Cool Kimi, a different character among F1 drivers

Last Updated 25 October 2013, 19:28 IST

Frenchman Eric Boullier, vice-chairman of the Formula One Teams Association, is one of the most respected men around the paddock. When he talks people listen and respond because they do not want to get on the wrong side of the him. 

It’s altogether another matter that Kimi Raikkonen does not seem to care. The ‘Flying Finn’ is known to cold-shoulder pretty much everyone at the venue. And even when he isn’t it seems like he is because he just grumbles, ‘yes’, ‘good’ and ‘no’ in a measured tone -- and stares at you without batting his eyelids throughout interactions.

Plugged into Lotus’ live radio via team headphones, one expected to hear more of Raikkonen and what he was really like behind the wheel.

After all one always expect the ‘Iceman’ to say something out of the ordinary especially after his plea to his team (‘leave me alone. I know what I am doing’) towards the final stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2012, which he eventually won. Raikkonen’s team got his car ready for take-off during his second run of the first practice session here on Friday and it was soon time to go, but strangely the only voices you could hear were of race engineers and occasionally Boullier. Nothing from the car.

There were calls to try out several gear, clutch and KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) but there was nothing in response. He was then asked to roll into the pit and then spread some rubber on the pit-patch (The Box). Once again he did so without response. On his way out, one of the engineers announced that there was a man cutting across the end of the pit lane. Raikkonen remained just as stoic and avoided the man without uttering a word. 

He went through five laps without a word and just when one thought Raikkonen would pull into the garage for a re-check, as was asked by the engineers, he said: ‘I want to take it out for a few more laps’.

A race engineer disagreed with Raikkonen and insisted that he returned. Raikkonen mumbled a few words into the microphone and was rolled into the garage. He sat in without saying anything.

His team-mate Romain Grosjean’s radio on the other hand barely encountered static. There was a consistent conversation from both sides with emphasis on car set ups and so on.

In the day and age where drivers talk just as fast as they drive, Raikkonen is absolutely a breath of fresh air. 

(Published 25 October 2013, 19:28 IST)

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