300 races. Few drivers in the history of Formula 1 have ever reached such heady heights in terms of race entries, and this weekend will mark this important milestone for Kimi Räikkönen. And yes, he had to be told.
“Driving is the only thing I like about F1,” the Iceman famously said, so it’s safe to say numbers do not mean a lot to him. Do not expect a commemorative helmet, either, because a helmet “protects my head,” that is all it does – how to disagree? And were F1 to organise a special commemoration on the grid before the race? Well, we can only hope it doesn’t clash with Kimi’s loo break…
Doing his best
From his debut (in a Sauber) in Australia 2001, Räikkönen has gone on to become one of F1’s iconic characters. A winner of 21 races, he may claim 19 years in the sport (with a brief, two-year hiatus) didn’t change him but the truth is, they have.
The fresh-faced boy who rocked up in Melbourne nearly two decades ago, almost missing his first race start as he was having a nap in the garage, is now a World Champion and a proud family man, husband to Minttu and father to Robin and Rianna.
Professionally, he’s enjoying his driving at Alfa Romeo Racing as a relaxed, happy driver doing what he does best. Time and experience change people, but the core Kimi will never changes. And to try and change him to fit a mould is a futile exercise.
Interested in performance
The next race is this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix and are all teams, including Alfa Romeo Racing, looking forward to it. Frédéric Vasseur, team principal Alfa Romeo Racing and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG, said: “The tests last week in Barcelona have been promising and I am sure that we’re back on track and going in the right direction again. It’s interesting to see how the teams battling for the midfield positions hardly get any consistency into their performance.
“Each track is a new start – especially getting the tyres to work – and sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it wrong. We have our downward blip behind us and going strong into the Monaco weekend.”
Räikkönen, when asked, said: “Everyone is talking about my 300th race, but I’m more interested in our performance. The test in Barcelona was important for us to understand our problems better, but I honestly don’t know how good our car fits to the street course in Monaco.”