Kimi Raikkonen retired from F1 at the end of 2021 after his 20-year long career but he has no idea why the fans like him.
Kimi Raikkonen began his F1 career in 2001 with the Sauber team and went ahead to win the 2007 world championship. He won the championship by one point difference from both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
The Finnish driver nicknamed “The Iceman” competed in 349 Grand Prix in his 20-year long career but does not know why the fans adore him. In 2003 and 2005, Raikkonen finished second in the drivers’ standings and third in 2010, 2012 and 2018.
Mattia Binotto on Kimi Raikkonen: “Kimi can always be trusted. He is very respectful, even if he doesn’t say much.
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) January 25, 2022
In an interview with Motorsport.com, the Finnish driver said, “I don’t know why they like me. Maybe because I am what I am. Consistently odd or weird, or whatever you want to call it!”
“It’s normal for me, but for outside, maybe not for everybody. But I’ve done it exactly on my own terms, most of the way anyway,” he further added.
Kimi Raikkonen is glad he stayed true to himself
Raikkonen does not like the extras that come with competing in Formula 1 such as media and promotional appearances. He is glad that he stayed true to himself rather than becoming a different person.
He said that it is hard to try to be somebody else. “It’s easier [for them to say]: maybe it’s best to just let him do what he wants. I’m happy that I did the fighting in the beginning because it is obviously a lot easier. [Affter that] it’s much harder to try to be somebody else,” he further added.
“I think you can do what people ask you, or be what people ask you to be, for a while. But I don’t think it’s very good or healthy in the long run.”
A phrase said by the Finnish driver at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix became famous among his fans so much so that it was printed on hats and t-shirts. He had told his Lotus race engineer to “Leave me alone, I know what I am doing.” He, later on, went on to win the race.
When asked whether he cared how his fans reacted to his radio message, he said, “No, not really. In the end, we won the race, and the people that were there actually know what happened.”
“It’s easy to make one thing out of it and do this and that. In the end, winning the race is a long process from Friday to Sunday. I have no feelings either way, good or bad about it.”