Kimi Raikkonen and James Hunt

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Nurburgring, 2007 | Ferrari MediaKimi Raikkonen entered a snowmobile race just before the start of the year under the pseudonym ‘James Hunt’.

The fact that he chose Hunt’s name – a former world champion and renowned party animal – looked like a window into the real, fun-loving personality he keeps hidden behind the dull, monotonous front we’re used to seeing.

Sure enough, Autosport’s Steve Cooper teased it out of him in an excellent interview in this week’s issue.

Raikkonen told Cooper:

My friends and I had always joked about [entering a race as 'James Hunt']… My life would definitely have been much easier in the 1970s. I was definitely born in the wrong era.

All season long, Raikkonen has had criticism for not applying himself properly at Ferrari.

Gigantic natural skill is nothing without total commitment to the job, say his detractors. As he’s stepped into Michael Schumacher’s shoes this season, it’s an obvious criticism to make.

But this view Raikkonen has of himself is illuminating. Frankly, I wish more of the drivers modelled themselves on James Hunt.

Hunt had talent to throw away as well, and famously was the life and soul of the party – although that lifestyle did get the better of him at times.

James Hunt, McLaren-Ford, 1976He retired sooner than he should have, abruptly, in the middle of 1979. Raikkonen says the only thing he loves about Formula 1 is driving. I would hate for that to change and see Raikkonen quit the shport before he’s done justice to his immense ability.

But I would like to see him show a little of his James Hunt alter ego in public – particularly in press conferences, which are painful affairs when Raikkonen takes the microphone.

Let’s see him answering questions cheerfully and honestly, and perhaps occasionally bum a cigarette off the journalists. Something like this:

Photos: Ferrari, Ford

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6 comments on Kimi Raikkonen and James Hunt

  1. Tommy B said on 4th August 2007, 11:28

    I’ve just read the Kimi interview in autosport. He seems like he has lots of fun outside F1, even if he shouldnt be!

  2. Journeyer said on 7th August 2007, 7:16

    I think it would be loads of fun to spend a day with him! There’s a lot more to his life than what we see.

    Then again, that’s true of most F1 drivers nowadays. We hear of the occasional fun drivers like Kimi, Montoya, or even Schumi has!

  3. Suzy said on 13th August 2007, 8:10

    Hm, I am not sure setting James Hunt as a hero is the way to success in today’s F1. Kimi (and fans of his Hunt-admiration) may find it cool to be his own man and do what he wants but maybe that’s why he hasn’t won a title yet? He sure does have the talent and maybe with a bit more dedication he would be more successful.

    OK, he says he doesn’t mind if he doesn’t win a title, for him the main thing is to enjoy himself. I wish he would re-think this attitude. I mean he is paid a lot to care a bit more if he will win a title or not. The team expects him to care, even if that means sometimes you have to make sacrifices and doesn’t enjoy yourself so much. I’m sure Schumacher didn’t always enjoy himself and it wasn’t all just fun for him.

    There is a saying that in sports the one wins who wants it the most. Maybe the problem with Kimi that he doesn’t want it enough? Partying, enjoying himself is more important for him than success?

    As I said, you may find it cool and those more dedicated, hard-working drivers “boring” but I think it’s kind of betraying your team, the people who work hard for you, when you don’t give everything you could.

    And one more thing: Kimi may admire Hunt and maybe wants to be like him but I find the comparation a bit laughable, to be honest when I think of Kimi’s monotonous, boring speach etc. The fact he likes partying won’t make him a “new Hunt”.

  4. lee said on 6th May 2009, 17:34

    Hi Suzy,

    I understand Kimi and now (2009) he is a World Champion also. Kimi is a Finn like I am. Kimi might be monotonius but that’s how we Finns are. Not very open minded. But why is he driving then? He loves the sport but hates everything around it.

    The sad thing in sports nowadays (actually in every sport)is that it is all business. No room for individuals. Sponsors want machines who can make big profits. Big profits for them, that is.

    So what if James Hunt smoked two packets of cigarettes a day, drank a lot and dated beautiful girls? He was a person one of a kind, compared eg. to Michael Schumacher (who is a great champion, no doubt of that). That time it was possible but not now. Sad. I want to admire a person not only his achievements.

    regards to you anyway, lee

    So what would you prefer? Only statistic and no enthusiasm, feelings shown or tabloid headlines?

  5. Mirella said on 14th January 2011, 19:38

    Si chiamano giochi di ruolo ..
    Se il Nostro campione si vuole divertire cambiando ruoli e nomi ? non è un grave problema .
    Siamo qui per visionare i risultati in WRC ..il resto ? non è così interessante .

  6. Mirella said on 14th January 2011, 19:47

    Anche perchè James Hunt was died a long time ago ….
    I think Mister Rakk had a lots of personality Kimppa, Räikkä, Kimster, Raka e il più famoso di tutti – Iceman. Kimi Raikkonen, alias James Hunt, è un uomo dalle molte facce,…
    Let him play .

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