Kimi Raikkonen is the last driver to have won the Formula 1 championship for Scuderia Ferrari and the only driver in F1 with more than 100 races for his current team. With the Italian side, Kimi scored nine victories and five pole-positions in 110 races, but most importantly reached the high-point of his F1 career, by becoming World Championship in 2007.
In 2017 Kimi will have the chance to take an already successful history with the famous Italian team and make it even more successful. Until then, here are three of Raikkonen’s most memorable races for Ferrari:
2007 Australian Grand Prix
The 2007 Australian Grand Prix was the first race for Kimi Raikkonen with the Italian team, and, inevitably, there was a huge pressure riding on Kimi’s. That weekend also marked Lweis Hamilton’s debut in the Formula One World Championship, but it was the Ferrari driver who made the headlines as he completely dominated the race weekend. In qualifying the Finnish driver followed up his pace-setting morning practice performance by topping the times, almost half of second faster than Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Mercedes) and Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber). Felipe Massa was knocked out of qualifying after an error in turns nine and ten, which meant that Ferrari’s hopes for this race were mostly in Kimi’s performance. And the new Scuderia driver made an impressive start with the Maranello side, in front of a crowd of 105.000 people attend the 2007 opening round. The two McLarens had a strong race pace, but they were no match for Kimi, who became the first driver to finish on the podium on their debut since Jacques Villeneuve at the 1996 Australian Grand Prix and also the first time a driver had won on their first race for Ferrari since Nigel Mansell in 1989. He finished the weekend by taking pole, setting the fastest lap and only relinquishing the lead in the pit stops. His winning margin, which was seven seconds by the chequered flag, could have been considerably larger had he not backed off in the closing stages after his car suffered a water leak.
2007 British Grand Prix
The 2007 British Grand Prix was the ninth race of the 2007 Formula One season, ahead of which Kimi Raikkonen was behind Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in the Championship standings. Saturday’s qualifying session had seen new kid on the block and local overnight hero Lewis Hamilton take his McLaren to pole position, as he was only one to break into the 1 minute 19 second margin. It looked set to be a British day of celebration, but Kimi spoiled the party for McLaren-Mercedes.
Felipe Massa stalled on the grid, leading to a second formation lap and causing the Brazilian to start from the pit lane si Kimi was once again Ferrari’s best chance to challenge McLaren. Hamilton went in on lap 16 for his first stop of the race, only to fumble his getaway from the box and lose himself vital tenths of a second. Raikkonen swept through to take the place, but both men were now running behind the second McLaren of Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard’s strategy required a very light fuel run that would push him far enough of the Ferrari to guarantee he would stop for more fuel with enough time to exit still in the lead. However, Raikkonen’s astonishing pace made it a lost cause as far as the British team was concerned. Alonso eventually made his last pit stop as the Scarlet Scuderia swept past to take a lead at the Silverstone Circuit. Despite the best efforts of the home favourite, Raikkonen crushed the opposition for his third win of what was to be a very important and emotional Formula One season.
2007 Brazilian Grand Prix
Having narrowly missed out on titles in 2003 and 2005, Kimi Raikkonen finally got his well-deserved chance in 2007. The battle for the Formula One championship went down to the final race in Brazil, with Kimi seven points behind leader Lewis Hamilton, who had held a four-point advantage over Fernando Alonso, making the McLaren drivers favourites in the race for the title.
Felipe Massa started from pole position at his home grand prix, while Kimi immediately passed Lewis Hamilton on the outside. The McLaren driver suffered a gearbox problem and was passed by most cars on the track. After going slow for about 30 seconds, Hamilton managed to reset the computer of his car but was not able to recover in time as he needed at least a 5th place to gain the title. The Finnish driver spent most of the race following his team-mate, but he managed to emerge from his second pit stop in the lead after a long second stint. He went on to win the race in fine style. With his title rivals Fernando Alonso and Hamilton way behind, Kimi secured his first championship by just one point. He performed the seemingly impossible task of cutting Hamilton’s 17 point advantage over him in just two races. Felipe Massa was second in the other Ferrari, completing the fourth double (1–2 finish) of the year for the Italian team.