‘Kimi can always be trusted’: Ferrari team principal praises ‘great person’ Raikkonen

Mattia Binotto worked with Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari over a decade ago.

Kimi Raikkonen at the 2021 US Grand Prix.v1 (1)

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has said he the utmost respect for former Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, appreciating his skills on track as well as his personality off it.

Raikkonen spent 19 years racing in Formula 1 between 2001 and 2021, taking two years off in 2010 and 2011 to explore rallying and NASCAR.

Having won six races with Ferrari in 2007, the Finn claimed his only F1 title having seen championship challenges with McLaren fall at the wayside due to a mixture of reliability issues and blinding pace from Ferrari and Renault.

READ: Vote now: Do you think Kimi Raikkonen will race in Formula 1 again?

His victory at the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix would be his last before his 2012 return with Lotus, where he won two races in as many seasons.

Upon returning to the Scuderia in 2014, he was partnered with double world champion Fernando Alonso and the Spaniard out-qualified Raikkonen 16 times in 19 races.

Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari in 2014.v1

However, there was evidently an abundance of respect between the pair, and Alonso once described the 42-year-old as “fundamentally honest, a man who doesn’t play games.”

Binotto worked with Raikkonen as head of Ferrari’s engine department and as chief technical officer of the team.

The 52-year-old has nothing but admiration for the 2007 world champion.

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“I have known Kimi for a long time now, I think more than fourteen years,” he told Speedweek.com.

“He has always been a fantastic and very fast driver and I think he is still fast today. But on top of that, he’s also a great guy.”

The Italian sees Raikkonen as a reliable person who conducts himself with class, saying: “Kimi can always be trusted. His behaviour shows that he is a great person.”

Raikkonen took his 21st and final race win at the 2018 United States Grand Prix with Ferrari, before eventually moving on to Alfa Romeo where he would spend the final three years of his career.

He scored 15 points finishes for the Swiss team while alongside Antonio Giovinazzi, and both have now departed, with the Finn retiring and the 28-year-old moving to Formula E to race with Dragon Penske.

They have been replaced by former Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas and Formula 2 graduate Guanyu Zhou.

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