Abu Dhabi: Now perched on creating his own bit of history, former F1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen will chart his own little bit of history when he lines up on the Yas Marina Circuit grid.
The 40-year-old Finn will start his 315th race to make his way past Spaniard Fernando Alonso into second place on the all-time list of race starts by drivers past and present. Brazilian Rubens Barrichello heads the list with 326 race starts, while Lewis Hamilton is the only active driver who makes the top-10 while nestling into ninth place with 249 starts so far.
Nicknamed the ‘Iceman’ for his demeanour on and off the track, Raikkonen who now drives for Alfa Romeo, had won his only world crown during his stint with Scuderia Ferrari in 2007. After nine seasons in F1, he left the sport to compete in the World Rally Championship in 2010 and 2011 before returning to F1 in 2012. After his lone title in 2007, last season was among his best as Raikkonen ended in third overall.
And typical of him, Raikkonen refused to give his historic moment any significance. “It gives me nothing, but I am excited now to have another go and we can improve from this year and learn the lessons from what we’ve done wrong and what we’ve done good and get a bit closer to the front,” Raikkonen told media here.
“Time alone will tell, but it’s way too early [for the next season to start]. Once we start running the cars in the first race next year, then we will get a good idea.”.
Raikkonen is lurking in the mid-section of the drivers’ standings with 43 points and in 12th place, but with the possibility of overtaking at least three drivers including Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez and Lando Norris. “I think we’ve had two different halves of the year where the first part was pretty decent. At first we had good speed and we still didn’t score any points as a team. We did have a couple of good races recently, but it’s too late now,” he said. “We are still trying to improve so it’s all learning for next year where we try to do a better job as a team.”