In 2006 Kimi Raikkonen caused much hilarity when, having retired from the lead of the Monaco Grand Prix, he made his way to his yacht still in his race suit and helmet. He was later seen enjoying himself on the yacht while his contempories continued lapping the streets of Monte Carlo. It is a story which sums up the much loved Finnish driver who this weekend will enter his 200th Grand Prix. So, without further ado, here is a look at his magic formula.
Since entering Formula One in 2001, when Peter Sauber took a risk on a young driver with very little single seater experience, Raikkonen has raced for four teams. Having started with Sauber, he was snapped up by McLaren for 2002 and he remained with the team through to the end of 2006. For 2007 he joined Ferrari and raced with the Scuderia until the end of 2009, when he was let go in favour of Fernando Alonso. Raikkonen was left without a seat in Formula One for 2010 so he looked elsewhere (more later) but was signed by Lotus at the end of 2011, paving the way for his comeback in 2012. After much speculation, it was eventually confirmed that Raikkonen would be returning to Ferrari for 2014, where he currently races.
During his first stint with Ferrari, Raikkonen helped the team win two constructors championship, one in 2007 to accompany his drivers championship, and the other in 2008.
During his time in Formula One, Raikkonen has had 11 different team-mates – some for a full season, others just replacements for one or two races. His first team-mate was Nick Heidfeld whom Raikkonen finished three points behind in the championship. Next up was David Coulthard at McLaren, with Raikkonen replacing fellow Finn Mika Hakkinen. During their time as team-mates, it was 2-1 to Raikkonen in terms of who finished ahead. In 2003, Raikkonen took the fight to Michael Schumacher in the championship but ultimately finished second but with 40 more points than his team-mate. When Coulthard moved to Red Bull, Raikkonen was joined by Juan Pablo Montoya, who had a short and tricky career at McLaren. After Montoya missed some of the season in 2005, he was replaced by McLaren test drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Alexander Wurz. Montoya left McLaren under a cloud during 2006, meaning Raikkonen was joined by de la Rosa for the remainder of the season. When he moved to Ferrari, Raikkonen partnered Felipe Massa – beating him in 2007 but losing out to him in 2008. When Massa was seriously injured in a qualifying accident at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2009, Raikkonen was joined by Luca Badoer and then Giancarlo Fisichella for the remainder of the year. At Lotus Raikkonen lined up beside Romain Grosjean (and Jerome D’Ambrosio for one race) before joining Alonso at Ferrari in 2014.
Overall, from 11 full seasons, Raikkonen has beaten his team-mates 6 times, whilst finishing behind on five occasions.
11 full seasons
Raikkonen is currently participating in his twelfth season in Formula One, despite starting back in 2001 (more later). During that time he has enjoyed a lot of success, as well as a lot of disappointments. Unreliablity undoubtedly cost him a shot at the title in 2003 and 2005, but an impressive first year with Ferrari saw him eventually win it. Despite his reputation as a man of few words, who doesn’t really care about anything, Raikkonen has appeared in many advertisements during his time in F1, as well as PR stunts. He recently hit back at critics who suggested he lacked motivation.”I don’t know why you always come up with motivation,” he quipped. “If I didn’t have motivation I wouldn’t be here”.
8% pole positions
Raikkonen has started 8% of his races from pole (16/198). His first pole position came at the 2003 European Grand Prix – held at the Nürburgring – where he outqualified Schumacher by just hundredths of a second. A lot of his wins have come away from pole position and he is not a driver particularly renowned for qualifying well, especially in more recent years. His last pole position was back at the 2008 French Grand Prix.
Now we get into all of Raikkonen’s vital statistics. From 198 race starts (from 199 entries following the botched 2005 US GP which only six cars started) he has won 20 times. He has been most successful at the Belgian Grand Prix, winning there four times. The only other races which he has won more than once have been the Malaysian Grand Prix, Australian Grand Prix and the Spanish Grand Prix. The Malaysian Grand Prix also holds another special significance for him as it was the location of his first F1 victory, back in 2003. He repeated the win exactly five years later in 2008. He has also won in Monaco, Canada, Hungary, Turkey, Japan, France, Great Britain, China, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
The most races he has won in one season is seven which he achieved in 2005. He won six races en route to his world championship in 2007.
Including his 20 victories, Raikkonen has stood on the podium a total of 77 times during his F1 career so far. The first of these was at the 2003 Australian Grand Prix when he finished third. Not including wins, the race he has stood on the podium most at is the Hungarian Grand Prix and Bahrain Grand Prix, having been on the podium six times there. He has four podium finishes at the Japanese, Brazilian, British, and Chinese Grand Prix respectively (again excluding wins). There have been three podium finishes for Raikkonen at the Australian, European, French, German, and Italian Grand Prix. Other races he has stood on the podium at are San Marino, Austria, the US GP, Canada, Malaysia, Turkey, Belgium, Spain, Singapore and Korea.
The most podiums he has got in one year – excluding wins – is nine in 2003. He took seven podium finishes in 2013 and 2008, six in 2007 and 2006, and five in 2005.
66% finishes in the points
From 198 starts, Raikkonen has finished in the points 132 times or 66.16%. He has 44 DNFs and 23 finishes outside the points. From the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix through to, and including, the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix he recorded 38 classified finishes in a row. From the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix through to, and including, the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix he finished every race in the points.
He has gone one season without any DNFs – 2012 – and three seasons without finishing any races outside the points (but still recording some DNFs). In his championship year he finished 15 of 17 races in the points and only failed to finish two races. Over 50% of his points finishes have been podiums.
2 seasons out
As mentioned earlier, Raikkonen sat out the 2010 and 2011 Formula One seasons after failing to find a drive when he was let go by Ferrari. Instead he turned his hand to rally driving and even made an appearance in NASCAR. Raikkonen had previously taken part in a rally in Finland during the 2009 Formula One season, but it 2010 he decided to try his hand at the WRC for 2010 with Citroen Junior Team. His escapades in rallying were interesting to say the least, and he even got stuck in to dig his car out of a ditch. His first points came in Jordan where he finished eighth and he followed that up with a fifth in Turkey, which stands as his most successful rally result. He ended the year tenth overall. In 2011 he raced for Ice 1 Racing and once again finished in tenth. During that year he also had two attempts at NASCAR, finishing 15th in his first appearance in the World Truck Series. He finished 27th in his one and only NASCAR Nationwide Series appearance.
It is safe to say that, while Raikkonen is undoubtedly one of the best drivers out there on the F1 track, his two years out of the sport left a lot to be desired. At the time of the announcement that he had signed with Lotus Renault GP (as they were then) he said: “My time in the World Rally Championship has been a useful stage in my career as a driver, but I can’t deny the fact that my hunger for F1 has recently become overwhelming.”
1 world championship
Last, but my no means least, is Raikkonen’s world championship, won with Ferrari in 2007. It was an impressive win as he came from behind to overhaul a significant points deficit to McLaren drivers Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. It wasn’t through lack of trying that he hadn’t won a title earlier, being hampered with a lot of bad luck and unreliability in 2003 and 2005.
“It is very difficult for me to explain in words what I am feeling at the moment,” he said following his championship deciding win at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2007. “It is an incredible emotion.”
So, there we have it. 4 teams + 11 team-mates + 11 full seasons + 8% pole positions + 20 wins + 77 podiums + 66% finishes in the points + 2 seasons out + 1 championship = 200 GP.
Kimi Raikkonen, the man of few words, who likes to let his racing do the talking is just one of many drivers to have reached significant milestones in the past few years. For a full list of The H Duct’s Magic Formulas follow the link.