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Kimi Raikkonen Profile

This December’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will be one of your last chances to get to see Kimi Raikkonen race in Formula 1. Back in August, the popular 41-year-old announced this will be his final year in the sport, following an F1 career that stretches back to 2001. Known as the ‘Iceman’, Raikkonen is adored by fans who love his undemonstrative demeanour and his unconventional behaviour.

In fact, the quiet Finn was actually mute for the first three years of his life. His parents were understandably concerned and took him to the doctors, as not a single word had been uttered. But they found nothing wrong. Indeed, his other responses and reactions were surprisingly quick.

At the age of five, Raikkonen fell off his bike and after an impact with the handlebar, damaged a vocal cord in his throat. Although he was now speaking, he grew up with a peculiar tone which he’s retained to this day. And his large following of fans enjoy the fact that when he isn’t silent – he always speaks his mind.

Raikkonen’s incredible natural talent marked him out as a star from his early days. After just one season of car racing, he was promoted to Formula 1 with the Sauber team in 2001 at the age of 21. Very quickly Raikkonen was in demand and within a year was poached by McLaren, before moving to Ferrari to replace Michael Schumacher for 2007. That was the year Raikkonen scored his only F1 Drivers’ World Championship title as he beat the McLaren pair of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in a tense final race showdown. Incredibly, Raikkonen remains Ferrari’s last championship winner, as the Italian team haven’t won since…

Although the Jeddah race will be his penultimate outing in a Formula 1 car, Raikkonen has quit the sport before. When he was replaced by Fernando Alonso at Ferrari in 2010, he spent two seasons in the World Rally Championship and tried a couple of lower-tier NASCAR races in the USA – anything to quench the thirst for his passion for speed.

When he came back to F1 in 2012 with Lotus, he’d taken on a demeanour that was even more laid back than his Ferrari years. In an era where sportsmen (and in particular F1 drivers) are constantly monitored by their press representatives and rarely speak out of line, Kimi would take the opposite approach.

Raikkonen has spoken in the past of the admiration he had for the British world champion James Hunt and his extravagant behaviour – that love of partying in an unconventional manner, such as turning up barefoot for a black-tie dinner. At Monaco one year Kimi raced a helmet in the same livery as Hunt’s as a tribute, and famously entered a snow mobile race under the pseudonym James Hunt, while dressed in a gorilla costume to go undetected. It was two weeks before his first ever race for Ferrari – which he went on to win…