A forty-one-candle salute to F1's golden-ager

Kimi Raikkonen celebrated his record-breaking 323rd start in F1 last weekend at the Nürburgring, and today the Iceman begins his 41st trip around the sun.

But numbers and stats are of little value to F1's senior citizen who remains to this day, almost twenty years after his debut in the sport, one of Grand Prix racing's most popular drivers.

Rumors have it that Kimi will still be on the grid next season, perhaps flanked at Alfa Romeo by Mick Schumacher, the perfect teammate to whom to pass on the baton when the Finn finally decides to call it a day.

Mark Arnall, Raikkonen's personal trainer since 2002, offered last weekend a tribute that nicely summed up the feelings of all those who have worked alongside the 2007 world champion for the past 19 years.

"Kimi has a strength of character that is quite exceptional to deal with the lows and move on. He is also pretty good at celebrating the highs," said Arnall.

"I never really thought his career would last this long (actually I thought it would be much shorter), but I always thought he’d be a world champion – he was just too fast and had too much talent not to be.

"I also couldn’t imagine the fearless young lunatic I started working with ever having kids and settling down but seeing him as a dad is also incredible.

"Let’s see how many races he ends up completing in his career… but it’s been an incredible experience being part of the journey."