2012 Columns

Kimi’s column: 2012 season review

Source: kimiraikkonen.com

Kimi at home in Baar, Switzerland

It was the longest ever season I have had in Formula One. We did 20 races and I would say we could have had some better results, but generally taken it was a good year for us.

 I’m happy with it, and I think the team is happy with it, as well.

Obviously we would have preferred to get third place in the constructors championship, too. We fought for that almost the whole season, but at the end of the day, the speed to fight with the top three teams was not there in a every single race. So to finish 4th in the constructors championship is what we deserved.

Being third in the drivers championship is not a big deal for me. Obviously, I’m interested only in winning. We won one race and got six other podiums. Its good achievement, but, for sure, there could have been some more.

The Brazilian Grand Prix was one of the toughest races I have ever done. I had to go out in the first few corners to avoid hitting Vettel, so it started badly, then it went worse in the drizzling rain, and I couldnt see anything because of the vizor being wet and steamy. Finally I spun out, but managed to come back with some extra driving behind the barriers.

Well, we finished the race, got one point and ended the season without a single DNF. That shows we had the most reliable car although the last weekend was a real struggle with it, from FP1 to the end of race.

Once again that proved how much a good result depends on having a clean weekend. If you are not able to get enough laps testing in practice, forget the podium! The grid is so competitive that you need all the tenths and hundreds for you, not against you.

Now its time for a holiday.

Its almost Christmas time, so there is not that much waiting to do for the next year and a new season.

The team works hard to get even better results. I know the team now very well, I enjoy working with them and if the new car is competitive again, we should be heading for a better season.

I wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy new year to all my fans. Thanks for the support!

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Kimi’s column: Brazil GP Preview

Source: kimiraikkonen.com

Magical Mystery Tour

My tenth season in Formula One is about to be finished. It has been a good year. We have had some good weekends and some not that good ones; But all in all, you never have a perfect season in this sport, so a decent series of races with good points collected from them, makes me feel happy.

The last, but not the least, is the Brazilian Grand Prix. I have never raced there so late, in the end of November, but it seems to give the same exciting challenge like always. My target is the get to the podium; it would be my eight time this year, if we get it right.

We push until the very end to have a good weekend for this one, too. I know it doesn’t help a single bit for 2013, but it’s a nice feeling to go to a holiday with some good racing under your belt from Brazil.

The greatest day of my life ever happened in October 2007, while I won the world championship in Brazil. Interlagos is probably the furthest track measured from my home, but the memories I’ve got there, makes it a very fond place for me forever.

Obviously Interlagos is one of the old-type of racing circuits I like very much. You never know, what happens during a Grand Prix weekend, and in Brazil, you have to be twice as well prepared to meet all kinds of changing circumstances and the most surprising incidents.

The car should be ok for this circuit. We have tested it until the very last FP3 in Austin, and this time we can run it for the Brazil challenge only. We hope for a clean and solid weekend with no problems in practice, a nice clean lap in qualifying and then a strong race with the good start.

You need good strong all round package and good behaving engine for this circuit. The first and the final corner are a challenge of their own, while we end up the lap coming from a corner leading on to the steep main straight.

Being the last race of the season means that it’s the last chance to enjoy a race feeling for some time.


Kimi’s column: Austin GP Preview

Source: kimiraikkonen.com

We Can Work It Out

Finally we showed what we can do, while we got everything together during a Grand Prix weekend at Abu Dhabi. The car had the speed to win. We just needed to get it to clean air to get the speed out of it.

Winning the Grand Prix meant a lot for all of us. We proved ourselves in a time, while the focus is more and more for the next year.

I made a new deal with the Lotus F1 Team, and now we know, we have a contract with a winning team. Obviously, it was a different activity, when we joined forces with them a year ago.

Now we head for the last two races of the season. This weekend we will have a long-awaited Grand Prix back in USA. I never won in Indianapolis, so winning in the States would be a brand new experience for me.

Obviously, winning is always a very tricky task and it’s better to wait and see, how it goes in Austin and leave the speculations for the media.

This will be the third new circuit for me this year. This time it’s a new one for everybody, so all of us start from zero on Friday morning collecting the experience from this place.

I don’t know anything about Austin, just the name Circuit of the Americas, but I think we will see some similiar characteristics in this circuit compared to some other new venues, while they are all designed by the same man.

I have always liked to go the new places. I’m looking forward to this one, especially as I enjoy the American atmosphere.

Actually it’s only 18 months since my last race on US soil, while I went to try the NASCAR and I did a couple of races on the Charlotte oval. I really liked it a lot.

After seeing the excitement of the American fans of NASCAR, I hope people will enjoy Formula One racing in Texas, too.


Kimi’s column: Abu Dhabi GP review

Source: kimiraikkonen.com

Under My Thumb!

Well, as I said in India, I felt the lap time speed was there in the car to fight for the top positions. Obviously, we just couldn’t use it at all after being held up by some others during the race because of a poor qualifying result.

So we went to Abu Dhabi with a good feeling from the car. If we could put everything in place with the qualifying and get a good start, the sky was the limit to fight with the leaders for the top place.

I had one experience earlier at Abu Dhabi to be forgotten, while I had my last race with Ferrari there and there was nothing left from that car to get any kind of result.

Now everything was different. We had a pretty solid practice, we tried some new parts for the last two races, but we got it right with the set-up, as well. I was quite pleased with how it went in the qualifying sessions. Obviously, it was tight as ever, but the lap was good enough to put us to P5, and, eventually, to fourth from there on, as Vettel got a penalty afterwards.

Then next on the agenda it was up to us to get a good start. I was fired up already going to the installation lap, while I felt, everything went so strongly in the practice start. Then we got the launch perfectly in place, and I was in front of Webber and Maldonado before reaching the second gear.

Hamilton had more speed, no question about that, but we didn’t have any problems to follow him. It was as predicted, this could have happened already in India. If we are free to follow the leaders, we can do it. But if there are some people in between, you just cannot do it and the leaders disappear quickly from us.

This time we didn’t have to wait until the pitstop, while Hamilton had some problems and stopped. That’s how it goes in motor racing. You hope to have the quickest car, but when you have it, you have to finish the race, too. The points are shared only after the flag.

We had the lap time speed and I could control the race quite easily until the second safety car came in. Then everything was open again. I knew I had to be able to gain a gap back in the few first laps, I really went for it – and it went ok!

We knew Alonso was there to make every effort to win this one. I saw him coming closer, but, obviously, there was not that big pressure. It’s completely different to come closer compared to try to overtake a fast car in that circuit.

It was in our control until the finish, but I have to confess, it would have been much easier, if the flag had been waved 1-2 laps earlier.

Well, winning means everything for me. It was just a great feeling to clinch the first one of the season, the first one with the new team, and get the 25 points for the first time in my life.

But all in all, it was a great result especially for the team. They have worked so hard all year long. They have had some difficult moments and we all have been disappointed after feeling how close we have been to the P1 without ultimately getting it.

Now it’s done. We all have the best reason to feel happy. Hopefully we’ll get more of these moments together again as soon as possible!