Kimi Raikkonen

Raikkonen portrait#7 | Kimi Raikkonen | Scuderia Ferrari

Date of Birth: 17/10/1979 | Nationality: Finnish


Raikkonen made his Formula 1 debut for Sauber in 2001, despite having completed just 23 car races prior to his arrival in the sport. He quickly adapted to the sport, finishing in sixth place on his debut and adding a couple of fourth places to his collection.

For 2002 he moved to McLaren and he claimed several podiums, although he was dogged by reliability issues as he failed to finish 10 of the 17 races. He claimed his maiden win in 2003 and regularly appeared on the podium as he mounted a title challenge up against Michael Schumacher. A couple of retirements - which were not of his doing - allowed Schumacher to clinch the title at the final round in Japan.

McLaren began 2004 in dreadful fashion as Raikkonen collected just a single point from the opening seven races. A 'B' spec version of the car propelled the team up the order and Raikkonen took pole in Britain and won the second race of his career in Belgium, eventually finishing in seventh place in the championship.

The striking MP4-20 was an improvement for 2005 but reliability issues plagued the Finn throughout the season. He lost probably wins in San Marino and Germany, while a dramatic suspension failure on the final lap at the Nurburgring robbed him of a certain triumph. He nonetheless won seven times and finished as runner-up to Fernando Alonso.

Raikkonen took three pole positions in 2006 but endured a winless season as McLaren slipped behind Ferrari and Renault. The Finn switched to Ferrari for 2007 and eased to victory in the season opening Australian Grand Prix. He stuttered for a couple of races but back-to-back wins in Britain and France dragged him back into championship contention. Internal strife at McLaren allowed Raikkonen to fly under the radar and consecutive wins to end the season gave Raikkonen enough points to usurp Lewis Hamilton and clinch his maiden world title.

The defence of his title began with two wins in four but the remainder of his 2008 season was difficult. He struggled with the tyre warm up in qualifying, which combined with a car that was not suited to his driving style, left him frequently playing catch-up in the race. He finished the championship in third place, behind Hamilton and team-mate Felipe Massa. In 2009, Ferrari slipped back but a win in Belgium left his team stunned at the performance that he was able to drag from a seemingly hopeless machine. At the end of the year, Ferrari announced Alonso for 2010, paying off Raikkonen for the next season.

Raikkonen then headed to the World Rally Championship, driving for the Citroen Junior team. He finished in fifth place in Turkey and won a stage of Rally Deutschland, but for 2011 he had to set up his own team. He twice finished 10th in the championship but began looking elsewhere as he dabbled in NASCAR and also tested for Peugeot's Le Mans team.

With rumours of a return to Formula 1 with Williams, Lotus announced that they had secured the services of the Finn for 2012 and 2013. Raikkonen returned to the podium in Bahrain and his consistency during an unpredictable season meant that he was an ever present figure near the top of the championship. He finally claimed another win in Abu Dhabi, made famous by his short radio messages towards the team. His 2013 season began strongly as he won in Australia and racked up the podiums, allowing him to return from the summer break as Sebastian Vettel's closest challenger in the championship. His momentum disappeared as a brake failure ended his record run of finishes in the points and soon after it was announced that he would return to Ferrari for 2014. A bad back and disputes with Lotus over finances resulted in his relationship with the team souring and he missed the final two rounds of 2013 to undergo surgery.