Ex-engineer drops huge claim about Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen is the last driver to have won a World Drivers' Championship for Ferrari - something he achieved in 2007.

Kimi Raikkonen was truly one of a kind in more ways than one, with the Finn having been both incredibly fast and hilarious at the same time.

His career was a remarkable one that began with his debut season in 2001 at Sauber, before quickly moving to McLaren in 2002.

Whilst at the Woking-based side, the Finn enjoyed much success and was a regular title contender.

He came just short of claiming a maiden title in 2003, after coming runner-up to Michael Schumacher and then again to Fernando Alonso in 2005.

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He remained at McLaren until the end of 2006, before replacing Schumacher at Ferrari in 2007.

Raikkonen’s first season at Ferrari was a sensational one, as he claimed his only World Championship of his F1 career and actually remains as the last Scuderia driver to claim the Drivers’ Championship.

He left the sport after 2009 before returning in 2012 with Lotus, before returning to Maranello in 2014, where he remained until he switched to Alfa Romeo in 2019, the side he eventually retired at in 2021.

His career was one for the record books, with the 43-year-old having claimed 21 wins, whilst he started 349 races.

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To this day, Raikkonen’s former engineer Mark Slade hails the Finnish driver as the “best” he’s worked with during his career, after labelling the Finn as “absolutely phenomenal”.

“For me, Kimi’s the best driver I’ve ever worked with to set up the car,” he told Motorlat.

“He’s absolutely phenomenal. His feel for changes was just astonishing.

“You would make a change, and he would tell you that was better here and worse here. He could tell you ‘if you can sort this out, I’ll go quicker, so you just concentrate on sorting that out’.

“I think a lot of drivers find it more difficult to be that specific,” Slade added.

Slade continued explaining how the former F1 driver was able to sense when something wasn’t right with the car, suggesting that Finland’s most successful F1 driver had a ‘sixth sense’.

“Obviously he wouldn’t be able to specify what it was, but if you looked and couldn’t see anything to start with, you kind of had to look again,” said Slade.

“The chances were that there was something wrong.”

When Raikkonen returned to the sport after two years away, many were unsure over how quick the Finn would be.

It’s safe to say he was still one of the best on the grid, after claiming several podiums and a couple of victories for Lotus.

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Slade ended by adding that it was a “delight to work” with ‘The Iceman’, who was “on it all the time”.

“It was a really enjoyable time, and he was just a delight to work with,” said Slade.

“He was just great – and on it all the time.”