Ex-team boss reveals hilarious Kimi Raikkonen story

Kimi Raikkonen became known during his time in Formula 1 for a no-nonsense approach to the sport, being unashamedly himself.

Kimi Raikkonen has built a reputation as potentially the most relatable driver on the grid, being unafraid to speak the truth and behave how he sees fits, despite the pressures of the sport.

Alfa Romeo’s former team principal Beat Zehnder has recalled how, at the start of Raikkonen’s career in 2001, the driver nearly didn’t start what, for others, would’ve been the most exciting moment in their life. 

While he oversaw more than 550 races, Raikkonen’s incident was the first time Zehnder saw a driver nearly sleep through their first session as a Formula 1 driver.

“At his very first race Melbourne everyone 10 minutes before the pit lane opens for the reconnaissance lap, no one can find Kimi,” Zehnder told Racingnews365. 

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“Kimi was sleeping underneath a table covered by a blanket. He’s told: ‘Come on, get up! We have seven minutes until pit lane opens!’ And he said: ‘Give me another three, four minutes to sleep!’ 

“So, he was the coolest guy from the beginning.”

Over 10 years, between 2001 and 2021, Raikkonen raced for Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Lotus, McLaren and Sauber.

His calm demeanour delivered 21 wins, 103 podiums, 18 pole positions and 46 fastest laps across 349 starts. 

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Raikkonen won the 2007 world championship for Ferrari, his first and only title success, beating Lewis Hamilton by just one point, securing six victories across 17 races.

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To this day, Raikkonen remains the last person to win a Drivers’ Championship behind the wheel of a Ferrari. 

Three years after winning the title, Raikkonen stepped away from Formula 1, before returning in the 2012 season with Lotus. 

While Raikkonen would rejoin Ferrari in 2014, he never experienced the success he had in his early years, eventually finishing his time in the sport at Alfa Romeo, then known as Sauber.