Listen to this article now
Only a handful of races remain in the current season. We do not know how Kimi Matias Raikkonen will fare in those.
What we do know is that of the races that have been held this year, he’s not been the happiest man on the grid.
How can you, when you have only 2 points against your name from 11 races?
Moreover, can you find a reason to raise a toast being Kimi Matias Raikkonen, like you once famously did upon a McLaren race-retirement at the famous Principality of Monaco?
To a driver who says little on the track and off it, and sometimes funnily so, the only part in his life that seems happening is probably the part that’s documented on his Instagram page.
No jokes, honestly.
For on the grid, Raikkonen’s greatest moments with Alfa Romeo- that only a true devoted fan can conceive as a keyword (in social media lingo)- either do not exist or at the most, point to his qualifying efforts.
And for that, the man from Espoo, the man who has practically raced in a third of all FORMULA 1 races, must be credited.
So, how’s that?
But just imagine- how poor might have been the life of a world champion to be making news about qualifying performances when until 2018, he was constantly hanging out on the podium?
As a matter of fact, in 12 of 21 races for Ferrari, then in his last year with the iconic stable.
Raikkonen managed to take his Alfa Romeo into Q2 on two occasions in 11 Grands Prix this season.
Not random fact. Actually, astonishing but inconvenient truth to those who’ve seen Raikkonen in a happier space.
To countless fans accustomed to Lewis Hamilton’s marauding pace and penchant for grand slams or those treated well (and understandably so) by Daniel Ricciardo’s stellar drives this season, Kimi’s performances hold the weight of a paper vis-à-vis that of an elephant.
But truth be told, even those efforts for a team who not many care about- let’s face it- matter.
Still holding himself well, is he?
Partnering a teammate who’s a decade and a half younger, it was the phlegmatic Finn who succeeded at bringing at least some soft spots for his Alfa Romeo team.
The talented Antonio Giovinazzi? Well, not so much.
In a sport that’s not just about speed but also about reflexes and the ‘drive,’ that the Espoo-born was able to put an insipid Alfa Romeo into Q2 at Spain and then, soon at Monza, wasn’t the worst feeling in the world.
Though, on the contrary, that given that Alfa Romeo had waited for five consecutive races- starting from the Styrian GP until the end of the Silverstone-bound double-header- to see at least one car into the final 15 made Kimi’s feat special if not laudable.
But even after he managed the twin P14s- at Spain’s Catalunya and Monza- his troubles didn’t really end for he failed to convert those starts into points, provided you want to call a fourteenth on the grid a ‘start’ to a race featuring two faster McLarens, Racing Points, Alpha Tauris and arguably speaking even Haas, on race-pace.
A moment of reprieve in 2020
It’s the race-finish at Tuscany- where the oldest man on the grid beat much younger around him, some nearly half his age, to end P9.
That it came on a track where he recorded a proper FORMULA 1 drive for the first time ever- all thanks to Peter Sauber- made it even more special.
Philosophically speaking, it signaled life coming at a full-circle. Or better yet that the curve with Kimi Raikkonen- beer lover, wearer of cool eyewear eater- hadn’t flattened!
Even more special for the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix, where Kimi went at blazing speed wearing the same nonchalance he sported two decades ago, was the fact that the sport’s quiet enigma sandwiched the two Ferraris in the end.
And resultantly, kept Vettel, his former teammate at Ferrari, behind. Not too bad for a driver who has against his name 1 world title in comparison to the man who is eight years younger and with 3 more titles?
Who knows with a bit more pace, he might have gotten Charles too?
But let’s face it- these aren’t things Kimi Raikkonen- 21 race wins, 103 podiums, 46 fastest laps, 1 world title – cares about.
Just like he didn’t even remember his own (fastest) lap time at Suzuka, which stood from 2005-2019 before Lewis broke it last year.
Zero bull-shit- something’s don’t change!
So while the man cares little about things like the 1:31:540 (2005 Japanese GP), an effort central to his commanding win back then, arguably the greatest on track achievement as a winner, he’d certainly want to hope for better days ahead.
That the notoriously silent driver hasn’t yet announced whether he’d like to continue for another year makes one wonder what’s up?
Are things like Raikkonen and Mick Schumacher pairing up for a 2021 Alfa Romeo drive just random rumors?
Are they utterly unfounded and meant to only appease Kimi Raikkonen-fans, many of whom might not really be masters of keeping cool amid uncertainty like the man himself?
“Who knows,” as Kimi himself says whenever asked about his future plans.
What’s known is that this cool, utterly unflustered character won’t be too interested in ‘what’s next.’
For he ain’t a random racer who contests to impress others, rather someone who does what is right for himself, not for anybody else.
But where others are concerned O Kimi Matias Raikkonen- giver of zero shits- they’d want you to hang around for a bit longer.
That speed hasn’t deserted you and mind you we don’t mean express Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen pace, there are things like the 2019 Brazil drive that yielded a P4, in an Alfa Romeo, mind you.
Go on for them? Or maybe we should just leave you alone, for you know what you are doing. Anyways- happy bday Iceman.