The Finnish government has never before appointed anyone as an Ambassador for Sport, but it did so at a Sport Gala, held in Helsinki on Tuesday 17 January.
The recipient was none other than Kimi Raikkonen, who received the honour from Prime Minister Juha Sipila. Kimi’s presence at the gala had been kept secret right up until the last moment.
Kimi Raikkonen: “I’m not that used to making formal speeches. But I would like to wish all the best to the winners in every category, as well as those who missed out on the prizes this year. I would stress how important it has been in my case to have the support of my family and help from trustworthy colleagues and the people within the Ferrari Team, with whom I have worked for so many years now.”
In 2017, Finland celebrates the centenary of its independence.
Translation: “I want to congratulate all who got awarded today and all who didn’t. This is a great honour to get awarded. For whole my career I’ve had the pleasure of working with good people and good teams. Right now I’m working in one of the world’s best companies (Ferrari) and teams. The biggest thing for me (in my life) has been the ability to do all the thing my way. Sometimes there have been some mishaps. But all and all I’ve believed in my own thing and did just that. You don’t always have to do things like your neighbour does them. Sometimes doing things your own way gets you success.”
Fool April is a Finnish band who have made a dedication to Kimi Raikkonen and wanted to share it with us. Fool April were formed in 2010 by vocalist/guitarist Petteri Martinsuo and drummer Jussi Peltonen. Good luck to these guys! It’s a pretty cool song! Check it out below.
It’s not the first time Kimi has been associated with musicians paying tribute to his legendary iceness; he is even good friends with Axl Rose of Guns’n’Roses, who included the Iceman in the ‘thanking list’ of their album Chinese Democracy. Keyboard player Chris Pitman, pictured below, is also clearly a big fan of Raikkonen as he performed wearing the F1 world champion’s 2007 helmet; the band also pictured Kimi’s McLaren on screen while playing ‘You Could Be Mine’. Little Kimi fact of the day: the first record Kimi bought was indeed a Guns’n’Roses cassette.
Just ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Kimi was dragged into a lengthy (by Kimi standards) interview by F1.com! And a good one:
Q: Kimi, Ferrari has changed significantly since 2014. What is the biggest change?
Kimi Raikkonen: I think the team is working well together now. Some people have left and there is a new team boss and now the atmosphere and the way people are working together is much better.
Q: Ferrari’s performance is clearly running north, but at the moment you seem to be mainly fighting for P3 in races. When will that change?
KR: I expect us to get stronger in the course of the season. Yes, we are not happy about where we are right now as we want to challenge for wins, but we have to be realistic when looking of where we finished last year. We have made a good step forward and now as a team are we have to work in the same direction – then I am sure that we get where we want to be. Hopefully in the near future?
Q: Will you still be in F1 racing when Ferrari return to being the benchmark? Your contract runs out at the end of the season…
KR: That is up to the team to decide. They have an option on my services – so go and ask them!
Q: But you also have to like it, don’t you?
KR: (laughs) I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t like it!
Q: What’s still motivates Kimi Raikkonen, the driver? When you took your rallying sabbatical you were through with F1 racing…
KR: Things can change! I want to do well here. That is the main reason why I am still around.
Q: In Malaysia Ferrari caught Mercedes out with a smarter strategy. Will that prove to be your main weapon against them or can you close the gap?
KR: A smart strategy can help, of course. You can gain or lose positions depending on your strategy – but it is not our aim to do it that way. We want to improve our situation as a whole: improve our speed to challenge Mercedes in every single race. Right now we are pretty close to them in the race – not in qualifying, but in the race. We know now where we have to improve and we are working on that.
KR: No different to any other team mate!
Q: The two of you together in the same team – that sounded like a match made in heaven. Is that how it is in reality?
KR: I think we are a good pair – leave heaven out of it! (laughs) We can talk things over, and that is a lot. We both want to put the team in a position to improve.
Q: Is your situation, working together in the same team, helping you to bond more privately?
KR: Not really, no more than before. We just work in the same team – and it is easy together. We talk easily together.
Q: Does it help that neither of you is overly political?
KR: I would say so, yes. The good thing is that if there is something (that comes up) we can talk to each other – we can talk to each other directly and not have to use mediators. But we don’t have any issues and I don’t expect us to have issues. But who can look into the future? Who knows?
Q: Sebastian has had the edge in terms of results so far. Why is he doing better than you?
KR: He has done better races. We had some issues in the first three races and obviously made some mistakes in qualifying, but that is part of the game, so no big deal.
Q: 2014 was a tricky year for you – does it feel much better now or are you beyond such emotions?
KR: The feeling in the team is much better, but the results are still not what we want. Yes, compared to last year finishing third or fourth is a step forward, but we want to win – win all the time. As a team we’ve done well so far, true. (We’ve got) the maximum that we could right now. But are we happy or satisfied? Not really. We want more. We are here to win – and yes – that is still pretty emotional.
Q: There is the saying that only fools are satisfied…
KR: …that is not completely true. If you had a good fight and pulled the maximum out, you are happy. First and foremost you have to be realistic. We have come a long way from last year – and yes, there are still many steps to make.
Q: If you could make one wish, what would that be?
KR: Some good races? Sounds boring, I know…
Q: Niki Lauda said to succeed in F1 racing you ‘have to be a b*st*rd’. Were you one, the year you won the championship?
KR: I have been the same all along. Maybe he felt that he had to be. Everybody feels differently – and he likes to talk…
KR: We are racing in the evening so the temperatures are lower, so no help in that respect. I think that we will race at the level where we realistically are.
Q: You have a little baby boy. What values do you want to give him for his journey through life?
KR: Life – that is a long time. Right now I hope that he is healthy and stays healthy – and that he grows into a happy little boy.
Q: How would you rate yourself as a dad?
KR: I don’t know. You’d have to ask his mum. But he is a calm baby – so we are doing something right!
| Source: formula1.com |
Here is the first ‘public’ photograph of Kimi Raikkonen with his son Robin, which Minttu revealed via her blog today. Isn’t it adorable?! Robin is just over 2 months old now.
“We are getting used to this grey Finnish winter, which surprised us all after a few lovely spring days. I think it is great to be here except the weather could be better. It is wonderful to see all the lovely people whom I miss so much when living abroad.
Robin’s first flight went great! I was so excited that I could not sleep the night before at all. He was smiling all the time before he fell asleep in his daddy’s arms.” – Minttu.