Kimi Raikkonen’s career in video (Part 1)

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Kimi Raikkonen joined McLaren in 2002 after one year with Sauber

F1 Fanatic guest writer Journeyer takes us on a video tour of the career of three-time Belgian Grand Prix winner Kimi Raikkonen.

As we head to the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, one man has dominated here this decade – Kimi Raikkonen. Three-time winner, and contender for the win here last year, this man can run a blistering pace through the Ardennes forest.

He entered F1 with such little experience, and yet he didn’t disappoint. Here’s his early history – before and during his early years in F1.

1999 – As is par for the course, Raikkonen began his career in karts. Here’s a short Finnish feature about his karting exploits – including the rare sight of him working on his kart.

2000 – This was the year Raikkonen registered on the F1 radar. He dominated the Formula Renault UK championship and won the title easily. Peter Sauber decided to take an extraordinary risk by promoting him right away into F1 (skipping categories like Formula Three and Formula 3000). They managed to get him a test at Mugello. Here’s an interview with him from that year (with English subtitles).

2001 – Raikkonen began impressing people from day one. His qualifying lap in Australia suitably impressed Murray Walker and Martin Brundle. But Sunday was an even bigger story – despite falling asleep in the sun before the race, he managed to get his car sixth to score a point on his debut.

Here’s an onboard lap with Raikkonen as he navigated his way through Monaco in qualifying. His rookie year was so impressive that McLaren got him to replace the retiring Mika Hakkinen – swiping Raikkonen from under Ferrari’s nose!

2002 – Raikkonen’s first year with McLaren brought mixed results. He repeatedly suffered from retirements, and also had the odd driver error. Here’s one from that year’s French Grand Prix – just a handful of laps away from beating Michael Schumacher to take his first win, he suddenly ran over some oil. Schumacher didn’t need to be asked twice, and took the win along with his fifth championship.

On the other hand, that year also showed a lot of promise – three podiums that year and a fantastic lap to qualify second in Belgium. Sadly, his Belgian race wasn’t as good – ending in an engine failure.

2003 – Any doubts about Raikkonen’s ability were wiped away that year when he mounted an unlikely title campaign. He kicked it off with a podium in Australia, then his first-ever race win in Malaysia. The future looked very bright indeed.

It was an unlikely campaign because his McLaren wasn’t in the same league as Ferrari and Williams for much of the season. And yet, retirements that year for Raikkonen were rare. This was one of them – a controversial shunt in Germany with Rubens Barrichello and Ralf Schumacher.

2004 – This year was frustrating for Raikkonen and McLaren. Their car lacked pace and reliability for some time. Their comeback began in Britain, where Raikkonen surprised the paddock by securing pole. And this time, he kept up the pace to finish second behind Michael Schumacher and ahead of Barrichello.

This reached its peak when Raikkonen broke Michael’s streak of seven consecutive wins by beating him in a straight duel in Belgium. This came after starting in the midfield and having to claw his way back up the order! Michael may have clinched his seventh championship that day, but Raikkonen became the king of Spa.

By this time, many thought that Raikkonen would win the title eventually – it was a matter of when rather than if. But he also had to go through some more tough seasons as well. That and more in part two tomorrow.

Read more: Kimi Raikkonen biography

26 comments on “Kimi Raikkonen’s career in video (Part 1)”

  1. loved kimi at mclaren

  2. You gotta love Kimi’s character. The ‘I was having a ****’ comment he made to Martin a couple of years back at Brazil was brilliant.

    Not sure about the cap though! :)

  3. Wonderful feature about Kimi here, thanks :) Looking forward to the second part.

    1. hey evenstar i never knew u were here too…..
      i just visited ur space right now….
      KRS Rock….
      hey btw…why aren’t u writing ur thoughts these days on every news or updates….i always look for it…its interesting to know others thoughts
      bye….do write this time its kimi’s race

  4. Kimi has different characteristics if we compare him with any other driver…..he always brought in coolness and style in his work. Whatever he did,….he did or he actually does in style. In Mclaren he was the coolest driver in young guys. His car looked such amazing. He won in japan in style showing guys that though alonso is the champion that year….the runner up was not an easy shot too….When he came in Ferrari he won the 1st race and showed people that he can slip into the shoes of schumi….he had many difficulties to go through but he got through those with style and came strong in the end to win the 2007 WDC in STYLE….Kimi u rock

  5. Kimi was immediately set to become as legend when entering f1. Hope he has great weekend at Spa, it will be tough with Ferrari not developing the car but Kimi dominates Spa

  6. Kimi was amazing in his early days pre-ferrarri. He deserved at least two championships in his Maclaren days but the car often let him down. He was exciting to watch and from the moment I saw this clip at Spa (where he earned the name Ice Man) I knew he was a different breed of racer. Watch the clip and listen out for any lifting….!!! Balls of steel!


    1. At the time I found that really impressive, but now that I know more about Kimi Raikkonen’s charcater that just seems typically reckless and selfish. For all he knew he could have been heading staight into the back of another car or a group of marshals on the track.

  7. Such a waste of talent going into the McLarans during their bad years, well, he couldn’t come into Ferrari (playing no 2 to the master would’ve been a waste anyway) and who else were very competitive? None!! but I still don’t understand why complacence kicked in last year to this cool guy, the ICEMAN as we love to call him. Have a feelin that Ice is melting these days and he’s giving a great fight with that not so great ferrari, time only would tell!! hope he wins in SPA, should be able to drive with his eyes closed, well!! who said that?/ NICO!! what’s he gonna do with that car?

  8. Kimi the (Ice) Man.
    Coolest driver on the grid? If only he could drop the stupid cap and cut his hair from time to time.
    Loved the man at McLaren, always felt he somehow made the car look better than they actually were.

  9. What’s with all the complaints about Kimi’s hat ? Every kid in California wears them in the same way. I asjed a friend of my son what was the deal with the tucked in ears and the flat bill, and his answer was ” it’s just the style. You should be glad he’s not wearing those huge shorts and wearing them them with his ass hanging out. His hair?
    Give me a break. He’s not trying to fit into the Young Republican mold for God’s sake, He an F-1 driver that has more fun tickets than he could ever spend, let him alone to be the person he want’s to be, and hope that some of the other drivers develope a similar mindset. It makes F1 more enjoyable. And the hair?
    Check out Stewart in the seventies Or Chapman or Hunt or…What the hell has hair got to do with F-1?

    1. It’s the same thing that makes people complain that the drivers aren’t outspoken enough, but god forbid they say something slightly contreversial that they happen to not agree with.

  10. Fantastic helmet design- much better than his current lid!!

  11. Excellent clips. Can’t wait for part two :)

  12. What i never shall forget is the podium of his maiden F1 win

    as cool as ice :D

  13. StrFerrari4Ever
    28th August 2009, 20:50

    Great article don’t you just miss the speed though of some of those V10 Era cars. Like in the 2002 Spa Lap my word he was pushing incredibly hard makes you appreciate these guys even more!

  14. Hi, I’ve visited your blog and enjoy it. Success for you.

  15. He was just a babyface lol.

    Alonso just said yesterdcay that he can not wait 2010 season and believe that Himself, Lewis and Kimi will fight for WDC but he allways said that Kimi is brilliant driver and that hardest one to beat on racetrack.

  16. Was a Schumacher fan, When Kimi came into F1 i was 10, But He was so impressive, He should be a two or even possibly three time world champion if it wasn’t for the reliability issues of the McLaren back in them days and it is a shame, One of the finest quali laps i’ve ever seen of Kimi was at the british grand prix of 2004, i was sad because he took pole ahead of my man Michael but boy it was an awesome lap! and the best race i ever saw him race was Japan 2005, absolutely unbelievable, that is the Raikkonen we all know and loved, and its a shame that the spirit and determination isn’t really there anymore, Ever since Spain 2008, But if hes off to Rally, then i will follow his progress with great interest :)

  17. Thx Keith!

  18. dsd..I think that he has determination but now he is older and more carefull, you can not take big risks when you are driving Ferrari, the Italian Media will judge you if make a mistake. That´s sorry because we don´t see as amazing races than before. We all are looking too much drivers errors and that´s make them too scary to take risks

    Have you noticed that nowadays Kimis comments are very good and he really knows where their are or what’s wrong. I do not believe that he don’t have enough technical knowlegde – he jus keeps it inside team

    1. Yeah, I wonder why he catches all that flak from the media at times…

      Raikkonen is paid a kingly sum to drive the car, not to manage the Scuderia or design the car.

      Sometimes you have to wonder whether if he is worth the salary especially with the somewhat slanted media bias against him (such as the ice cream incident), but there are occasional flashes of big balled driving brilliance (e.g. Suzuka 2005) which makes up for the occasional brain fade.

      I think he is very guarded with the English and Italian media, and somewhat more open with the Finnish media (like a recent interview by Ajoneuvos with him driving a F430 and some good natured swearing at the ginger beardy bloke)…

  19. Kimi is the best…only one worth watching. Alonso is vastly overrated.

    1. 100% agree with you.

  20. I sat at Pouhon in 2002 and Kimi was awesome through that corner.

    Also watching that clip of his lap reminds you how good a V10 engine sounded compared to todays cars.

    Hope he wins today. Proper driver.

  21. Does anyone have a link to the photo at the top in a higher resolution?

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