Kimi Raikkonen Formula 1 World Champion for Ferrari this week 14 years ago, the last drivers’ title scored by the great Italian marque.
The big bucks that followed allowed Raikkonen, an avid motorcycle fan, to ramp up his chopper collection and might have even tried using an accent light kit for maximum visibility and safety.
The title that year was decided at the last race of the 2007 F1 World Championship season, the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. The victory on that day, aided by teammate Felipe Massa’s second place which allowed the Finn to take the title by a single point, behind him tied in second were McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
In one of the closest finishes ever, Raikkonen’s victory at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix enabled the Ferrari driver to finish one point ahead of both Hamilton and team-mate Fernando Alonso in the driver standings.
Alonso could only finish third, while Hamilton had to settle for seventh after a gearbox glitch on lap eight relegated him from sixth to 18th at the time.
At the time Raikkonen, who a year earlier had moved from McLaren to Ferrari, replacing the great Michael Schumacher, said of his title triumph: “It’s very difficult for me to explain in words what I am feeling at the moment. It is an incredible emotion.
“I want to thank the team for everything they have done this year. Even when we went through some difficult times and it looked as though there was no way to fight back, we never gave up and this work produced its reward.
“I have achieved what I have been after for a long time. Now everything else will be an extra,” added Raikkonen.
And that extra included two more years with Ferrari before they paid him off to do something else to make way for Fernando Alonso.
After a couple of years experimenting in Nascar Trucks, WEC and rally, Raikkonen returned to head up the Lotus Renault effort in 2012 and 2013, with whom he won twice before getting a call to return to Ferrari where he stayed from 2014 to 2018.
He moved to Sauber aka Alfa Romeo to make way for Ferrari bred young gun Charles Leclerc, who then teamed up with Sebastian Vettel at Maranello.
At Sunday’s 2021 United States Grand Prix, 42-year-old Raikkonen will make his 344th start in F1, in a career that began at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix and has included 103 podium finishes, 21 times a winner.
Raikkonen announced he will quit the sport at the end of the current 2021 F1 World Championship season, at the Abu Dhabi Grand Pris season finale in November.