If Kimi Raikkonen were asked for his most bizarre story, it would be forgiven for asking for time to think.
There was a time when he missed Brazilian legend Pele’s post-race presentation because he ‘took it on’.
There was a time when he escaped from the accommodation of the troops while on military service in Finland and ended up ‘lying on the beach drinking beer’.
There was a time when he took part in a poker boat race in Finland in 2007, dressed in a monkey suit, to the amusement of his fellow competitors.
Kimi Raikkonen (left) longs for return of F1’s rock and roll days after posting his own legacy
Raikkonen provided a cunning response to world champion Lewis Hamilton (right) on Instagram
Or, perhaps best of all, there was the time in 2012 when he experienced a 16-day binge drinking between the Bahrain Grand Prix and the Spanish Grand Prix.
That episode, arguably the most bizarre of his career to date, began with a party hosted by the Prince of Bahrain and chaos ensued from that point on.
In the days that followed, Raikkonen, nicknamed ‘The Iceman’ in F1, ended up fully clothed in a swimming pool, twisting his ankle in an attempt to imitate Diego Maradona, missing a Lotus test due to his failed ankle and passing through the home rode on a piccolo-style baggage car.
Top it all off with a trip to Finland for boozy Mother’s Day karaoke and Raikkonen had produced one of the most idiosyncratic binges of all drivers in F1 history. It was striking that by the time the lights were out in Spain he went a step further. He finished third.
And so, yes, if Raikkonen needs some time to flesh out his craziest story, he has the stories to back it up.
Raikkonen has called it back in recent years. The Finn is now forty, has two children, Robin and Rianna, a wife, Minttu, people who rely on him not to drink.
But, as an older statesman of the grid these days, he occasionally makes no secret of his longing for the sport’s more daring days to return off the track.
Thursday was one of those days when he cheekily pounced on world champion Lewis Hamilton via a hilarious meme comparing him to drivers of yesteryear.
Posted on his Instagram story, Raikkonen showed a side-by-side montage of a shirtless James Hunt, who won the 1976 championship smoking and drinking.
Next to Hunt was a photo of Hamilton, dressed from head to toe in a highly questionable matching outfit, in an attempt to underscore the drastic change between past and present drivers.
Few in the sport currently produce stories that almost rival Räikkönen for pure drama and entertainment.
Raikkonen couldn’t help but drag his own status as a rock ‘n’ roll symbol to the table.
A second post showed a photo of himself looking worse from wear and tear and accompanied it with the caption, “Not all hope is lost yet!”
Räikkonen has always been good for a quote since he was behind the wheel. He likes racing, he doesn’t do interviews.
But his deadly wit and wild off-track lifestyle made him a cult hero for F1 fans. There were, and few are left with its off-track DNA.
British driver David Coulthard was a teammate at Raikkonen when they shared the McLaren garage between 2002 and 2004 and to this day Coulthard has one memory of them above all else.
‘I was a teammate with him for a few years and all he got off of was when he did an internship dive with Ron Dennis’ and I chose to catch Kathy Ojjeh, [McLaren part-owner] Mansour Ojjeh’s wife, who did one too, ”Coulthard said the Express.
So when Kimi hit the deck, he pretended to be knocked out. When he jumped up he said “you’re not a teammate, you’re an a ****** e”.
Raikkonen won one championship in his career, taking the driver’s title with Ferrari in 2007
He enjoyed alcohol away from the track and revealed that he once had a 16-day binge drinking
“I said” I’m sorry but I’m going to get the lady every time “.”
If Coulthard felt Raikkonen’s wrath, the NASCAR engineers who had to take care of him during his first race in 2011 certainly felt the brunt.
Not one to keep his thoughts to himself, even on his debut, he quickly stated, ‘We’re so f *** ing s ** t, it’s unbelievable.’
This was after, ‘I don’t understand how this car can be so hot. My ass even burns here! ‘and’ Why are you calling on the f *** ing radio? ‘
Raikkonen simply never managed to understand PG. It was, more often than not, an X-rated showcase in those early years. Modern athletes like Hamilton treat their bodies like a temple.
Many will not eat meat, many will not smoke, and some will even go teetotal and abstain from alcohol. But not Raikkonen, he had no interest in following that even.
“I smoked for a few years when I was little,” he explained in his book “The Unknown Kimi Raikkonen”. ‘But I haven’t just smoked during my career. Except I’ve seen quite a few fags when I got pecked, and I’ve been pocked quite a lot. ‘
Raikkonen took the drivers’ world title in 2007, but the criticism that has been leveled against him for years was that he could have added many more had he disciplined himself off the track.
His antics slowed down but not stopped forever when he appeared in a monkey costume at Alfa Romeo’s 2019 New Year’s Eve celebrations, before entertaining the rest of the guests.
But Raikkonen sees it through a completely different prism, one where partying relaxes him, enabling him to relieve stress and tension. Going with the mainstream was never part of the plan anyway.
‘Obviously it has often been a joke,’ he explained to F1’s official Beyond the Grid podcast last year.
‘But I actually think it’s truer than a joke that I’ve often ridden better [after] do what I want in between races then when I’m just not having fun and no drinks and stuff.
“There are too many proven theories… that it might work better if you had a little more fun. All summer it was more or less racing and partying. It’s nothing new – it’s normal for me. It may look a bit strange outside, but it used to be a very normal story for me.
‘I always thought so [it makes you] more relaxed and you have to put more effort and concentration into it [on track] because you are a little insecure. And then the end result is better. ‘
Idolizing the lifestyle of misfit James Hunt comes as no surprise, but unfortunately for Raikkonen, they just don’t make them that way anymore.
Along with his wife Minttu, Raikkonen has slowed down from his once rock and roll lifestyle
The 40-year-old poked fun at Hamilton, but the truth is that rock’n’roll is a dying breed in F1