Raikkonen: I’m happy, but there’s nothing to jump around about
4 November, 2012
Nov.4 (FIA) Kimi Raikkonen last won a grand prix back in 2009, and after a two year absence from Formula One, returned this year with Lotus where he has been astoundingly consistent but a victory eluded him until a hot and balmy night at the seven star Yas Marina Circuit. He made no mistake on his way to scoring his 19th F1 win and capping a fairy tale return to the pinnacle of the sport.
Your first victory since the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix. Tell us about your emotions at this time.
Kimi Raikkonen: Not much really.
People want to know how amazing it is to win a grand prix. Tell us.
KR: Last time you guys [were] giving me sh#t because I didn’t really smile enough, so maybe this time again but I mean I’m very happy for the team – and myself – but mainly for the team. It’s really a hard season for the team and not an easy time. Hopefully this gives them more belief, not just for the guys making all the work but also for the guys who run the team. I hope this can turn around the tables and give us many more good races and wins. If not this year then next year.
You’ve won before, you’ve won the title before and standing here you sent a message to the team about how you hope this will motivate future success, but when it is moment going to sink in? That you’ve won a grand prix in your comeback year.
KR: I mean like I said, I’m happy, but there’s nothing to jump around about. Really we still have a few races to go, I’ll try to do the same again, and for sure we’re going to have a good party today and hopefully tomorrow, when we are feeling bad after a long night, we will remember how we feel so… I’m just happy for everybody in the team.
You’ve really been waiting for this win, I think, all season and now it’s happened. What are your feelings?
KR: Like I said before, I’m very happy for the team. We have had hard times lately and hopefully it gives some belief for the people, even more that…I mean they’ve been working very hard the whole year but with the hard times there’s a bit unknown in the whole situation and hopefully for the people who run the team, who own the team, the people who work for…for everybody, hopefully it gives a bit more support and hope that things will turn around and be even better than it’s been this year. So, great thing for the team itself, for the guys and, I mean of course I’m happy myself, but if I win it’s great, if I don’t I will try again and it’s not the end of the life. We’ve been close few times but now I said that even the last race I think we had the speed to even win the race but if you don’t start in the front we see what can happen. We knew the start would be a really big key and I got a really good start so I think with the McLaren we didn’t have the speed, at least in the beginning of the race – but then we have to finish the race to win so…I mean after that we were pretty good. Just the safety cars made us a little bit more tricky today.
The start really was…gave you the second place straight away, it was a really excellent start...
KR: Like I said yesterday, this going to be key, to get behind the faster car and not start behind the cars that cannot go as fast as us. And I mean we have a fast car for lap time in the race but if we stuck behind there’s no way we’re going to get past so, that’s what we could do this weekend: put yesterday in a good position and then made a good start and then just go from there.
And how much is the development that has been taking place on the car with the exhaust etc, how much has that been bringing pace to the car?
KR: It brings some pace, helps our straight line speed. So in average we gain some advantage but it’s exactly the same car we have in Korea. So we see how much even this year in all the races some circuits suits better for one team and the next one is not so good for you. We had good speed last race as I’ve already said. We made some mistakes in qualifying and paid the price in the race. So now we put all together like we should have done quite a few times this year but for one reason or another we haven’t. But at least we’ve got one win so we’ll keep try to push still and see what we can do in the next race.
Was that your best start in a Lotus and after that, which one was the hardest competitor, the second safety car or Fernando?
KR: I think we’ve had some very good starts before, but compared to the others, today was a pretty normal start on our scale. I managed to pass Mark [Webber and [Pastor] Maldonado before I changed into second gear. I’d had a very good start on the warm-up lap so I knew [that] this was going to be good. That was our aim, to try to make a good start and we managed to do it, so it was key for our win today.
For sure, the safety car hurt us much more than the others. We had a good lead and then nothing, and then twice. The first time was when Hamilton was in front of us but it definitely didn’t help us today.
How and with whom and how many days will you celebrate this win?
KR: I have almost two weeks. As long as I manage to get myself to the next race I think the team is happy. I try to get home at some point.
One of the highlights of the race was your radio messages, the ones that you were giving to the team. How distracting is it when you’re fighting behind the safety car or whatever, to have them reminding you to warm-up your wheels?
KR: It’s a normal thing. It’s the same with all the teams. For sure, they are just trying to help but if you keep saying the same things two times a minute, I’m not so stupid that I cannot remember what I’m doing. It’s a normal thing, they are just trying to help. I know what I’m doing. I will ask for help if I need it. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last time. It’s been many times with other teams also but they are all there to help you and try to put you in the best position. Different people like different things.
How special is it to be the first driver to win for Lotus since Ayrton Senna in 1987?
KR: It’s a long time for them, I guess. I don’t think there are any [of the same people from 1987] in the team any more. It’s a name. It’s the same team and it has been since Fernando was there, just a different name. It’s a great name for us, good past but you know I race for the team whatever the name is, I don’t really care so it’s just for the guys who do all the work. Maybe it looks good in somebody’s eyes but for me it really makes no difference.
Does it take anything from your joy that when you win you kill your last hope of the championship?
KR: No, I think we knew already, a few races ago, that we didn’t have the speed to challenge at the front. We always said that we would keep fighting and trying to do the best that we can. We got the win, we might have lost the championship on the same day but I don’t really care. We didn’t really expect to be fighting with them anyhow. We’ve always been a bit behind and not really had the speed to challenge them in normal races and now in the last few races we’ve had very good speed and finally we put all the things together and won. We will try again next year.
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