Kimi Raikkonen discussed his rivalry with Fernando Alonso over the years as arch-rivals during the 2000s era to being teammates in 2014.
The duo made their debut at the same race, the 2001 Australian Grand Prix, and went on to enjoy careers that largely intertwined as both climbed into top seats.
Alonso won the 2005 title fight between the two, and Raikkonen defeated Alonso and his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton in 2007.
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Raikkonen and Alonso only worked together once, at Ferrari in 2014. At that time, the Spaniard firmly put Raikkonen in the shade as the Finn struggled for pace and consistency at the outset of the hybrid era.
Raikkonen reflected on the 2014 season and said there was something unusual about it.
“I think he’s always been very good, As a teammate, I’m kind of certain that there was something odd happening, like between us.”
“For sure, I didn’t have a very good year, for many reasons. I didn’t do that well, but we all know he’s fast every weekend,” Raikkonen told the Beyond the Grid podcast.
Alonso’s calibre helped the Finn sharpen his skill and become a better driver
Despite his humiliation at the hands of Alonso that year, Raikkonen said he was unconcerned about the situation and that he had no reservations about facing a colleague of Alonso’s calibre.
“I’ve never been in a position to pick who my teammate is, so it could be anybody. I think that’s good because it pushes you always and [forces you to] push each other. I don’t see any negatives,” he said.
“If you purely looked at the numbers of qualifying or this and that, then some people are more interested [in that]. Honestly, I’m not so fussed about winning against my teammate in qualifying. To me, the race has always been the important part of the weekend.”
With Alonso leaving F1 for two years at the end of 2018, he returned for 2021 and, with both Raikkonen and Alonso in cars that sometimes resulted in them battling together, Raikkonen said some things hadn’t changed during his time away.
“We have had some good battles this year and end up racing against each other. Obviously, we are both in different parts of our careers than we were in those days,” he said.
“I think one thing you can notice is that you can race with him very closely, as it always was with him.
“You kind of know what’s going to happen or what was not going to happen so, in that way, yes, it’s different. You get what you expect and, with some other people, you are not so sure,” Raikonnen concluded.