Kimi Räikkönen will head into the Russian Grand Prix preparing to make his three-hundred and seventh Grand Prix start on Sunday.
When the race starts on Sunday, he will overtake Jenson Button‘s and Michael Schumacher‘s records of three-hundred and six Formula 1 starts. Only Fernando Alonso and Rubens Barrichello have competed in more races.
The Finn could not have imagined that he would be in the sport for so long since he arrived on the grid in 2001, considering beforehand that he had competed in only twenty-three single-seater races prior to being signed on by Alfa Romeo Racing‘s predecessors Sauber.
“Definitely not. I think I was wishing to stop much earlier,” Räikkönen said.
“I kind of stopped it already but no, for sure not. I don’t think I had any ideas how long. Hopefully at least one or two years. Things have turned out a bit different – but I didn’t really have a plan before, I still don’t. We’ll try to go good things and as long as we enjoy it, obviously we’ll keep racing and see what happens.”
Despite a two-year hiatus from F1 in 2010-11, competing in the FIA World Rally Championship, the Finn’s love for his racing did not stop, hence his return with Lotus F1 Team in 2012.
The 2007 World Champion is under contract to race with Alfa Romeo next year, meaning that he could break Barrichello’s all-time record of three-hundred and twenty-two Grand Prix starts that was set in 2011.
Raikkönen was also asked about whether he takes pride in his long tenure of being in the top level of motorsport.
“Not really. I mean, to me, as long as I feel myself that I can drive where I expect to be, and I can do things as I, in my head, I feel I should, then I’m happy to keep going, plus, as long as the racing is the bigger part than all the other nonsense,” Räikkönen added.
“I don’t really think ‘Oh, I’ve done this much racing, and it’s a great thing’. For me, the results are much more important than another other fact. Maybe the day you stop, and after a while when you look backwards, it means something. But right now, no.”