Binotto: Kimi one of the few in F1 that I count as a friend

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto lavished praise on Kimi Raikkonen, saying the now retired F1 driver is one of the few individuals in the sport that he counts among his true friends.

Although Binotto wasn’t at the helm of the Scuderia during Raikkonen’s first spell with the Italian outfit between 2007 and 2009, the two men worked together during that period that included the Iceman’s run to the world title in his first year with the team.

The pair renewed their collaboration when Raikkonen returned to Maranello in 2014, and over the years Binotto has developed the highest regard for the 21-time Grand Prix winner.

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“I’ve known Kimi for a long time now, I think more than 14 years,” said the Ferrari team principal, quoted by 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.”

From his brutal honesty to his monosyllabic answers to the media to his blunt radio messages, Raikkonen bowed out of F1 as one of the sport’s most popular drivers with the fans, and as Binotto’s trusted friend.

“He is one of the few in the paddock that I count as a friend, because Kimi can always be trusted,” said the Swiss engineer. “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.”

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