Kimi Räikkönen made a race return to Formula 1 after two seasons contesting the FIA World Rally Championship as well as selected NASCAR outings. He has ten years’ experience in F1, with the 2007 Drivers’ Championship – (following stats are updated from Nov 2012) 19 race wins, 69 podiums, 16 pole positions and 37 fastest laps from his 173 race starts. He entered the sport in 2002 despite having only 23 races in junior categories under his belt, making him the ‘fastest’ to reach F1. Kimi finished as runner-up in the Drivers’ Championship to Michael Schumacher in 2003 and Fernando Alonso in 2005; and won the title in 2007, in his first year driving for Ferrari.
.::[ Profile ]::.
Full Name: Kimi Matias Räikkönen
Birth: 17.10.1979, Espoo, Finland
Height: 1.75 m
Weight: 62 kg
Nicknames: Iceman, Raikko, Kimster, Rakka
Residence: Baar, Switzerland. Villa: Porkkalanniemi, Finland
Hobbies: snowboard, ice-hockey, motocross, snowmobile/snowcross, gym training
.::[ History ]::.
Pre 2000 – Karting, Formula Ford and Formula Renault:
After an impressive karting career, including placing second in the 1999 European Formula A championship, Kimi competed in the Formula Ford Euro Cup before graduating to the British Formula Renault winter series which he won, winning the Championship the following year, with seven wins from ten starts.
2001: Formula 1 debut with Sauber:
Kimi scored a point in his debut race, with Sauber at the Australian Grand Prix. He completed the year having achieved four points scoring finishes and eight in the top eight.
2002 – 2006: The Mclaren Years:
Such was Kimi’s debut that he moved to McLaren for the 2002 season as a replacement for two-time champion, Mika Häkkinen. He finished third in his debut race with the team and came close to winning the French Grand Prix. The following year Kimi won his first race, the Malaysian Grand Prix. Despite no further wins, a strong run meant he finished second in the title race, just two points adrift of Michael Schumacher. 2004 was to prove frustrating. Kimi took McLaren’s only win that year at the Belgian Grand Prix. The following year he finished second to Fernando Alonso in the title race, with seven wins to his name. 2006 was to prove Kimi’s final year at McLaren and the momentum did not continue from the year before, with Kimi finishing fifth in the standings.
2007 – 2009: Ferrari and Drivers’ title:
Kimi’s debut for the prancing horse was a fairytale, with pole position, fastest lap and he became the first driver since Nigel Mansell in 1989 to win on his Ferrari debut. He followed that with a further five wins, stealing the title from under the noses of the battling McLaren duo of Alonso and Lewis Hamilton at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix. The following two seasons were more low-key, finishing third in the standings in 2008, and sixth the following season.
2010 – 2011: Rallying and NASCAR:
The FIA World Rally Championship was the destination for Kimi with the Citroën Junior Team in 2010, with a best finish of fifth in the Rally of Turkey. The following year he drove for ICE 1 Racing, with two sixth places in Jordan and Germany. He combined his rallying with two NASCAR outings.
2012 : The Return of the King
Will Kimi’s comeback make for the fitting F1 career end?… only time will tell. [ Update: Six podiums, 20/20 finishes, two fastest laps, one race win, and finished 3rd in the championship - not bad! ]
2013 – He certainly did make it a comeback worth trying… now he is hungrier than ever for a second world title! Bring it on.