Updated: Feb 28
Written by Bruna Brito, Edited by Nabiha Khan
The Abu Dhabi GP last Sunday, the 12th of December 2021, marked the last race of Kimi Räikkönen in Formula 1, as well as the finale of the fiercest championship, and in my opinion the most controversial in the history of the sport. Twenty years after his debut, the Finn will say goodbye as a race record holder, in addition to 21 victories, 18 poles, 46 fastest laps, and 103 podiums.
On the eve of his retirement, Räikkönen made an analysis of his experience in F1 and admits that he has no great regrets for his spells at Sauber, McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus, and Alfa Romeo.
“I would not change a thing. F1 takes a lot of time, but it was never the main thing for me. My life has always been out of here. There are things more important to me than Formula1; […] Today, my schedule affects my entire family and I want the day when I don’t have anything planned, to do what they want”, he added.
So how about we remember some of the best moments of one of the most iconic figures to have ever raced in Formula 1?
Kimi scored his first point in F1 at his debut race in Australia, 2001. Reportedly, he was asleep 30 minutes before the start.
First F1 Victory
In Malaysia 2003 Kimi won his first race after starting from seventh on the grid.
First Victory at Spa in 2004
After starting 10th on the grid, facing gearbox problems and two safety cars, Kimi secured his second F1 victory. The Finn won by 3.1 seconds, beating Ferrari’s team, composed of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. Making him only the third driver to achieve this act that year.
The only victory in Monaco in 2005
After a brilliant Qualifying, Räikkönen was 0.5 seconds quicker than Alonso in P2, and 1.2 seconds faster than his teammate Montoya. Kimi led the whole race and secured his only win on the historical street circuit.
The Japanese Grand Prix in 2005
The circuit of Suzuka may have a special place in the cold heart of the Iceman, being described as Kimi’s greatest race. Starting in P17 with Michael Schumacher in P14 and Fernando Alonso in P16. Where, on the first corner of the final lap, Kimi swept around the outside and drove to the chequered flag.
World Champion in 2007
The Finn started the season with a win and finished with one as well. Kimi won the driver’s championship by one point at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
On the podium, the new champion swigged and spayed his champagne, breaking his silence: “I’m very happy. I came from pretty much nothing but my family, friends, and sponsors helped me get there. People will probably look at me differently and make up more stories about me. But I’m going to lead my life as I want and that’s it.”
The Return to F1: Left Alone to Victory
After returning to Formula 1, Kimi scored 15 podiums, including two wins with Lotus. The Win in Abu Dhabi, 2012 marked his talent and determination, and even more his safety on his job. “Leave me alone, I know what I am doing”.
Last Victory with Ferrari
In 2008, after racing for Ferrari for 4 years, Kimi won his first race in more than five years. With this victory, he broke the record for the longest gap between Grand Prix Wins (114 races), and he also became the oldest race winner since Nigel Mansell in 1994.
To finish off this special article, some words from our IceMan: “That’s how my head works, I say things as they are. I believe they gave me a lot of advice, but I didn’t listen. I’ve always believed that you need to live life the best way for me, not for others. At work, if I had the option, I wouldn’t do most of the things I was asked to do. I’m happy to have lived my way, I wouldn’t change anything”.
And Please Alfa Romeo, do not forget to connect the drink to Kimi’s car!