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"Consistently odd" Raikkonen doesn’t know why F1 fans liked him

Kimi Raikkonen does not understand why he became such a fan favourite in Formula 1 – although suggests it could be because he was "consistently odd or weird".

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing takes a selfie with a fan

The 2007 world champion, who called time on his F1 career at the end of last season, has no racing plans for the future as he instead wants to spend more time with his family.

But reflecting on his two spells in F1, where he became one of the most popular characters due to his on-track success and off-track attitude, the Finn is unsure about the reasons he was liked so much.

“I don’t know why they like me,” he told Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview. “Maybe because I am what I am. Consistently odd or weird, or whatever you want to call it!

“It’s normal for me, but for outside, maybe not for everybody. But I’ve done it exactly on my own terms, most of the way anyway.”

Raikkonen says that sticking to an attitude that he felt was right, rather than trying to be somebody he wasn’t to please others, was critical for him.

“Here and there, you need to somewhat go in another way. Obviously more in the beginning, it’s more difficult, because they try to put you somewhere. But if you don’t, they kind of give up on trying to change you.

“It’s easier [for them to say]: maybe it’s best to just let him do what he wants.

“I’m happy that I did the fighting in the beginning, because it’s obviously a lot easier. [After that] it’s much harder to try to be somebody else.”

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing fans and banner

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing fans and banner

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Raikkonen reckons that rather than it being difficult for him to maintain his image, he felt it would actually have been harder to behave in a way that others would have liked.

“I think you can do what people ask you, or be what people ask you to be, for a while. But I don’t think it’s very good or healthy in the long run.”

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Raikkonen also does not remember some of his more iconic moments – like his ‘leave me alone’ radio message from the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – with the same kind of enthusiasm as his fans.

Asked if he cared about things like that, he said: “No, not really. In the end, we won the race, and the people that were there actually know what happened.

“It’s easy to make one thing out of it and do this and that. In the end, winning the race is a long process from Friday to Sunday. I have no feelings either way, good or bad about it.”

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