Kimi Raikkonen will join an elite club of drivers in the history of Formula 1 when he races in his 200th grand prix in Montreal today.
The Finn made his debut back in 2001 for Sauber, and immediately shot to fame with a stunning first race in Australia where he finished sixth despite having only raced in single seaters 23 times beforehand. He joined McLaren for 2002 and remained with the British team until the end of 2006 before joining Ferrari.
Raikkonen enjoyed his finest hour in 2007, winning the drivers’ world championship by one point from Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. However, his form with Ferrari then nosedived in 2008, and at the end of 2009, he walked away from Maranello and Formula 1 altogether to try some other racing series such as rallying and even one NASCAR event.
In the fall of 2011, it was confirmed that Raikkonen would be returning to F1 in 2012 with Lotus alongside Romain Grosjean. He had an impressive comeback season, winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and finishing third in the drivers’ championship. Another win came at the beginning of 2013, but this would prove to be his last for the team. Towards the end of the year, his relationship soured with Lotus due to a lack of payment, and he left the team before the season’s end in order to have back surgery ahead of his return to Ferrari in 2014.
So far this year, the glorious comeback that many expected has failed to come about. The Finn currently sits 12th in the drivers’ standings with just 17 points, 44 less than teammate Fernando Alonso. Nevertheless, he has underlined his commitment to both Formula 1 and Ferrari.
For race #200, Kimi will start down in 10th place. Although he may not stand much chance of finishing on the podium, a good haul of points is certainly achievable in Canada. His passive and honest attitude is popular among the fans of the sport away from the track, while his on track achievements have been numerous; one world title appears to short change him slightly.
You can watch Raikkonen’s 200th race, the Canadian Grand Prix, live on NBC from 2pm ET, with the pre-race show starting on NBCSN at 1:30pm.