Kimi Raikkonen lived up to his famous nickname as ‘The Ice Man’ on Friday when, 12 days after Romain Grosjean’s fireball crash in Bahrain, he coolly climbed from his blazing Alfa Romeo and helped firefighters put out the flames.
Not even a stubborn radio cable connection in the cockpit, which required persistent tugging, could ruffle his composure in practice for this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The fire erupted behind him when the Ferrari engine, an old unit that had run to the end of its racing life, in his car failed at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Frenchman Grosjean told AFP he “saw death too closely” in the crash and has missed the two final races of the season.
Raikkonen became known in 2012 for telling his Lotus team ‘leave me alone, I know what I’m doing’ when on his way to victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix nearby.
This time, a radio message from his Alfa Romeo team urged him to escape his parked car rapidly.
“You have a big fire – get the hell out of there quick,” he was told as he pulled and tussled with the cable.
The modest Finn, who is now 41 and a veteran of a record 328 Formula One race starts, remained calm.
“There was nothing scary about it,” he said.
“It’s just a shame that it (the car) gets some fire and gets all messed up, trying to put the fire down. It’s one of those things.
“There is some damage, hopefully mainly bodywork, but we’ll see. It’s just a bit more work for the guys, obviously.”