in eighth, the door was wide open for Vettel. The German duly strode right through, winning the title and leaving Alonso wondering what might have been.

Sebastian Vettel's Arrival in 2015

Sebastian Vettel, having won four consecutive World Championships with Red Bull Racing, joined Ferrari in 2015 with the aim of returning the team to its former glory. His first season with the Scuderia was seen as a resurgence for both the driver and the team. He secured his first victory for the Scuderia at the Malaysian Grand Prix, signaling a return to competitiveness for the Italian outfit.

He went on to win two more races that season, finishing third in the Drivers' Championship, but he was unable to take the fight to the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. In 2017 and 2018, he would do exactly that, but it was still the Brit that came out on top.

This article was compiled by the editors of LACar.

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