Cold-blooded, calm and bedridden. Kimi Räikkönen is the “snowman” who has stolen the hearts of Formula 1 fans for the past 20 years. With a sad heart they say goodbye to the driver who was loved for his “senseless” attitude. Unfortunately, in his last Formula 1 race in Abu Dhabi, Raikkonen didn’t have the big exit we had hoped for, as he retired early. But today we look at our favorite moments in his career.
Debuted in Formula 1 in 2001
Australia, 2001. A new face has appeared on the Formula 1 grid. A young Finnish driver sits thirteenth on the grid at Sauber in his first-ever race in the Grand Motorsport class. For Kimi Räikkönen, his first race in Formula 1 went as he had hoped. He made his way through the midfield, assisted by no fewer than nine dropouts in the season-opening race, before crossing the finish line in sixth. In front of him were the Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, David Coulthard McLaren, fellow Sauber Nick Heidfeld and Heinz Harold Frenzen in Jordan. These are some of the notable names he has been allowed to join.
Advanced lessons at the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix
It’s all too easy to joke about Finnish drivers’ ability to drive in snow and ice and say they can use that experience to their advantage when driving in the treacherous wet conditions we sometimes see in the F1 season. But the 2003 Räikkönen driving in the rain in São Paulo was one of the most amazing. In Formula 1, thanks to the way the 24-year-old was able to navigate the wet Interlagos track.
The race eventually ended with a red flag, after a major crash by Mark Webber. A wheel broke free, and then Fernando Alonso hit it directly at a speed of nearly 274 kilometers per hour. This happened after Raikkonen performed an advanced overtaking session on Rubens Barrichello and his teammate David Coulthard. He crossed the finish line first, but saw his victory pulled from him because something had gone wrong with the times list. The next day, Giancarlo Fisichella was declared the winner after a protest from Jordan. But the impressive performance of Raikkonen should not be forgotten.
2005 Japanese Grand Prix: from P17 to P1
Facing wet conditions in Formula 1 is one thing, but speed and power in dry conditions is quite another. As we’ve seen over the years, Kimi had both talents. He proved it during the 2005 Japanese Grand Prix. The Finn driver was a nightmare to qualify on Saturday and finished 17th in the race on Sunday. After teammate Juan Pablo Montoya crashed on the first lap, McLaren pinned its full hopes on constructors’ points on Raikkonen. He got into a fight with the rest of the players, beating the likes of Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher on the right track. In the end, it ended with a fantastic win for Raikkonen, who finished the race a second and a half ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella at Renault.
2013 Australian Grand Prix – surprise win
Lotus returned to the Formula 1 circuit in 2012 and the same was true for Kimi Raikkonen, who made a comeback after getting into NASCAR and the rally world. During his first comeback season in the sport, he took a win in Abu Dhabi, and also had a huge hit in early 2013. Not many people thought Team Enstone would be able to fight for the Formula 1 title that year, and to be fair they didn’t, But they raised eyebrows at the opening race in Melbourne.
Apparently Raikkonen and teammate Roman Grosjean were the “best of the rest” behind Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari during qualifying. But it was Kimi who got off to a great start on Sunday and quickly threw himself into the fight for the win. With the help of good driving from Adrian Sutil at Force India, which slowed Alonso at key moments of the race, Raikkönen was able to run his tires to his advantage in the latter part of the race. Thus, he managed to achieve a surprise victory by 12 seconds over the rest. It was an impressive start to the season, but then he also had to wait five years for his next race win.
Brazil 2007 – World Championship
You could say that Kimi Raikkonen’s best moments in Formula 1 were mostly off the track, because in fact it is. His famous radio message: “It’s about the damn time” when he finally scored another victory five years later. His attitude: “Leave me alone and let me drive” toward one of the many engineers he had to deal with. These things together have made for a bigger smile than the wins themselves. But the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix was the highlight. It was a battle for the world championship between three men, Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, to be decided in the final race of the season. Raikkonen can’t be underestimated in his Ferrari. After Hamilton struggled with gearbox problems at the start of the race, the door to victory opened for Raikkonen. His great start put him in a great position and Hamilton’s problems prevented him from finishing seventh. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso couldn’t get close enough to finish second. In the end Raikkonen overtook his teammate after a foul on lap 43 before taking the lead and not letting her pass. He won Ferrari’s most recent world championship, just one point ahead of the two McLaren drivers.
Zombie specialist. Friendly twitter guru. Internet buff. Organizer. Coffee trailblazer. Lifelong problem solver. Certified travel enthusiast. Alcohol geek.