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Opinion: The end of the mystery

He was 42 next month and would probably have laughed if he asked Kimi Raikkonen 10 years ago if he would race in F1 at that stage.

Yes, you laughed.he NS Do it from time to time.

And he probably laughed because he wasn’t racing in F1 10 years ago. In 2011 he was in the middle of a second year of breaks from sports-what he was saying now was the key to his longevity-and he was refreshed and back in 2012 But the first part of his career was only nine seasons, which meant he had the courage to predict that he would complete another ten for a long time.

But one of Raikkonen’s most notable points is how he changed.

In the first part of his career, he was a ridiculous talent with a raw pace and ability that other drivers were clearly jealous of. He showed a thrilling performance that was nothing but the victory at Suzuka in 2005, but he always seemed not to have to work hard. That wasn’t the case, of course, but at McLaren and Ferrari at the time, you were already more than a driver, and much was expected not only inside the car but also outside the car.

It was a big surprise given that he had only two races left to win the 2007 title (3rd in the ranking, 17 points behind Lewis Hamilton, up to 20 races available). Has been postponed for a long time.

At McLaren, he was almost expected to win the title. An obvious heir to Mika Hakkinen, it was all prepared for him, but the lack of credibility meant that it never happened. Certainly seen in Ferrari, but after taking on the seemingly impossible task of replacing Michael Schumacher, the first season in Maranello brought about a successful championship, which it gains. It was just as good.

When Raikkonen was fully paid by Ferrari and put on the bench at the end of 2009, it was fair to wonder if he would come back.Motorsport image

When he left at the end of 2009 – still receiving payment from Ferrari No Drive; The team replaced him with Fernando Alonso in the middle of the deal – you didn’t expect him to come back. There were too many F1 worlds that Raikkonen didn’t care about. But it was betting on both him and Lotus.

A perfect environment has been created for Raikkonen. Raikkonen can be more himself and can focus on moving the team forward after Renault withdraws as a constructor. The payment structure was a bonus, as most of his income came from the points he earned, and as an outsider of the championship that ended up in third place, he himself It worked pretty well for me.

Both the team and Raikkonen had points to prove, and you found in F1 that there was still fun for him, and F1 found that there was a way to get the most out of you. Did. And your best was still so, very good.

These are no longer the nimble F1 cars of the mid-2000s, driven in a way that Raikkonen seemed to find the absolute maximum, but they were still familiar. And the performance convinced Ferrari that it was worth pairing in 2014 with Alonso, who replaced him four years ago.

It was the beginning of the V6 turbo era, Ferrari was far out of pace, and Alonso was regularly at the forefront of internal battles. However, Raikkonen had nothing left to prove and was just racing for fun. On his day he was still very strong, but he didn’t have to have that many days. He was a world champion and earned brilliantly in a better environment than he left for Ferrari.

Raikkonen had begun to accept the cult status that accompanies his monosyllabicism, although he still said almost nothing when he didn’t want to say it. At the same time, he is very eloquent and may understand where his experience or knowledge gave him an important story to tell. At least when he felt that way.

Of course, he wasn’t without his flaws. His attitude was often encountered as rude to fans as well as the media. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t thank his fans, it just makes sense to him to thank him for his fans being himself.

The Finnish 2018 victory at COTA was a moment of headline for the widely underrated season. Photos by Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

And the longer Ferrari’s stint, the more he looked like his former shadow and settled in a second role behind Sebastian Vettel. Perhaps it’s starting to outpace his welcome?

But before that, the self was still there. The 2018 Austin win was outstanding, but the whole season was far more solid than Raikkonen admits. He regularly backs up Vettel, much closer to his teammates than Valtteri Bottas was at Mercedes’Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

That year, only Ricardo was less reliable than Raikkonen. The Finn retired four times and retired four times without his own negligence. It always interrupted the podium run, and Raikkonen couldn’t make it to the top three in five innings, all of which were still in the top six.

In contrast, Vettel retired only once a year. This was a serious error when he took the lead in Hockenheim, and the challenges of the championship were quickly unraveled.

Against this background, even at your age, moving to Alfa Romeo was a matter of course. After Charles Leclerc was promoted to Ferrari, he gave confidence to the team that helped maintain that momentum. In addition, the team was helpful within an hour from home.

The second half was important for Raikkonen, who had a wild reputation and enjoyed living with his wife and two young children, but he was still playing. He scored 43 points in 2019 and was in a happy environment again.

Well, perhaps he stayed for a year longer, which was Raikkonen’s privilege. In his 40s, he won the world title, won enough races and pole position, and finished 15th in both history. And you never get there by accident.

Raikkonen has won various eras of V10, V8 and V6, and his name has over 100 podiums. Despite making the most starts in F1 history, he’s been doing an unattractive job this year, helping the team develop new simulators, both due to their proximity to the factory and their wealth of experience. rice field. And it all adds a contradiction of who you are and who he looks like.

He is the one-word king and can speak frankly and honestly for hours.

He is a noisy, heavy drinking racing driver and now takes his idyllic family to the race.

He is a private and closed man who can show his child-rearing skills to the world.

He is a laid-back Finnish man who can work harder than anyone else.

And whether you’re a fan of him or not, he’s been one of F1’s biggest names for 20 years. Enjoy your retirement, you. You got it. Opinion: The end of the mystery

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