Kimi Räikkönen thanked the Scuderia Ferrari fans for their support after seeing his last race for the team end in electrical failure early in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Räikkönen ground to a halt on the pit straight at the Yas Marina Circuit with no drive and no display on his steering wheel on lap eight of Sunday’s race. The retirement, his fourth of the year, robbed the Finn of a potential thirteenth podium in 2018.
However, the new Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team driver did manage to keep his third place in the Drivers’ Championship. Third place for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen was not enough to eclipse Räikkönen, the Dutchman falling shy by two points.
Räikkönen took heart in the team’s pace during the race, but admitted that the ending to his Ferrari career – one that spans eight seasons over two spells – was far from ideal.
“Obviously I’m a bit disappointed,” Räikkönen said. “It’s not the way we wanted this last race together to finish.
“We wanted to do well and I think we would have had a pretty good car for the job. Unfortunately we had an electrical issue; in the back straight, I felt I was lacking power and then everything shut down. It’s a pity but that’s how racing goes sometimes.”
2018 saw Formula 1‘s oldest current driver claim his first win for over five years, at the United States Grand Prix in October. Räikkönen acknowledged a “pretty decent” season overall, before paying tribute to the Ferrari fans for their support. He reflected on the Drivers’ Championship he memorably won at the last race in 2007, as well at the two Constructors’ Championship in ’07 and ’08.
“It’s been a pretty decent season, but the four retirements were not in our plans and obviously did not help; we wanted more for sure,” he added.
“I want to thank all the Ferrari fans who always gave me a lot of support. We went through good and bad times together, and this makes it all the more interesting.
“Of course we wanted a better finish, but that’s part of the sport. We will always have the memories of winning the Drivers’ Championship and two Constructors’ Championships together.”
The first day of post-season tyre testing in Abu Dhabi saw Räikkönen turn out for Sauber for the first time since his debut season in F1, 17 years ago.