Thursday, November 22, 2007

The hot iceman

He's a man of few words. And when he does say something, it usually is not very interesting but put him in a car and Kimi Raikkonen lets his driving do the talking.

Cold Mountain In the cold and freezing climes of Espoo, on October 17, 1979 an addition by the name of Kimi Matias Raikkonen was made to the world. Just 22 years later, that name became one of the most exciting talents ever to step into the world of Formula One. Born to Puala and Matti Raikkonen, little Kimi had his first glimpse of a racetrack at the age of seven and by 10, he was the king of the karting track, even though it stretched family's already meagre finances. With brother Rami also keen on making a career out of racing, the Raikkonens sacrificed a lot to allow their sons to race. The family had such limited means they lived for years with no indoor toilet this in frigid Finland.

So one of the first things Raikkonen did after he signed the contract with McLaren in 2001 was pay to have his parents' house remodelled. Legend has it that the laid-back Finn was asleep 20 minutes before his first Grand Prix and enjoys his snooze so much that he still needs to be woken up before qualifying and races.

Today he's the highest paid driver in the sport with a salary of around $40 million and is ranked fifth in the Forbes list of richest athletes. Ice runs in his veins Maybe the cold of Finland has something to with his temperament — cool and calculating. He seems to be without nerves and his driving is like that — cold-blooded but fast — which prompted the nickname, 'Iceman', which is cleverly inscribed on his helmet as well. Put him behind the wheel of a racing car and he becomes brave to the point of lunacy. Maybe that's why he enjoyed 'Gone in 60 Seconds.'

The 28-year-old Ferrari driver is taciturn but not colourless. The Eminem-fan may seem like a man with no or little emotion but he's fond of a tipple (though he lists apple juice as his favourite drink), is married to a former beauty queen and is capable of pulling the odd wild stunt.

To Jenni, with love The blonde Finn tied the knot with former Miss Scandinavia Jenni Maria Dahlman on July 31, 2004. Seeing the taller Jenni walk hand-in-hand with 'Kimster' used to be a common sight at GPs but now that Jenni is more involved with her own passion, her appearances have become rather infrequent. Like a loving-husband, Raikkonen indulges his wife's hobby horse-riding and has bought her three horses Liber, McKinley and Caland. To relax after a few hectic weeks at the tracks, Raikkonen and Jenni head to their holiday villa in Porkkala where they jet ski, sail and even cook together, with their pet Alsatian in tow.

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