Formula 1 2013 driver profile: Kimi Raikkonen

The paddock’s biggest playboy is a driver from a bygone era: big spending, laid back, a naturally gifted champion

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Team: Lotus
Nationality: Finnish
Birth date: 17/10/1979

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First F1 race: Australian Grand Prix, 2001
2012 points: 207
2012 best finish: 1
2012 championship position: 3

Kimi Raikkonen’s 2012 return from tearing around (admittedly pretty unsuccessfully) in a Rally car for two years sent a shiver through the paddock: the Iceman had returned.

His reputation in F1 had been developed since 2001, scoring points on his Grand Prix debut and going on to secure a move to McLaren the following year. He went toe to toe with Michael Schumacher in 2003, finishing just two points behind the champion German despite driving a poorer car. It was not until 2007 in his first season with Ferrari that he won he first (and so far only) driver championship.

His laid back attitude can be misinterpreted as indifference, but his two seasons with ambitious Lotus suggest he’s got some of his old spark back. Then again, he’s never been worried about doing things by the book: a week before the 2007 season, instead of preparing with his team in Australia he was back in Finland racing snowmobiles. He won the race and, a week later, topped the podium in the Australian Grand Prix too.

It’s worth listening in on his radio communications too. 2012 heard him give short shrift to his engineer trying to give him advice, saying, “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing.” There’s no doubt about that, Kimi.

2013 predictions: “It’s difficult to say exactly where we’ll be but like I said we’ll see a bit tomorrow.” (A day later, he won the Australian Grand Prix)

Did you know?  Kimi Raikkonen wasn’t nervous half an hour before his F1 debut – he was actually asleep.

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