Kimi Raikkonen is a Finnish Formula One Racer currently racing for Alfa Romeo. He’s driven for teams like Sauber, Mclaren, Ferrari, Lotus, and Alfa Romeo in Formula One. Kimi Raikkonen became the Formula One Champion in 2007 with Ferrari by beating Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso by 1 point. He is one of the most popular drivers on the grid today and has one of the biggest fan following in the sport. At 41 yrs old and with close to two decades of racing at the highest level, Kimi holds the record for the most starts in Formula One.
Räikkönen was born in Espoo, Finland on 17 October 1979. He started karting at an early age and starting having success from the age of 10. He was married to Jenni Dahlmann in 2004 and then the couple separated in 2013. Raikkonen then married Minttu Virtanen in 2016 and has 2 children with her. Kimi Raikkonen was one of the earlier racers who were able to leapfrog a lot of ladders and junior categories and jump straight into Formula One.
Kimi made a huge splash in the world of motorsports when he first broke on to the scene and moved on from karting. In a short time, he placed second in the European Formula Super A championship for the Dutch PDB Racing Team in 1999, won the British Formula Renault winter series of 1999, and won seven out of ten events in the Formula Renault UK Championship. He had won 13 of his first 23 races and his speed prompted Peter Sauber to give Raikkonen a test with the Sauber Formula One team. Kimi impressed the team enough for Sauber to give Kimi the drive for the 2001 season alongside Nick Heidfeld.
Kimi made his Formula One debut with Sauber in the 2001 season at the Australian Grand Prix. Kimi had a solid debut year and impressed everyone up and down the grid. He would finish the season with 4 points-scoring finishes. The performance was so impressive that it led to Mclaren taking notice and with a seat getting vacant at the team, Ron Dennis opted to hire the Finn for the 2002 season.
Mclaren became the new home for Raikkonen as he started learning and growing alongside David Coulthard, his experienced teammate. In his first season, although Kimi would lack consistency at times but display great potential every time he stepped into the car. Kimi would finish his first season with Mclaren in 6th position and accumulate 4 podiums along the way.
In 2003, Kimi would announce himself to the world as he would challenge for the title against the mighty combination of Michael Schumacher and Ferrari. Throughout the season Kimi would put in one consistent performance after the other to keep himself in contention. He would win his first race at the Malaysian Grand Prix and would ultimately lose the title by two points owing to a lack of competitiveness of the Mclaren at the later stages of the season.
By 2004, Kimi was considered to be one of the best drivers on the grid. In the 2004 season, however, Mclaren would yet again mess up the development of their car which would give Ferrari a huge headstart. Ferrari would dominate the season while Raikkonen was in a helpless situation with an uncompetitive car. Raikkonen would finish the season 7th in the standings with just a single breakthrough win at the Belgian Grand Prix to speak of throughout the season.
The 2005 season would see a change of guard with the change in regulations. Ferrari would plummet down the pecking order while Renault’s Fernando Alonso and Mclaren’s Kimi Raikkonen would fight for the title. Even though Mclaren arguably had the quicker car over the course of the season, it suffered from reliability issues throughout the season that saw Raikkonen lose out on multiple certain victories. Fernando Alonso would become the youngest ever Formula One World Champion while Raikkonen would have to settle with second yet again.
The fortunes would change for the worse in 2006 as Mclaren would again suffer from both a lack of performance and reliability throughout the season. Renault and Ferrari would contest for the title while Raikkonen would finish the season without a victory to his name. Near the end of the season at the Italian Grand Prix, Ferrari announced that they had signed Kimi Raikkonen on a 3-year deal.
Driving for Ferrari alongside Felipe Massa, Kimi was able to challenge for the title against Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in the Mclaren. Going into the last race of the season, Raikkonen was an outside contender to win the championship with the two Mclaren drivers fighting with each other for the honors. In a dramatic chain of events, Hamilton would suffer from reliability issues that would drop him down the order and leave the path clear for Raikkonen to win the title. This was Ferrari’s first title since 2004 and as it turns out, it is the last driver championship that Ferrari won.
In the 2008 season, Raikkonen was unable to defend his championship as he suffered from a lack of qualifying pace throughout the season. Raikkonen’s teammate Felipe Massa and Mclaren driver Lewis Hamilton would battle it out for the title with Hamilton clinching the title on the last lap of the last race of the season.
With the change in regulations in 2009, Ferrari suffered in terms of competitiveness as many teams like Brawn GP and Red Bull racing stole the march. It was during this time that Ferrari announced Fernando Alonso would replace Raikkonen and drive alongside Felipe Massa at Ferrari. Raikkonen would take a sabbatical from the sport only to return in 2012 with Lotus.
Raikkonen would make a return with Lotus amidst question marks over how he was going to perform after such a long break. Although it did take a couple of races, Raikkonen was able to get back in the groove and prove the doubters wrong. He would consistently keep on chipping away with points finishes and podiums throughout the season and end the season 3rd in the championship.
In the 2013 season, Raikkonen won the first race of the season at Melbourne but was unable to stay consistent and lost touch with the championship battle. Raikkonen would still put in multiple podium finishes here and there but challenging for the title was just not on the table. Near the end of the season, Ferrari would announce that they have re-signed Kimi Raikkonen for the 2014 season to partner Fernando Alonso.
Raikkonen would partner Fernando Alonso for the 2014 season. The 2014 season marked the beginning of a new era in Formula One with the introduction of V6 Turbos. Ferrari would fall down the pecking order drastically as the car had a highly unreliable engine at the back and lacked downforce. Raikkonen on his part would get dominated badly by his teammate Alonso and would finish the season 12th in the standings.
For the 2015 season, Sebastian Vettel would partner with Raikkonen. The season would see an improved performance from Raikkonen as he would end the season fourth in the standings although he was still a huge distance behind his teammate.
Raikkonen’s form improved further in the 2016 season as he would start matching Sebastian Vettel for pace more regularly. He would finish the season outqualifying Vettel 11-10 and finish just 26 points adrift of his teammate.
Things would however get worse for Raikkonen ad Vettel would pull out a significant advantage in the 2017 season. Although Vettel would fail to win the title for Ferrari he would Raikkonen by a significant margin of more than 100 points.
In the 2018 season, it was more of the same as Vettel maintained a huge gap from the start of the season. Vettel’s crashes late in the season brought Raikkonen closer to the German but the gap between the two drivers was far too obvious for everyone to see. Raikkonen did however manage to win the US Grand Prix amongst all this in what was the highlight of his season. Ferrari announced that Raikkonen would be replaced by Charles Leclerc at the end of the 2018 season while Raikkonen himself found a new home at Alfa Romeo.
Raikkonen would drive for Alfa Romeo in the 2019 season alongside Antonio Giovinazzi. Utilizing his experience and a knack for maximizing the results out of a car, Raikkonen dominated his teammate and finished the season with 43 points as compared to just 14 points for Giovinazzi. In the 2020 season, the performance of Alfa Romeo would fall even further leaving Raikkonen with limited opportunities to score points. Raikkonen would end the season by getting out-qualified by his teammate and score just 4 points throughout the season.
Both Raikkonen and Giovinazzi were retained by Alfa Romeo for the 2021 season.
- Lorenzo Bandini Trophy 2003
- DHL Fastest Lap Award 2007 and 2008
- F1 Racing “Driver of the year” 2005
- Autosport “International Racing Driver of the year” 2005
- The Most "Fastest laps" in a season
- The last Formula One World Champion for Ferrari
- Third Ferrari driver after Juan Manuel Fangio and Jody Scheckter to win the world title in their first year with the team.
- The most successful Finnish Formula One driver in terms of points, podiums, and race wins
- Most wins in a debut year with Ferrari