2007 world champion, Kimi Raikkonen will be entering the 2019 season with Alfa Romeo. He kicked off his career in 2001 with the Sauber F1 team before moving to McLaren in 2002. The Finn joined Ferrari in 2007, winning the title in his debut year. Following the 2009 season, he took a sabbatical to race Rally cars and even dabble in NASCAR for a while.
He returned to F1 with Lotus and later rejoined Ferrari to remain there until the end of 2018. Recently, the F1 veteran opened up on a few interesting facts about him and his lifestyle. Former F1 fitness expert, Josef Leberer trained Kimi ahead of his debut in the 2001 season with Sauber.
Raikkonen endured six days of rigorous training in the Austrian Alps. However, when it was all over, as a sort of reward, Leberer took the young Finn out for a pizza and a beer to wash it down with.
According to Leberer’s account, a puzzled Kimi said: ‘Really, may I?’. Leberer gave his consent and told him that since he was working hard “a small beer is not a problem”. In other words, it was sort of a reward for Raikkonen’s efforts.
Since then, Leberer’s philosophy has imprinted itself in Kimi Raikkonen’s mind throughout his career.
“Obviously it’s been a joke often,” the 2007 world champ admitted to host Tom Clarkson, “But I actually think it’s more true than a joke that I’ve often been driving better [after] doing whatever I want between the races than if I’m just not having fun and drinks and stuff.”
Another interesting story is that, back in 2013 when Kimi Raikkonen finished second in Bahrain, he went on a 16-day pan-continental spree. However, he managed to sober up in time for the Spanish Grand Prix, where he finished 2nd.
“There’s too many proven theories… that [you drive] better [after you’ve had] a bit more fun,” Raikkonen revealed, speaking to the official Formula One website. “That whole summer was more or less racing and partying. It’s nothing new – for me it’s normal. Outside it might look a bit weird, but for me, in the past, it was a very normal story.”
“I always thought that [it makes you] more relaxed and you need to put more effort and concentration in [on track] because you’re a bit unsure. And then the end result comes better.”