|Born||October 17th 1979 in Espoo, Finland|
|Website||Official Site (mirror)|
Biography: Part One
After dominating karting events in his native Finland from a very early age, Raikkonen rose quickly through the minor ranks and easily took the 2000 British Formula Renault Championship, winning seven of ten races. Peter Sauber offered the youngster a series of tests over the winter of 2000-2001 and controversially signed him to drive alongside Nick Heidfeld for his team in 2001, despite Raikkonen only having competed in 23 single-seater races up to that point. Those fears were quickly erased as the young Finn took a point at his debut race in Australia and went on to finish in the points on another three occasions.
When Mika Hakkinen announced his retirement at the end of 2001, McLaren principal Ron Dennis wasted no time in signing Raikkonen to replace him for the 2002 season. Despite numerous engine failures, the Finn managed four podium finishes and finished the season just behind his vastly more experienced teammate, David Coulthard, in the championship. The team started 2003 with a version of the previous years car, which finally proved reliable and Kimi took five podiums in six races, including his first win - in Malaysia. Although it was to be his only win that season, the championship came down to the last race before Michael Schumacher clinched the crown by just two points.
Hopes were high for the 2004 season but it started in disastrous fashion with Kimi finishing just two of the first seven races. The introduction of the heavily revised MP4-19B gave the team a boost and Raikkonen took his second win at the Belgian GP on his way to seventh in the championship. 2005 saw McLaren pair Raikkonen with fiery Columbian, Juan-Pablo Montoya and despite struggling in qualifying on several occasions, Kimi strongly challenged Fernando Alonso for the title, taking seven wins. Many journalists named him as "driver of the year" and his performance to win the season ending Japanese GP ranks as one of the best of all time.
With the momentum of the previous year and good pre-season form, 2006 was meant to see the Finn vying for the title but the McLaren chassis was simply no match for the Renault's or Ferrari's and the team fell apart, with Kimi failing to win a race for the first time since 2002. As the season moved on Ron Dennis pulled the coup of signing Alonso, pushing Montoya to shock the paddock in announcing his move to NASCAR and was immediately replaced by McLaren. Meanwhile Raikkonen was in negotiations for the prime seat at Ferrari to replace Michael Schumacher, who announced his retirement after the Italian GP.
Paired with Felipe Massa at Ferrari, the 2007 season started well with a win in Australia and third-place finishes in the next two races but the following four GP only netted the Finn ten points. He bounced back with back-to-back wins in France & Britain and a win in Belgium kept him mathematically in the title chase, albeit in third place. His win in China paired with Lewis Hamilton's retirement meant he had to win in the season-ending Brazilian GP and hope that both Hamilton and Alonso hit trouble - which they did - making Raikkonen just the second man to win the championship after starting the final race in third place.
The Finn's 2008 defense of his title will be looked back on as disappointing, winning only two races and finishing a distant third (beating fourth place Robert Kubica only by virtue of more wins). Many of his ten fastest race laps came in the closing stages of GPs long after he was out of contention for the win. The Ferrari for 2009 was not very competitive and Raikkonen grew increasingly frustrated as the season went on, despite winning the Belgian GP for the fourth time in five years. At the end of the season the team announced that the Finn would not be returning, despite having a contract in place for 2010, and would be replaced by Fernando Alonso. Despite several offers from other teams, Raikkonen stepped away from F1 at the age of 30 and took up rally driving.
Formula One Record
|Year||Team / #||Starts||Wins||Pole||F Lap||Pts||Pos|
Raikkonen competed in the 2010 World Rally Championship driving for the Red Bull-sponsored Citroen Junior Team with co-driver Kaj Lindstrom, scoring 25 points and finishing 10th. He also won a non-WRC asphalt rally in France. During 2011 the Finn entered nine more WRC events with his own team, ICE 1 Racing and also tried his hand at both NASCAR Truck Series and Nationwide Series. Rumors of a return to Formula One started when he was spotted at the Williams team headquarters and these were confirmed in November when the Lotus team announced he had signed a two-year contract for 2012 and 2013.
It did not take Raikkonen long to get back into the groove, scoring points in all but one race, including 6 podiums before his win at Abu Dhabi. He also provided the world (once again) with some of the choice quotes of the season, including the now famous radio transmission on his way to victory, "Leave me alone, I know what I'm doing!" - which he later had printed on t-shirts for the entire team.
|Year||Team / #||Starts||Wins||Pole||F Lap||Pts||Pos|
2007 FIA World Drivers
2005 FIA World Drivers Championship runner-up
2003 FIA World Drivers Championship runner-up
2000 British Formula Renault 2000 Champion
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