Biography of Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen's F1 Career
Kimi Raikkonen is the most experienced driver in the history of F1, with more starts, entries and having completed more distance in an F1 car than any other competitor.
Raikkonen began his F1 career in 2001, age 21, with Sauber. Also entering their rookie seasons that year were Fernando Alonso, Juan Pablo Montoya and Enrique Bernoldi.
In his debut outing, Raikkonen scored a single point for his team. This was a far tougher target to reach in 2001 with points distributed only to those finishing inside the top six.
Raikkonen ended the year 10th in the standings and was rewarded with a move to McLaren where he replaced his two-time champion countryman Mika Hakkinen.
After a tough maiden season with the team, Raikkonen became a genuine title contender in 2003 and finished second to Michael Schumacher. The Finn scored his first career victory, his only success of the season, at Malaysia and finished second at seven of the 16 other races.
Before leaving to join Ferrari in 2007, Raikkonen and Pedro de la Rosa making way for Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, the Finn added a further eight wins to his tally and finished second again in 2005 - this time to Alonso.
Raikkonen Ferrari Title Success
Raikkonen's move to Ferrari was an immediate success as the Finn scored his first victory for the team at the very first time of asking in Australia.
This instant impact was crucial for Raikkonen given that, although he had been replaced at McLaren by a two-time champion and a future star of the sport, Ferrari had selected the Finn to replace seven-time champion, Michael Schumacher.
Heading into the final race of 2007, the Brazilian Grand Prix, Raikkonen trailed championship leader Hamilton by seven points. With points awarded to the top eight and only 10 to the winner - eight for second and six for third - Raikkonen had, at best only an outside chance of the title.
However, a Ferrari one-two, led by Raikkonen and a horror-show for Hamilton provided the result needed and by a single point from both Hamilton and Alonso, the Finn became world champion.
Raikkonen would continue to race with Ferrari for another two years but with success harder to come by, the Finn turned his attention to rallying and left the paddock at the end of 2009.
In 2012, Raikkonen made his F1 comeback and set about proving he had lost none of his pace. Driving for Lotus, Raikkonen took the fight to the perceived big teams and scored six podiums in his return year.
On top of this, the Finn also claimed victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and finished a quite unexpected third in the championship.
A second victory came Raikkonen's way in the 2012 season-opening Australian Grand Prix and although missing the last two races of the campaign after undergoing back surgery, he finished the year a respectable fifth.
Raikkonen rejoins Ferrari
In 2014, at the start of the V6 turbo-hybrid era, Raikkonen rejoined Ferrari but this five-year stay failed to deliver the results of his previous stint.
Raikkonen added just one race win, the 2018 US Grand Prix, to his tally and was often overshadowed by team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
The 2018 season, his last with Ferrari, was by far his strongest, with the Finn not only claiming a race win but also finishing third in the standings. Scoring 11 podium finishes on top of his win, Raikkonen was more often on the podium than off of it.
Raikkonen back where it began
In 2019, Raikkonen returned to Sauber, now Alfa Romeo. Despite a string of early points finishes, the team has often struggled and Raikkonen's results reflect this.
The 2020 season was by far the worst of Raikkonen's career with a pair of ninth-place finishes the highlight. The four points scored was five lower than in his rookie year and was achieved with a far more generous points system in place.
Questions continue to be asked as to when Raikkonen will call time on his F1 career for good, but for now, the Finn continues to extend his record-breaking career.