KIMI RAIKKONEN: THE TEN BEST MOMENTS OF THE ICEMAN'S CAREER
This Weekend Kimi Joins An Exclusive Club In F1
This weekend celebrates the 300th grand prix of Kimi Raikkonen, joining an elite club of now five drivers to make the distance to three hundred grand prix's, including Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso. Now that's quite a nice little club to be a part of.
However Kimi being Kimi, he couldn't care less, and even according to Motorsport.com he asked Alfa to cancel a party they had planned for him. That isn't the Kimi I know!
Here are ten of the best moments in Kimi's career, from some of the greatest drives of Formula One to some of the best laugh-out-loud moments with Kimi on the radio.
10. LANDING IN F1 WITH P4 IN AUSTRALIA, 2001
At the age of twenty-one, Kimi Raikkonen was the youngest driver on the grid in 2001, and the year before would not have believed that he would be in F1 in 2001. The Finn was an outsider in the Sauber test of 2000 in Maranello, with Peter Sauber not even knowing why they gave the driver the test, but in the end he impressed the top brass so much, with Michael Schumacher apparently walking by and was impressed himself with the pace of the young, inexperienced driver.
Sauber immediately knew they had discovered the new big talent in motorsport, and it took some conniving the FIA that Raikkonen had the experience to drive in F1, despite only competing in just twenty-one races before he claimed the Sauber seat in 2001 alongside Nick Heidfeld.
On his opening GP, he qualified a respectable P13 but had the best race of his season, in the end taking a massive P4. It was reported than in classic-Kimi style he was asleep thirty minutes before the race.
9. BRAZIL 2006 - 'I WAS HAVING A SH*T!'
In the final race of his career with McLaren, the Finn missed a presentation at the start of the race by the one and only Pele.
When asked if he would forgive himself for missing the presentation by Martin Brundle, he said, 'Yeah, I was having shit'. Classic.
8. MONACO 2006 - STORMING OFF TO HIS YACHT
However this one was classic F1 driver. As throughout most of 2006, the McLaren-Mercedes suffered from bad reliability, and Monaco was no different for Kimi, as his engine blew up at around the halfway mark of the race.
Stranded on the other side of track from the pit lane, the Finn famously walked around the circuit and then entered his boat and had a cold one with his mates, reportedly getting hammered.
This was similar to when Senna retired from Monaco and then walked to his apartment.
7. SPA 2004 - KIMI DEFEATS SCHUMACHER
Spa is undoubtedly Raikkonen's best circuit in his career, winning the race four times, only less than Michael Schumacher, but in 2004 he raced one of his best races of his career to take the first of these four wins.
Up until Spa in 2004, Ferrari were having their best year of dominance, with Schumacher nearly already having wrapped us the title against his team-mate, and Schumacher was on a seven-race winning streak.
There was a first-corner fracas eliminating four cars but propelled Raikkonen from his P10 gridslot to P5, behind Schumacher. At the Safety Car start, the six-time world champion was caught napping, Kimi overtook him magnificently entering Eau Rouge, a feat he would achieve again against Schumacher in 2012 funnily enough.
From there he held off the fast duo of Schumacher and Barrichello for his first and only win of the 2004 season, another season which was plagued by reliability issues.
6. AUSTIN 2018 - KIMI ENDS A 113 GRAND PRIX WAIT
Kimi's second stint at Ferrari wasn't exactly as glittering as his first three-year stint, but was happy to play second fiddle to Seb when the Prancing Horses needed him to. Arguably, if there were no team-orders around, Raikkonen would have won the 2017 Monaco GP and the 2017 Hungarian GP, but that's another story.
In 2018, Raikkonen was having the best season in his second stint at Ferrari, finishing on the podium a dozen times in the end, and finishing the season in third place. If Vettel didn't make so many mistakes in Germany, Monza and Japan, who knows, maybe Ferrari could have won the championship.
In Austin, Kimi qualified his usual third, but was promoted to second after Seb had a three-place grid penalty for speeding when a red flag was on the circuit in practice. Raikkonen was on the softest compound tyre whilst everyone else was on the medium, a tyre which would last longer, however Raikkonen utilised the extra grip perfectly to take the lead heading into turn one against Hamilton.
From there some beautiful strategic battles and side-by-side battles entailed, with Raikkonen ending his five year waiting streak for his twenty-first win of his career, making him the outright most successful Finnish Driver of all time in F1, and the third most successful driver at Ferrari in terms of wins only behind Schumacher and Lauda.
5. AUSTRALIA 2013 - THE PERFECT RACE
Coming into the 2013 season, Raikkonen was entering his second season with Lotus, and had finished the previous season off in style with a win in Dubai, and in 2013 the Lotus looked good in pre-season testing, a car which could enter the top three battle alongside Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull.
The Finn qualified in P7, and made a two-stop strategy work whilst everyone took three, and pulled off some big-bulls overtakes on the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. That was a good way to start off a pretty good season for the Finn.
4. ABU DHABI 2012 - 'LEAVE ME ALONE, I KNOW WHAT TO DO'
As Formula One entered the penultimate race of the season, Raikkonen had returned nicely to F1 after his two year holiday in WRC. The Finn took countless podiums, and his consistency meant he was looking to secure third place in the championship over Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
Raikkonen qualified P4, but managed to hold off title-hunting Fernando Alonso in the dying seconds of the race to take Lotus's first win since returning to the sport and his first since his hiatus. Truly stunning.
3. KIMI FINALLY LANDS THE TITLE IN SOME STYLE - BRAZIL, 2007
Kimi had two near misses with the title already despite his tender age, coming oh-so-close in 2003 against Schumacher and Ferrari, and then once again in 2005 against Alonso and Renault. One could argue that if the Mercedes engine didn't have the troubles it did in those seasons, Raikkonen could be a triple world champion.
But in 2007, he came into the final round still mathematically possible to take the title, although it was Hamilton's title to lose.
Qualifying P3, he soon jumped into second and took the win, which was all he could do. After Hamilton suffered a gearbox problem, there was a brief moment where Alonso was looking like he was going to take a third consecutive title, but then Raikkonen took the lead from his team-mate Massa and the title was his… by one point from the duo of Alonso and Hamilton.
3. MONACO 2005 - A POLE LAP FROM THE GODS
Raikkonen isn't known as a street circuit master, nor a Monaco GP specialised, but as we know from the 2017 edition the Finn has some pace around the circuit.
But it was in 2005 that he laid down his championship cards with a pole lap that was from the gods. The McLaren driver took the pole by nearly a whole half a second ahead of championship rival Fernando Alonso in the Renault, arguably the faster car around the circuit throughout the weekend. The Finn took a Grand Slam at Monaco, leading every lap from pole, taking the fastest lap and the win.
1. SUZUKA 2005 - THE STUFF OF LEGENDS
Many of you might wonder why the championship win was not No.1. This is because the race in Japan, October, 2005, just four days before the Finn's twenty-fifth birthday, he pulled off arguably the best win of his career, and one of the best in Formula One's recent history.
A wet qualifying mean't the Finn, who was usually good in the rain, started in P17. Not great, although he could not take the title as Alonso wrapped that up at Interlagos, although McLaren were only eight points behind Renault in the constructors championship - Ron Dennis need a miracle. At the start of the race the Finn dropped to dead last after a poor start. Not great.
The race started off with Ralf Schumacher leading and Fisichella getting ahead of Button while Takuma Sato and Rubens Barrichello went off the track and collided resulting in the Brazilian suffering a left rear puncture. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher and both McLaren drivers were making quick progress through the field. Towards the end of lap 1, a safety car was deployed when Juan Montoya's car went off track at the beginning of the pit straight. He tried to go around the outside of Villeneuve, who pushed him off, resulting in a 25 sec penalty at the end of the race for the Canadian. Montoya's crash affected the Constructors' Championship as it meant that only Räikkönen could score points for McLaren.
Kimi started taking the positions, lap by lap, and entered the serious end of the business, giving the team hope that a podium finish would be enough for a chance to take the constructors title at the finale in Shanghai, But Kimi wasn't done. On the video below go to the 2:59 mark.
The Finn was setting some blistering pace, Michael Schumcher-esque. Qualifying lap after qualifying lap, the Finn closed the gap the leader Giancarlo Fisichella, but he still had to overtake the Italian. Heading into the final lap of the race, Raikkonen went for it. Along the pit straight, he took to the outside, with the duo banging wheels - the Mercedes edging out the Renault by just a few metres per second, but unlike Prost with Senna in 1990, he was able to swoop around the outside of the Renault heading into turn one, to the delight of Ron Dennis and McLaren. The stuff of legends.
There are some honourable mentions that should be mentioned as well. Taking the treble on his opening race with Ferrari in Melbourne was special, the overtake around Schumacher at Eau Rouge in 2012 was something out of this world, and when Kimi took the fastest lap in F1 history in Monza last year was something that elevated his status as an all-time great.
So what are your favourite Kimi Raikkonen moments? Is it the lawn mower racing in Silverstone or the bromance with Vettel? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.