I’ve always been a fan of both. Hakkinen was the driver I looked up to when I was growing up as a 5-8 year old, and Raikkonen I’ve liked ever since his first F1 race. Statistically the two are quite similar, 20 wins each, both could well have been three-time world champion, but Hakkinen had more poles yet Raikkonen has more fastest laps and podiums.
Both are remarkable. Hakkinen outqualified Senna in equal machinery in his first attempt, and is hugely respected by Schumacher. Raikkonen filled in Schumacher’s shoes at Ferrari and won the championship at the first attempt with the team while the two McLarens squabbled. The difference between the two is that Hakkinen spent a lot of years where the car was not really capable of much. He joined Lotus en route to the team closing and joined McLaren while they were struggling to replace the Honda engines. Raikkonen was different, he only spent one season in the midfield before being put in a car that was thereabouts behind the dominant Ferrari. Raikkonen was unlucky not to claim two titles in ’03 and ’05 (tyres (former) and reliability (latter) cost him massively) but still delivered plenty of fine wins. Hakkinen was also very unlucky with retiring whilst leading, in 1997 and in 2001. I do believe Kimi Raikkonen is one of the most naturally gifted drivers F1 has ever seen, but I feel Hakkinen worked harder and played the waiting game and got his rewards after finally fulfilling his potential. I do feel Hakkinen was one of the quickest in qualifying trim in those days, if not the quickest. Raikkonen has a notable qualifying weakness, especially last season. Though he seems to be getting on top of that in 2013. I feel Raikkonen will statistically be the greatest Finn by the time he retires (i.e. another title or two), and whether anybody can beat what he will achieve, who knows?
Then again, everything I’ve said is strictly not hugely relevant because they technically came from two different eras. They only raced together for one season, just as Raikkonen joined the sport and as Hakkinen was leaving. I have always wondered who was more respected in Finland though @Diceman ! Do people speak highly of Keke Rosberg over there?