Kimi Raikkonen – the most honest Formula 1 racerJune 21, 2020
When serious problems began in China due to the spread of the coronavirus, and the Shanghai Grand Prix was announced, Kimi Raikkonen recorded a video message to his Chinese fans, and he has a whole army of them.
By the way, his Chinese fan club is called Ice Army, i.e. “Ice Army”, because everyone knows that the Finnish racer is nicknamed Iceman.
During the winter tests in Barcelona, Kimi was asked what prompted him to record this video message to the Chinese fans of his talent, and the Finn answered with a slight smile: “Sometimes great ideas come to my mind. It’s just to support them, you know? ”
According to many journalists working in the paddock, Kimi can be called the most honest and sincere of all riders. He never participates in political games, although his answers during the interview may seem too straightforward, and if he finds your question stupid, you will immediately know about it.
This straightforwardness manifested itself from the very beginning of his career. For example, once a Finnish journalist Heikki Kulta was collecting material for an article about Raikkonen, ordered by Racing Line, a McLaren corporate magazine. When Heikki asked Kimi about the new car, the MP4-19, he replied: “Full shit.”
Such a tough characterization was not suitable for publication, so Cult simply wrote that the car does not quite suit the Finnish rider. It soon became clear that Kimi was right, and the team had only six races with MP4-19, in which he managed to earn only eight points, after which she was replaced with a seriously upgraded MP4-19B.
In Formula 1, the idea of reducing the weekend program to at least three days has long been discussed, and Kimi will be the first to vote for this with both hands. For example, an interview on Thursday and Friday, he generally considers a waste of time.
“Journalists are asking the same questions as on Thursday, when we still do not know how events will develop in a particular weekend, because no one has yet passed a circle on the highway,” he said. “Something can be said only after qualification, but in fact after the race.”
Sometimes, in the course of communication with journalists, Kimi can afford a strong word, but, apparently, he does not avoid this in communicating with relatives. He adores his little children, loves to bother with them, and once remarked: “Bad words are allowed. In any case, children will sooner or later learn to swear, even if they don’t do it at home. ”
Not too warm attitude to the press in the most obvious form was manifested during the period when Kimi played in the world rally championship – in 2010-2011. If Kimi wasn’t happy with the result at the next high-speed section, he simply didn’t open the driver’s door, and the journalists had to talk with his navigator, Kai Lindstrom.
By the way, although Raikkonen’s best achievement in the WRC still remained 5th in the Turkish stage of the 2010 World Cup, the most experienced Lindstrom praised his partner: “Kimi deservedly became a professional rally driver, because he is very talented. “This last second separated him from the best racers, but usually this means that the rally must be devoted another two or three years.”
Another confirmation of the universal racing training Raikkonen was more than a successful return to Formula 1 after a two-year break. At first he was negotiating with Williams, but in the end, to everyone’s surprise, he signed a contract with Lotus and already in the fourth stage of the 2012 championship finished second – it was the Grand Prix of Bahrain. And on November 4, at the end of the season, he won in Abu Dhabi, and that race went down in the history of Formula 1 also thanks to the phrase: “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing”, sounded during the communication of the Finnish racer on the radio with his engineer.
In two seasons of playing for Lotus, Kimi earned 390 points. Gerard Lopez, the then owner of the team, clearly did not expect this when he signed a contract with Raikkonen, in which it was fixed that for each point the rider owed 50 thousand euros. All this almost led to the bankruptcy of the team, because only in the form of prize bonuses did it owe Finnish 19.5 million euros.
After two years at Lotus, Kimi returned to Ferrari, with whom he won the champion title in 2007. The contract suggested that he would play for the Maranello team for five seasons. During this time, Kimi won only one victory, in 2018 he won the US Grand Prix. He at that time turned 39 years old, and in the list of the oldest riders of Formula 1, rising to the highest step of the podium, he occupies the 13th line.
2020 is already on the calendar, and Kimi Raikkonen is still playing in the World Cup, now for Alfa Romeo, and is still in great shape, although the chances that he will be able to fill up the list of his victories are slim – the Swiss team’s car does not allow it to count.
The fact that Kimi at the age of 40 is able to perform at such a high level, of course, is not quite an ordinary case for Formula 1, and this confirms a very curious fact. This year, Finland’s largest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, instructed Heikki Kult to do an interview with Mark Arnell, who has been working with Raikkonen for 18 years as a personal trainer. The idea was this: let Arnell talk about what approaches to physical fitness could be useful to an average 40-year-old Finnish man, so that they could be adopted and at least in some way “be like Kimi”.
Alas, Arnell was unable to help, and not because he kept the training method a secret. He is simply convinced that few people have the strength to work on themselves as Kimi does.
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