Kimi Raikkonen says he will miss the friends he has made in F1 as he also features on the Beyond the Grid podcast about various topics.
While Raikkonen is happy that his F1 stint came to an end in Abu Dhabi, the Finn will miss part of racing but not as much as the friends he has made along the way. He had a long stay and raced for teams like Sauber, McLaren and Ferrari, collecting beautiful memories.
“I met a lot of people I work with, a lot of good people, and some of us became friends and formed friendships,” Raikkonen said. “Generally we are so busy anyhow, it is always that it’s not really a place to say we are friends together. It’s not the place to really have time to do anything.
“We can meet outside of all the hassle if we want. I think if one thing [I’ll also miss], maybe the racing, but there’s other racing series that are probably better, more fun for pure racing. So it’s impossible to say. Anything you do for many years, you will have those, I think it’s fine. No issues with it.
“Very small things that will decide if it’s going to be good or bad. And then if you have a good car, then those small things will decide the result in some way. There are a lot of good memories, a big part of my life has been spent here. I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing. But that’s how it is because it takes a lot of time,” summed up Raikkonen.
Before his comments in Abu Dhabi, Raikkonen featured on the F1 Beyond the Grid podcast ahead of the finale weekend. It began with the Finn advising that he is looking forward to not adhering to schedules anymore once he retires. He noted that it has never been the main thing in his life and appreciates his own time much more.
Talking about his family, Raikkonen revealed that his mother is very happy he is retiring and his children are also glad that their father will be home more often. He claims looking back at his career that he would not change anything, he had a good run and he cannot complain with what he achieved.
He says his relationship with F1 has not changed much over the years. He still loves the racing but does not and never has enjoyed the side issues with the sport. He talks about when he began in F1, moving from Formula Renault and the furore around it having had so few motor races before driving for Sauber in 2001 and the issuing to him of his Super Licence.
Raikkonen reckons he was ready for Grand Prix racing regardless and talks about his first F1 test in 2000 at Mugello. He then discusses tyres and doesn’t think there was that much difference between Michelin and Bridgestone over the seasons particularly 2005 to 2007 in the overall scheme of things.
He says it took a while to get used to the Ferrari in the early part of 2007 and he advised that small things could make a huge outcome to a driver’s career and it did for him. Raikkonen felt that winning the championship in 2007 did not change him but changed the way other people view him. He says he didn’t really care that he did not win more than once title.
He feels more titles and race wins other than what he won would not change him as a person. Further on he says that even though he is finishing up now, he was not interested in talking about “nearly” moments in his career. He says “you see a lot, hear a lot” but it is not something he is interested in getting involved in, while added that he was never a fan of the “silly season”.
Looking back though, he says the most important of his 21 victories were in his Championship year of 2007 but his final win in 2018 US GP was very sweet. He notes that 2005 Japanese GP also stood out because of what it entailed from 17th on the grid. He says his favourite car was his 2005 McLaren.
Moving on, he said he never had an issue where a team mate could not access data. In short, he never hid anything and was always open to sharing information. Against the popular sentiment, Raikkonen says that he has enjoyed the Hybrid era most and that he was happy at each of his four teams. He speaks highly of Adrian Newey during his time at McLaren and had good thing too to say about Ron Dennis despite not always being agreement with him.
Regarding team mates, all of the drivers he drove with were fast where some were more consistent than others. He spoke highly of David Coulthard who he had great fun with. He also had a good relationship with Juan Pablo Montoya despite having some negative moments before they became team mates. He spoke highly of Fernando Alonso and their time at Ferrari and as rivals in 2005-2007. and has enjoyed his battles this year with him.
Moving on, he says he has a good relationship with Sebastian Vettel and got on well with him away from the track. He owes most to his parents and a lot of people who helped him get to F1. Also speaks about Aunts and Uncles who assisted early in his career also which led to Raikkonen speaking massively about his trainer; Mark Arnold.
His longtime trainer himself advises if Raikkonen could just drive and not be involved in anything else he would have been happiest. He (Arnold) says his best races were Suzuka 2005 and COTA 2018. Also says he does not dwell on bad days and that the Finn is emotional on all different levels.
Back to Raikkonen, he said he is looking forward to retirement. Talking about 2022, he might watch but is not sure as he then talks about his son who Karts and his daughter has also expressed an interest in Motor Sport. He isn’t sure if he will become a Motor Sport “parent” in the future but only time will tell.
He then talks about his Motor-Cross team and when he retires he will just do normal things. He will find something to do but is not sure what he will do at all and in retirement he will put other people first as he wants to spend more time at home. He will stay in touch with people from F1 and will not miss Motor Racing that much.
In all, he was a huge fan of racing but not Qualifying. To conclude, says he has been lucky to get to where he is and is not bothered about how he is remembered. Reckons his popularity was down to being himself and it’s been a good ride, ups and downs.
The story was written by Neil Farell
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