A brief biography of Scuderia Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, including his career history and Formula One statistics
Compared with several Formula One rivals, Kimi Raikkonen was a late developer when it came to motorsports. He was 11 years old by the time he started competing in local and regional competitions, and he was 15 when he entered his first international event in Monaco, and in 1998 he won the Nordic Championship at Varna in Norway which he followed up with victory in the 1999 Formula Renault 2000 UK Winter Championship.
However it was the following season that ignited his career when he took Formula Renault 2000 UK title by storm with seven wins and six pole positions from ten races. That immediately caught the attention of Formula One team boss Peter Sauber who gambled on Raikkonen despite his relative lack of experience. Anyone who doubted Sauber's decision at the beginning of 2001 wasn't still doing so by year's end after Raikkonen had picked up nine championship points with four top six finishes in his maiden season.
Sauber couldn't afford to hold on to his young protégé when the big teams came courting. It was McLaren who signed up the Finn for 2002, which began promisingly with Raikkonen's first podium finish in the opening race of the season in Australia. He had to wait until 2003 for his first win (in Malaysia), which was part of a run of six podium finishes in the opening seven races that helped propel him to second place in that year's world championship standings.
After a retirement-plagued 2004 Raikkonen was runner-up again in the 2005 championship, but more reliability problems in 2006 left Raikkonen looking for new horizons. He signed for Ferrari and went on to scoop six wins in 2007 and clinch his first world championship by one point from McLaren's all-new line-up of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. He wasn't able to repeat that form over the next two seasons and disenchantment set in on both sides, leading to him agreeing to leave Ferrari at the end of 2009, a year before the end of his contract.
After a two-year sabbatical during which time he competed in the World Rally Championship and sampled NASCAR stock car racing, Raikkonen returned to Formula One with Lotus in 2012 and duly finished in third place in the standings. That eventually led to a rapprochement with Ferrari in 2014 where he was joined by his good friend Sebastian Vettel in 2015, the pair making a formidable combination in the face of prevailing Mercedes domination.
2016 saw Raikkonen finish on the podium 4 times but he ended the season 6th, whilst his teammate Vettel was 5th.