Kimi Räikkönen: A Racing Legend's Journey Through Time

Posted on 02-09-2023 by Bisma Trunkwala

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Category: F1 Drivers

Kimi Räikkönen, the Flying Finn, is a name that resonates with Formula 1 enthusiasts worldwide. Known for his cool and composed demeanor both on and off the track, Räikkönen's journey in the world of motorsport has been nothing short of remarkable. Let’s take a closer look at the life and career of Kimi Räikkönen, a racing legend who has left an indelible mark on the sport.

Kimi, a reluctant student who once went down a snowy hill using his school bag as a sledge, used to be an ice hockey player but stopped playing because he couldn't stand getting up so early for practice. At the age of 16, he dropped out of school to become a technician, thinking that this would be his best chance of remaining in the motorsport industry. Very quickly, Kimi's inherent skill for driving fast led to sponsored rides, rendering his mechanical expertise unnecessary and eliminating the need for family finance.

His passion for racing ignited at a young age, with go-karting being his first foray into the world of motorsports. His talent quickly became evident as he rose through the ranks, winning several karting championships in his homeland.

Räikkönen's rise to prominence in Formula 1

Kimi Räikkönen's entry into Formula 1 was in 2001 with Sauber, a Swiss-based team. His debut season was impressive, and his performances caught the attention of the top teams. In 2002, he joined McLaren, where he truly began to shine. In his first season with McLaren, he secured his first Formula 1 victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

In 2007, Räikkönen joined Scuderia Ferrari(for a reported $41 million a year), a move that would define his career. He got off to a great start with Ferrari, winning the first race of the season from pole position. However, by the penultimate race, he had fallen to third in the driver standings, behind Fernando Alonso (who was going for his third straight title) and Lewis Hamilton (who set a new record for a rookie driver).

Raikkonen had won five races to their four, but he was still the underdog in the final race in Brazil despite his superior win total. The unflappable Finn aced the race and took home the 2007 World Drivers' Championship by the slimmest of margins. His consistency and ability to handle pressure made him a force to be reckoned with.

The Iceman's Racing Style

Kimi Räikkönen earned the nickname "The Iceman" for his unflappable demeanour behind the wheel. His ability to maintain focus and composure in high-pressure situations made him a formidable competitor. Räikkönen was known for his exceptional car control, making daring overtakes and managing his tires expertly. He was a true master of the "less is more" approach to racing.

Off the track

Kimi Räikkönen's off-track persona was just as intriguing as his on-track exploits. He was renowned for his straightforward and no-nonsense attitude in interviews, earning him a cult following among fans. Phrases like "Leave me alone, I know what I'm doing" and "Bwoah" became part of Formula 1 folklore.

Legacy and Impact

Kimi Räikkönen's impact on Formula 1 extends beyond his statistics and race wins. He brought a unique personality to the sport, one that resonated with fans worldwide. His racing style and unwavering dedication to his craft have inspired a new generation of drivers.

Retirement and Beyond

In September 2021, Kimi Räikkönen announced his retirement from Formula 1, ending a career that spanned two decades. “I feel good. I’m happy I lived through it. Now I look forward to living a normal life.”

Among those paying tribute to the so-called ‘Iceman’ were three still active world champions.

Lewis Hamilton: “I remember before I got to Formula 1 in computer games I’d always be in Kimi’s car. So I had this crazy experience of racing against him, losing a championship to him and then having lots of great battles with him. He will be missed.”

Fernando Alonso: “I like him a lot. In his own way he loves the sport. He is very honest always. I really like that part of him. And outside when he takes his mask off from being a cold Iceman there is a very good person inside. He has been outstanding for the sport and he will be missed because he has his own character and he was different.”

Sebastian Vettel: "Great respect. I don't think you can have an argument or a problem with Kimi. If you do, then the problem is not him, the problem is you. He's a great person, and I'm sure we'll stay in touch. I wish him all the best and I will miss the silence."

In his last race his Alfa Romeo car bore a farewell message from the team: ‘Dear Kimi: We will leave you alone now.’ Even though a mechanical problem meant he failed to finish, appreciative F1 fans from around the world voted him ‘Driver Of The Day.’

While he may have hung up his racing gloves, his legacy lives on. Räikkönen has left an indelible mark on the sport, and his contributions will be celebrated for generations to come.

Kimi Räikkönen's journey from a young karting enthusiast in Finland to a Formula 1 World Champion is a testament to his talent, determination, and passion for racing. The Flying Finn's cool and collected demeanor on the track, combined with his iconic one-liners off it, have made him a beloved figure in the world of motorsports. As he enters the next chapter of his life, Kimi Räikkönen's legacy will continue to inspire racing enthusiasts around the globe.


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