Kimi Raikkonen Gifted His Race-Winning SF71H By Ferrari
At the 2018 United States Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen secured, to-date, the last Grand Prix he is likely to win for Scuderia Ferrari.
Having qualified 2nd, Raikkonen got the jump on polesitter Lewis Hamilton to grab the lead into turn one, marking the first time since Abu Dhabi almost two years earlier than the 2007 Formula 1 World Champion finished the first lap of a Grand Prix in a higher position than he’d started. A Virtual Safety Car, thrown on lap eight to recover the lifeless Red Bull RB14 of Daniel Riccardo, led to Mercedes and Ferrari adopting different strategies for the race thereafter, with the one-stopping Raikkonen fending off enormous pressure and managing to nurse his tyres home ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and the two-stopping Hamilton.
The result returned the Finn to the top step of the Formula 1 podium for the first time since his win at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in 2013 with the Lotus F1 Team, 2,044 days earlier. Incredibly, this was also the only win of the Finn’s second tenure with Ferrari between 2014 and 2018 before being replaced for the 2019 season by Monaco’s Charles Leclerc.
Raikkonen’s win – “****ing finally!” – brought the fifth longest dry spell in F1 history to a close, with only Riccardo Patrese (6y 6m 28d, South Africa 1983 to San Marino 1990), Bruce McLaren (6y 6d, Monaco 1962 to Belgium 1968), Sir Jack Brabham (5y 10m 19d, Portugal 1960 to France 1966) and Mario Andretti 5y 7m 14d, South Africa 1971 to Japan 1976) having waited longer. Of these five, however, Raikkonen is the only one to have competed in more than 100 Grand Prix between wins, thus setting a new record in the process.
Now at Alfa Romeo, Raikkonen revealed on Instagram that he recently took delivery of the same Ferrari SF71H he took to victory lane at the Circuit of the Americas in 2018. It now sits proudly alongside the Finn’s impressive collection of motocross bikes, all of which don Raikkonen’s ‘7’ F1 career number.
*Images courtesy of Kimi Raikkonen (kimimatiasraikkonen), Formula1.com, and Ferrari