From Academic Kids

Template:F1 driver Kimi Matias Räikkönen (born October 17, 1979) is a Finnish Formula One race car driver.

Räikkönen was born in Espoo, Finland. He had a long line of success in karting from the age of ten, including placing second in the 1999 European Formula Super A championship. He also competed that year in the Formula Ford Euro Cup, and by the age of twenty, he had won the Formula Renault Winter series, winning the first four races of the year. In 2000, he dominated the British Renault Championship, where he won seven of ten events. After racing in the Formula Renault series later in 2000, Räikkönen had won an astounding 13 of 23 events -- a 56% win rate.

Peter Sauber was so impressed that he gave the Finn a test with the Sauber Formula One team in September of 2000. After further tests in Jerez and Barcelona, Sauber signed Räikkönen for the 2001 season. However, some critics (including FIA president Max Mosley) voiced concerns over granting an F1 super license to such an inexperienced driver, having only 23 racing events to his credit; he was nevertheless granted a super license, and silenced his critics by scoring a championship point in Australia, his maiden grand prix.

Far from being the hazard that some people expected him to be, Räikkönen was very calm, cool, and calculating in his race strategy - prompting former critics to nickname him "the iceman". He had a solid debut year, proving he was indeed ready for the big time of Formula One. He finished the season with four points-scoring finishes, with eight finishes in the top eight. Completing the year with 9 points, Räikkönen, along with teammate and fellow prospect Nick Heidfeld (12 points), helped Team Sauber to its highest ever result: fourth place in the constructors championship. Räikkönen, long rumored to be linked to a future Ferrari deal, instead sufficiently impressed McLaren, earning a race seat on Ron Dennis' team for 2002, replacing double-world champion (and fellow Finn) Mika Häkkinen.

Kimi Räikkönen, USGP, 2002
Kimi Räikkönen, USGP, 2002

Räikkönen scored a third-place podium finish in his first race with McLaren, the 2002 Australian Grand Prix. Although McLaren suffered many Mercedes engine failures in 2002, he still managed to score 24 points and four podiums, and held his own to teammate David Coulthard. Räikkönen came close to winning his first grand prix in France, but spun out on oil spilled on the Magny-Cours circuit with a handful of laps to go, settling for second place. All told, he finished the season in sixth place, right behind his teammate in fifth; together, they enabled McLaren to a solid third place in the constructor chase.

Räikkönen began the 2003 campaign in spectacular fashion, reaching the podium the first six races. He won his first race during this span, the 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix, and thought he had won in Brazil as well, only to be demoted to second place in the wake of a rain-drenched, red-flagged race. He also came extremely close to winning the famed street circuit of Monaco, but lost by less than a second to (future teammate) Juan Pablo Montoya. The 2003 season would prove to be the closest campaign in years, with Räikkönen still mathematically alive at the final race. But 2003 would not be his year, as he settled for second place to Michael Schumacher. Also, McLaren narrowly lost second place in the constructor championship, finishing a meager two points behind Williams.

Missing image
Kimi Räikkönen at the USGP in 2002

The 2004 season began in quite dismal fashion for both Räikkönen and McLaren, as he only claimed a single point through the first four races. His McLaren suffered repeated breakdowns, allowing him to complete just two of the first seven events. Toward the middle of the season, though, McLaren switched to their new MP4-19B chassis and had made a partial recovery by end of the year. Räikkönen scored his second ever pole position at McLaren's home grand prix at Silverstone, and he also claimed his second ever victory in Belgium. He ended the year a respectable seventh, with 45 points and four podiums.

Despite the disappointment of the 2004 season, Räikkönen is still seen as one of the rising stars of the sport, along with Renault's Fernando Alonso, Sauber's Felipe Massa, and 2005 McLaren teammate Montoya. Many pundits expect 2005 to be filled with great on-track battles from a resurgent squad in Woking. Ross Brawn still fondly refers to Räikkönen as a driver whom Ferrari might consider in the future.

On July 31, 2004, at 24 years of age, Räikkönen married 22-year-old Jenni Dahlman, 2000 Miss Scandinavia.

In early November 2004, Räikkönen announced his intention to create a racing team with his manager Steve Robertson, to be entitled Räikkönen Robertson Racing, which would compete in Formula 3 in 2005.

After a slightly lacklustre beginning to the 2005 season, Räikkönen hit back with three consecutive poles at San Marino, Barcelona and Monte Carlo, with an almost certain win being denied at Imola after a driveshaft failure and then winning the Spanish Grand Prix with a large margin, driving a superb race and leading from start to finish. Räikkönen then won the prestigous Monaco Grand Prix, putting him within 22 points of leader Fernando Alonso. At the European Grand Prix Räikkönen seemed poised for victory until the vibrations from a severely worn right-front tire caused his suspension to fail on the final lap, sending Räikkönen into the tire wall and handing a further ten points to his rival Alonso. Opinion is divided as to whether he should have persevered on the track or rather pitted for a tire change and a relatively safe third place. However, Räikkönen was soon back to winning ways after stealing an unexpected victory from seventh on the grid after a high attrition rate at the Canadian Grand Prix. Despite this win, Räikkönen claimed that the McLaren had been better suited for the following race; the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis. Unfortunately with one of Formula One's biggest mishaps, all the teams (including McLaren) sporting Michelin tyres had to abandon the race because Michelin tyres were deemed unsafe after Ralf Schumacher's crash in Friday practice. This meant Räikkönen did not race.

Formula 1 results

Championship qualifications

Constructors and drivers competing in the 2005 Formula One championship:
Ferrari BAR Renault Williams McLaren Sauber Red Bull Toyota Jordan Minardi
1 M Schumacher
2 Barrichello
3 Button
4 Sato
5 Alonso
6 Fisichella
7 Webber
8 Heidfeld
9 Räikkönen
10 Montoya
11 Villeneuve
12 Massa
14 Coulthard
15 Klien
16 Trulli
17 R Schumacher
18 Monteiro
19 Karthikeyan
20 Friesacher
21 Albers

External links

Template:Commonsbg:Кими Райконен de:Kimi Räikkönen et:Kimi Räikkönen fr:Kimi Räikkönen it:Kimi Räikkönen nl:Kimi Räikkönen ja:キミ・ライッコネン pl:Kimi Räikkönen ro:Kimi Raikkonen fi:Kimi Räikkönen sv:Kimi Räikkönen zh:奇米·雷克南


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