Formula 1 will say goodbye to Kimi Räikkönen this weekend in Abu Dhabi, with the Finn set to compete in his final race before retirement.
The 2007 Formula 1 World Champion will make his three-hundred and forty-ninth and final start of his career this weekend at the Yas Marina Circuit having won twenty-one races, taken one hundred and three podiums and eighteen pole positions in a career that began back in 2001 and has taken him from the Sauber F1 Team to Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN via the McLaren F1 Team, Scuderia Ferrari (twice) and the Lotus F1 Team.
Räikkönen is looking to end his career on a high by finishing inside the points one last time, but he knows when he crosses the finish line for the last time on Sunday, it will feel different to what he has experienced before.
“It’s the last race of the season and, this time, the last race of my career, but I don’t think too much about it,” said Räikkönen. “Of course, I know it will feel different once I cross the finish line and I know this chapter of my life is closed, but once I am in the cockpit, it will be a race like any other.
“I want to finish this experience with a good result, for myself and for the team, and I also want to enjoy this weekend with my family and my friends, who will be with me to say goodbye to Formula 1.”
“I approach Abu Dhabi full of confidence” – Antonio Giovinazzi
Team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi will also be competing in his last Formula 1 race – for now at least – at the Yas Marina Circuit, with the Italian moving on to race in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
Giovinazzi scored only his second top ten finish of 2021 last weekend in Saudi Arabia where he finished ninth, and he wants to back that result with another finish inside the points in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“I approach Abu Dhabi full of confidence after such a good race in Jeddah,” said Giovinazzi. “I wanted a result like that before the end of the season to show what I can do, to show that I have not given up and that I will keep on fighting until the final chequered flag; now I want another strong race to finish my three years with the team well.
“I owe it to all those who believe in me and keep supporting me and I owe it to myself, to finish the season with the result I know I can deliver. It will be an interesting weekend and I’m ready for it.”