Mattia Binotto has said Kimi Raikkonen is one of the only people he can call a friend in Formula 1, and he will be roundly missed in the paddock.
The Ferrari team principal has known and worked with the 2007 World Champion, who retired from the sport at the end of 2021 after a record 349 grand prix starts.
Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Binotto praised how the Finn performed throughout his career and added that his personality makes him a “good driver but also a great guy”.
“I’ve known Kimi for a long time now, I think more than 14 years,” the Ferrari team principal said, as per Speedweek.
“He has always been a fantastic and very fast driver. And I think he is still fast today. On top of that, though, he’s also a great guy.
“He is one of the few in the paddock that I count as a friend, because Kimi can always be trusted. He is very respectful, even if he doesn’t say much.
“But his behaviour shows that he is a great person. That’s why the whole paddock will miss him, not only because he’s a good driver but also a great guy.”
Fernando Alonso spent the majority of his career racing against the Finn, having had plenty of on-track battles against him in the past near-two decades and been around him in the paddock in that time.
He said that most people haven’t seen the off-camera version of Raikkonen, and agrees with Binotto’s sentiment that he is a fundamentally honest person who can speak frankly and laugh about the state of things on and off track – going against the ‘Iceman’ nickname long associated with him.
“We will miss Kimi. I have come to know him as fundamentally honest, a man who dispenses with all gimmicks. What you see or what he says is business and done; no games,” said the two-time World Champion.
“To some people he may have seemed cool or taciturn, but there was always a completely different person slumbering inside him, not at all the Iceman.
“On the contrary, Raikkonen is a warm-hearted person, but it’s probably the case that you could only get to know the real Kimi away from the race tracks.”
Kimi Raikkonen will be sorely missed
There has never been a character quite like Kimi Raikkonen.