One of the finest drivers of his generation, the ‘Flying Finn’ has left an indelible mark on Formula One. Popular with fans for his acerbic nature, there are websites dedicated to his blunt, sarcastic post race interviews and his mumbling radio messages. “Just leave me alone, I know what I’m doing.” (his response to the Lotus team updating him on his position, Abu Dhabi 2012).
Born: 17/10/1979 in Espoo Finland.
Lives: in Hinwil, Switzerland
Spouse: Minttu Virtanen
Net Worth: $200 million
Nickname: The Ice Man
On sometimes being bored in the car:
“..when I am in front by a country mile, like in Melbourne last year. Then you are thinking about other things or you’re playing with the buttons on the steering wheel.”
F1 RACING STATS:
Car no: 7
Grand Prix Starts: 246 (247 entries)
Career Points: 1322
World Championship Wins: 1 (2007)
Pole Positions: 16
Fastest laps: 43
The Quiet Man of Formula One
“He’s a man of few words.. but he’s all about racing.” (Jenson Button).
Despite referring to the importance of his helmet as simply, “it protects my head” he has appeared to go to some trouble to personalise it. It has always featured a V design – to represent a flying bird and included the inscription Iceman (his nickname). For the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix he wore a replica of the helmet worn by James Hunt in 1976.
He sometimes uses the pseudonym ‘James Hunt’ whose ‘playboy’ lifestyle has often been compared to his own. His interests outside Formula One include moving very quickly doing any of the following: road car, motorbike, kart, pushbike, snowmobile or skis.
The Flying Finn
He holds several Formula One records including: the 2nd highest ‘fastest lap’ total with 43, most wins in a debut year with Ferrari with 6, the most points finishes in a single season (19 out of 20 in 2012) and in 2005 and 2008 he equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of 10 fastest laps in a season.
Karting: Started karting aged 10. In his first race outside Finland, at Monaco aged 15 – the steering wheel broke – but he carried on. He was also undeterred the following year at Monaco when a collision on the first lap left him the other side of the safety fence; putting him, to all intents and purposes out of the race – but a determined Raikkonen continued and finished 3rd.
2000: Won the Formula Renault Championship with 7 wins, 316 points and 6 pole positions. He was so dominant in this championship that several Formula One teams began to approach him – despite having only achieved 23 single-seater race starts at this point. And so Kimi was fast-tracked to Formula One.
2001: Joined Sauber-Petronas, alongside team mate Nick Heidfeld. He managed to score a point in his debut race at the Australian Grand Prix and finished the season a respectable 9 points. Not a bad start considering his inexperience.
On the Way Up with Mclaren-Mercedes
2002: McLaren-Mercedes, with team mate David Coultard. Swashbuckling reputation. Took 4 podiums and eventually came 6th in the drivers’ championship. However, issues including McLaren engine failures; meant that Raikkonen failed to finish 10 races.
2003: Achieved 10 podiums, including a win at the Malaysian Grand Prix; finishing 2nd in the drivers’ championship. There were only 3 retirements this season.
2004: Took 4 podiums, including a win at the Belgian Grand Prix; finished 5th despite failing to finish 8 races.
2005: At the Japanese Grand Prix, Raikkonen won from 17th. A successful season; with 7 wins and 12 podiums – he finished 2nd behind Renault’s Fernando Alonso. He equalled the fastest laps in a season (10) for the first time.
Joins Ferrari to Become The Highest Paid in Motorsport
2007: Joined Ferrari, becoming the highest-paid driver in motorsport with an estimated wage of $51 million per year. One of the most exciting title battles in history saw Kimi Raikkonen win the World Championship with 6 wins and 12 podiums. Lewis Hamilton came 2nd by one point, with Fernando Alonso 3rd.
2008: Raikkonen suffered some bad luck this season, but managed to finish 3rd with 9 podiums and 2 wins. He equalled the record for fastest laps in a season for the second time. Raikkonen and Alonso made it on to the Forbes Celebrity 100 list.
2009: A win in Belgium and 5 podiums left Raikkonen 6th in the drivers’ championship. At this point in his career Raikkonen was the 2nd highest paid athlete in the world behind Tiger Woods. At the end of the season Raikkonen left Formula One. Was it Ferrari’s desire to get Alonso that prompted him to go?
2010: Raced for the Citroen Junior Team and finished 10th in the World Rally Championship with 25 points.
2011: Again finished 10th in the World Rally Championship this time with 34 points and racing for Ice 1 Racing.
2012: Raikkonen returned to Formula One with Lotus and finished 3rd with 7 podiums. The break had only improved his form. He was the only driver to finish every race and scored points in all but one of his races.
2013: Achieved 8 podiums and finished 5th in the drivers’ championship.
2014: Joined Ferrari. Raikkonen didn’t achieve a podium this season. His highest position in a disappointing season was 4th in the Belgian Grand Prix. He eventually finished 12th in the drivers’ championship.
2015: Team mate Sebastian Vettel. Raikkonen took 3 podiums and finished 4th.
2016: Raikkonen has achieved 4 podiums so far this season and is currently 3rd in the drivers’ championship. Ferrari re-signed him for next season and the Finn couldn’t help commenting on his critics, “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I can drive well… I am very happy about it. It gives me pleasure to see disappointed people.”