Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen is undoubtedly one of the most popular F1 drivers apart from Lewis Hamilton. The 2007 world champion turns 38 today on 17th October. So in tribute to everyone’s favourite Finn, Essentially Sports once again dives into the archives to give you, the Best Drives of Kimi Raikkonen in Formula One.
In qualifying, the rain meant that the entire field was shuffled like a deck of cards. Ralf Schumacher in the Toyota was on pole with Jenson Button in the BAR in 2nd. The usual front-runners had been bundled to the back of the grid. Kimi Raikkonen was 17th behind Fernando Alonso. During the race, he scythed through the grid and soon was on the back of race leader Giancarlo Fisichella. The cat and mouse chase continued until the start of the final lap. Raikkonen pulled out of the slipstream and overtook the Italian to take the lead and eventually win. It was one of the best ‘come from behind’ victories.
Kimi Raikkonen was in contention for the title on several occasions. He can very close in 2003 and 2005. It took 2 more years and 3rd time lucky for him to win that elusive title. Many believed that the championship battle was solely between the McLaren teammates. Raikkonen still had a mathematical shot though. But both McLarens began to choke and Raikkonen closed to within 7 points of Hamilton by the season finale. In Brazil, Raikkonen started 2nd and spent most of the race behind teammate Massa. Soon, he snatched the lead and never looked back. Meanwhile, Alonso and Hamilton could only manage 3rd and 7th respectively. The Finn went on to win the world championship by a single point.
At the 2003 Malaysian GP, Kimi Raikkonen took his maiden career win. He had started 7th on the grid but was elevated up the order by a great start. His cause was helped by 2nd corner chaos at the front of the pack. By then, he was running 4th in the race. He made short work of former teammate Nick Heidfeld for 3rd. He got a free promotion to 2nd when his more experienced teammate David Coulthard retired from the race. With clever strategy and a quick pitstop, he leapfrogged Fernando Alonso and took the lead. The rest, as they say, was history.
It wouldn’t be a Kimi Raikkonen Best Drives article without mentioning this one. During the 2012 Abu Dhabi, Raikkonen was leading by a comfortable margin. The Lotus team were unsurprisingly very nervous because they hadn’t been in a winning position since the 1970s. Raikkonen’s engineer radioed Kimi, trying to relay some information, but he snapped back “Leave Me Alone, I Know What I’m Doing”. Thus, a meme was born, but that’s besides the point. Raikkonen still took the chequered flag, but Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari was not far behind.
Kimi Raikkonen made his debut in 2001 with the Sauber team. At the Monaco Grand Prix, during the qualifying session, Raikkonen was sitting in his car when he radioed the team asking if the tunnel was normally taken flat out. They responded in the affirmative. Raikkonen was at a disadvantage because he had not learned the circuit via video game. He took a tentative approach in his installation lap. In the flying lap he was a completely different person. Kimi had well and truly arrived onto the scene.