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.
Diaz (right) is another prototype class veteran, with recent PC experience (8Star Motorsports and PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports) added to his LMP2 days with Fernandez Racing.
All three of them also competed in Champ Car World Series races in Mexico City, with Gonzalez and Diaz part of a six-Mexican driver entry in the 2003 race (Adrian Fernandez, Michel Jourdain Jr., Mario Dominguez and Rodolfo Lavin).
Ricardo Gonzalez co-drives the No. 43 RGR Sport Ligier JS P2 Nissan with Bruno Senna and Filipe Albuquerque in the WEC.
Around two-thirds of the Formula E grid also race in the WEC, with the two championships preventing clashes so that drivers do not have to pick between them. As a result, it seems inevitable that one of the races will have to change date.
Jolyon Palmer felt “gutted” after a likely top-10 finish in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix was lost following a spin in the closing stages, costing him his first Formula 1 points.
2014 GP2 champion Palmer joined Renault for its return to F1 as a constructor in 2016, but arrived in Hungary without a point to his name from the opening 10 races of the season.
Palmer was left disappointed on Saturday after a red flag knocked him out of qualifying at the first hurdle, but a long first stint brought him into contention for points.
Palmer moved into the top 10 after jumping Nico Hulkenberg in the pits, only for Renault’s hard work to be undone when he spun off at Turn 4, losing three positions in the process.
The Briton was ultimately classified 12th after Esteban Gutierrez’s time penalty, extending his points drought to 11 races.
“I’m gutted as my first points in Formula 1 were there for the taking,” Palmer said.
“The car was good and I was driving well within myself in P10. I turned in the same as normal at turn four – I wasn’t hanging everything out and I was looking after the tires – but for some reason I lost the car in a massive snap.
“I need to look at everything with my engineers to see if there is anything we could have done to prevent it.
“I was running tenth, we had completed all our pit stops, we had good pace relative to those ahead and behind so it looks like we’ve made a real step forward this weekend.
“It was the best drive of my career today and just one small spin took away those points.
“I’m gutted today but I’ll be fighting to get in the same position or better in Hockenheim.”