They say that Finnish people can pretty much drive the wheels off any car. And that’s probably true with Kimi Raikkonen, who clinched the Formula 1 drivers’ title in 2007 with Scuderia Ferrari. But all good things must come to an end, and the racing driver will be calling it quits at the end of the 2021 season after a career spanning almost two decades.
Raikkonen may not have won as many championships as Sebastian Vettel or compatriot Mika Hakkinen, but it is not representative of the driver’s skills behind the wheel. Starting his F1 career in 2001, he was known for the ability to bring out the best in uncompetitive machinery. He missed out on two third-place finishes that year in the Sauber C20, a car that could never realistically fight for podium positions on most days.
His time at McLaren would prove to be more fruitful as Raikkonen would come painfully close to getting the drivers’ title two times, only to be beaten by Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso in 2003 and 2005, respectively. Transferring to Ferrari in 2007, he would finally win the championship by just a single point over McLaren teammates Alonso and Lewis Hamilton (who certainly cost each other the overall trophy with their bitter team rivalry).
Nicknamed “The Iceman,” Raikkonen was famous for his very short and straightforward responses during interviews, preferring to let his driving do most of the talking. He currently holds the record for the driver with the most Grand Prix starts at 344. This number is expected to rise as there are still 10 races remaining in the season.
As for who will be replacing him, there are rumors that Valtteri Bottas will be taking his seat at Alfa Romeo. An official announcement might be made at the Italian Grand Prix on September 12.