Räikkönen at the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix
17 October 1979
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Entries||261 (260 starts)|
|First entry||2001 Australian Grand Prix|
|First win||2003 Malaysian Grand Prix|
|Last win||2013 Australian Grand Prix|
|Last entry||2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix|
|2016 position||6th (186 pts)|
|World Rally Championship record|
|Teams||Citroën Junior Team, ICE 1 Racing|
|First rally||2009 Rally Finland|
|Last rally||2011 Wales Rally GB|
After nine seasons racing in Formula One, in which during his first Ferrari stint he was the 2007 World Champion, he competed in the World Rally Championship in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, he returned to Formula One, driving for Lotus and continued to drive for Lotus in 2013. On 11 September 2013, Ferrari announced their signing of Räikkönen on a two-year contract, beginning in the 2014 season. His current contract with the team has been extended since and expires at the end of 2017.
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 by his team boss, Peter Sauber. 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. Räikkönen's 2002, 2004 and 2006 seasons were plagued by severe unreliability from his McLaren cars.
Räikkönen's move to Ferrari in 2007 saw him secure his first Formula One World Drivers' Championship, beating McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso by one point, as well as becoming one of the very few drivers to win in their first season with Ferrari. In 2008 he equalled the record for fastest laps in a season, for the second time. However, with Ferrari's desire to get Fernando Alonso into the team with his Santander sponsorship, Räikkönen left Scuderia Ferrari and the sport in 2009.
Räikkönen then went into WRC to drive a Citroën C4 WRC for the Citroën Junior Team in the World Rally Championship for 2010. Along with rallying, Räikkönen also competed in NASCAR, and made his debut for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series. Räikkönen made his return to F1 when he signed a 2-year deal with Lotus starting with the 2012 Formula One season. In his comeback season, he won the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. His consistent performances allowed him to end the season 3rd in the Drivers' Championship.
In 2008, Räikkönen was among the two Formula One drivers who made it into Forbes magazine's The Celebrity 100 list, the other being Fernando Alonso. He was 36th on the magazine's The Celebrity 100 list of 2008, and 41st the previous year. On the same list, in 2008, he was listed as the 26th highest-paid celebrity overall and the 5th highest-paid sportsman behind Tiger Woods, David Beckham, Michael Jordan and Phil Mickelson. In 2009, Räikkönen was listed as the 2nd highest-paid athlete in the world, behind Woods.
- 1 Career
- 1.1 Early career
- 1.2 Formula One (2001–2009)
- 1.3 Leaving Formula One (2010–2011)
- 1.4 Return to Formula One (2012–present)
- 2 Personal life
- 3 Public persona and reaction
- 4 Helmet
- 5 Racing record
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Bibliography
- 9 External links
Räikkönen was born in Espoo. He had a long line of success in karting from the age of 10. 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 frantically 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 onto the track and continued to race. His mechanic thought Räikkönen had retired, but he eventually caught up with the other competitors and finished third. In 1998 he was 1st in the Nordic Championship at Varna in Norway. In 1999, Räikkönen placed second in the European Formula Super A championship for the Dutch PDB Racing Team – run by 1980 world champion Peter de Bruijn – utilising a Gillard chassis. He also competed in the Formula Ford Euro Cup. By the age of twenty, he had won the British Formula Renault winter series of 1999, winning the first four races of the year. In 2000, he won seven out of ten events in the Formula Renault UK Championship. Combined, over these two series of Formula Renault, he won 13 out of 23 events – a 56% win rate.
Formula One (2001–2009)
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. 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 licence and scored a championship point in his debut at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix. Reportedly, Räikkönen was asleep 30 minutes before the race.
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 what was then its best result of fourth place in the Constructors' Championship.
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, mentor and fellow Finn Mika Häkkinen.
Räikkönen scored a third-place podium finish in his first race with McLaren, the 2002 Australian Grand Prix. Although McLaren suffered many 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 in France but went off track at the Adelaide hairpin with a handful of laps to go, because of oil from the blown engine of Allan McNish's Toyota on the circuit. 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.
At the season-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, caused by 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 Spanish Grand Prix, Räikkönen made a mistake in qualifying and had to start from the back of the grid. At the start of the race, he collided with Antônio Pizzonia, who was stuck on his grid position owing to a launch control problem, causing Räikkönen to retire from the race.
The next few races came down more to strategy rather than speed. While having engine problems, Räikkönen successfully defended 2nd position from Rubens Barrichello in Austria. He came extremely close to winning in 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 third 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.
Before the Italian Grand Prix, the FIA were tipped-off by rivals Ferrari about an illegality in the Michelin tyre's tread width. 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 the 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 United States Grand Prix, 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.
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 United States Grand Prix, Räikkönen finished 6th.
At the French Grand Prix, McLaren rolled out the new MP4-19B. Räikkönen finished 7th behind his team-mate, David Coulthard. At Silverstone, Räikkönen took pole and went on to finish second behind Michael Schumacher. Following on from this encouraging display, the McLarens qualified on the 2nd row of the grid in 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 Grand Prix 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 onto 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 owing to electrical problems. At the next race in China, he finished 3rd, only 1.4 seconds behind race winner Rubens Barrichello.
At the Japanese Grand Prix, 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 the last race of the season, the Brazilian Grand Prix, 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 BAR's Button, 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 Three in 2005.
Räikkönen's start to the 2005 season was less than perfect. The car was reported to be too soft on its Michelin tyres, with the result that it was not generating enough heat to post competitive qualifying times. 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 achieve his first podium of the season with a third place behind Renault's Alonso and the Toyota of Jarno Trulli.
Räikkönen then achieved three consecutive poles in San Marino, Spain, and a win after a safety car strategy call by Neil Martin at Monaco. 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. He registered strong, comfortable wins at Barcelona, beating Alonso, and at Monte Carlo, never dropping his lead in both races. At the European Grand Prix, Räikkönen flat-spotted his right front tyre while lapping Jacques Villeneuve. 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" 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.
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 for safety reasons. 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, 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 Germany, 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. He told a news conference, "We need to work in a better way just to make sure that the car is very reliable." However he went on to take the chequered flag with a convincing victory over Michael Schumacher, albeit after McLaren teammate Montoya retired with driveshaft failure while leading.
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 because of 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 yet still managed to outpace them. 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 while chasing Giancarlo Fisichella. He eventually finished fourth.
He went on to win for the second year in a row in Belgium 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.
In Bahrain, Räikkönen suffered electronic problems during Friday practice and a spectacular 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 what he deemed to be Räikkönen's poor performance for the team's failure to finish in the top two in the race.
At the Spanish Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified 9th. However, he managed to get up to 5th place on the first lap of the race. 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. In Monaco, 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. In Canada, Räikkönen achieved another podium. In the United States Grand Prix, his teammate punted him out in an expensive seven car accident. The 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 Jenson 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 halfway into the next lap when he crashed into the barrier at turn 4 because of a loss of rear grip. 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 would retire at the end of the season. Later, Ferrari announced that he would be replaced in the 2007 season by Räikkönen.
The Chinese Grand Prix saw another retirement for Räikkönen due to throttle problems. His last two Grands Prix, in Japan and Brazil, did lead to 2 finishes, but he missed the podium on both occasions. 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 3 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.
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 teammate to Brazilian Felipe Massa, who had been driving for Ferrari since 2006.
At the 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 Bahrain, 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. At the Monaco Grand Prix, Räikkönen struck a barrier in qualifying 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. At the United States Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified fourth, finished fourth and recorded fastest lap of the race. With ten races in the season left, 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 teammate 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 and Ferrari's first 1–2 win of the 2007 season. At the British Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified in second place, just missing the pole by running wide in the last corner. In the race, he 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 to pass him. Räikkönen led to the end of the race.
At the European Grand Prix, Räikkönen captured his second pole position of the season but retired from the race, run in heavy rain, with a problem with the hydraulics of the car. In Hungary, Räikkönen qualified his car in fourth place, but started from third after Fernando Alonso was penalised. In the race he overtook Nick Heidfeld at the start and pressured Hamilton until the end, but had to settle for second, being 0.7s behind Hamilton. 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." In Turkey, Räikkönen missed pole position after making a mistake in the final sector of his fast lap, which left him third on the grid. On race day, he overtook Hamilton in the first corner and took second place, which he kept to the end of the race.
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 while suffering from a neck problem. The Ferrari team employed an unusual one-stop strategy, which left him third after Hamilton passed him late in the race on fresh tyres. At Spa-Francorchamps, Räikkönen's favourite circuit, he secured pole position again and took 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 in Japan, the only new track on the 2007 calendar, Räikkönen qualified 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 teammate Massa were badly affected by having to change to extreme wet tyres during the early stages, because the FIA's tyre-rule notification arrived late at Ferrari. Towards the end of the race, Räikkönen moved through the field to third place, but could not pass his fellow 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 1986.
Räikkönen took the 2007 Formula One Drivers' title with victory in the 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. Räikkönen eventually overtook Massa, who was already eliminated from contention for the Drivers' Championship in the Japanese Grand Prix. Massa's strategy for the second round of pit stops ensured Räikkönen kept the lead. 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).
Räikkönen's Drivers' Championship was briefly put into doubt when race stewards began an investigation after identifying possible fuel irregularities in the cars of Nico Rosberg, Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld following post-race inspection. Their disqualification and a race reclassification would have seen Hamilton lifted from seventh to fourth in the race result. However the race stewards decided that no sanctions would be given, meaning the results would stand. McLaren appealed against the decision, however the FIA Court of Appeal rejected their appeal on 16 November 2007 thus confirming Räikkönen as the champion.
After a disappointing first race for Ferrari in Australia where Räikkönen eventually finished eighth after starting 15th on the grid owing 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 in 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. He also secured the lead in the championship.
In Spain, Räikkönen took the 15th pole of his career and his first of the 2008 season. He managed 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.
At the Turkish Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified in fourth place. Despite damaging his front wing in the early stages after a collision with fellow Finn Heikki Kovalainen, Räikkönen was still able to set the fastest lap and finish in third place.
In Monaco, Räikkönen qualified in second behind teammate Felipe Massa. Räikkönen stayed second behind Massa until he was given a drive-through penalty for an infringement by the team on his car and dropped down to sixth. He was set for fifth until an incident with 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, also setting the fastest lap in the process. 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. However, the stewards decided not to penalise him.
In Canada, Räikkönen qualified third. In the race, he set the fastest lap during the first stint while catching up with Robert Kubica who was in second place. The safety car was deployed when Adrian Sutil's car broke down in a dangerous position. Both he and Kubica jumped ahead of race leader Lewis Hamilton when they pitted during the safety car period. As there was a red light at the end of the pitlane, Räikkönen and Kubica stopped alongside each other and waited for the signal to allow them back onto the circuit. Hamilton failed to notice the red light and hit the rear of Räikkönen's Ferrari, eliminating both cars.
Räikkönen went on to take his 16th pole position in France, which was the 200th pole for Scuderia Ferrari. Räikkönen dominated the race as he set the fastest lap and had a six-second lead until a bank exhaust failure some halfway through the race reduced his engine's power. He gave up the lead to his teammate Massa, but was far enough ahead of Toyota's Jarno Trulli, to secure second place and eight points.
Räikkönen qualified third at the British Grand Prix. Before the race, Räikkönen pushed noted photographer Paul-Henri Cahier to the ground as he lined up a close-up shot. Räikkönen'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. The race was in wet conditions and Räikkönen stayed third at the first corner behind Hamilton and Kovalainen. He kept pace and got up to second when Kovalainen spun. He then chased after Hamilton, and set the fastest lap as he drew up directly behind the McLaren. During the first pitstop, Ferrari did not change the intermediates on his car in the hope that the track would become dry. However, the track was hit by another shower, and Räikkönen rapidly lost pace, and dropped down to sixth before finally pitting for new tyres. He finished fourth, a lap down.
At the German Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified sixth and dropped down a place at the first corner. He was running fifth when the safety car came out after a crash involving Timo Glock. His teammate Felipe Massa was ahead of him on the track, and as a result, Räikkönen was forced to wait behind Massa when the pitlane opened. This dropped him down to 12th, but he eventually finished in sixth.
At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Räikkönen again qualified sixth. He lost a position to Alonso at the beginning of the race but managed to finish third owing to Hamilton's tyre puncture, passing Alonso during the pitstops and Massa's retirement after an engine failure.
During the European Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified fourth and lost a place at the start to Kovalainen. He stayed fifth until the second round of pitstops when he exited before the fuel hose was properly disengaged from his car and left one of the mechanics with a fractured toe. Two laps later, he suffered a similar engine failure to Massa in the previous race; a connecting rod in his engine broke and he was forced to retire.
At the Belgian Grand Prix, Räikkönen again qualified fourth. He passed Kovalainen and Massa at the start to be second, and took the lead from Hamilton on the second lap. He pulled away, setting the fastest lap of the race and built a five-second gap. He looked set to win but owing to a late-race rain shower, Hamilton closed right up to him and tried to pass him at the final chicane with two laps to go. Hamilton cut the chicane and rejoined ahead of Räikkönen. He let Räikkönen take the place back. Hamilton then repassed him for the lead. The two battled on for the rest of the lap, with Räikkönen retaking the lead when the two stumbled upon spinning backmarker Nico Rosberg, forcing Hamilton onto the grass. Räikkönen spun at the next corner and fell behind Hamilton again. While trying to catch up, he lost control of the car, smashed into a wall and retired.
At the Italian Grand Prix, which was held in extremely wet conditions, Räikkönen qualified 14th. He stayed in 14th position for the first two stints. He climbed to ninth position in the third and last stint in which he also set the fastest lap of the race.
In Singapore, the first night event in Formula One history, Räikkönen qualified third behind Massa and Hamilton. He remained in this position for most of the early laps. 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 16th. Räikkönen managed to climb to fifth place, but on lap 57, while attacking Timo Glock, he hit the wall after pushing too hard at turn 10 and retired. He set the fastest lap of the race as his tenth of the season. This equalled Michael Schumacher's 2004 record of ten fastest laps in a Formula One season.
At the Japanese Grand Prix at the Fuji Speedway circuit, Räikkönen qualified second on the grid, behind Hamilton, and took the lead at the start. Closing up to turn 1, Hamilton attempted to pass on the inside, braked late and went wide, forcing Räikkönen to also go wide. Räikkönen lost out heavily and went down to seventh position. He gained places after a collision between Hamilton and Massa, Kovalainen's hydraulic failure and an overtaking manoeuvre on Jarno Trulli. He eventually finished third, behind Renault's Fernando Alonso and BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica. This result meant that it was impossible for Räikkönen to retain his Drivers' Championship title for the second year.
In China, Räikkönen qualified second behind Hamilton. At the start he stayed second with his teammate and now Ferrari's world championship contender, Massa, behind him in third place. However, with Räikkönen out of the running for the world championship he let Massa through into second place on lap 49, to help the latter gain two additional points in his pursuit of Hamilton in the world championship race.
At the Brazilian Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified third and finished third, behind Massa and Alonso. As Kubica failed to score, he finished third in the championship.
Räikkönen also won the DHL Fastest Lap Award for the second year in a row. He set 10 fastest laps throughout the season.
At the start of the 2009 season in the Australian Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified in ninth place. The pace of the Ferraris and McLarens in particular was significantly slower than the likes of the Brawn, Red Bull and other outfits who were struggling to keep up with them in 2008. In the race, both Ferraris were running well before Räikkönen hit a barrier. He was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop on lap 43 and subsequently retired with differential failure.
In Malaysia, Räikkönen topped the time sheet in the second practice session. Räikkönen was ninth in qualifying. Sebastian Vettel and Rubens Barrichello's ten and five-place penalties respectively meant that he was promoted to 7th. During the race, rain was predicted and the team took a gamble to change Räikkönen to full wet tyres while the track was still dry. The gamble did not pay off, and Räikkönen fell down the field. By the time the race was stopped on the 33rd lap due to torrential rain, Räikkönen was classified 14th.
Räikkönen's season did not get any better in Round 3 in China where he qualified in 8th place. In the wet race, he and Lewis Hamilton had duels early on, with Hamilton having to overtake Räikkönen three times to get the job done. Räikkönen complained about power loss from the engine from near the start and of a lack of grip after his one and only pit-stop. This meant that he could only finish 10th. In Bahrain, Räikkönen secured 6th place and Ferrari's first points of the year, but was disappointed by the team's performance. He retired from the Spanish Grand Prix due to a hydraulics failure after qualifying from the back of the grid.
At the Monaco Grand Prix, Räikkönen secured 2nd place in qualifying, Ferrari and Räikkönen's best qualifying of the year so far. He admitted that he was still disappointed because he missed out on pole narrowly to the Brawn of Jenson Button. Räikkönen lost out to Rubens Barrichello at the start of the race, dropping back to 3rd. He maintained this position until the chequered flag.
At the Turkish Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified sixth, but damaged his front wing on the first lap. He could only finish ninth, out of the points. At the British Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified ninth but a good start saw him move up to fifth. However, he dropped to eighth during the pit stops because of traffic and remained until the finish.
At the German Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified ninth after a damp session. In the race however he collided with the Force India of Adrian Sutil like in the previous year in Monte Carlo, as the German was emerging from a pitstop. While Sutil managed to recover back to the pits to replace a nosecone, Räikkönen was forced to retire a few laps later with radiator damage as a result of the incident.
At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Räikkönen took his and Ferrari's best finish of the season in 2nd, after making a great start from 7th. After the first corner Räikkönen was in 4th place, but when Fernando Alonso retired after his early first stop, Räikkönen moved up to 3rd. Räikkönen overtook Webber for 2nd place at the first round of pit stops when Räikkönen and Webber pitted on the same lap. Räikkönen had a clean pit-stop, whereas Webber had a problem and was released into the path of the Ferrari. Räikkönen and Webber avoided collision, and Webber had to slot in behind Räikkönen. On his second pit stop, Räikkönen had a problem with an exhaust pipe. However, having built quite a gap between him and Webber, he held on to take 2nd place.
At the European Grand Prix, he qualified 6th. He jumped to 4th at the start of the race. He then moved up to 3rd after the second pit stops jumping Heikki Kovalainen for the last podium place, and stayed in that position until the end of the race, claiming his second straight podium.
At the Belgian Grand Prix, he qualified 6th, jumping to 2nd at the start of the race. After the safety car was removed, he passed Giancarlo Fisichella to take the race lead and led all the way to the chequered flag for his first race win in 25 races, and the first and only one for Ferrari in 2009. It was Räikkönen's fourth victory in the last five Belgian Grands Prix, bolstering his reputation as "The King of Spa".
Räikkönen continued his good form at the Italian Grand Prix, qualifying and finishing 3rd, after Lewis Hamilton's last-lap crash. It was his 4th consecutive podium finish.
Singapore saw the end of a great run for Räikkönen where he only finished 10th after qualifying 12th.
In Japan, Räikkönen came very close to another podium, finishing fourth. He had qualified fifth and was not able to gain a place at the start of the race, as he was on hard tyres. He put on softs for his second stint and was able to close in on Nick Heidfeld at about three-quarters of a second every lap. He overtook the German after the BMW Sauber came out of the pits. However, an accident involving Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari brought out the safety car on lap 44, which kept the field stationary for a further five laps. Despite Lewis Hamilton suffering a KERS failure, Räikkönen's car did not have the grip necessary and was not able to overtake the third-placed McLaren at the restart. He went wide in an attempt to overtake Hamilton but recovered without losing a further place to Nico Rosberg.
In Brazil, Räikkönen qualified 5th and finished 6th. His race was already ruined when Mark Webber swerved into his path, damaging the Ferrari's front wing. At the pit stop while having the wing changed, fuel dripping from the fuel rig stuck on Kovalainen's car caused the Ferrari to briefly burst in flames as the two cars were exiting their pit stops. For the rest of the race even with his eyes burning from fuel, Räikkönen used his strategy to move up the order and eventually finished in sixth place.
Leaving Formula One (2010–2011)
Near the end of the 2009 season, Ferrari announced that Räikkönen would be leaving the team, despite having a contract to race for them in 2010. He would be replaced by Fernando Alonso. He was expected to return to McLaren alongside Lewis Hamilton but negotiations with the team failed. Räikkönen was linked to Mercedes GP but the team eventually signed Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg. Toyota F1, before it pulled out of Formula One, offered Räikkönen a driving contract to replace Timo Glock in 2010. The BBC reported that he refused the contract owing to wanting to drive a race-winning car, not to mention Toyota not offering a large enough salary.
On 17 November 2009, his manager Steve Robertson confirmed that Räikkönen would not drive in Formula One in the 2010 season. But during 2010 itself, rumours emerged once again about another possible Räikkönen comeback this time with the Renault team in 2011. This followed a resurgence in Renault's form, and the fact that the Russian Vitaly Petrov had yet to be re-signed like team-mate Robert Kubica. Team principal Éric Boullier claimed he had been contacted by Räikkönen in connection with a possible return, but said that although he was flattered by Räikkönen's alleged display of interest:
"I would have to speak personally with him first, look him in the eyes to see if I see enough motivation there for him to return to F1. It doesn't make sense to hire somebody, even a former world champion, if you cannot be sure that his motivation is still 100%. Why should you invest in somebody who leaves you guessing?"
Räikkönen made his initial rally debut at the Arctic Lapland Rally, which ran from 23 to 24 January 2009, driving a Tommi Mäkinen Racing-prepared Abarth Grande Punto S2000. He finished in 13th place. Räikkönen made his WRC debut in the 2009 Rally Finland, which took place between 30 July and 2 August, starting just four days after his 2nd-place finish in the Hungarian Grand Prix. He was running third in group N and 15th overall before crashing out in Väärinmaja, last stage of Saturday.
On 4 December 2009, it was announced that Räikkönen would altogether shift from Formula 1 to the World Rally Championship for the 2010 season as a full-time driver for the Citroën Junior Team, and that he would be driving a Red Bull-sponsored Citroën C4 WRC with his co-driver, Kaj Lindström. As members of the team, the pair were scheduled to participate in 12 of 13 rallies in the 2010 WRC calendar, the exception being Rally New Zealand.
On 3 April 2010, Räikkönen scored his first WRC points when he finished eighth in the Jordan Rally. Consequently, he became the second driver after Carlos Reutemann to score championship points in both Formula One and the World Rally Championship. In the next WRC event, the Rally of Turkey, Räikkönen improved his best result with a fifth-place finish, 6m 44.3s off the winner, Sébastien Loeb. This result saw him beat established and more experienced drivers in the field.
In the 2010 Rally Finland, the retired four-time World Rally Champion Juha Kankkunen entered the race and said that if Räikkönen cannot beat him then he might as well go back to Formula One. Kankkunen finished eighth and Räikkönen 25th due to car trouble. He finished seventh in the Rallye Deutschland, his second ever asphalt rally, while notching up his first ever career stage win, the last stage of the rally.
On 18 September 2010, Räikkönen achieved his first rally win when he participated in the Rallye Vosgien 2010 in France. He won all six stages in the asphalt rally. Räikkönen could not start in the Rally Catalunya because he crashed during the shakedown, leaving the roll cage damaged, and the team did not have enough time to repair it. Subsequently Räikkönen decided to not take part in the rally at all, even when he could by super rally rules. The reason was stated to be saving the car.
Räikkönen entered the 2011 World Rally Championship season under his own team, ICE 1 Racing. He drove a Citroën DS3 WRC. He finished eighth in the opening round, Rally Sweden. Skipping the Mexico event, he next competed in Rally Portugal and finished seventh.
It was reported on 29 March 2011 that Räikkönen would try his hand at NASCAR starting in the Camping World Truck Series sometime in the summer of 2011 with an eye on also running in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series. On 2 April Räikkönen signed a deal with Toyota team Kyle Busch Motorsports to run a limited schedule in the Truck Series. An earlier report claimed that Räikkönen's entry was related with former Richard Petty Motorsports executive Foster Gillett, whom Räikkönen announced would be a partner in his Ice 1 Racing team.
On 20 May, Räikkönen debuted in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a strong finish of 15th, though he started the day with tough practice sessions and qualified only at 31 out of 37 cars. His race craft was well received by team crew chief Rick Ren and his teammate Kyle Busch. Räikkönen went on to race in the Nationwide Series at the same track on 28 May driving for Joe Nemechek and NEMCO Motorsports. He finished 27th after having debris stuck under his car and getting a penalty for speeding in the pitlane. Later in the month, Räikkönen tested Robby Gordon's car at Infineon Raceway, with plans of Gordon fielding a two-car team for him and Räikkönen at the Toyota/Save Mart 350. However, Räikkönen crashed the car in the test, and the deal with Robby Gordon Motorsports fell through.
Return to Formula One (2012–present)
In the week before the 2011 Singapore Grand Prix, several news sources reported that Räikkönen was eyeing a return to Formula One for the 2012 season with Williams after he was spotted at the team's headquarters in Grove, Oxfordshire. Several reports went so far as to suggest that Räikkönen had entered preliminary negotiations with the team. However, the team refused to comment on the reports, with driver Rubens Barrichello dismissing them as rumour and speculation. On 29 November 2011, it was announced that Räikkönen would be returning to Formula 1 in 2012, signing a two-year contract with Lotus.
Räikkönen began the season by qualifying 17th for the Australian Grand Prix after making a mistake on his last flying lap. However he recovered his weekend during the race the next day, as he made a good start to move up to twelfth, before making it into the top ten. He took three places on the last lap of the race, to finish in seventh place. In the dry qualifying session for the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix Räikkönen qualified in 5th place. He started the race from 10th place because of an unscheduled gearbox change. In the race he had the opportunity to try Pirelli's wet-weather tyres for the first time. He finished the race in 5th despite being inexperienced with Pirelli's wet-weather tyres compared to most of the other drivers. At the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix he was 14th after running 2nd before being overtaken by 10 cars in the space of one lap, due to a mistake in tyre strategy, expecting the Pirelli tyres to last longer in the last stint. At the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix he finished second starting from 11th position on the grid. It was his first podium and his best finish of this comeback. Three weeks later, Räikkönen finished third at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, after having qualified in fifth place, which had been promoted to fourth as a result of a penalty given to Lewis Hamilton. In Monaco Räikkönen qualified in 8th but finished one place lower in 9th place. For the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix Räikkönen again had a bad qualifying session finishing 12th. He was able to finish 8th in the race taking, as he stated, "important championship points". In the 2012 European Grand Prix at the Valencia Street Circuit he finished second behind Fernando Alonso. In the 2012 British Grand Prix he finished fifth, after having qualified in sixth place. During qualifying for the 2012 German Grand Prix, Räikkönen had good pace in Q1 with the harder set of tyres and was looking good for a potential shot at a higher grid place. At the start of Q2 the rain was already heavy meaning that Räikkönen lost the advantage he had in dry conditions. In the wet Q3 session he qualified in 10th place. Good pace in dry conditions from the qualifying session was proven in the race as Räikkönen succeeded to finish 4th, and eventually gaining the last podium spot after Sebastian Vettel was penalised for an illegal overtaking manoeuvre. For the 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix Räikkönen qualified 5th. He lost fifth place at the start to Fernando Alonso due to a KERS issue on his E20 car. He succeeded in gaining a position over Alonso during the first round of pit-stops, and later did the same to Button and Vettel during the second round. He finished the race in 2nd place, just one second behind the race winner Lewis Hamilton.
After a 5-week long summer break, the much speculated introduction of a 'Drag Reduction Device' by Lotus F1 team has been delayed due to bad weather conditions on Friday for the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix. That didn't stop Räikkönen from qualifying fourth. He went on to finish 3rd behind Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel. A week later at 2012 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Räikkönen qualified 7th and finished the race in 5th. At the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified 12th as his Lotus E20 couldn't match the pace of the top 3 teams and eventually finished 6th. At 2012 Japanese Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified 8th after spinning at his final attempt in Q3 and finished 6th after being passed by McLaren's Lewis Hamilton after the second round of pit stops. Next in 2012 Korean Grand Prix saw the introduction of a coanda style exhaust system and several other minor updates to the Lotus E20 which, Lotus team boss Eric Boullier regarded as a new era in his team's development race. Räikkönen eventually qualified 5th and finished the race in 5th after an impressive battle with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton which ended in Räikkönen's favour. Even though he was 48 points behind the championship leader Sebastian Vettel after 16 rounds of the 2012 Formula One season, Räikkönen said he takes inspiration from the 2007 Formula One season which he won at the last round in 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix after McLaren's Lewis Hamilton suffered gearbox problems. At the 2012 Indian Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified in 7th place. He couldn't manage to improve his starting position because of a lack of top speed on the straights. After this race, the contract with Lotus F1 was extended for 2013 due to the fact that the terms of options in the contract have been met. On 4 November 2012, Räikkönen won his first race for the Lotus F1 team at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after a good start from fourth saw him take Pastor Maldonado and Mark Webber at the first corner. He was unable to match the pace of Hamilton, but a mechanical issue retired the McLaren and allowed Räikkönen to win the race, despite pressure from the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso in the closing stages. Although he was now mathematically eliminated from the championship as a result of Vettel finishing 3rd, the name Lotus celebrated its first win since the 1987 Detroit Grand Prix which was won by Ayrton Senna. Still third, Räikkönen was 16 points clear of Lewis Hamilton in the championship. But after Hamilton's pole position at the concluding race of 2012, Räikkönen would have to finish at least fifth in the race if Hamilton were to win. He qualified only ninth. On lap 52, Räikkönen, who had been in-and-out of the points frequently, made a mistake and went off the track and tried to use an escape road to re-enter the track rather than drive over the grass. The road was blocked and he was forced to turn back. He lost numerous places and found himself behind a Caterham and a Marussia. He skidded again to be lapped, but re-claimed the lost places and with a retirement from Hamilton, finished the race in 10th and claimed his 3rd place in the standings, with a 1-point contribution to the tally. He ended the season 71 points behind Fernando Alonso and 74 points behind champion Sebastian Vettel.
On 29 October 2012, Lotus confirmed that Räikkönen would be racing with the team in 2013, after several weeks of speculation that Räikkönen had several other options for 2013, including other forms of motorsport.
On 17 March 2013 he won the first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix despite starting from seventh, thanks to a two-stop strategy. He also set the fastest lap of the race on lap 56. He described the victory as one of his easiest wins. Räikkönen qualified seventh in Malaysia, but was demoted three places for impeding Nico Rosberg during qualifying. He finished the race seventh, behind team-mate Grosjean, after damaging his car at the start.
At the Chinese Grand Prix, he qualified and finished second, despite having to regain the two places he lost at the start and having damaged the front of his car while battling Sergio Pérez for position. In the Bahrain Grand Prix he qualified ninth, but was promoted to eighth after Lewis Hamilton received a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change. He finished the race second ahead of his team-mate Romain Grosjean, with Sebastian Vettel winning the race. The podium of the race was exactly same as in 2012. At the Spanish Grand Prix, Räikkönen started fourth and finished second thanks to a three-stop strategy. At the next race in Monaco, Räikkönen started fifth but an aggressive overtake by Pérez gave him a puncture and dropped him out of the points until a last-ditch attempt on the final lap where he overtook Esteban Gutiérrez, Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hülkenberg to gain tenth place. In the process, it continued his streak of 23 consecutive points finishes, one shy of the record of 24 set by Michael Schumacher across three seasons between 2001 and 2003.
With his Lotus struggling during the Canadian Grand Prix, Räikkönen finished ninth. On 30 June 2013 at the British Grand Prix, Räikkönen finished in the points for the 25th consecutive race, breaking Schumacher's record. He finished fifth but believed second place could have been possible had he pitted during the safety car period. The result kept him in third place in the championship. At the German Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified fourth and finished second, only a second behind Vettel with the help of the safety car. Räikkönen struggled in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, unable to capitalise on strong times earlier in the weekend. He qualified sixth but finished second – for the fifth time at the circuit – holding off a last minute charge from Vettel with fresher tyres. The result promoted him to second in the Drivers' Championship, one point ahead of Fernando Alonso and 38 points behind championship leader, Vettel.
At the Belgian Grand Prix, Räikkönen finished fastest in Q2 but struggled during the wetter final session, qualifying 8th behind his teammate. Although Räikkönen did gain some places in the race, he was eventually forced to retire with a brake related issue on lap 27, ending the Finn's record-breaking run – also numbering 27 – of consecutive points finishes. The DNF also ended his chances of beating the most consecutive race finishes – a record held by Nick Heidfeld at 41 finishes – Räikkönen recorded 38.
He failed to score again at the Italian Grand Prix after losing his front wing at the start. He managed to make his way up the order, but was unable to pass Jenson Button for a point scoring position. On the week following the race, it was announced that Räikkönen would not continue with Lotus for the 2014 season, and instead join Fernando Alonso at Ferrari. Before the following Singapore Grand Prix, it was revealed that Räikkönen had not been paid salary by Lotus for the whole season, meaning there were several million euros of outstanding fees. Räikkönen publicly cited this as the reason for leaving Lotus for Ferrari.
In the Singapore GP, Räikkönen had recurring back problems during the practice sessions, which at first put his participation in the race in question. He qualified only 13th, but was still able to return to the podium, clawing to the third place partly thanks to a safety car intervention in the middle of the race. At the Japanese Grand Prix, he qualified 9th and finished 5th.
Two weeks later, at the Indian Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified 6th. In the race, he opted for a one-stop tyre strategy, placing him in the second place at the closing stages of the Grand Prix. However, during the final few laps, his pace was more than a second slower than those chasing him, including Nico Rosberg and Räikkönen's Lotus teammate Romain Grosjean. With eight laps remaining, Rosberg was able to take over Räikkönen for second. Grosjean then caught up with Räikkönen on the fourth last lap, but was not immediately able to pass him. At this point, the Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane had a heated radio exchange with Räikkönen, commanding him to move out of the way. The radio conversation was widely noted in the press, raising questions about the health of his relationship with the team. Räikkönen eventually finished 7th after stopping for new tyres with only two laps to go.
In the following Abu Dhabi Grand Prix questions about Räikkönen's relationship with his team were further fueled by his absence from the usual Thursday media events. Räikkönen had reportedly only left his home at the last moment to make it to the Grand Prix after considering not racing at all in the event. On Friday, Räikkönen then publicly threatened that he would not continue to race with Lotus in the remaining two Grands Prix of the season after Abu Dhabi unless the salary dispute was resolved. In the Saturday's qualifying, Räikkönen made it to 5th, but was demoted to the 22nd and last grid spot due to his E21 car failing a post-qualifying floor deflection test. In the race, he immediately made contact with Giedo van der Garde's Caterham in the first corner of the first lap and broke his Lotus's right front suspension, forcing Räikkönen to retire on the first lap for the first time since the 2006 United States Grand Prix. Immediately after being recovered, he left the circuit and returned to his hotel while the race continued, further fueling tensions between him and the team. Despite this, following the race, it was announced that Lotus and Räikkönen had reached a provisional agreement on the salary dispute that would see Räikkönen race for the team during the remainder of the season as the investment group Quantum Motorsports said that they had concluded long-running negotiations with Lotus for acquisition of a share in the team, providing the team with financial security.
However, a week before the following United States Grand Prix, it was announced that Räikkönen would nevertheless miss the rest of the season, having elected to have back surgery for the problems that had troubled him in the Singapore Grand Prix. For the remaining two Grands Prix, Räikkönen would be replaced at Lotus by fellow Finn Heikki Kovalainen.
Return to Ferrari (2014–)
On 11 September 2013, it was confirmed that Räikkönen had agreed a 2-year deal to return to Ferrari (where he won the championship in 2007), starting from 2014. He revealed that it was for monetary reasons that he left Lotus.
A rule change for the 2014 season allowed drivers to pick a unique car number that they will use for their entire F1 career. Räikkönen however decided to retain the No. 7 car number he used for Lotus during the 2013 season as "It's the number I already had last year and I saw no reason to change it".
After a mostly disappointing first half of the season, Räikkönen had a return to form at the first race back after the summer break in Belgium, where a good strategy and a series of fastest laps earned him fourth place, his best result of the season. It was also the first time Räikkönen had finished higher in a race than Alonso in 2014. Räikkönen ended the 2014 season a career-low 12th in the Drivers' Championship, and for the first time since his rookie year, did not finish on the podium. He also had a big shunt in the British Grand Prix; an impact that measured 47 g0 (460 m/s2). Except some pain in the ribs, Räikkönen had no other bruises and was declared fit for the following race.
Räikkönen remained with Ferrari for the 2015 season, partnering former world champion Sebastian Vettel after Alonso announced his departure from the Scuderia.
Räikkönen had to retire from the first race of the season in Australia due to a loose wheel following a pitstop. Following that mishap, he recovered to finish fourth both in Malaysia and China. Another pit issue befell Räikkönen during practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix as he was reprimanded for exiting the pitlane in a 'potentially dangerous manner' by the stewards, having swerved around a standing car in an undesignated area. However, he escaped a possible grid penalty. During the same weekend, his manager Steve Robertson suggested that Räikkönen was heading towards a contract extension with Ferrari. That would contradict previous suggestions from Räikkönen himself that he would 'probably' retire at the end of his Ferrari contract, and that 2015 would be his last season. Courtesy of a considerate tyre strategy by the Ferrari team, at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Räikkönen finished second after gaining that position late in the race and starting from fourth on the grid. In the process, Räikkönen recorded his first podium since the 2013 Korean Grand Prix for Lotus, and the first in his second spell with Ferrari – his most recent Ferrari podium was a third place finish at the 2009 Italian Grand Prix. Räikkönen said that he was hopeful in winning races in the near future after the team's strong recovery relative to 2014. He also commented that, both the engine and downforce had been significantly improved and that the car handled much more to his liking. In a post-race interview, Ferrari team boss, Maurizio Arrivabene, described this result as a sign that Räikkönen "is back" and that he "showed what a race animal he is", also implying that if he had a few more race laps available, Räikkönen would have challenged Hamilton for the race win.
At the next race of the season in Barcelona, Räikkönen was unhappy with the setup of the car and was able to qualify only in 7th place. However, he had a good opening lap in the race and made up 2 places to finish the race in 5th position. Räikkönen termed Monaco GP qualifying session to be a "disaster"; he was only able to qualify in 6th position, with his teammate Sebastian Vettel qualifying in 3rd, followed by Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat in the Red Bulls. In the race, Räikkönen was able to move up to 5th place, before being controversially overtaken by Ricciardo, and thus held his qualifying position to finish the race in 6th, while Lewis Hamilton was robbed of his race win by a botched up pit stop strategy. Räikkönen put up a strong qualifying performance at Montreal to take 3rd on the grid behind the two Mercedes drivers. During the race, while on the out-lap from a pitstop, Räikkönen suffered a repeat of the incident at the previous year's race and spun at the hairpin, which was attributed to an engine torque mapping issue. This caused him to lose his 3rd place to Valtteri Bottas. In the Austrian Grand Prix he was involved in a big crash with Fernando Alonso which left Alonso's McLaren on top of Räikkönen's Ferrari. However both left unscathed. After a disappointing showing caused by changing weather in Great Britain, Räikkönen bounced back strongly running second behind Vettel looking set for a 1–2 in Hungary, when a technical failure regarding the energy recovery system meant he lost straightline speed. An untimely safety car meant losing further positions after the restart and after a pitstop to re-fire the engine meant he dropped out of the points he retired when the problem did not fix itself as he had lost the chance to get back past any cars.
On 19 August, Ferrari announced that Räikkönen had extended his contract with the team for the 2016 season, taking his total tally with the team to six seasons spread out over a total of ten years. Räikkönen said that 'his dream went on' and confirmed that he wanted Ferrari to be the team where he ended his career. At the race following the announcement (Spa), miscommunication from the team coupled with gearbox change penalties saw Räikkönen start from 17th on the grid. However, he managed to overtake the middle pack and finished the race in 7th, after teammate Sebastian Vettel had a tire blowout on the 42nd lap causing him to lose a 3rd place finish.
Räikkönen qualified on the front row for Ferrari's home race at Monza, but a complete lack of movement for a few seconds at the start saw him drop down the order. Showing good pace however, he managed to pick his way from the back of the field to fifth. Räikkönen blamed a 'clutch positioning' problem, whilst team boss Arrivabene suggested Räikkönen had caused the anti-stall to kick in himself due to 'messing with his fingers' although he clarified it saying he did not fully know at the time. Nevertheless, he remained at one podium of the season, as team mate Vettel finished second to take his tally to eight in twelve races. At the Singapore Grand Prix, Räikkönen showed consistent performances in the practice sessions and qualified in 3rd, behind Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo. Räikkönen maintained the position through the race despite being uncomfortable with the car, to take his second podium finish of the season. Räikkönen ended the season by finishing third in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to take his third podium of the year and securing fourth place in the Drivers' Championship.
For the second year in a row, Räikkönen had to retire from the first race of the season in Australia, after a fire broke out in his airbox. Räikkönen finished in the second place at the Bahrain Grand Prix while his teammate Sebastian Vettel did not start the race after his car broke down on formation lap. Räikkönen outpaced teammate Sebastian Vettel in qualifying at the Chinese Grand Prix to take 3rd on the grid, however a first lap collision with Vettel saw him damaging his front wing and he dropped down the order, he then showed good pace to move up the field and eventually finished fifth. He managed to finish the Russian Grand Prix in third place after a huge start collision, which left his teammate Vettel out of the race. This was also the 700th podium in Ferrari's Formula One history. Räikkönen finished behind Max Verstappen in second place to take his third podium of the season in the Spanish Grand Prix finishing ahead of his teammate Vettel who was third.
Räikkönen met Finnish model and former Miss Scandinavia 2001, Jenni Dahlman in 2002. The couple married on 31 July 2004, living between Switzerland and Finland. They separated in February 2013, and divorced in 2014. Räikkönen became engaged to fitness and underwear model Minna-Mari "Minttu" Virtanen. On 28 January 2015, Virtanen gave birth to the couple's first child, a boy. On 7 August 2016, Räikkönen married Virtanen in a ceremony in Siena, Italy. On 16 May 2017, Räikkönen became a father for the second time with the birth of his daughter.
Räikkönen's hobbies include snowboarding and ice hockey. During his spare time he can often be seen watching his hometown ice hockey team Espoo Blues play. 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. Räikkönen won the Enduro Sprint race by over 20 seconds with his Lynx. 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". They then won a prize for the best-dressed crew.
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".
In 2011, Räikkönen founded his own Motocross World Championship team, Ice 1 Racing. The team consists of MX1 rider Toni Eriksson and MX2 rider Ludde Söderberg and is managed by seven-time enduro world champion Kari Tiainen. The Ice 1 Racing team also supports six junior riders competing in the Finnish national championship.
Public persona and reaction
Räikkönen is known for his dislike of giving media interviews, and frequently answers questions in a blunt and monosyllabic manner. A notable incident occurred in the build-up to the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix when then-ITV pundit Martin Brundle asked Räikkönen why he missed a ceremony in which footballer Pelé presented Michael Schumacher with a lifetime achievement award. Räikkönen replied, on live TV: "I was having a shit."
He has a self-appointed moniker, "Iceman", with several layers of meaning; apart from its association with famously-cold Finland, he is widely considered to have a cool temperament under pressure and also an 'icy' persona with most other drivers, team members and the media. He appears to be aware of the perception, making no apologies for it stating that he is "not here to try to please people. I'm here to do my best" and, in a post-race interview after winning the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, "Last time you guys was [sic] giving me shit because I didn't really smile enough [after a win]". Apart from his on-track driving, off-track instances demonstrating this calm demeanour include being asleep 30 minutes before his first Formula One race and eating an ice cream during the temporarily-suspended 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix.
Known to be frustrated by anything that prevents him from simply racing, he is relatively outspoken in his criticism of politics and off-circuit drama in sport. In a rare feature interview in the middle of the 2013 season, Räikkönen is quoted saying "sometimes in Formula 1 there is politics, and the shit there is stupid". In the same article, Lotus team principal Éric Boullier described Räikkönen as someone "doing pretty much whatever he wants".
This has been best displayed during the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix when after his McLaren-Mercedes broke down as the heat shield had exploded and he was forced to retire, he promptly went from his car straight to his yacht fully dressed in his racing suit and immediately relaxed in his Jacuzzi.
Although his terse one-liners are well known, he is also known for having a dark sense of humour. On the 20th lap of the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Räikkönen had just taken the lead from Lewis Hamilton and his race engineer Simon Rennie advised that Fernando Alonso was five seconds behind and that he would be kept informed of Alonso's pace; Räikkönen replied, "Just leave me alone, I know what I'm doing!" Later in the same race, he admonished his team again, when being told to manage the tyre temperature: "Yes, yes, yes, yes, I'm doing that all the time. You don't have to remind me every ten seconds!" The first quote attracted significant press coverage, and Räikkönen made no attempt to apologise in the post-race interview. It was earlier reported that he printed 500 T-shirts with the quote for the entire Lotus team, but this was later invalidated by Räikkönen in an interview with an FOM media personnel. The quote is also featured on his official website.
Räikkönen's helmet, designed by UffeDesigns, manufactured by Arai (2001–2006, 2012), Bell (2013, 2015) and Schuberth (2007–2009, 2014), slightly changed during the years. The trident insignia was painted in white during his time racing for Sauber and McLaren until 2005, and red from 2006 with McLaren and during his time with Ferrari. His helmet has also always featured a V design running on the circle top (representing a flying bird) and the inscription "Iceman". In his debut race, his helmet was predominantly blue with white and silver details. When he joined McLaren in 2002 the design was left intact, only making the top circle all blue (rather than blue and silver) and with some black details on the chin area. In 2003–2005 his helmet was blue and white with some red and silver parts, red details were added on the symbol that was added to the M design. In 2006 his helmet was the same, only changing the blue to black with red and white lines on it. When racing for Ferrari Räikkönen's helmet changed radically: it was white with the middle part black and red with tribal designs and a black circle with the design in the top. In 2008, black paisley motifs were added in the chin. He retained this design in some rallies, although the helmet style was significantly different for this discipline.
In WRC and NASCAR he used a blue Stilo helmet with Red Bull's logo, silver and white accents (to resemble Red Bull's can design and Räikkönen's Sauber helmet lines), the symbol and the trident insignia (in white and red) and with the inscription "Iceman".
Upon his return to Formula One, he sported a black helmet with a white diagonal line crossing from each side until the angles of the visor and a thicker red diagonal line beneath the white line and a red number 9 in a corner of the white line (to allude to his car number), a white circle in the top with black edged designs (similar to horns) on the upper front. The design on the top became black and in the back of the helmet there was the inscription "Iceman" written in red letters. From the Australian Grand Prix, there were more details added on top of the helmet. For the Monaco Grand Prix, he wore a replica of the 1976 James Hunt helmet. The manufacturer of his helmet for the 2012 season was Arai.
In 2013, the helmet was similar to the previous season, but with the inverted colors (except for the red), the horn design in the upper front became red and on the sides there was a big red number 7 superimposed on the black section of the helmet. Unlike the 2012 model, the 2013 model is manufactured by Bell.
Upon his return to Ferrari in 2014, the base color became a vibrant red, with white diagonal lines crossing from each side. A large number 7 was placed within the red, similar to that of 2013's. The "Iceman" inscription at the rear of the helmet was yellow, along with some of detailing around the top of the helmet. The manufacturer of his helmet for the 2014 season was officially Schuberth, yet it is believed that he continued using a Bell model for racing purposes.
In 2015, his helmet reverted to a white base, similar to the model he used back in 2007. The rear of the helmet reverted back to black, with a red band above the "Iceman" inscription. The Insignia along the top was surrounded by red and grey detailing, and the large number 7 was bordered in grey. As with 2014, Räikkönen continued to race with a Bell model rather than Ferrari's official supplier Schuberth.
* Season still in progress.
Complete Formula One results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
* Season still in progress.
† Did not finish, but was classified as he had completed more than 90% of the race distance.
Complete WRC results
|2009||Tommi Mäkinen Racing||Fiat Grande Punto S2000||IRE||NOR||CYP||POR||ARG||ITA||GRE||POL||FIN
|2010||Citroën Junior Team||Citroën C4 WRC||SWE
|2011||ICE 1 Racing||Citroën DS3 WRC||SWE
Formula One records and achievements
- In the 2005 and 2008 seasons, he equalled Michael Schumacher's record of 10 fastest race laps in a season, set in 2004.
- He holds the second highest record for total fastest laps at 45.
- In 2008, Räikkönen scored six consecutive fastest race laps (in Spain, Turkey, Monaco, Canada, France and Britain), equalling Alberto Ascari's record for the most consecutive fastest laps in a single season and placing him one behind Ascari's overall record of seven consecutive fastest laps (which were split across two seasons: six in 1952 and one in 1953).
- He was 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. His replacement Fernando Alonso also won on his Ferrari debut at the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix, setting the fastest lap on the way; however Alonso only qualified 3rd.
- 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).
- At the 2008 French Grand Prix Räikkönen gave Ferrari their 200th pole position.
- The 2016 Russian Grand Prix saw Räikkönen give Scuderia Ferrari their 700th podium.
- 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 1950, beating Juan Manuel Fangio by three points and Luigi Fagioli by six points. Sebastian Vettel repeated this feat in 2010, when he won the championship at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
- 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, and shares the most wins with Häkkinen.
- Räikkönen 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.
- Räikkönen achieved Lotus F1's first race win at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
- Räikkönen equalled the record for the most podiums at the same Grand Prix: 8 (Bahrain Grand Prix) (shared with Fernando Alonso's Brazilian Grand Prix record).
- Räikkönen holds the record for most fastest laps (6) at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit (2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2013 and 2017).
- Räikkönen holds the record for most consecutive point finishes: 27, starting with the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix and ending with the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix.
- Räikkönen holds the record for the fastest ever lap around the Circuit de Monaco with a time of 1:12.178.
- Räikkönen holds the record for the most race starts between successive pole positions, with one hundred and twenty-nine starts between his pole positions at the 2008 French Grand Prix and 2017 Monaco Grand Prix.
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Croft julisti "Matias"-vastauksen oikeaksi, mutta Räikkönen kiiruhti korjaamaan - hänen etunimensä kun on oikeasti Kimi-Matias.
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- "Kimi Räikkösen Minttu-rakas on raskaana". MTV3. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
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- "IT PROTECTS MY HEAD" – KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN REVEALS 2013 HELMET DESIGN [FEATURE + SLIDESHOW]
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- Nevalainen, Petri (22 October 2008). Jäämies – Kimi Räikkösen henkilökuva (The Iceman – a portrait of Kimi Räikkönen). Helsinki: Ajatus Kirjat. p. 224. ISBN 978-951-20-7805-9.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kimi Räikkönen.|
- Kimi Räikkönen official website
- Formula One DataBase: Kimi Räikkönen
- Kimi Räikkönen on Internet Movie Database
- Kimi Räikkönen driver statistics at Racing-Reference
|British Formula Renault
UK series champion
|Formula One World Champion
|Awards and achievements|
|Lorenzo Bandini Trophy
International Driver of the Year
|DHL Fastest Lap Award