Kimi Raikkonen: Unluckiest of the Luckiest

Prasanna VenkatachalamContributor IApril 28, 2009

SAKHIR, BAHRAIN - APRIL 26:  Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari comes in for a pitstop during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit on April 26, 2009 in Sakhir, Bahrain.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Formula One drivers are considered to be one of the luckiest men in the universe.  After all, they get to race with the most technologically advanced cars around some of the most exotic places in the world; however, it is not all easy, as it requires amazing skill and computer- like precision. 

Gaining this skill also brings forth enormous amount of money and gorgeous female companions.  When someone mentions an unlucky Formula One driver, it is common that the name Vitantonio Luizzi comes to mind.

After all, he is on sidelines along with others talents such as Christian Klien, while some untalented driver walks around the paddock instead of trying to find another job.  But lately, when someone says ‘unlucky,’ the name Kimi Raikkonen seems to be popping into everyone’s mind.

Kimi Raikkonen has all the ingredients that qualify him as a worthy Formula One driver:  He drives for the most revered team in the business, Ferrari; he is the fifth highest paid sportsman in the world, earning an astrounding $51 million per year for his services, and he has a gorgeous spouse, Scandinavian model Jenni Dahlman.  In other word, Raikkonen has always been lucky. 

Until the 2008 campaign got underway, Raikkonen always seemed to be able to do the impossible; he fought his way into Q3 in his first ever F1 outing for Sauber; he consistently outperformed all of his teammates; he made his car dance around the track to set record breaking fast laps.

Despite achieving these feats, Raikkonen showed himself to be a down-to-earth calm person, which gained him the infamous nickname, ‘The Iceman.’ 

However, Raikkonen’s nickname was put to test couple of races into the 2008 season, especially after winning his 17th victory of his career, at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. 

After the race, the champion was quoted as saying “this was probably the best weekend I’ve ever had in my career,” and “it was a perfect weekend for us.” 

At the point, it has been almost a year since he has been on the top step of the podium.  Lady Luck is cruel that way; she gave something extraordinary, and took everything back from him. 

Following the amazing weekend in Barcelona, Raikkonen’s almost second place in Monaco was ruined after he lost control of his car; he finished the race in ninth place. 

In Canada, Raikkonen’s chance of win denied by Lewis Hamilton, when the Brit ran into the back of the Finn’s Ferrari, and took both of them out of contention.

In France, he started from Pole position and had to give way to his teammate Felipe Massa after the Finn’s exhaust broke off. 

At Silverstone, he was catching up championship rival Hamilton for the lead; however, during the pitstop, the team decided to leave Raikkonen on the used tyres, and he was unable to keep up the pace with the pack. 

During the European Grand Prix, he suffered an engine failure following a disastrous pitstop.  At the Belgian Grand Prix, Raikkonen’s certain victory was stolen by Hamilton who cut the chicane in an overtaking attempt; soon after, Raikkonen spun out and placed his Ferrari into the wall. 

After the Spa accident, Raikkonen was quoted as saying that he gave up fighting for the championship on 2008, and he promised to come back stronger for 2009. 

Raikkonen once again crashed out of the Singapore Grand Prix with handful of laps remaining.  At the Japanese Grand Prix, he overtook Hamilton going into the Turn One, only to have the Brit out-brake everyone else and forced Raikkonen off the road; Raikkonen eventually finished in 7th place.  That finish mathematically ended the chance of Raikkonen retaining the title.

Raikkonen vowed to fight back for 2009 with the Ferrari’s latest contender, the F60.  According to him, the car suited his driving style better than the previous year’s F2007; however, the Ferrari was awfully slow compared to others, and the Finn and his teammate found themselves at the bottom of the pack. 

In Albert Park, Raikkonen put his car into the wall, and he eventually retired.  The premature end of the Malaysian Grand Prix, one of Raikkonen’s two victories in 2008, saw him classified in the 14th place after a gamble with tyres didn’t pay off.

An underpowered engine saw him get overtaken several times, bringing him a 10th place finish in the Chinese Grand Prix.  Despite these hardships, Raikkonen managed to bring home a sixth place finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix, preventing the historically worst season for Ferrari. 

There is an old saying that goes something like “in life, you make your own luck.”  However, this has not been the case for the Iceman, as he is still pursuing his 18th victory, and I, for one, don’t want Lady Luck to melt the ice....