Top 10 Raikkonen moments

By on Tuesday, November 29, 2011

With Kimi Raikkonen back in Formula One with Lotus Renault, we take a look back at his best races

10. Brazil 2009:

Not a vintage Raikkonen, but it demonstrated his fighting spirit. Having been run off the road by Mark Webber, Raikkonen took to the pits for a new front wing. Similarly, Heikki Kovalainen was in the pits for repairs after a separate incident. As Kovalainen left his pit box, the fuel hose was still attached and when Raikkonen drove over the fuel, a fireball was ignited. Raikkonen stayed in the race, despite his eyes burning from the contact with fuel. He used his strategy to finish in 6th, a valiant effort in the circumstances.

9. Monaco 2006

After qualifying third, Raikkonen pounced on Mark Webber exiting Ste Devote after then Australian made a mistake on the fourth lap. Despite pitting two laps earlier than Alonso, Raikkonen’s pace was relentless and he was narrowly behind the Spaniard. In a car that was not up to winning standards, Raikkonen excelled on the narrow streets until a safety car was deployed for Webber’s stranded Williams on Lap 46. Under the caution period, Raikkonen’s car expired and he parked it at Portier in a heap of smoke. After retiring, he walked back to the harbour and was seen boarding a yacht. It was a couple of hours before he emerged again.

8. Monaco 2001

On his first visit to the principality in an F1 car, Raikkonen inspects the track on the Wednesday before practice, using a scooter. The next day, he sits in the car, waiting to go out. A voice crackles on the radio. “Is the tunnel flat?” he asks. He is informed that it is. Unlike some of his contemporaries, he says he hasn’t played video games to learn the circuit. He takes a tentative approach to his installation lap and then bam! A quick lap, with plenty to spare. Kimi had well and truly arrived.

7. Malaysia 2003

Having narrowly missed out on victory in France the previous year, Raikkonen finally took his maiden grand prix victory in the second round of the 2003 season in Malaysia. Despite only qualifying seventh, he survived a Lap 1 accident to emerge in fourth place, later running second behind Fernando Alonso after passing Nick Heidfeld and David Coulthard retired. Running longer than Alonso by five laps, Raikkonen used his extra fuel to set a string of fast laps and take the lead. Raikkonen eventually won by a whopping 39 seconds and lapped everyone up to 4th. The result led to tears from Ron Dennis, although it was to be Raikkonen’s only win of 2003. He finished the season just two points behind Michael Schumacher.

6. Australia 2007

In a race often remembered for Lewis Hamilton’s debut, Kimi Raikkonen was actually the star of the show. On his Ferrari debut, he took pole position by 0.4s, set the fastest lap and only relinquished the race lead through the pit stops. His lead extended to eighteen seconds, although was considerably less as he backed off towards the end, surviving a wide moment (because, he admitted, he got bored and lost concentration) and a water leak. Raikkonen became the first driver to win on their Ferrari debut since Nigel Mansell in 1989 and set his title winning year off to the best possible start. 

5. Belgium 2008

Kimi Raikkonen returned to Spa in 2008 under pressure. He hadn’t won since the Spanish Grand Prix in May and his driving had been seen to be substandard. Qualifying did little to ease worries, starting behind Massa in 3rd. However, with his King of Spa crown under threat, he quickly dispatched with Massa – who soon slipped back – and overtook Hamilton after the Brit spun on Lap 2. Raikkonen then led Hamilton for the next thirty laps, with the gap stabilising around three to four seconds. During the last stint, Hamilton gradually ate into Raikkonen’s lead, but not enough to threaten. However, when heavy rain began to fall on Lap 41, Hamilton closed substantially and passed Raikkonen at Bus Stop and then at La Source at the start of the forty-second lap. The two touched and fought a titanic battle as they both ran wide at Pouhon, Pif-Paf and then Raikkonen spun. Exiting Blanchimont, Hamilton ran precariously wide although Raikkonen was less lucky. On the damp, he spun into the barrier, leaving his hopes of retaining the title in tatters. Hamilton may have been stripped of the win, but for the first time since 2002, Raikkonen had failed to win at Spa.

4. Europe 2005

Kimi Raikkonen and the Nurburgring never got on. However, he was one lap away from victory in 2005 when disaster struck. Having locked a tyre when lapping Jacques Villeneuve, Raikkonen had to drive 25 laps with severe vibrations. Under the 2005 rules, tyres were not allowed to be changed throughout the race. Over the closing laps, Alonso was closing and under braking for Turn 1 on the final lap, the suspension failed. Raikkonen was out, Alonso claimed ten points.

3. Monaco 2005

It was a weekend dominated by Raikkonen. He claimed pole position (with one of the most stunning Monaco laps ever) and led every lap on the way to victory. However, it wasn’t quite that simple. A safety car saw his lead wiped out and acting under orders from the pit wall, he didn’t stop for a top up. Despite this, a series of brilliant laps saw him with a lead of over thirty seconds by the time he pitted around fifteen laps later. Sensational.

2. Brazil 2007

Having hung on in the title fight courtesy of a brilliant fight back in Fuji and then a win in China, Raikkonen – against all the odds – arrived in Brazil still in contention for the crown, 7 points behind Lewis Hamilton and 4 down on Alonso. In a season where Raikkonen suffered some bad luck, he finally savoured title glory in a tense finale. Lewis Hamilton ran wide on the first lap and a gearbox problem dropped him to 18th, eventually fighting back to 7th, claiming two points. Felipe Massa was a dutiful number two, as he took pole position and accepted an inferior strategy to allow Raikkonen’s title success. After being 17 points behind Hamilton with two races left, Raikkonen finally won the world title by a single point. Even then, Raikkonen had to wait another three weeks as there was a protest by McLaren because of fuel irregularities on the car of Kubica, Heidfeld and Rosberg. A lack of evidence saw the protest rejected.

1. Japan 2005

With the drivers’ championship having been wrapped up, F1 headed to Suzuka for the penultimate race of the season. Showers in qualifying saw the grid mixed up, with Alonso in 16th, Raikkonen 17th and Montoya 18th. Both Alonso and Raikkonen made progress on the opening lap, although Montoya shunted exiting the Casio Triangle, deploying the safety car. In a race famous for Alonso’s brave move on Michael Schumacher, Raikkonen was making quiet progress, although still seemed to be an outsider for the win. While Alonso was being held up by Mark Webber and Jenson Button, Raikkonen set a series of fast laps to emerge from his pit stop five seconds behind long time leader Giancarlo Fisichella. Entering the final lap, Raikkonen drew alongside Fisichella and swept around the outside into Turn 1. It was one of the most thrilling finishes to a race and is etched in the memories of those who witnessed it.

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