Both Kimi Raikkonen and Mika Hakkinen share their insights as the young Finnish driver replaced the two-times world champion at McLaren.
McLaren announced that a 21 Years old Kimi Raikkonen will be Mika Hakkinen’s replacement ahead of the 2002 season. Hakkinen won only two Grand Prix throughout the season and finished fifth in the standings.
Despite the race wins in the United States and Silverstone, he took a sabbatical from the sport. Raikkonen had an amazing rookie season. He achieved four points-scoring finishes and eight finishes in the top eight.
Alongside Nick Heidfeld, Sauber finished fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.
Mika Hakkinen passing the torch to Kimi Raikkonen
Two times World Champion Mika Hakkinen right before the Italian Grand Prix announced his sabbatical. He stated that he wanted to spend more time with his family and announced young countrymen will replace him in 2002.
The Iceman stepping up with McLaren Mercedes
Kimi Raikkonen had his eyes set on McLaren Mercedes going into the 2002 season. He scored a championship point at his debut race in Australia despite falling asleep 30 minutes before the race.
He said: “I really want to thank Peter (Sauber). He helped me to take the opportunity to drive for West McLaren Mercedes next year. Meanwhile, I will do everything I can to help Sauber retain fourth place in the constructors’ championship.”
The 2007 world champion tested with the team in January 2002. Moreover, it was all smooth sailing from there on. At the end of the 2002 season, he would go on to finish sixth in the driver’s championship with four podiums.