Kimi Raikkonen has admitted he is increasingly frustrated at still being winless eight races into his Formula 1 comeback as his and Lotus’s strong form has raised his expectations.
The 2007 world champion, back in F1 in 2012 after a two-year sojourn in the World Rally Championship, is sixth in the points at present and has taken three podium finishes.
Raikkonen said that while he would have been delighted at the prospect of those results before he rejoined F1, the fact that he feels better results have got away is leaving him discontented.
Q: How do you feel your season is shaping up?
KR: If you asked me before the start of the season whether I would be happy with podiums I would have said yes, but now I’ve had some good results, I want more. In the last few races the results haven’t been as strong as I’ve wanted. We’ve finished well but I’m disappointed not to have a win yet. We just have to get everything together and I’m sure it can come.
Q: What was your feeling at the end of the European Grand Prix?
KR: I was happy, but equally it’s always disappointing when you don’t win. The race wasn’t perfect for me. I got a good start but then I got blocked and lost quite a few places. I managed to retake some positions but it wasn’t easy. At the restart, I lost a place to Lewis [Hamilton]. I just got too much wheelspin out of the corner. Then, when I was in third place, a few cars retired and I thought I would save the tyres a bit and try to get Lewis at some point. I saw him sliding and it wasn’t until the last few laps when I could make the move, but I got him in the end.
Q: If you could have got past Lewis sooner, do you think you could have challenged Fernando [Alonso] for the win?
KR: I had a good car, but basically I let him past at the restart. After the bridge, I made a mistake and Lewis got past me. It was my own mistake. I would have overtaken him sooner to get the place back if I could have done. I was not waiting for the last or second last lap; I just didn’t have the speed. I had to wait until he ran out of tyres. Then I got the chance. I tried to get closer and closer but I was not fast enough earlier on. If Lewis had not got past me I would have had a better chance against Fernando, but it’s one of those things; if you make a mistake you pay the price. I think we’ve been closer to the win at other tracks, but if we see everything going right for us over a race weekend we’re not far off. We’re certainly getting there.
Q: How do you like the Silverstone circuit?
KR: It’s always such a good feeling going to Silverstone. It’s a great place to race. I have a long history there. It was the real base for the start of my international racing career in Formula Renault in 1999 and 2000. Since then I’ve always enjoyed racing at Silverstone. I don’t know why; there must be this nostalgic feeling that I have every time we go there. I’ll enjoy the weekend whatever the weather will be. We’ve seen quite a lot of different conditions there in the past, and not always good! It’s always windy at Silverstone and often it rains, too. The track conditions change very quickly, which makes the car more tricky to set up. It’s part of the fun racing in England; at least it’s the same for everybody.
Q: What are the challenges of Silverstone?
KR: When I first raced there it was my real favourite. It’s so fast and demanding which makes it very challenging. The corners really flow and it’s all about long, sweeping high-speed corners and high downforce levels. Somehow it has been a good circuit for me since the very beginning. It will be interesting to see how the new section changes a lap, but I’m sure I’ll learn it very quickly.
Q: You’ve won at Silverstone in 2007 and been on the podium five times altogether. How does it feel when everything goes right there?
KR: When you win in Silverstone, it gives such a good feeling. You have to get everything exactly right. I won there in Formula Renault and then with Ferrari in 2007. It would be fantastic to win again there, especially with the factory just down the road. I’m sure we would have some fantastic celebrations.
Well, it was a third time we managed to get quite close to the first place. But close is not enough. Obviously, we have the car to win races, but so far we have lacked some small things to get everything expectantly together during the whole Grand Prix weekend.
I really enjoyed the race in Valencia. It was pure action every lap. It was a shame I’ve lost places after both starts. More or less I’m quite satisfied with the rest of the time in that long and hot race.
The Spanish June welcomed us in the most expected way. The weather was hot and humid. Just as we like it the most.
After two not that good qualifying sessions this time we had quite nice run. Everything went according to our plan until Q3. Then somehow the first set of new tyres didn’t work that well. We lost the best of the first attempt and didn’t gain the advantage we were looking for of two runs with new rubber.
P5 was still ok. We had a good start off the line, but then the first corner didn’t work out that well. I’ve got blocked by Maldonado and, instead of, gaining two places, I lost two places.
Obviously, on the street circuit, that means loosing some time while you’re stuck behind the slower cars. Step by step we came through. Then the safety car changed the race dramatically. The re-start was again a setback. I made a mistake and Hamilton got pass me.
We were much faster compared to McLaren, but there was not speed enough to attack. If I could have done it, I would have tried immediately, but we had to wait, until Hamilton’s tyres were finished and just then go pass him.
That was only three laps before the chequered flag, so it was all we could achieve. Being second felt good, but not as good as winning would have been.
Returning to the podium in Valencia after three years was nice. It was good to have a short chat with Andrea Stella, who used to my race engineer at Ferrari and congratulate him for winning the race with Alonso.
Obviously, we have a good fight with Ferrari in the constructors’ championship. It was a pity Romain had to stop, because the team could have doubled the points. Now the fight continues in Silverstone. Now it’s any time at all!
P2 for Kimi at the Valencia Street Circuit this afternoon gives the Finn his third podium of the season, and the fifth for the team in 2012 so far. A superb drive by the 2007 World Champion throughout a hectic European Grand Prix, but the Iceman was hoping for more…
Q: Kimi, your third podium of the season so far; was victory a possibility for you today or were the tyres just not there at the end?
KR: I think everybody had quite old tyres by the end; I just didn’t have enough left in them to push any harder. We managed to get past Lewis [Hamilton] on I think it was the second-last or third-last lap, but we didn’t really have the speed to challenge for the win. The rear tyres were pretty bad, especially in the middle of the circuit where there were three or four corners that were quite tricky. The rest was ok, and I think everybody had similar issues. After all the things we went through in the race second place is not bad, but of course you’re never happy until you win. It was bad luck for the team as well; it would have been much nicer to have both cars on the podium.
Q: Things looked pretty close out there at the start; tell us about it from your view…
KR: I got a good start but got blocked by Pastor [Maldonado] in the first right-hander – the little kink – so I had to back off and lost quite a few places because of that. That meant I was a bit behind already, so from that point onwards it was a case of catching up and trying to get past people but we made a good recovery from that position.
Q: It was quite a busy race for you too, especially the battles with Pastor [Maldonado] and Lewis [Hamilton]…
KR: It was quite a busy race actually and I had quite a hard fight with a few people. I managed to pass some cars, but it was difficult to overtake today. I got sight of Maldonado a few times but he pushed me wide. After the safety car we gained a few places, but on the restart I lost a position to Lewis [Hamilton] which was frustrating. I just got too much wheelspin out of the corner. Then when I was in third a few cars retired so I thought I’d try to save the tyres a bit and aim to get past Lewis [Hamilton] at some point. I saw him start sliding a bit in the last few laps and we got past in the end.
Q: Do you think that if you had overtaken Lewis [Hamilton] a bit earlier you could have pressured Fernando [Alonso] for the win?
KR: I would have overtaken if I could. I wasn’t waiting for the last or second-last lap; I just didn’t have the speed and had to wait until he ran out of tyres and I got the chance. I tried to get closer and closer but I wasn’t fast enough earlier on, otherwise I would definitely have tried to overtake. I basically let him past at the restart. I made a mistake after the bridge and he got past me. It’s a shame, but it was my own mistake.
Q. Kimi, it’s a third podium position of the season for you. Was a victory possible for you today or were the tyres just not there at the end?
KR: I think everybody had quite old tyres at that point. I just didn’t have enough tyres. I had enough tyres to get past Hamilton on I think it was the second-last or third-last lap. We didn’t really have the speed to challenge for the win. I think on the start already I got a good start but got blocked by Maldonado in the first right-hander and lost quite a few places because of that. I was a bit behind already at that point. We made a good recovery from that position. I had quite a hard fight with people and overtaking and then second place. It’s OK of course, but not what we wanted.
Q. Kimi, quite a busy race for you too, what with battles with Maldonado and Hamilton.
KR: Yeah, I got a pretty good start but then in the first right-hander, the little kink, I got blocked by Maldonado so I had to back off. I lost quite a few places there, so at that point onwards it was a case of trying to catch up and try to get past people. I managed to pass some, but it was difficult to pass today. I got sight of Maldonado a few times but he pushed me wide. I tried and tried and then in the end I managed to get past some people and after the safety car I managed to get past people also. On the restart, I lost a place to Hamilton. I just got too much wheelspin out of the corner. It was quite a busy race actually. Then, when I was in the third place, a few cars retired and I thought I would try to save the tyres a bit and try to get Hamilton at some point. I saw him sliding a bit. So I think it was the second-last lap or something but I got him in the end. OK the result second after all things we went through in the race but of course you’re never happy until you win. And for the team, bad luck. It would have been much nicer to have both cars on the podium.
Q. And your tyres. Were they shot at the end?
KR: Yeah, the rear tyres were pretty bad. Especially in the middle of the circuit. There were three or four corners that were really bad. The rest was not so bad. I think everybody had similar issues.
Q. (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) Kimi, is it realistic to believe that if you had overtaken Hamilton before that you could attack Alonso?
KR: I would have overtaken if I could. I was not waiting for the last or second last lap. I just didn’t have the speed. I just had to wait until he ran out of his tyres. Then I got the chance. I tried to get closer and closer but I was not fast enough earlier on, otherwise I would definitely have tried to overtake. But basically I let him past at the restart. After the bridge, I made a mistake and he got past me. It was my own mistake.
Q. (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Kimi and Michael, about the championship, if you had to bet some money, would you put that money on Fernando or is there still some room for Vettel and Hamilton?
KR: I don’t even know what the points are so it’s a bit difficult to say. We’ve seen how quickly things can change this year. You only need one bad race and the guy wins so I wouldn’t put money, probably use it for something else.
MS: Things change so quickly – maybe I put money on myself.