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Kimi Raikkonen

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Biography

Räikkönen had a long line of success in karting from the age of ten, including placing second in the 1999 European Formula Super A championship. He also competed that year in the Formula Ford Euro Cup, and by the age of twenty, he had won the British Formula Renault Winter series, winning the first four races of the year. In 2000, he won seven of ten events in the Formula Renault UK Championship. After racing in the Formula Renault series later in 2000, Räikkönen had won 13 of 23 events — a 56% win rate.

On the basis of these results, Peter Sauber gave the Finn a test with the Sauber Formula One team in September of 2000. After further tests in Jerez and Barcelona, Sauber signed Räikkönen for the 2001 season. However, some critics (including FIA president Max Mosley) voiced concerns over granting an F1 superlicence to such an inexperienced driver, having only 23 car races to his credit. He was nevertheless granted one and scored a championship point in the 2001 Australian Grand Prix, his maiden Grand Prix. Räikkönen was asleep 20 minutes before his first F1 GP (It is said that he loves to sleep - so much so that he needs to be woken up before qualifying and races.)

Räikkönen received the F1 Racing "Driver of the Year" accolade, and the Autosport "International Racing Driver of the Year" award..

At the Spanish Grand Prix Räikkönen qualified 9th. However at the start Räikkönen managed to get up to 5th place on the first lap. He retained this position for most of the race, finishing 5th place. A few days after the Spanish Grand Prix, he admitted that he had no chance of winning the 2006 Championship.In Monte Carlo, Räikkönen qualified third. During the race he would get up to 2nd and keep pace with Alonso, however he retired during a safety car period after a failed heat shield led to heat from the exhaust causing a wiring loom inside the car to catch fire.

A first turn incident with Scott Speed at the Turkish Grand Prix led to an exploded tyre and suspension damage. After a tyre change, Räikkönen's race ended half way into the next lap when he ran into the barricade at turn 4. Räikkönen qualified on pole for the Italian Grand Prix, snatching pole from Michael Schumacher by 2 thousandths of a second right at the end of qualifying. He led the early part of the race until the first pitstops where he was passed by Michael Schumacher. He stayed in second place for the rest of the race. After the race Schumacher announced that he was retiring. Later Ferrari announced that he would be replaced in the 2007 season by Räikkönen.

In Canada Räikkönen qualified fourth and finished fifth after battling with Alonso for the place, until the final safety car intervention came and Alonso lost his grip and was overtaken by Takuma Sato in the final corner. Räikkönen's team-mate Massa was disqualified. At the United States Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified fourth and finished fourth where he recorded fastest lap of the race.



 


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