Kimi Raikkonen’s long F1 career will come to an end in just two races time. The World Champion from 2007 began his career in 2001, alongside drivers such as Fernando Alonso and Juan Pablo Montoya, and so far holds the record with the most starts in F1. Raikkonen had a two years hiatus from F1 where he raced in WRC, but beside that he has been a staple name in the paddock for years, working with teams such as McLaren, Lotus, Ferrari, and Sauber-Alfa Romeo.
During one of the press conferences at Qatar GP, Sebastian Vettel, who once upon a time was Raikkonen’s teammate in Ferrari, was asked if he will miss the Finn’s presence in the sport. To that, he responded: “Will he be missed? Yes. I think he was a true character and I enjoyed the time that I had with him as a team-mate but to be fair, I got to know him already before.
"He is probably one of the very few drivers that I have met from day one until the present day that hasn’t changed in a sense that he has been very open, welcoming me as a young child or a young kid when I entered Formula 1.
“And at that time he was probably the most established Formula 1 driver, at least one of them.
“Great respect. I don’t think you can have an argument or a problem with Kimi. If you do, the problem is not him, the problem is you.”
Vettel also touched upon the fact that it is an inevitable fate for all of the drivers, as the clock never stops. As said by Sebastian: "I think it is a natural thing. Time goes one way and at one point time comes for him, at some point time will come for me and at some point, time will come for Lando [Norris], even though that is a long way to go. It is probably the most natural thing.
“He is a great person and I am sure we will stay in touch so I wish him all the best and I will miss the silence.”
Raikkonen has been definitely one of the most recognisable drivers of the current era of F1, and he will surely be remembered for his great career in the sport.