Kimi Raikkonen notches up his 323rd Formula 1 race at the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix

Kimi Räikkönen, born on 17 October 1979, is a Finish racer currently driving for Alfa Romeo Racing in Formula One under the Finnish flag. Räikkönen is the oldest and the most experienced driver in Formula One at 41 years of age and with 329 starts, he holds the record for most starts in World Drivers’ Championship races. Räikkönen is nicknamed “The Iceman” because of his cool and calm attitude.

Kimi Räikkönen won the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship in 2007 with Scuderia Ferrari. He has also ended championship seasons in second place in 2003 and 2005. He finished third in 2008, 2012 and in 2018. His 21 Grand Prix wins make him the most successful Finn in Formula One racing. He is also the only driver to win Grands Prix during the V10, V8 and V6 turbo hybrid engines eras. 

Räikkönen started racing in Formula One after competing in only 23 car races when Sauber-Petronas invited him to drive for them in 2001. Joining McLaren-Mercedes in 2002, he finished runner-up in the championship in 2003 and 2005. Bothered by the unreliability of McLaren’s cars, Räikkönen joined Ferrari in 2007.

Räikkönen won the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship in his first year with Ferrari, 2007. In 2008, he equalled the record for the most number of fastest laps in a season. Driving an uncompetitive Ferrari F60, Räikkönen abandoned both Ferrari and Formula One racing in 2009.

In 2010 and 2011, Räikkönen competed in the World Rally Championship where he beat some of the more experienced rally drivers of the time. With a stage win and the best record of 5th, he finished 10th in both the championships. Räikkönen also raced in NASCAR and debuted in the Camping World Truck Series.

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Räikkönen returned to the sport in 2012 driving for Lotus in 2012 and 2013 winning the team’s only Grands Prix of the 2012 season. In 2014, Räikkönen signed a new contract which was later extended till 2018. At Ferrari, Raikonnen finished among the top four multiple times over the five years. He finished 3rd in the championship rankings in 2018, his last year with Ferrari.

In 2009, Räikkönen left Ferrari for Alfa Romeo racing on a two-year contract. His tenure at Alpha Romeo has now been extended till the end of the 2021 season.

Kimi Räikkönen’s Career

Born in Espoo, Finland, Kimi Räikkönen started karting at the early age of 10 years. Racing outside Finland for the first time, Räikkönen’s steering wheel broke during the race in Monaco. He continued racing while signalling to the mechanic by waving the steering wheel in the air on the home straight.

In another race, a first-lap collision saw Räikkönen outside the fence. He drove down the side road, lifted his kart on to the track and finished the race in third place. After winning the 1999 Nordic Championship and finishing second in the European Formula Super A championship, he shifted his attention to car racing.

Räikkönen competed in the Formula Ford Euro Cup and won the British Formula Renault winter series in 1999, by the age of twenty. In 2020, Räikkönen raced in the Formula Renault UK Championship. By that time, Räikkönen had won 13 of the 23 races he had competed in. His success was noted by the Formula One teams.

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Kimi Räikkönen’s Career In Formula 1

Sauber (2001)

Räikkönen joined the Sauber Petronas Formula One team, in the 2001 season and had a very good debut race scoring his first World Championship points in Australia. Along with Nick Heidfeld, Räikkönen helped his team finish at a highest-ever fourth place. He had four point-scoring finishes and 8 top-eight finishes and scored 9 points.

McLaren (2002-2006)

At McLaren, Räikkönen replaced retired mentor fellow Finn and two-time World Champion Mika Häkkinen in 2002. In his debut race in Australia, Räikkönen earned his first third-place podium finish. He finished the season in second place with 4 podia finishes and 24 points. With his teammate, David Coulthard, Räikkönen earned his team third place in the constructors’ championship.

In 2003, Räikkönen won third place in Australia by holding off Michael Schumacher. He won his first World Championship race in Malaysia and was declared the winner in Brazil as the race was stopped. However, a week later the race was awarded to Fisichella with Räikkönen ranked second. He finished second at Imola and collided in the first lap in Spain.

Despite having engine problems, Räikkönen finished second in Austria and second in Monaco. He had to start from the pit lane in Canada. But he fought his way through and finished a creditable sixth. In the European Grand Prix, Räikkönen led from the pole till his engine failed on lap 25. He went on to earn fourth place in France and third in Britain.

After having an accident and retiring in Germany, Räikkönen claimed a second-place finish in Hungary. Prior to the Italian race, the FIA objected to the Michelin tyres on the McLaren cars. Rakonnien finished fourth in the race on narrower tyres. Räikkönen won the pole in the United States but finished the race second behind Michael Schumacher.

Having finished second in Japan, he conceded the World Championship, finishing second behind Michael Schumacher. McLaren missed finishing second in the Constructors’ Championship by two points to Williams and finished third.

In 2004, Räikkönen finished a distant 7th in the World Championship. He had recurring problems with the Mercedes engine. Frequent engine break downs and one electrical problem caused him to retire in seven of the 18 races. His only win of the season came in Belgium. Räikkönen finished the championship season in seventh place with 45 points.

Räikkönen had problems with the Michelin tyres at the beginning of the 2005 season. He stalled on the grid in Australia and just earned one point in the race. A faulty tyre valve cost him the Malaysian Grand Prix and he won his first third-place podium in Bahrain. He won his first race of the season in Monaco. He won the races in Barcelona and at Monte Carlo.

Räikkönen followed it up with a win in Canada. He was demoted to 13th (ten places) on the grid in France for replacing his engine. He finished 2nd in the race but an engine failure due to an oil leak forced him to retire in Britain. He suffered a hydraulic failure in Germany while winning the Hungarian Grand Prix comfortably. Räikkönen won the inaugural 2005 Turkish Grand Prix.

Räikkönen won the Belgian Grand Prix for the second consecutive year. Fernando Alonso confirmed his World Championship victory in Brazil. Raikonnen won his seventh Grand Prix of the season in Japan. He finished the championship in second place with 7 wins and 6 podium finishes.

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In the 2006 season, electronic problems caused Räikkönen to finish third after starting 22nd on the grid. He retired in Malaysia due to a collision and finished second in Australia. The San Marino Grand Prix saw Räikkönen blamed by the McLaren boss, Ron Dennis for finishing fifth despite bad race strategy.

Räikkönen retired due to the wiring catching fire in Monaco after finishing fifth in Spain. After retirement, Räikkönen was spotted climbing aboard a yacht with his helmet still on. In Britain, he qualified second but was overtaken by Michael Schumacher during a pit stop. He finished third in the race. He won another podium position in Canada but had to retire in the United States due to a multiple car collision. 

Räikkönen started from pole in Germany and finished third for the first time in his career. Michel Schumacher passed Räikkönen to win the race and announced his retirement. Ferrari announced soon after that Räikkönen will replace Michael Schumacher in their team for the 2007 season.

Räikkönen finished the 2006 season in fifth place in the Drivers’ Championship with McLaren finishing third in the Constructors’ Championship.

Ferrari (2007-2009)

At Scuderia Ferrari, Räikkönen’s teammate was the Brazilian Felipe Massa. He set up the pole position by registering the fastest lap and won the 2007 Australian Grand Prix. he finished second in Malaysia and third in Bahrain. Retirement in Spain caused him to drop to fourth place in the Championship rankings.

Räikkönen started 16th in Monaco and finished 8th while he finished fifth in Canada after starting fourth. Finishing 4th in the United States, Räikkönen was trailing Lewis Hamilton by 26 points in the championship race. In France, he overtook both Hamilton and Massa to win the Grand Prix. Räikkönen followed it up with a victory in the British Grand Prix.

Forced to retire in the European Grand Prix, Räikkönen had to settle for second place in Hungary. He overtook Hamilton in Turkey and finished second behind his teammate, Felipe Massa. He suffered a car crash at Monza during practice and finished the race third in the reserve car. He took his fourth victory of the year at Spa-Francorchamps winning the Grand Prix for the third time in a row.

Räikkönen finished third on an extremely wet Fuji Speedway in Japan. He dominated the Chinese Grand Prix through the practice sessions but Hamilton took pole position. Räikkönen overtook Hamilton during a pitstop on a slightly wet track to win the race. This put him in third place in the Championship table behind Hamilton and Alonso and just 3 points short of the leader going into the final race.

In Brazil, Räikkönen qualified third. He overtook Hamilton shortly after the start and was trailing his teammate, Massa.  He got the lead when Massa took a second pit stop and maintained it winning his maiden World Drivers’ Championship. He had the six victories during the season, six podium positions and finished one point ahead of Hamilton and Alonso.

In 2008, Räikkönen finished a disappointing 8th in Australia but won the Malaysian Grand Prix. He finished second in Bahrain and claimed his second Grand Prix of the season in Spain. In Turkey, Räikkönen started fourth and finished second while an incident in Monaco forced him to replace his front wing. He finished 9th in the race.

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Hamilton hit the rear of Räikkönen’s car in Canada ending the race for both the cars. A bank exhaust failure in France forced Räikkönen to cede his lead and finish second. Räikkönen was running second in the British Grand Prix when he decided not to change tyres in wet conditions. Another shower forced him to pitstop and he finished fourth in the race.

A third-place finish in the Hungarian Grand Prix saw Räikkönen’s chances of a championship victory diminishing. In the remaining races of the season, Räikkönen earned three 3rd place finishes. Räikkönen finished the 2008 Championship in third place ahead of Robert Kubica (who had equal points) because of his two Grand Prix wins.

In 2009, Räikkönen had only three points to his and Ferrari’s name by the fourth Grand Prix in Spain. The speed of Ferrari cars and other problems were bothering Räikkönen and his partner. He finally urged his car to finish third in Monaco. More out-of-points finishes and incidents followed till the Hungarian Grand Prix. Here Räikkönen finished second after Hamilton.

A third-place finish in the European Grand Prix followed. He took what was to be his and Ferrari’s only Grand Prix win in the 2009 season in Belgium. After another last podium place finish in the next race in Italy, Räikkönen ended the 2009 season in the 6th championship place. Ferrari finished fourth in the Constructors’ championship.

Ferrari had announced that Räikkönen would be replaced in the 2010 Formula One season. After negotiation with a few teams, Räikkönen announced that he will not be racing in Formula One in 2010. Räikkönen concentrated on rallying during the next two seasons before he returned to Formula One with the Lotus F1 team in 2012.

Kimi Räikkönen’s Return to Formula One

Lotus (2012-2013)

Räikkönen returned to Formula One in 2012 with the Lotus F1 team partnering Romain Grosjean. He made a good start in his return season by finishing 7th in Australia. In Malaysia, he finished fifth on a wet track despite being relatively inexperienced with Pirelli’s wet-weather tyres. He finished 14th in China due to a poor tyre strategy.

Räikkönen earned point-scoring finishes in all the races thereafter. In Bahrain, he earned his first podium finish of the season in second place and finished third in Spain. He finished second in the European Grand Prix and Hungary and won his only Grand Prix of the season in the third last race in Abu Dhabi.

He ended the 2012 season in the third Drivers’ Championship place with 207 points Lotus F1 Team in fourth Constructors’ Championship place.

In 2013, Räikkönen started well, winning the Australian Grand Prix. He finished 7th in Malaysia and kept his position after qualifying second in China. He followed that up with a second place in Bahrain and Spain. In Monaco, Räikkönen overtook three competitors in a last-ditch attempt, to finish tenth after he had replaced a punctured tyre.

Finishing 9th in Canada and fifth in the British Grand Prix, Räikkönen had 25 consecutive points. He had broken the record previously held by Michael Schumacher. Second-place finishes in Germany and Hungary promoted him to second in the championship behind Sebastian Vettel.

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In the second half of the Formula One season, Räikkönen’s fortune took a southward turn. He had two retirements and did not start in two races and took two podium positions in Korea and Singapore. Räikkönen finished the season in the fifth position in the Championship charts with Lotus ranking fourth.

Ferrari (2014-2018)

Ferrari confirmed that Räikkönen would race for their team for the 2014 season. Contrary to his first foray with Ferrari when he won the World Championship title in 2007, Räikkönen would have the most disappointing season of his career so far. He ended the year with no podium finishes and 12th in the championship rankings. Fernando Alonso with one podium finish propped Ferrari up to Fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship list.

The 2015 Formula One season was a better outing for Räikkönen. Sebastian Vettel had joined him in the team after the retirement of Fernando Alonso. Räikkönen had 8th position or better finished in all the races other than the five that he retired in. He had podium finishes in Singapore and Abu Dhabi.

His consistent accumulation of points assured him a fourth-place finish in the championship with three podium finishes. Along with Sebastian Vettel’s third-place finish, Ferrari was ranked second in the Constructor’s Championship ranking, lagging far behind Mercedes.

In 2016, Raikonnen showed greater speed out-qualifying his teammate, Sebastian Vettel 11 to 10. He also collected points in every race that he completed gathering three podium positions on the way. Räikkönen finished the season in sixth place behind Vettel and Max Verstappen.

Continuing with Ferrari in 2017, Räikkönen took fourth, fifth and fourth-place finishes in Australia, China and Bahrain. In Monaco, he finished second behind Vettel giving Ferrari their first 1-2 finish after 2010. Again he scored points in every race he completed during the season.

Seven Podium finishes helped him earn the fourth position in the Championship list while Sebastian Vettel finished second. Ferrari retained their second place in the Constructors’ Championship.

During the 2018 season, Kimi Räikkönen displayed the form of his younger days. He won podium positions in 11 of the twenty races. He retired in four races but scored points in every race he participated in. In the United States, he won his first Grand Prix since the victory in Australia in 2013. He finished third in the World Championship in his final season with Ferrari.

Alfa Romeo Racing (2019-2020)

At Alfa Romeo in 2019, Räikkönen had an impressive first half of the season. He had scored points in 8 of the first 12 races. That was followed by a string of 7 races without points. His fourth position finish in the penultimate race in Brazil was his best of the season. Placed 12th in the championship places, he finished the 2019 season with no podiums and no wins.

Driving a struggling Alfa Romeo car in 2020, Räikkönen found himself out of contention during the first qualifying rounds in the first five races. He finally qualified for the second round in Spain and finished 9th in Tuscany, Italy, and the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola. With 4 points to his name, Räikkönen finished the season in 16th place in the 2020 World Championship.

Kimi Räikkönen is due to drive for the Alfa Romeo F1 team till the end of the 2021 season.

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