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About Kimi Raikkonen -
Kimi Raikkonen was born on the 17th October 1979 in Finland. He began his motorsport career at the young age of 11, where he competed in numerous national events in his home country.
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Unlike many of the current F1 drivers Kimi Raikkonen opted out of the traditional route into single seater racing via Formula Ford by venturing into the 'slicks-and-wings' category run by Renault. This meant a move to Great Britain.
In the following year Kimi Raikkonen joined the Formula Ford team Haywood Racing where he took his first podium on his debut. With a limited budget Kimi Raikkonen decided to team up with the Manor Motorsport squad for the Formula Renault UK Winter series, which he won with an impressive 100 per cent record. This success helped to prepare the Finn for a successful season in the main series.
It was Kimi Raikkonen's British Formula Renault Sport title in 2000 which attracted attention of the Formula One teams, especially that of Peter Sauber, who would come to offer Kimi Raikkonen his first F1 testing role. Despite Kimi Raikkonen's success in numerous series which helped to establish him as a championship contender, with only 23 races under his belt there were naturally serious concerns about his ability to jump straight from Formula Renault to Formula One.
In 2001, the 'flying Finn', which has become his nick name, entered into F1 as a rookie with the Sauber Petronas team. Also in that year other rookies such as Juan Pablo Montoya and Fernando Alonso began their careers in F1.
Kimi Raikkonen quickly dispelled any doubts by scoring points on his debut race in Melbourne, as well as a number of other tracks during the season. These results helped to secure the team's best points season ever.
By the end of the season it was clear Mika Hakkinen would be taking a sabbatical for 2002. This provided Kimi Raikkonen the opportunity to drive for one of the best teams within F1. By the end of 2002, Kimi Raikkonen was a McLaren driver.
The decision by Ron Denis seemed bold within the F1 paddock, but was quickly justified when Kimi Raikkonen drove to third in an incident filled first race of the 2003 season. Other strong drives followed soon after. In France, Kimi Raikkonen had a chance of winning the race, however, due to some oil being on the track at the Adelaide hairpin Kimi Raikkonen ran wide. This allowed Michael Schumacher to take the victory. Despite this he ended his first season with the McLaren in good form, especially in qualifying, where he out performed his more experienced team mate David Coulthard.
In 2003, Kimi Raikkonen had an even better year as he recorded his maiden F1 win in Malaysia, which helped to take the Championship battle with Michael Schumacher right down to the last race of the season. The Finn ended up losing out on the title by just two points to by the record-breaking Michael Schumacher.
2004 was a poor year for McLaren considering their form in 2003. This was mainly put down to the lack of performance from the MP4-19, which was never up for the job. As a result, the team introduced the MP4-19B, which helped save some dignity to this prestigious company as they came second at the British Grand Prix as well as securing a vital win in Belgium. Kimi Raikkonen ended the season in 7th.
In 2005 McLaren and Kimi Raikkonen emerged as genuine championship contenders by recording wins in Spain, Monaco and Canada with the help of the newly signed Juan Pablo Montoya to the team. However, reliability problems cost Kimi Raikkonen his championship title that many experts believe he deserves.
2006 could be his last chance to prove his true worth, especially as his future at McLaren is uncertain.
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