|Grands Prix entered||311|
|Highest race finish||1 (x21)|
|Highest grid position||1|
|Date of birth||17/10/1979|
|Place of birth||Espoo, Finland|
Kimi Raikkonen is the oldest driver on the grid, and has been since 2014. However, when Raikkonen began his career in 2001, as the youngest driver on the grid at the time. He raced for four different teams over his seventeen years on the grid, winning twenty-one races, starting 312, and taking the title in 2007.
Raikkonen was born in Espoo, Finland on the 17th of October 1979. He had a lot of success racing in Finland when he was young. When he was fifteen years old, he took part in his first race outside Finland, karting in Monaco. His steering wheel broke, however he continued, informing his mechanic by waving his wheel as he drove down the home straight. In 1998, he won the Nordic Championship, and in 1999, he finished second in the European Formula Super A Championship.
In the winter of 1999 he made the move to cars. At the age of twenty, he won the British Formula Renault winter series. He then won the full season in the next year. He was dominant, winning seven, and finishing on the podium in all ten of the races that he competed in.
After the amazing seasons that Raikkonen had in Formula Renault UK, Peter Sauber gave the twenty year old Finn a test at Mugello in September. After a solid first test, he took part in tests at Jerez and Barcelona.
He was signed to be a race driver for Sauber in 2001. However, there were many critics who worried that Raikkonen, who had just competed in twenty-three races in cars. The FIA did grant Raikkonen his Super Licence, and he immediately showed what he was capable of, finishing sixth and scoring points on debut. He had three other points finishes, including fourth places at Austria and Canada.
In 2002, Raikkonen joined McLaren. He replaced fellow Finn, and mentor Mika Hakkinen. Hakkinen swayed McLaren into adding Raikkonen over his Sauber teammate Nick Heidfeld, telling Ron Dennis “If you wanna win, get the Finn.” Raikkonen took his first career podium in his first race for McLaren, finishing third. He led late at the French Grand Prix, before going off on oil. He finished second behind Michael Schumacher. The McLaren was often unreliable, but Raikkonen and teammate David Coulthard finished third in the Constructors Championship.
2003 saw Raikkonen’s first real challenge at a title. He took a podium first time out, before taking his first win in dominant fashion in Malaysia. In Brazil, Raikkonen was declared the winner, but after further review, Jordan’s Giancarlo Fisichella was the winner. Raikkonen took second in San Marino, Austria, and Monaco. Raikkonen led the championship for most of the first half of the season, and was just two points behind Michael Schumacher with three races to go. However, the FIA was told that Michelin tyre treads were too small. This meant that Michelin had to bring new tires to the final three races. Schumacher won the first two, meaning the Raikkonen needed a miracle in the final race of the season to win the title. He needed to win the race, with Schumacher outside of the points. Schumacher finished eighth, while Raikkonen finished second. This meant that Schumacher won the title by just two points. Raikkonen had posed a great challenge, and likely would have won the title if his engine had not failed while leading the European Grand Prix.
In 2004, McLaren had a nightmare season. Raikkonen took just one point in the first seven races, and due to horrible reliability he only completed two of them. McLaren’s fortunes began to change when they rolled out the MP4-19B. In the new car’s second race, Raikkonen took pole position in Silverstone, and finished second, taking the team’s first podium of the season. Raikkonen retired in his next two races, but took a shock victory in Spa. Raikkonen started in tenth place, but due to solid overtaking and a lot of safety cars, he took McLaren’s only win of the season. He finished on the podium in Brazil and China. The car was competitive at the end of the season, but by that point it was too little, far too late.
Raikkonen struggled at the start of 2005, stalling on the grid at the season opener in Australia, before being knocked out of a podium position in Malaysia when a tire valve failed. He did take his first podium in Bahrain, and followed that up with a pole in San Marino. However, he was denied victory when a driveshaft failed. He took the pole and the win in Spain and Monaco, bringing him to second in the standings. In the European Grand Prix, he flat-spotted his tire, leading to a heartbreaking suspension failure on the final lap. He won in Canada after championship rival crashed out, before withdrawing from the United States Grand Prix, as did all Michelin runners. He won in Hungary, Turkey, and Belgium, but it wasn’t enough to stop Alonso from winning the championship in Brazil. In Japan, Raikkonen had arguably the greatest race of his career, starting seventeenth, before passing Giancarlo Fisichella on the final lap for the win. The reliability issues of McLaren were critical in the championship fight, with Raikkonen retiring three times while leading. All three races were won by rival Alonso, leading to a thirty-six point swing in the championship. Alonso won by twenty-one points.
In 2006, Raikkonen was out of contract. He had hinted in 2005 that if McLaren did not fix their reliability issues, that he would consider joining other teams. In qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix, he had a suspension failure, meaning that he started in last. However, he battled back and finished third. He retired after a lap one collision in Malaysia, before taking a second in Australia. He finished fifth in the next two races. He took podiums in Britain and Canada, before an accident with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya knocked him out in the USA. He took pole in Germany and Hungary, taking third in Germany, but he retired in Hungary. He beat Michael Schumacher to pole by just two tenths of a second in Monza, but he finished second behind Schumacher in the race. After the race, Schumacher announced that he was retiring at the end of the year, and Ferrari announced that he would be joining the Scuderia for 2007 on a three year contract. He wouldn’t finish on the podium in any of the final three races, and he had his first winless season since 2002.
In 2007, Raikkonen partnered Felipe Massa at Ferrari. He took pole position, set the fastest lap, and won his opening race with Ferrari. He became the first driver to win on his Ferrari debut since Nigel Mansell in 1989. He finished third at the next two races, before retiring in Spain. He wouldn’t make it back on the podium for the next three races, before taking a victory in France, after he overtook teammate Massa during the pit stops. He also won in Silverstone, before retiring in the rain soaked European Grand Prix. He finished second in Hungary and Turkey. He took a win in Spa, which led to his nickname, the ‘King of Spa’.
He finished on the podium in Japan, but it seemed like too little too late, as he trailed championship leader Lewis Hamilton by seventeen points. However, in China, Hamilton got stuck in the gravel trap going into the pits, and Raikkonen won. Going into the final race of the season, Raikkonen sat in third place. He was seven points behind Hamilton, and three points behind Alonso. After Hamilton had electrical issues, and Massa gave the lead to Raikkonen, Kimi found himself in position to win the title. The Finn did, becoming just the third Finnish driver to win the championship.
2008 was Raikkonen’s first year as the defending champion. He took a disappointing eighth place in Australia, before he took his first win of the season in Malaysia. He took second in Bahrain, before taking the pole and the win in Spain. He took a podium in Turkey, but he didn’t score in Monaco or Canada. He took pole in France, but due to an exhaust issue he gave up the position to Massa, finishing second. Raikkonen finished in fourth at the chaotic British Grand Prix, before taking sixth at the German Grand Prix.
He got a podium in Hungary, but he didn’t score in the European, Belgian, Italian, and Singapore Grand Prix. He did take a podium in Japan, but he was eliminated from championship contention. He finished third in each of the final two races, but Ferrari’s focus was on helping Massa win the title. This fell short by just one point. Raikkonen had some strong performances, but his four race stretch of no points cost him the championship.
In 2009, there were many new rule changes regarding aerodynamics, and Ferrari had trouble adapting. Raikkonen only scored three points in the first four races of the season. He took Ferrari’s first podium in Monaco, but this was a false dawn, he only scored one point in his next three races. Raikkonen finished second in Hungary, a much needed boost for Ferrari after Felipe Massa’s injury in qualifying. He took another podium at the European Grand Prix, before winning in Spa. He took his fourth straight podium in Italy. He finished fourth and fifth in Japan and Brazil, before finishing outside the points in Abu Dhabi.
At the end of the 2009 season, Raikkonen made the shocking decision to leave Formula 1. Ferrari added Fernando Alonso, and after negotiations with McLaren, Mercedes, and Toyota fell through, Raikkonen announced that he would be leaving Formula 1. In December of 2009 it was announced that Raikkonen would be joining the World Rally Championship as a full time driver for the Citroën C4 WRC junior team. Raikkonen took points at his third rally and had a season best fifth at the Turkish rally. He won a stage at the German rally but finished seventh overall. He finished 10th in his first season, and never was a championship contender.
In the 2011 rally season, Raikkonen entered under his own team, and he only competed in eight of the twelve rallies. His season best finishes of sixth came in Jordan and Germany. However, he was consistent, scoring in every race he finished. He did retire from the final three races, and ultimately finished tenth in the championship for the second year in succession.
Raikkonen also competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He finished a solid fifteenth on debut, but after finishing twenty-seventh at his next race, and then crashing in a test, he left the sport. There were rumors that Raikkonen would be returning to Formula 1 with Williams, to partner Pastor Maldonado. However, it was eventually announced that Raikkonen would be joining the Lotus team for 2012 on a two year deal.
Raikkonen finished seventh on his return in Australia, especially impressive considering he started seventeenth. He finished fifth in Malaysia, followed by finishing out of the points in China. In Bahrain, he took second, fighting with Sebastian Vettel for the win, but taking a podium after starting outside the top ten showed that he still had the talent to be a top tier driver. He took another podium in Spain, before finishing ninth and eighth in Monaco and Canada respectively. He returned to the podium with a second in Valencia, before finishing fifth in Britain and fourth in Germany. He was eventually promoted to a podium in Germany after a post-race penalty to Vettel. He took podiums in Hungary and Belgium, before fifth and sixth in Italy and Singapore. He finished sixth in Japan and fifth in Korea.
Raikkonen was just forty-eight points at this point behind championship leader Vettel due to his consistency. He took a disappointing seventh in India, but his fortunes would change in Abu Dhabi. He won the race, uttering famous lines such as:
“Leave me alone, I know what I am doing”
“Yes, yes, yes, I’m doing all the time, you don’t have to remind every second.”
He was eliminated from championship contention for the final race, but was in the fight for third with Lewis Hamilton. He took sixth in the USA, and ending the season with a tenth place finish in Brazil, after an off track excursion that cost him a minute.
In 2013, he started the season off with a bang, winning in Australia. He executed a two-stop strategy while most of the field stopped three times, winning by twelve seconds. To this day, this is the last race that Mercedes, Ferrari, or Red Bull didn’t win. He finished seventh in Malaysia, and second in China. He also took second place in Bahrain and Spain, before a disappointed Monaco Grand Prix saw him finish tenth after contact with Sergio Perez led to a puncture. He finished ninth in Canada, and then fifth in Silverstone. This result gave him his twenty-fifth consecutive points finish, breaking Michael Schumacher’s record.
Raikkonen took second place in Germany and Hungary, bringing him to within forty points of the championship lead. He retired in Spa, ending his points streak at twenty-seven races. He also failed to score at Monza. After the Italian Grand Prix, Raikkonen announced that he would be leaving Lotus to join Ferrari in 2014. It was revealed that Raikkonen had not been paid for the entire season by Lotus. He had back issues in Singapore, but still managed to finish third after starting ten places lower. He finished fifth in Japan and seventh in India. He retired on lap one in Abu Dhabi, before announcing that he would not attend the final two races due to having elective back surgery.
In 2014, Raikkonen began his second stint with Ferrari. He also was able to choose his driver number. He decided to use the number seven that he used in the previous year with Lotus saying, “It’s the number I already had last year and I saw no reason to change it”. Ferrari had not adapted well to the new rule changes of 2014, and were often off the pace. Raikkonen was on for a podium in Monaco, but contact with a backmarker led to a puncture, pushing him out of the points. He took his season best result of fourth at Spa, finishing a career low twelfth in the championship. It was his first season since 2006 without a win, and his first since 2001 without a podium.
In 2015, Sebastian Vettel moved to Ferrari to partner Raikkonen. The Ferrari was consistently the second best team on the grid. He retired from the first race of the season after a wheel nut malfunction. He then took fourth at Malaysia and China, before taking second, his best result since rejoining Ferrari, at Bahrain. He finished fifth in Spain, sixth in Monaco, and fourth in Canada. He was involved in a hefty crash in Austria with Fernando Alonso, before a disappointing eighth in Silverstone. Ferrari looked set for a 1-2 finish in Hungary, before Raikkonen was forced to retire after the ERS system failed. Over the summer break, Ferrari announced that Raikkonen had signed a one-year extension. He finished seventh in Spa after starting seventeenth. He started on the front row in Monza, before a clutch issue dropped him to the back. He was able to make his way back to finish fifth. Raikkonen finished third in Singapore, before finishing fourth in Japan, eighth in Russia, and he retired in the USA and Mexico. He ended the season with a fourth in Brazil and third in Abu Dhabi.
In 2016, Raikkonen got off to a tough start in Australia, retiring after his airbox caught fire. He finished second in Bahrain, fifth in China after contact on lap one, and he finished on the podium in Russia, before taking second in Spain. This left Raikkonen an impressive second in the Drivers’ Championship. However, his form fell off in the next few races, taking a retirement, sixth, and fourth in Monaco, Canada, and Baku. He returned to the podium in Austria, but this would be his final podium of the season. He finished fifth at Silverstone, and sixth at both Hungary and Germany. Raikkonen struggled at Belgium, finishing ninth. He then took fourth in Italy, Singapore, and Malaysia. He finished fifth in Japan, and sixth at Mexico and Abu Dhabi.
In 2017, Ferrari produced their most competitive car since Raikkonen had returned to the Italian outfit. He started off with a fourth place finish in Australia. He finished in the top five in Bahrain and China. He then took his first podium of the season in Russia. However, he retired on the first lap of the Spanish Grand Prix after Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen touched, bouncing Verstappen into him, breaking his suspension. Raikkonen took pole for the Monaco Grand Prix. This was his first pole since the 2008 French Grand Prix. However, Vettel jumped Raikkonen in the pit stop due to him being on the superior strategy, and Raikkonen took second place.
Unfortunately for Raikkonen he finished seventh in Canada after brake issues, and he retired in Azerbaijan after he had an oil leak. He took fifth in Austria. While running second in Britain, his tire failed, which appeared to cost him a podium, however his teammate’s tire also failed, meaning Raikkonen finished third. He took second in Hungary, before finishing fourth in Belgium and fifth in Italy. He was involved in a first lap incident with Max Verstappen and teammate Vettel in Singapore, before not starting in Malaysia after a technical issue. He took fifth in Japan before finishing third in the USA, Mexico, and Brazil. He finished fourth in Abu Dhabi, while securing fourth in the Drivers Championship.
In 2018, Räikkönen continued his partnership with Ferrari. He took a podium at the season opener in Australia, retired in Bahrain, and then took third in China. He finished second in Baku, but retired after engine failure in Spain. This forced Räikkönen to run the old spec engine for an extra six races to avoid a penalty. He finished fourth in Monaco, before taking a disappointing sixth in Canada. However, his fortunes would soon change. He took third in the return to France, second in Austria, before taking third in Britain, Germany, and Hungary. This was the most races Raikkonen had finished on the podium in a row since 2007. However, it was announced that Charles LeClerc would be taking Räikkönen’s seat at Ferrari in 2019. Räikkönen signed a two year deal to join Sauber.
He was involved in a first lap crash in Belgium, but recovered by taking pole in Monza. He also set the record for the fastest lap in F1 history in the process. However, Mercedes used Valtteri Bottas to block Räikkönen, allowing Hamilton to pass him. He still took his 100th career podium, a feat that only four other men have done. He finished fifth in Singapore, fourth in Russia, and fifth in Japan. In Austin, Räikkönen won, making him the oldest winner of all time. It was his first win in over 2,000 days. He also broke the record for the longest gap between wins at 113 races and the longest gap between first and last wins at 5,691 days. This also made him the most successful Finnish F1 driver of all time. He took third in Mexico and Brazil, before finishing his year by retiring in Abu Dhabi.
He joining Sauber, renamed Alfa Romeo. He partnered Italian Antonio Giovinazzi. Räikkönen had a great start to the season, taking points in the first four races. After tough races in Spain, Monaco, and Canada, he finished in the points in France, Austria, and Great Britain. He finished in the points in Germany, but after the race he and his teammate were given a thirty-second penalty, dropping them out of the points. He finished seventh in Hungary, putting him an impressive seventh in the championship. However, Alfa Romeo failed to keep pace with its midfield rivals after the summer break, and Raikkonen failed to score in the next seven races. He took a shock fourth in Brazil, but finished the year with a thirteenth in Abu Dhabi. His 43 points was very impressive, as he tripled his teammates total.
As Kimi approaches the the most ever races record taken off the hands of Ruebens Barrichello, his F1 future is slowly dwindling.
But what’s for certain is the Iceman’s impact will never fade on this sport and legacy stands one of endurance and victory.
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