He is – even after his retirement – one of the most popular Formula 1 drivers, but he can’t really explain it himself. We’re talking about Kimi Raikkonen.
The 2007 world champion, who retired from Formula 1 at the end of last season, admits: “I don’t know why they like me.”
In the exclusive interview with “Motorsport.com”, however, the Finn expresses an assumption as to why he became such a fan favorite: “Maybe because I am the way I am.”
“Always weird or strange, or whatever you want to call it! It’s normal for me, but maybe not for everyone to outsiders. But I did it exactly on my own terms, most of the way anyway,” he explains 42-year-old after 19 Formula 1 seasons.
Looking back on his time in the premier class, Raikkonen stresses that it was crucial for him to stick to an attitude that he thought was right, rather than trying to be someone he’s not just to please others.
“Here and there you have to take a different path. Of course it’s more difficult at the beginning because they try to stretch you somewhere. But if you don’t go along with it, they give up trying to change you a bit,” he knows Fin.
The “Iceman” can’t understand the hype around him
“It’s then easier for them to say: maybe it’s best to let him do what he wants. I’m glad I fought at the beginning because obviously that’s a lot easier. After that it’s a lot harder to try to be someone else.”
In general, it would have been much more difficult to behave in a way that others might have liked better than just being yourself, says Räikkönen: “I think you can do or be what people think of for a while ask for one. But I don’t think that’s very good or healthy in the long run.”
This also means that the 42-year-old is not really impressed by anything and is not a fan of big emotions. The “Iceman” looks back soberly on some of his most iconic moments, such as the radio message “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing” at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2012.
He doesn’t really care about such things: “In the end we won the race and the people who were there know what happened. It’s easy to exaggerate that. Ultimately, victory is a long process from Friday to Sunday . I have no feelings, good or bad, about it.”