Kimi Räikkönen


Kimi Räikkönen

Infobox F1 driver
Name = Kimi Räikkönen



Caption = Räikkönen at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix
Nationality = flagicon|FIN Finnish
Car number = 1
Team = Ferrari
Races = 137 (136 starts)
Championships = 1 (2007)
Wins = 17
Podiums = 54
Points = 513
Poles = 16
Fastest laps = 35
First race = 2001 Australian Grand Prix
First win = 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix
Last win = 2008 Spanish Grand Prix
Last race = 2008 Singapore Grand Prix
Last season = 2007
Last position = 1st (110 points)

Kimi-Matias Räikkönen (pronounced|ˈkimi ˈmɑtiɑs ˈræikkønen; born October 17, 1979 in Espoo) is a Finnish Formula One race car driver, currently driving for Scuderia Ferrari. He is the 2007 Formula One World Drivers' Champion.

Räikkönen entered Formula One as a regular driver for Sauber-Petronas in 2001. Having previously only raced in very junior open-wheel categories, he was given his Super Licence from the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) after a performance delivery promise from his team boss, Peter Sauber. [http://en.f1-live.com/f1/en/drivers/raikkonen.shtml Formula 1 : Biography Kimi Raikkonen - F1-Live.com] ] He joined McLaren Mercedes in 2002, and became a title contender by finishing runner-up in the 2003 and 2005 championships to Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso, respectively.

Switching to Ferrari in 2007, Räikkönen became the highest paid driver in motor sport with an estimated wage of $51 million per year, [http://www.forumula1.net/2006/f1/f1-news/raikkonen-is-f1s-highest-paid-driver/ Forumula1.net - Raikkonen is F1's highest paid driver] ] in part due to the fact that the previous highest paid driver Michael Schumacher had retired. In turn his move to Ferrari saw him secure his first Formula One World Drivers' Championship, beating McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso by one point.

Räikkönen is known to be very calm, cool, and calculating in his race strategy—prompting the nickname "Iceman", which is subtly written on the side of his current helmet design. His other nicknames include "Kimppa", "Räikkä" and "Kimster" (used by his mechanics).

In 2008, Räikkönen is one among the two Formula One drivers who made it into the Forbes magazine's The Celebrity 100 list, the other being Fernando Alonso. He is 36th on Forbes magazine's The Celebrity 100 list of 2008, and 41st on the previous year. [http://www.forbes.com/lists/2008/53/celebrities08_Kimi-Raikkonen_53XE.html Forbes 100 Celebrities 2008 - #36 Kimi Raikkonen] ] On the same list, as of 2008, he is listed as the 26th highest paid celebrity overall and the 5th highest paid sportsman behind Tiger Woods, David Beckham, Michael Jordan and Phil Mickelson.

Career

Early career (until 2000)

Räikkönen had a long line of success in karting from the age of ten. His first race outside Finland was in Monaco when he was 15 years old. During the race, the steering wheel broke, but he continued, informing his mechanic by frenetically waving the steering wheel in the air on the home straight. Räikkönen's next Monaco race was also memorable; he was thrown on the wrong side of the safety fence in a first lap collision, but continued driving until running out of road. Undeterred, he lifted his kart back on to the track and continued to race. His mechanic thought Räikkönen had retired, but he eventually caught up with the other competitors and finished third. [cite web | author=Kulta, Heikki | title=Hyvää kannatti odottaa kauan | work=Turun Sanomat | url=http://www.turunsanomat.fi/f1/?ts=1,3:2001:0:0,4:34:621:1:2007-10-22;4:35:0:0:0;4:36:0:0:0,104:34:493566,1:0:0:0:0:0: | accessdate=2007-10-21 | language=Finnish] In 1999, Räikkönen was placed second in the European Formula Super A championship. In the same year, he also competed in the Formula Ford Euro Cup. By the age of twenty, he had won the British Formula Renault winter series, winning the first four races of the year. In 2000, he won seven out of ten events in the Formula Renault UK Championship. Over two series of Formula Renault (1999, 2000), he won 13 out of 23 events — a 56% win rate.

auber – entry into Formula One (2001)

On the basis of these results, Peter Sauber gave the Finn a test with the Sauber Formula One team in September 2000 at the Mugello Circuit.Tremayne, David. "Cool as Ice: Kimi Raikkonen". Formula One Magazine (official). December 2003. Page 63.] After further tests in Jerez and Barcelona, Sauber signed Räikkönen for the 2001 season. However, some critics (including FIA president Max Mosley) voiced concerns over granting an F1 Super Licence to such an inexperienced driver: Räikkönen had only 23 car races to his credit. He was nevertheless granted his license and scored a championship point in the 2001 Australian Grand Prix, his maiden Grand Prix. Räikkönen was asleep 30 minutes before the race. [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/mar/09/motorsports.formulaone2 Hamilton, Maurice - "No fuss, just fast". The Guardian 2008-03-09] ]

Räikkönen had a solid debut year, achieving four points-scoring finishes and eight finishes in the top eight. Completing the year with 9 points, Räikkönen, along with teammate Nick Heidfeld, helped Sauber to its best ever result of fourth place in the constructors' championship.

McLaren (2002–2006)

Räikkönen, long linked to Sauber's engine supplier Ferrari, instead sufficiently impressed McLaren to earn a race seat in Ron Dennis's team for 2002, taking the seat left vacant by double-world champion (and fellow Finn) Mika Häkkinen's sabbatical.

Räikkönen was always known to be extremely fast but his infamous technical failures did not bring the results that was his due. Approximately 38% of his races during his 5 years with McLaren ended with retirement because of one technical failure or the other.

2002

Räikkönen scored a third-place podium finish in his first race with McLaren, the 2002 Australian Grand Prix. Although McLaren suffered many Mercedes engine failures in 2002, Räikkönen scored 24 points and four podiums, and held his own against teammate David Coulthard. Räikkönen came close to winning his first Grand Prix at the 2002 French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, but went off track with a handful of laps to go, due to oil from the blown engine of Allan McNish's Toyota on the circuit.Tremayne, David. "Cool as Ice: Kimi Raikkonen". Formula One Magazine (official). December 2003. Page 58.] He finished the race second. He finished the season in sixth place, one place behind his team mate; together they achieved a solid third place for McLaren in the constructors' championship.

2003

At the opening Australian Grand Prix Räikkönen qualified 15th in the spare car. In the race he took the lead before being caught speeding in the pitlane, after a software glitch in the car's electronic system. Räikkönen held off Michael Schumacher to finish 3rd. In Malaysia, Räikkönen won his first race after starting from 7th on the grid. During the next round in Brazil, Räikkönen was declared the winner after the race was stopped on lap 55. According to the rules the winner is decided by the race order as of two laps before the race stopped, i.e. lap 53. However a week later, evidence emerged that Giancarlo Fisichella was on lap 56 when the race stopped, therefore the winner was decided by the order at lap 54. This granted the win to Fisichella, with Räikkönen 2nd.

As other teams improved their cars, McLaren, who were still using the 2002 chassis, began to falter in terms of race speed. However, Räikkönen finished 2nd at Imola. At the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain, Räikkönen made a mistake in qualifying and had to start from the back of the grid, and at the start, he collided with Antônio Pizzonia, who was stuck on his grid position due to a launch control problem, causing Räikkönen to retire from the race.

The next few races came down more to strategy rather than speed. Whilst having understeering problems Räikkönen defended his 2nd position from Rubens Barrichello in Austria. He came extremely close to winning at the Monaco, but lost by less than a second to Juan Pablo Montoya. Starting from the pitlane in Canada after he went off track during qualifying with understeer, Räikkönen finished 6th, more than a minute adrift of race winner Michael Schumacher.

At the European Grand Prix, Räikkönen took pole, and controlled the race from the start until his engine failed on lap 25. Title rival Michael Schumacher finished 5th taking 4 points advantage from Räikkönen. Räikkönen finished 4th in France behind Schumacher but finished one point ahead of him with a 3rd place finish at the British Grand Prix. Räikkönen failed to finish the German Grand Prix after being involved in an accident at the first corner with Ralf Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. Räikkönen finished 2nd at the next race, the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Prior to the Italian GP the FIA were tipped-off by rivals Ferrari about a tyre-illegality in the Michelin tread width.Fact|date=March 2008 Michelin were forced to bring in narrower tyres and it seemed as if they had lost the advantage they had been enjoying over Bridgestone all season. McLaren also announced that they would see out the season with old MP4-17D chassis and would not bring out the MP4-18 as had been planned. Räikkönen eventually finished 4th in the race, losing five championship points to race winner Michael Schumacher.

Räikkönen took pole at the US GP, but Michael Schumacher won the race with Räikkönen finishing 2nd. With one race to go, Schumacher only needed one point to win the championship. Räikkönen would need to win the next race with Schumacher not scoring any points. After qualifying 8th in Japan, Räikkönen finished 2nd while Michael Schumacher just slipped into the points to win his 6th World Championship. Montoya's retirement during the race also meant that Räikkönen finished 2nd in the championship, just two points behind Schumacher. The team also narrowly lost second place in the constructors' championship, finishing third, two points behind runners-up Williams, and 12 points behind Ferrari. Mathematically, Williams or McLaren could have won the championship at the very last race. The 2003 season was one of the closest in recent years.

2004

The 2004 season began with Räikkönen only claiming a single point in the first seven races. His McLaren, especially the Mercedes engine, suffered repeated breakdowns, allowing him to complete just two of the first seven events. After seven rounds Räikkönen had only one point to Michael Schumacher's 60. In Canada, Räikkönen made 5 pit-stops but was classified 5th since the Williams-BMWs and the two Toyotas were disqualified. At the US GP Räikkönen finished 6th.

At the French GP, McLaren rolled out the new MP4-19B. Räikkönen finished 7th behind his team-mate Coulthard. At Silverstone Räikkönen took pole and went on to finish second to Michael Schumacher. Following on from this encouraging display, the McLarens qualified on the 2nd row of the grid at Hockenheim, Germany. Both cars got off to a good start, however Räikkönen lost his rear wing on lap 13 of the race while following race leader Michael Schumacher. He retired again from the Hungarian GP after starting from 10th place on the grid, again on lap 13. At the Belgian Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified 10th, but took the lead on lap 11 and held on to it to take McLaren's only win of the season. He also took the fastest lap. The next weekend at Monza Räikkönen again retired on lap 13, this time due to electrical problems. At the next race in China he finished 3rd, only 1.4 seconds behind race winner Rubens Barrichello.

At Japan, Räikkönen was shunted by Felipe Massa on the first lap of the race, which caused him handling problems. He later managed to make up some ground: he finished 6th, 2.5 seconds behind Alonso. At Brazil, he overtook pole sitter Barrichello, even before they had reached Curva De Sol. Räikkönen later battled Montoya for the lead and finished 1 second behind him in 2nd. Räikkönen ended the year seventh, with 45 points, only one behind sixth placed Jarno Trulli, and four podiums.

Despite the disappointment of the 2004 season, Räikkönen was still seen as one of the rising stars of the sport, along with Renault's Alonso and 2005 McLaren teammate Montoya. Many pundits predicted 2005 to be filled with great on-track battles from a resurgent team. He was also referred to by Ross Brawn and Jean Todt as a driver whom Ferrari might consider in the future. In early November 2004, Räikkönen announced his intention to create a racing team with his manager Steve Robertson, to be entitled Räikkönen Robertson Racing (otherwise known as "Double R"), which would compete in Formula 3 in 2005.

2005

Räikkönen's start to the 2005 season season was less than perfect. The car was reported to be too soft on its Michelin tyres, with the result that it wasn't generating enough heat to post competitive qualifying times. [ [http://www.autosport.com/journal/article.php/id/328 Autosport.com – The 2005 Teams Review] ] The best qualifying position that a McLaren driver could manage in the first 3 races was 6th. Räikkönen compounded this by stalling on the grid of the first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, and ending the race with just a point. He looked set for a podium in Malaysia until a faulty tyre valve failed and dropped him out of the points. Bahrain saw him get his first podium of the season.

Räikkönen then achieved three consecutive poles at San Marino, Barcelona and Monte Carlo. An almost certain win was denied at Imola after a driveshaft failure, but he won the other two races, putting him within 22 points of leader Alonso. At the European Grand Prix, Räikkönen flat-spotted his right front tyre while lapping Jacques Villeneuve (some commentators put a share of the blame on Villeneuve, as he did not give Räikkönen the racing line).Fact|date=March 2008 The resultant vibrations caused his suspension to fail while he led on the final lap, sending him into the tyre wall and handing a further ten points to his rival Alonso. Changing a tyre would have given him a relatively safe third place. However, tyre changes were only allowed in 2005 in cases where a "punctured or damaged tyre" could be changed for "clear and genuine safety reasons" [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/4592713.stm BBC Sport – Coulthard condemns F1 tyre rules] ] and there was no precedent for whether the stewards would consider a flat-spotted tyre dangerous enough. This incident, in part, resulted in a rules clarification allowing teams to change a flat-spotted tyre without punishment. [ [http://www.pitpass.com/fes_php/pitpass_news_item.php?fes_art_id=25355 Pitpass.com – FIA clarifies tyre ruling] ]

Alonso's first major mistake of the 2005 season handed the Canadian Grand Prix to Räikkönen. The following weekend saw all the Michelin teams, including McLaren, withdraw from the United States Grand Prix due to safety concerns. At the French Grand Prix Räikkönen suffered a ten-place grid-penalty following the replacement of his new specification Mercedes Benz engine which failed in Friday practice. Räikkönen, putting in what Ron Dennis called his best ever qualifying lap, [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2005/07/04/smfrgp04.xml Telegraph - Alonso puts smile on French faces] ] qualified 3rd (demoted to 13th) with a significant fuel load. He finished 2nd behind Fernando Alonso. A week later at the British Grand Prix Räikkönen suffered another Mercedes engine failure due to an oil leak; his 2nd place qualifying place became 12th. He claimed 3rd place in the race.

In the German Grand Prix Räikkönen was comfortably in the lead having dominated all weekend, but suffered a hydraulics failure, handing victory and a further 10 points to Alonso. It was his third retirement while leading a race during the season. On all three occasions, it was championship rival Alonso who took advantage to win. Significantly, at the opening of the Hungarian Grand Prix, though saying he was very comfortable at McLaren, Räikkönen raised the possibility that he might leave McLaren when his contract expired in 2006 if reliability issues were not solved. [ [http://www.itv-f1.com/News_Article.aspx?PO_ID=33631 ITV - Kimi: Don't take me for granted] ] He told a news conference, "We need to work in a better way just to make sure that the car is very reliable."Fact|date=March 2008 However he went on to take the chequered flag with a convincing victory over Michael Schumacher.

Räikkönen won the Hungarian Grand Prix from the most handicapped qualifying position, having had to do his qualifying run first on the notoriously dusty and dirty track due to his early retirement a week earlier at Hockenheim. No other driver had previously managed this feat. Räikkönen then became the first ever winner of the Turkish Grand Prix. Two weeks later at the Italian Grand Prix, Räikkönen's pole position was taken from him as he received another 10-position grid penalty for an engine change. It would emerge that he had 5 laps of fuel more than teammate Montoya and 6 more than Alonso during qualifying - and still managed to outpace them.Fact|date=March 2008 During the race, Räikkönen was forced to take an extra stop when his left-rear tyre delaminated, which dropped him down to 12th. He recovered, but spun his car after pushing too hard chasing the 3rd placed driver. He eventually finished fourth.

He went on to win, for the second year in a row, at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. The following race (the Brazilian Grand Prix) saw Alonso clinch the Drivers' Championship, after finishing third behind Montoya and Räikkönen. In the penultimate race of the year, at the Suzuka circuit in Japan, Räikkönen took his 7th victory of the season after starting 17th on the grid (as rain, and an engine failure for Räikkönen, had mixed up the qualifying grid). The win was secured when he overtook Renault driver Fisichella (who had started third on the grid, and had led most of the race) on the final lap - which Formula One journalist Peter Windsor thought the most impressive move of the race. [ [http://www.itv-f1.com/Feature.aspx?Type=Windsors_Wisdom&PO_ID=34324 ITV - Peter Windsor's Chinese GP Preview] ]

Räikkönen received the "F1 Racing" "Driver of the Year" accolade, cite web| title = Awards of F1 Racing magazine| publisher = McLaren| date = 2005-11-23| url = http://www.kimicentral.net/content/view/19/30/| accessdate = 2007-03-28 ] and the Autosport "International Racing Driver of the Year" award.cite web | title = Raikkonen pips Alonso to British award | publisher = Reuters| date = 2005-12-06| url = http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/411317/636352| accessdate = 2007-03-28]

2006

In Bahrain, Räikkönen suffered electronic problems during Friday practice and a rear suspension breakage during the first qualifying session, which forced him back to 22nd place on the grid. Nevertheless he drove through the field, ending third behind Alonso and Michael Schumacher. In Malaysia, Räikkönen was hit from behind by Red Bull Racing's Christian Klien on the first lap. The impact caused a left rear suspension failure resulting in Räikkönen retiring from the race.

Having started the year clearly behind Renault, McLaren improved in Australia, where Räikkönen finished second after flat spotting a tyre and losing a wing end-plate, which caused him to fall off the pace somewhat around the midpoint of the race. Chasing down Alonso during the final stages of the race, he set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap, finishing only 1.8 seconds behind the Spaniard. At the San Marino Grand Prix a bad choice of strategy and a mistake from Räikkönen in qualifying (8th) saw the McLarens get caught in traffic in the early part of the race allowing Michael Schumacher and Alonso to get away at the front. Räikkönen eventually finished 5th, with team mate Montoya ahead in 3rd place. McLaren team boss Ron Dennis blamed Kimi Räikkönen's poor performance for the team's failure to finish in the top two in the race. [cite news| title =McLaren downplay Ferrari victory| publisher =news.bbc.co.uk| url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/4937146.stm| date =2006-04-24| accessdate =2007-06-01]

At the Spanish Grand Prix Räikkönen qualified 9th. However at the start Räikkönen managed to get up to 5th place on the first lap. He retained this position for most of the race, finishing in 5th place. A few days after the Spanish Grand Prix, he admitted that he had no chance of winning the 2006 Championship. [ [http://www.sportinglife.com/formula1/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=formula1/06/05/19/manual_140547.html Sporting Lige - Schumacher: Title Race Open] ] In Monte Carlo, Räikkönen qualified third. During the race he got up to 2nd and kept pace with Alonso, however he retired during a safety car period after a failed heat shield led to a wiring loom inside the car catching fire. After the retirement he was seen on live TV walking along the Monaco sidewalks with his helmet still on to the harbour and climbing aboard a yacht.

The British Grand Prix at Silverstone saw Räikkönen qualify second behind Alonso and in front of Michael Schumacher. The running order was Alonso, Räikkönen, Schumacher until the second set of pitstops where Räikkönen was demoted to third by Schumacher, a position he held until the end of the race. At Canada, Räikkönen achieved another podium. In the United States Grand Prix, his teammate punted him out in an expensive seven car accident. The 2006 French Grand Prix saw Räikkönen qualify his car in sixth. His teammate was now former test driver Pedro de la Rosa in place of Montoya. Räikkönen ended the race in fifth. In Germany Räikkönen qualified on pole. After a battle with Button, he finished the race for the first time in his career, ending in third place. Another pole came in Hungary but he collided with Vitantonio Liuzzi after 25 laps, causing his fourth retirement of the season.

A first turn incident with Scott Speed at the Turkish Grand Prix led to an exploded tyre and suspension damage. After a tyre change, Räikkönen's race ended half way into the next lap when he ran into the barricade at turn 4. Räikkönen qualified on pole for the Italian Grand Prix by 2 thousandths of a second from Michael Schumacher. He led the early part of the race until the first pitstops where he was passed by Schumacher. He stayed in second place for the rest of the race. After the race Schumacher announced that he was retiring. Later Ferrari announced that he would be replaced in the 2007 season by Räikkönen. [ [http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2006/9/4933.html Formula1.com – Ferrari confirm Raikkonen, Massa for '07] ]

The Chinese Grand Prix saw another retirement for Räikkönen due to engine problems. His last two Grands Prix, in Japan and Brazil, did lead to 2 finishes, but he twice missed the podium. Räikkönen ended his time at McLaren-Mercedes with a fifth place in the World Drivers' Championship, with McLaren placing third in the World Constructors' Championship at the end of a winless year.

Räikkönen's British Formula Three Championship team Räikkönen Robertson Racing claimed their first major success, with British driver Mike Conway winning the 2006 British F3 International Series title and the prestigious Macau Grand Prix.

Ferrari (2007—)

After the 2006 Italian Grand Prix, Ferrari announced that Räikkönen had signed a three-year contract with Scuderia Ferrari for the 2007-2009 seasons. Räikkönen said after the move that he was very happy with this change of events but wished McLaren the best of luck in the future. He became the team mate to Brazilian Felipe Massa, who had been driving for Ferrari since 2006. Following the retirement of Michael Schumacher and his new deal with Ferrari, Räikkönen was estimated to be the highest paid driver in F1, with a base salary reportedly worth US $51M annually, only to have been edged out by Fernando Alonso in the Spaniard's record signing return to Renault for the 2008 season.

2007

Räikkönen started the season in Australia by taking pole position, setting the fastest lap and becoming the first driver since Nigel Mansell in 1989 to win his first Grand Prix with Ferrari. This was the first time in his career that he had managed the hat-trick of pole position, fastest lap and race victory. At the 2007 Malaysian Grand Prix Räikkönen was passed by Lewis Hamilton at the start and remained behind him for the rest of the race, finishing third. In the Bahrain Grand Prix, Räikkönen started from third but was passed by McLaren driver Fernando Alonso. He eventually regained 3rd position from Alonso and finished the race 3rd. At the Spanish Grand Prix Räikkönen retired after only 10 laps with an electrical problem. This took him down to fourth position in the Championship, behind team-mate Felipe Massa. In qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix Räikkönen struck a barrier and broke his right front suspension. He started 16th and finished 8th.

In Canada Räikkönen qualified fourth and finished fifth, Räikkönen's team-mate Massa was disqualified. [cite web| url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/6739373.stm| title = Canadian Grand Prix| date = 2007-07-08| accessdate = 2007-07-19| author = Benson, Andrew | publisher = BBC] At the United States Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified fourth, finished fourth and he recorded fastest lap of the race. After this race Räikkönen was 26 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers' Championship.

In France Räikkönen qualified third, but overtook Hamilton at the first corner of the race. He subsequently ran second, behind team-mate Massa, for much of the Grand Prix, but overtook the Brazilian during the pit-stops and took his second victory of the season. This was the 11th victory of his Formula One career, as well as Ferrari's first 1-2 win of the 2007 season. [cite web| url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/6258728.stm| title = French GP| date = 2007-06-10| accessdate = 2007-07-19| author = Croft, David | publisher = BBC]

At the British Grand Prix Räikkönen qualified in second place, just missing the pole due to running wide in the last corner. In the race, Räikkönen again took the lead through pit stops, first overtaking Lewis Hamilton midway through the race and then putting in fast laps as Fernando Alonso pitted for the second time in the closing stages, thus overtaking Alonso and maintaining lead of the race until the end. [cite web| url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/6282190.stm| title = British Grand Prix 2007| date = 2007-07-01| accessdate = 2007-07-19| author = Benson, Andrew | publisher = BBC] He also set the fastest lap of the race.

At the European Grand Prix Räikkönen captured his second pole position of the season. The race day was eventful due to heavy rain that started in the first lap of race. Räikkönen missed the entrance of pitlane by slipping, and lost his position. During the race he got up to third, but retired on lap 35 because of a problem with the hydraulics of the car.

Räikkönen was in fourth place in the championship behind Hamilton, Alonso, and Ferrari teammate Massa entering the Hungarian Grand Prix, being 18 points behind Hamilton. He qualified his car in fourth place, but started from third after Alonso was penalised. In the race Räikkönen overtook Nick Heidfeld at the start and pressured Hamilton until the end, but had to settle for second. He set the fastest lap time on the last lap of the race, commenting after the race: "I was so bored behind Hamilton, I wanted to see how quick I could have been." Räikkönen had previously set fastest laps under similar circumstances.

In Turkey Räikkönen qualified his car in third place after being the fastest man at the track in the practice sessions. He missed pole position after making a mistake in the final sector of his fast lap. On race day he overtook Hamilton in the first corner and took second place, which he kept to the end of the race. He also set the fastest lap, at 1.27.295, because he was getting "a bit bored", while his teammate Felipe Massa was seven tenths of a second slower but took the victory. This was Ferrari's 2nd 1-2 finish of the season.

At Monza's third practice session, Räikkönen crashed into the tyre wall before entering the Ascari chicane. He qualified in fifth place, and raced in the Ferrari reserve car. In the race he overtook Nick Heidfeld from the start, to gain fourth place. After Massa's retirement he was promoted into third place. During the race Ferrari surprised a number of commentators by opting for a one-stop strategy for Räikkönen, which is unusual for competitive teams. The strategy worked and he passed Hamilton during his second stop, but he could not defend himself against Hamilton and was passed by the Briton, the situation not helped by a neck problem he had sustained from the crash in practice. [ [http://www.homeofsport.com/f1/news/item.aspx?id=20113 Home of Sport: Formula One: News: Räikkönen to race with stiff, sore neck] ] Räikkönen's used harder tyres were at a disadvantage in comparison to Hamilton's fresh, softer tyres. He finished third, Hamilton second and Alonso first.

At Spa-Francorchamps Räikkönen dominated Friday first- and Saturday-practice sessions. On his favourite circuit [ [http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2007/9/6796.html The Official Formula 1 Website] ] he secured his third pole position of the season and the 14th of his F1 career after he beat Massa by 0.017 seconds and Alonso by 0.097 seconds. After a clean start, he opened up a five-second gap over Massa, and almost 20 seconds over the McLarens. He went on to take his fourth victory of the season. Massa finished second, Alonso third and Hamilton fourth. This was also Räikkönen's third consecutive Spa win, which placed him among six other drivers with three or more Spa wins.

At the Fuji Speedway, the only new track of 2007 calendar, Räikkönen topped the timesheets of the Friday first practice session. He went on to qualify in third position, while Hamilton took pole and Alonso second. In an extremely wet race, which saw the first 19 laps run behind the safety car, both Räikkönen and team-mate Massa were badly affected by having to change to extreme wet tyres during the early stages, due to the FIA's tyre-rule notification arriving late at Ferrari. [ [http://www.grandprix.com/race/r783sunquotes.html F1 - Grandprix.com - Japanese GP > Team Quotes] ] Towards the end of the race, Räikkönen moved through the field to third place, but could not pass his countryman Heikki Kovalainen for second.

At the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, Räikkönen dominated the whole weekend with fastest laps in the free-practice sessions. In qualifying, Hamilton took pole position with a lighter fuel load, while Räikkönen qualified second and Massa third. There was light rainfall at the beginning of the race which prompted the cars to start on intermediate tyres. After the first round of pit stops Hamilton lost grip as his tyres suffered graining, and Räikkönen overtook him. Hamilton retired after sliding into a gravel trap in the pit lane. Räikkönen took his fifth win of the season, that revived his title hopes before the last race of the season. This was also the 200th race win and 600th podium in Ferrari's Formula One history. Räikkönen moved to seven and three points behind Hamilton and Alonso in the Drivers' Championship, respectively, going into the last race in Brazil, the first three-way title battle in the final race of the season since f1|1986.

Räikkönen took the 2007 Formula One Drivers' title with victory in the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, in an incident-packed race. Massa had taken pole, followed by Hamilton, Räikkönen, and Alonso. At the start of the race Räikkönen passed Hamilton on the outside and lined up behind Massa. Alonso shortly afterwards passed Hamilton, who fell progressively down the order. Massa, who was already eliminated from contention for the Driver's Championship in the Japanese Grand Prix, yielded the lead to Räikkönen at the second round of pit stops. Räikkönen went on to take the chequered flag, which handed him the crown by a single point from Hamilton and Alonso. Championship leader Hamilton eventually finished the race in seventh place, while defending champion Alonso managed third.

While Räikkönen had only one point more than Alonso and Hamilton at the end of the season, he had the most victories (six compared to four by each McLaren driver). [cite web|title=Raikkonen the playboy king|publisher=BBC Sport|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7055633.stm|date=2007-10-21|accessdate=2007-11-22]

Räikkönen's Drivers' championship was put into doubt when race stewards began an investigation after identifying possible fuel irregularities in the cars of Rosberg, Kubica and Heidfeld following post-race inspection. Their disqualification and a race reclassification would have seen Hamilton lifted from seventh to fourth in the race result. [cite web |url= http://www.forumula1.net/2007/f1/f1-news/end-of-season-drama-will-raikkonen-take-victory-after-all/ |title= End of Season Drama will Raikkonen take Victory after all? |publisher = [http://www.forumula1.net Forumula1.net] |date= October 21st, 2007|accessdate= 2007-10-21] [cite web |url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7055644.stm |title= Inquiry casts doubt on F1 title |publisher = [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport BBC Sport] |date= October 21st, 2007|accessdate= 2007-10-21] [cite web |url= http://www.odmotoring.com/index.php?display=racing&id=514 |title= Investigation throws title into doubt |publisher = [http://www.odmotoring.com OverDrive] |date= October 21st, 2007|accessdate= 2007-10-21] However the race stewards decided that no sanctions would be given, meaning the results would stand [ [http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/21102007/58/raikkonen-title-confirmed.html Raikkonen title confirmed - Yahoo! Eurosport UK] ] . McLaren appealed against the decision.cite news
title = F1 teams escape fuel punishment
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7055644.stm
publisher = BBC
date=2007-10-22
accessdate = 2007-10-22
quote = McLaren has said it plans to appeal to the FIA, the sport's governing body.
] , however the FIA Court of Appeal rejected their appeal on 16 November 2007 thus confirming Räikkönen as the champion. [cite web |url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7099263.stm |title= McLaren lose Brazilian GP appeal |publisher= bbc.co.uk |date=2007-11-16]

2008

After a disappointing first week for Ferrari in Australia where Räikkönen eventually finished 8th after starting 15th on the grid due to a mechanical problem in qualifying, he won his first race of the 2008 season at the Malaysian Grand Prix, finishing ahead of Robert Kubica and Heikki Kovalainen. His victory at Kuala Lumpur came on the fifth anniversary of his maiden victory at the same track. In Bahrain, Räikkönen qualified in fourth on the grid. He moved up to second place by the third lap and finished in that position, behind his team-mate Felipe Massa. After this race, he took the lead in the Drivers' Championship by three points.

In Barcelona, Räikkönen took the 15th pole of his career and his first of the 2008 season. He went on to take his second race win of the season and the fastest lap of the race. Räikkönen overtook Mika Häkkinen in the list of total number of fastest laps and also in terms of podium finishes, making him the highest ranked Finnish driver in these statistics.

In Turkey Räikkönen qualified in fourth place after making a mistake on his final qualifying lap. Despite damaging his front wing in the early stages, Räikkönen decided not to change it and was still able to set the fastest lap and finish in 3rd place.

At Monaco Räikkönen qualified in second behind Massa on pole. Towards the end of the race, Räikkönen was involved in a incident with driver Adrian Sutil, when Räikkönen lost control on the damp track after exiting the tunnel, and hit Sutil's car in the rear. Räikkönen's car was not badly damaged and he was able to finish in ninth after replacing his front wing. However Sutil's car was too badly damaged to continue, depriving him of a fourth place finish and Force India's first points of the season. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7419319.stm|title=Hamilton wins Monaco after crash|publisher=BBC Sport|date=2008-05-25] After the race, Mike Gascoyne, the Chief Technology Officer of Force India announced they were filing official protests with the stewards over the incident, demanding a ban for Räikkönen. [cite web |url= http://www.planet-f1.com/story/0,18954,3213_3609378,00.html |title= Force India want Raikkonen banned|publisher= Planet F1 |date=2008-05-25] However, the stewards decided not to penalise him.

In Canada Räikkönen qualified third, with many drivers complaining of poor grip, and a disintegrating track surface at various points on the circuit. During the race, he was running third and was starting to catch up with Kubica who was in second place when Adrian Sutil's car broke down in a dangerous position, bringing out the safety car. Räikkönen entered the pitlane with the other front runners when it was opened, and after the stops both he and Kubica jumped ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the pitlane. Facing a red light at the end of the pitlane, Räikkönen stopped and waited for the signal to allow them back on to the circuit, with Kubica alongside him. Hamilton failed to stop at the red light and hit the rear of Räikkönen's Ferrari, eliminating both cars. Hamilton received a ten-place grid penalty at the next race.

Räikkönen went on to take his 16th pole position in France, which was the 200th pole for Scuderia Ferrari. [cite web|url=http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/68489|title=Räikkönen on Ferrari's 200th pole - France|publisher=Autosport|date=2008-06-21] Räikkönen led until a right bank exhaust failure a little over half way through the race reduced his engine's power. He gave up the lead to his teammate Felipe Massa, but was far enough ahead of Toyota's Jarno Trulli, to secure second place and eight points. [cite web|url=http://en.f1-live.com/f1/en/headlines/news/detail/080622160456.shtml|title=Third win of the season for Massa|publisher=F1 Live|date=2008-06-22]

Räikkönen qualified third at the British Grand Prix. [cite web |url=http://en.f1-live.com/f1/en/headlines/news/detail/080705172836.shtml |title=A tough day for Raikkonen and Massa|publisher=F1 Live|date=2008-07-05 |accessdate=2008-07-07] Before the race, Räikkönen pushed noted photographer Paul-Henri Cahier to the ground as he lined up a close-up shot. Raikkönen's manager Steve Robertson claimed the driver was provoked by Cahier touching him with his lens and standing on his belongings, but Cahier disputed this version of events. [cite web |url=http://www.itv-f1.com/news_article.aspx?id=43301 |title=Kimi branded 'arrogant' after grid fracas|publisher=ITV|date=2008-07-08 |accessdate=2008-09-01] [cite web |url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6e3bDs2lgw |title=Raikkonen loses his cool at Silverstone 2008|publisher=Youtube|date=2008-07-07 |accessdate=2008-09-01] He finished the race in fourth place after a misjudgement of tyre settings during the race which saw him set his sixth consecutive fastest lap of the season.

At his last pitstop during the European Grand Prix, Räikkönen exited before the fuel hose was properly disengaged from his car and left one of the mechanics with a fractured toe. [cite web|url=http://f1.gpupdate.net/en/news/2008/08/25/ferrari-boss-defends-pit-stop-actions/ |title=Ferrari boss defends pit stop actions| publisher=GPUpdate.net |date=2008-08-25|accessdate=2008-09-01] . On lap 47, his engine's con rod broke and he was forced to retire from the race. [cite web|url=http://f1.gpupdate.net/en/news/2008/08/26/raikkonen-engine-problem-same-as-massa-s/ |title=Raikkonen engine problem same as Massa's| publisher=GPUpdate.net |date=2008-08-26|accessdate=2008-09-01]

At the Belgian Grand Prix, Räikkönen led for most of the race, having passed Hamilton during the early stages. On lap 41, rain arrived, and Hamilton repassed him after cutting the chicane at the Bus Stop, a move which later earned the Briton a 25-second penalty, but then a spin for Nico Rosberg in front of them allowed Räikkönen to retake the lead. He spun at the next corner and lost the lead again, then spun into the barriers at the Blanchimont corner immediately afterwards, causing him to retire with only two laps to go.

At the Italian Grand Prix, which was held in extremely wet conditions, Räikkönen qualified 14th and finished 9th, 39.4s behind winner Sebastian Vettel. For the ninth race in the 2008 season, Räikkönen set the fastest lap.

In Singapore, the first night-time event in Formula One history, Räikkönen qualified third. On lap 14, Nelson Piquet Jr.'s Renault hit the wall at turn 17 and the safety car was deployed. Both Ferrari drivers pitted during the safety car period, with Räikkönen queued behind Massa in a busy pitlane. Ferrari released Massa before the fuel hose was disconnected from the car, which compromised Räikkönen who rejoined in 15th. Räikkönen recovered to fifth place, but on lap 57, while attacking Timo Glock, he hit the wall at turn 10. [cite web|url=http://en.f1-live.com/f1/en/headlines/news/detail/080928193627.shtml |title=Singapore disaster for Ferrari| publisher=F1live.com |date=2008-09-28|accessdate=2008-09-29] [cite web|url=http://www.grandprix.com/race/r800raceincidents.html |title=Singapore GP - Sunday - Race Incidents| publisher=F1-Grandprix.com |date=2008-09-28|accessdate=2008-09-29] Although he retired with four laps remaining, he was classified 15th. Räikkönen set the fastest lap of the race. He equals Michael Schumacher's 2004 record of 10 fastest laps in a Formula One season. [cite web|url=http://www.formula1.com/races/in_detail/singapore_801/circuit_diagram.html |title=2008 FORMULA 1 SINGTEL SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX| publisher=Formula1.com |date=2008-09-28|accessdate=2008-09-29] This retirement though, practically destroyed Raikkonen's hopes of retaining his crown, as he left Singapore 27 points down with only 30 points on offer in the remaining races.

At the Japanese Grand Prix Raikkonen's car went well, qualifying 2nd on the grid, behind Lewis Hamilton. His team-mate Massa had an awful time, only managing to qualify 5th.

Personal life

Räikkönen married Jenni Dahlman, a Finnish model and former Miss Scandinavia, on 31 July 2004. They currently live in Switzerland. His older brother, Rami Räikkönen, is a rally driver and a national junior-class champion, who also competes in the Finnish Formula 3 Championship. His father Matti was a road builder. [cite web |author=Srini|title=Raikkonen's biography| url=http://zhidao.baidu.com/question/5068609.html?fr=qrl3]

Räikkönen's hobbies include snowboarding and ice hockey. [cite web | author=Marx, Jens | title=Cool Raikkonen becomes a Tifosi favourite | work=Bangkok Post | url=http://www.bangkokpost.com/sportsplus/sportsplus.php?id=122854 | accessdate=2007-10-23] He has also competed in several different kinds of motorsport events. In March 2007, while his Formula One rivals were in Australia preparing for the season opener, Räikkönen competed in a snowmobile race in Finland under the pseudonym "James Hunt", referring to the 1976 world champion whose "playboy" lifestyle has been compared with Räikkönen's own. [cite web | author=Benson, Andrew | title=Raikkonen the playboy king | work=BBC | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7055633.stm | accessdate=2007-10-23] Räikkönen won the Enduro Sprint race by over 20 seconds with his Lynx MaMo. [cite web | title=Raikkonen wins in the snow | work=Autosport | url=http://www.autosport.com/news/grapevine.php/id/57244 | accessdate=2007-10-23] Later in the year, he and two friends entered a powerboat race in the Finnish harbour city of Hanko while wearing gorilla suits. Again, he raced under the name "James Hunt". [cite web | author=Baker, Andrew | title=Kimi Raikkonen has the last word | work=The Daily Telegraph | url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=A1YourView&xml=/sport/2007/10/22/smbake222.xml | accessdate=2007-10-23] They then won a prize for the best-dressed crew. [cite web | author=Baldwin, Alan | title=Raikkonen questioned about day out as a gorilla | work=Reuters | url=http://www.reuters.com/article/sportsNews/idUSHAR26992720070802 | accessdate=2007-12-25]

In January 2005, at a London Mayfair strip club called "For Your Eyes Only", Räikkönen allegedly stunned onlookers by cavorting with a lapdancer before launching into his own strip show. [ [http://www.people.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=15105602&method=full&siteid=55768&headline=you-grand-prix--name_page.html "YOU GRAND PRIX!" Steve Myall and Ray Levine - People Magazine (UK), 23 January 2005] ] It proved an embarrassment to McLaren officials who were unveiling the new MP4-20 car in the same month. Chief executive Martin Whitmarsh admitted that Räikkönen may have been naive. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/funny_old_game/4204681.stm Bum steer for 'naive' Raikkonen] BBC Retrieved 3 March 2008.]

Räikkönen has often been compared to his predecessor as Ferrari lead driver, Michael Schumacher. Schumacher, who is married and has two children, was very protective of his private life and disliked the celebrity spotlight.Fact|date=August 2008

There had been some speculation in the media that Räikkönen was contemplating retirement from Formula One at the end of the 2009 season. However, on September 12 2008, it was confirmed by Ferrari that the team will keep the Räikkönen-Massa formation until the end of the 2010 season.

Räikkönen has previously stated that he will continue racing after his career in Formula One. Malcolm Wilson of the BP Ford World Rally Team has said he will consider offering Räikkönen a test in one of the teams cars, raising speculation that the Finn could move to the series after Formula One. [cite web
url=http://msn.foxsports.com/motor/story/8426830/Ford-offer-Kimi-rally-test |title=Ford offer Raikkonen rally test
] Hans-Jürgen Abt, Managing Director of the Audi championship team Abt Sportsline, also said he would like to have Räikkönen on his DTM team. [cite web
url=http://www.motorsport-total.com/f1/news/2008/08/DTM-Teamchef_als_Raeikkoenen-Fan_08080803.html |title=DTM-Teamchef als Räikkönen-Fan
] On Friday, September 12 2008, Kimi Räikkönen was confirmed through the 2010 season with Ferrari. [cite web
url=http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2008/9/8365.html |title=Ferrari confirm Raikkonen to end of 2010
]

In August 2008, it was announced that Räikkönen would appear on a set of Finnish postage stamps. The stamps, which were released to commemorate the Finnish postal service's 370th anniversary, feature images of him racing and on the podium, with the words "F1 World Champion '07 Kimi Räikkönen". [cite news|title=Kimi gets Finnish stamp of approval|publisher=ITV-F1|url=http://www.itv-f1.com/news_article.aspx?id=43630|date=14/08/08]

Results and records

Career summary

"*" Season in progress.

Complete Formula One results

() (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in "italics" indicate fastest lap)* Season in progress

Formula One records and achievements

*In 2005 Räikkönen equaled the record of wins in a single season without winning the World Title (7), shared with four time World Champion Alain Prost, who initially set the record in 1984 and matched it in 1988, and also with Michael Schumacher, in 2006.
*In the 2008(ongoing) season, he also equals Michael Schumacher's record of 10 fastest race laps in a season, set in 2004.
*He currently holds the third highest record for total fastest laps at 35 (up to and including the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix), thus making him the highest ranked driver still active.
*In 2008, Silverstone marked his sixth fastest race lap in a row (Spain, Turkey, Monaco, Canada, France, Britain), passing Michael Schumacher with 5 and 1 behind record holder Alberto Ascari with 7. His 6 consecutive fastest laps put him level with Alberto Ascari for most consecutive fastest laps in single season. Ascari's 7 were set over 2 years with 6 in 1952 and 1 in 1953.
*He is the first driver to win on his Ferrari debut since Nigel Mansell at the 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix and the first to win, set the fastest lap and Pole Position on his Ferrari debut since Juan Manuel Fangio at the 1956 Argentine Grand Prix.
*As of 2008 Räikkönen is currently the highest paid driver in Formula One, with a reputed base salary of $51m per year.
*The 2007 Chinese Grand Prix saw Räikkönen give Scuderia Ferrari their 200th Formula One GP win, as well as their 600th podium (along with team-mate Felipe Massa who finished in 3rd).
*Räikkönen is the second driver to win the World Championship after being third in the drivers standings before the final race. Giuseppe Farina, the first F1 World Champion, was the first to do this in F1|1950, beating Juan Manuel Fangio by three points and Luigi Fagioli by six points.
*Räikkönen is the third Ferrari driver after Juan Manuel Fangio and Jody Scheckter to win the world title in their first year with the team.
*Räikkönen is the third Finnish driver to win the World Championship, after Keke Rosberg and Mika Häkkinen. He is also the most successful Finnish Formula One driver in terms of points, podium finishes and fastest laps.
*Räikkönen also holds the record for the most wins in a debut year with Ferrari with 6, beating Alain Prost's previous record of 5 from 1990 although Michael Schumacher has the most wins in a first title-winning season with 9 set in 2000.

ee also

* Famous Finns
* The Flying Finns

References

External links

* [http://www.kimiraikkonen.com Kimi Räikkönen official website]
* [http://www.f1db.com/tiki-index.php?page=Kimi%20Raikkonen Formula One DataBase: Kimi Räikkönen]

Persondata
NAME=Räikkönen, Kimi
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Räikkönen, Kimi Matias
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Formula 1 driver
DATE OF BIRTH=October 17, 1979
PLACE OF BIRTH=Espoo, Finland
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=


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