While all eyes in Abu Dhabi will be on the headline drama of the title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen this weekend, another world champion will be making his final appearance in a Formula One car. 

Twenty years after making his F1 debut for Sauber at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix, Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen will start his 349th and final race on Sunday but he says he “wouldn’t change a thing” and has no regrets about stepping away. 

“F1 takes up a lot of time but it has never been the main thing for me,” the 2007 world champion told AFP.

“My life has always been outside. There are other more important things for me than F1. Today my schedule affects my whole family so I am looking forward to the day I have nothing planned and can do what they want.”

Retirement is nothing new for the 42-year-old whose drive at Alfa Romeo next year will be taken by Valtteri Bottas. He tried it once before, missing the 2010 and 2011 seasons, although that just made time for him to race in NASCAR and the world rally championship.

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