Kimi Raikkonen is our favorite F1 driver around these parts, and it isn't just because he shoots from the hip. He's a throwback racer who just wants to drive. Here's why you should be celebrating his 34th birthday along with him.
Who is your favorite Formula One driver? Wait, what's that? You say you don't have one? Poppy cock good sir, poppy cock. You certainly do, and his name is Kimi Raikkonen. Let me tell you why you love him.
What's his name again?
But I thought Kimi was a girls name. Did he have a sex change?
No, he's from Finland. They have fun names there, like Mika Hakkinen.
Oh, sure, you just keep on saying that. So what do I like about him?
Kimi had just 23 car races to his name when Peter Sauber picked him to run in F1 in 2001. I'd be shitting my pants before that first race. What did Kimi do? He took a nap under a table, right before the race. That season was impressive enough that he got a call from McLaren to come race for them in 2002. He won his first race in 2003, but an unreliable car kept him from winning a championship. That changed when he went to Ferrari in 2007, and won the championship in a last race thriller.
He's also a throwback racer. He doesn't seem to care about physical fitness, the prestige of his job, race wins, championships, or any of the politics. He just wants to race.
So I'm supposed to like someone that doesn't give a shit about anything? Where's the appeal?
The appeal is that Kimi is raw. He's not a PR robot. Here's an example: In Brazil, Kimi missed a presentation by (not a tribute to) soccer legend Pele. Reporters asked him why he missed it. He said he was, and this is a direct quote, "having a shit." How can you not like that?
And when he lost his ride with Ferrari in F1, he didn't go home crying. He ran rally for Citroen, drove a NASCAR truck for Kyle Busch, and said he didn't really want to go back to F1. He only went back when he decided it was time.
Ok, that's pretty cool. What else you got for me?
He likes to dress up like a gorilla, because that's what people do, apparently. When's the last time you saw Lewis Hamilton dressing like a gorilla? That's never happened.
But that just sounds goofy. What's something that sets him apart?
You never hear about F1 stars partying. Kimi is different. The Kimster likes to drink. Like seriously party. Like drink enough so that he falls off a boat. He also tends to do whatever he wants. Right before his comeback season, he went snowmobiling, something that is outlawed in most F1 drivers contracts because they get hurt. But Kimi don't care. It didn't go well and he broke his wrist.
Any non drinking/stupid activities?
So he likes to drink, what's his personality like?
Kimi speaks in a kind of boring monotone, but is brutally honest. Last year when he was on his way to his first win, the team was giving him instructions. Instead of just listening and saying ok, Kimi, in his monotone voice said this: "LeavemealoneIknowwhatI'mdoing." Other than that, he's one of the most quotable drivers in all of F1 racing.
Most quotable ay? What has he said?
Here are just a few choice examples:
On F1: Driving is the only thing I love about F1.
On Finnish activities: Well, in summer there’s fishing and shagging. And in winter the fishing is bad.
On winning: Yeah, winning feels good, but I’m not the type of guy who jumps up and down and rubs it in everyone’s face.
On why he races: I have decided to do motorsports because I don´t have to get up there so early in the morning.
On his helmet: It protects my head.
On collecting things: I collect walnuts.
On Army service: If the army would be voluntary I wouldn’t go there.
On speaking Italian: You can talk Italian if you want to.
In fact, technical director James Allison, just left Kimi's Lotus team. What does Kimi think about it? "For me it doesn't really make a difference."
Does he win things?
Hellllllz yeah! On track, Kimi is an animal. Since 2003, he's won 20 races and the 2007 World Championship. I tend to think his best win was at Spa in 2009, when he took a Ferrari that was basically a piece of junk and won on the toughest track on the calendar. In fact, he's won there four times, which is a mark of a seriously talented driver. Brazil 2007 is a close second, where he did everything he had to do to win the championship, and it was a long shot at that.
Oh, so he can actually drive?
That's right! Kimi has fun off the track, but he still gets the job done when it's time. It's refreshing to see a driver that doesn't always talk about his fitness regimen, his girlfriend, or his team. He's just who he is, and he hasn't let F1 change him.
Do the fans like him?
Look at this fan artwork and then you tell me.
So he's like a modern James Hunt?
He used to womanize and race and drink and have a shit ton of fun.
Oh! James Hunt. Yes, I know him! I thought you meant the guy who makes that sub-par ketchup.
Yeah, I know.