Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen: Formula One's Most Comparable Drivers

by - 7/19/2008 08:15:00 p.m.

Lately on Bleacher Report, many people (me included) have been comparing F1 drivers, most notably Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna.

That got me thinking about how we have all have failed to compare the two most comparable Formula One drivers of all time: Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen.

Both were born in Finland, both know only one speed and that is completely flat out, both are world champions, both have a remarkably similar record in F1, and both like to keep a low-key personal life away from the media attention, although that seems a trait all Finnish drivers have.

I know Kimi is still racing, so people might ask why am I comparing these two. If Kimi wins the 2008 WDC, it will make him virtually even in every sense with his fellow legendary countryman.

Mika Pauli Hakkinen

Born: Sept. 28, 1968

Hometown: Vantaa, Helsinki metropolian area, Finland.

Born to Harri Häkkinen, a part-time taxi driver and radio operator, and Aila Häkkinen who was a secretary. Mika also has a sister named Nina.

Marital Status: Rumours floated around that Mika and wife Erja were to divorce early this year, but nothing more has been said. They have two children, Hugo and Aina-julia.

Kimi Matias Raikkonen

Born: Oct. 17, 1979.

Hometown:Espoo, Finland.

Born to Matti Raikkonen, a road builder, and Paula Raikkonen, an office clerk. Kimi has a brother called Rami who is also involved with motorsports as a rally driver .

Marital Status : Married to Jenni (Dalhman) Raikkonen, they as of yet have no children but rumours are they are planning a family away from the spotlight after Kimi retires.

The Comparisons

A * sign denotes as of British GP 2008, as Kimi Raikkonen still races.

World Drivers Championships:

Mika Hakkinen - two (1998 and 1999)
Kimi Raikkonen - one (2007) *
Mika is ahead here but kimi could be even with his fellow countryman should he win the season that is in progress now , quite comparative in the titles department although you could argue kimi is more on course as hakkinen won 2 titles in 10 years , kimi has 1 in 7 years .

Teams Driven For :

Mika Hakkinen - 2 Lotus + Mclaren Mercedes.
Kimi Raikkonen - 3 Sauber Petronas , Mclaren Mercedes + Scuderia Ferrari *
Active Years As Formula 1 Drivers:

Mika Hakkinen - 10 1991 - 2001 .
Kimi Raikkonen - 7 2001 - Present .*
If rumours are true, then Mika will have raced for a year longer than kimi should Mr Raikkonen call it a day after 2009 .

Races Driven

Mika Hakkinen - 165 ( 161 starts )
Kimi Raikkonen - 131 ( 130 starts ) *
Again if those rumours are true of Kimi's departure, then they will have roughly the same race experience under their belts.

Race Wins

Mika Hakkinen - 20
Kimi Raikkonen - 17 *
Kimi looks well on course to surpass Mika in this category. With over a year left in F1, I see Kimi winning more than the three races needed to equal Mika's race victories.

Podium Finishes

Mika Hakkinen - 51
Kimi Raikkonen - 53*
Kimi already has the upper hand with podium finishes over The Flying Finn, and looks well set to dwarf this record.

Career Points Earned

Mika Hakkinen - 420
Kimi Raikkonen - 504 *
Another category the Iceman has covered already by a hefty 84 points, surely set to get even bigger. although Mika has a slight disadvantage in this category due to the old points scoring system which was harder to earn points with only the top 6 being awarded points as opposed to the new system which rewards the top 8 drivers .

Pole Positions

Mika Hakkinen - 26
Kimi Raikkonen - 16 *
This one is going to be very close by the end of Kimi's career. He has 11 to go to take this category, but as we all know, grabbing pole ain't easy.

Fastest Laps

Mika Hakkinen - 25
Kimi Raikkonen - 31 *
Kimppa takes this one too. Kimi is very fast on flying laps and has proved so time and time again. His most impressive lap record has to be the Hockenheimring in 2004 in his v10 McLaren Mercedes where he recorded a time of 1:13.7 s

Both have similar stories too. One starts out quite sad and ends in a dream; the other started happy and ended sad.

It is known that Kimi Raikkonen's parents had little money when he and his brother were young, they had to get by on what resources they had. They couldn't even afford an indoor toilet in their house and had to use an outdoor toilet instead—in cold Finland!

All this to support their two son's dreams and ambitions. My, how it paid off. They never need to worry about a thing again, thanks to their son making it to the dizzy heights of the Formula 1 world.

He is now the second highest paid F1 driver; he was the highest until Alonso returned to Renault in 2008 and demanded more than the Finn for his services.

My thoughts on Kimi completely changed after reading the story of his childhood. After the incident with the photographer, I did not much like him and I was guilty of being very hard on Kimi. Then I thought, we all make mistakes. It was still wrong to do what he did but it was a blip, and everyone has them.

Mika's childhood was not an unhappy one; his father had to work two jobs to support his son, but many Formula 1 drivers' fathers have taken on extra work so as to not feel the pinch of this highly expensive sport, but Hakkinen was a happy child.

However, Mika suffered a cruel stroke of bad luck after his career, when his French home burst into flames due to a light in his trophy cabinet short circuiting, destroying his entire F1 trophy collection in the process. Money can't replace that kind of loss. He cannot go out and win them all back again.

They are still two of the very best to grace this sport. If Kimi had of got that pinch of luck needed over the years, then this article would not have been relevant , written or thought of, because he has been so close to a couple of WDC's but never managed to pull it off.

I was astonished when I looked into it how close these two are in terms of stats and more or less everything else, too. I thought I had to share this with all the fellow Bleachers.

So what do you think, fellow Bleachers ? Are my findings and comparisons more realistic than any of the others we have spoke about? Let me know your thoughts !!

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