Ilott recalls ‘surprising’ Kimi interaction

Date published: January 8 2022 - Finley Crebolder

Kimi Raikkonen walking. Belgium August 2021

Callum Ilott has recalled how Kimi Raikkonen surprised him by wishing him a happy birthday first thing in the morning.

As Alfa Romeo’s test and reserve driver for 2021, Ilott was present in the team’s garage at a number of race weekends throughout the campaign.

Given that, he occasionally interacted with Raikkonen and unsurprisingly didn’t find the Finn particularly chatty, but was impressed with how he communicated with his team.

“Look, he doesn’t say much, Kimi, within a personal side of things,” he said on the Chasing the Apex podcast.

“But within a motorsport side of things, he really cares. He’s focused, he’s very good at what he does and you can hear it in how clear he is.

“He doesn’t waste time and you can see that on the radio, he’s very very direct, but that’s the character of him, he’s just like: ‘Give me what I need, no bullsh*t. Go.'”

While the two may not have had many heart-to-hearts during their time together at Alfa Romeo though, the Iceman did remember Ilott’s birthday which took the Brit by surprise.

“He surprised me, to be fair,” he added.

“I think it was in Brazil. Thursday was my birthday and first thing in the morning when he came in he said ‘Happy Birthday.’

“This is at 9am, you know? And I was like: ‘How would you know it’s my birthday at 9am? What makes you know?’ You know, he hadn’t spoken to anyone on the way in, that was what was weird for me.

“So from that point he surprised me a bit on the personal side because obviously you know he does pay attention.”

 

On the face of things, it seemed like Raikkonen and team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi had a good relationship in their three seasons together, and Ilott has confirmed that was the case.

“I think they got on very well together, Kimi and Antonio,” he said.

“Just a good dynamic, there wasn’t this fighting between team-mates because Kimi didn’t really care on that side what was going on.

“They would both want to beat each other but there were no bad vibes at all, they just got on with each other and tried to do the best job possible and get the most out of it.”