(Conducted by Sir Jackie Stewart)
Well, congratulations on a fantastic race, you must be very happy and it’s a hell of a season you’re having. Well done. Kimi – terrific. Happy?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Obviously you’re never happy when you finish second but I think after a difficult start to the year I’m a bit pleased to get some result – a bit better result. Obviously we came through in the end very quickly but we run out of the laps but I think we have to be happy after where we qualified, after we finished, but obviously we’re looking for a bit better results still.
Well, it’s a terrific success for Ferrari to come back as strongly as this. You must be pleased about that?
KR: Yeah, I’m very happy how the team is working and obviously after last year where we are now is a big step and everyone is working very well together. The atmosphere is good now and we have a good direction to keep pushing. It seems to be working well and things are improving, so I’m sure as a team we’ll get there and to be able to be all the time fighting for wins, but it will take a little more time.
Q: Kimi, fourth on the grid, second at the finish, first podium since Korea 2013. Alternative strategy for you. Obviously the middle stint was the key to your grand prix. Tell us about that and the pace that you were able to maintain against everybody else on the softer tyre. But also, you questioned at the end the decision to go onto the soft tyre – how did that work out, was it the right thing to do in the end?
KR: I think we had a few different plans. How to run the race and obviously this one was one of them. It all really depended where we are after a few laps. But I think we did a very good job out of it and the medium tyres worked very well for me in the second stint and I could pretty much… quite easily keep up with them, even catch them. They were working fine so obviously I was wondering if it’s the right choice to go on the soft at the end – but obviously it was the correct choice, they were much faster still. So, I was able to catch Nico and got past him. We did more or less the maximum that we could do today and obviously if you think that we were ahead of Nico earlier, he got past me on lap two or three or something, so we lost some time but I think we had a pretty good race and hopefully we can have many more.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, after being fourth in Malaysia and China and being out of top three for 18 months, how much do you appreciate this comeback to the podium?
KR: Obviously it’s much nicer than being out of it but, you know, you come second and obviously we got quite close to the Mercedes today but it’s a bit disappointing after that always – but I’d rather take this one than something else. You cannot feel happy. We are happy to be second but it’s still disappointing. It’s not what we want to do. Big thanks to the team. I had a pretty hard time last year. This year in the beginning, just some bad luck in the races but, you know, the team has done a great job over the winter and everybody is pushing together, in the same direction and I’m sure we are only going to get stronger and better as a team and improve the car. So, it’s a great place to be.
Q: (Khodr Rawi – F1Zone.net) Kimi, do you think the only possibility to beat Mercedes is by trying a different strategy, trying to undercut them because beating them on track seems a bit difficult now?
KR: Well, I don’t think it’s the only way. Obviously on some circuits we can get closer, some not, but I think obviously the first step is to improve our package, that will happen in the future and hopefully get closer. One step is to qualify more higher up, make better starts and go from there. I think we had a pretty decent speed today but obviously if you’re behind any cars and you lose any seconds, you will pay a price for it in the end. I think we just have to keep working and improving the whole package and how we do things. I’m sure we will get there and we can fight for wins every weekend after that.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Kimi, you were flying in the second and third stints on both type of tyre but you struggled in the first stint. Have you any idea why?
KR: I wasn’t struggling really. I didn’t feel that it was much problem. I got passed by Nico, I passed him at the start and I got passed by him and obviously you lose quite a bit of time and Page ? of ? 3 4 then he passed Seb and we were pretty close to each other. I felt I was faster but obviously it’s pretty hard to pass. I think that we did the maximum, more or less. Yesterday we lost a place to Nico, but after that, once we got the mediums and the new set of softs at the end, the car was very good, so I could keep up good speed and everything was running smoothly, but already at that point we were a bit too far off first place.
Q: (Matt Youson – Racetech) Kimi, can you tell us how this year’s car is an improvement on last season’s. Everybody talks about the power unit but is it just that or is there a lot more?
KR: Obviously a big chunk of it is the engine itself. It’s a big improvement on horsepower plus reliability but you cannot just give all the credit to them. The car has improved a lot: much more downforce, the car is handling much better because of that, and obviously how the whole package has been done and put together. I think the big key is that all areas have improved quite a bit plus the people have been working more closely, as one team putting it together more nicely, so obviously the end result is what we have now and then as I said earlier, I’m very happy how things are going, very happy with the team and I think not many people expected after last year that we can be in this kind of position this early and now we are going in the right direction, so I’m sure we will get there but we want to start winning races more often and we just have to have some patience and do the work that we’ve done so far and we will get there.
Q: (Khodr Rawi – F1Zone.net) To all three of you: is the challenge of the championship against the rival teams more difficult than against your teammate, because you don’t know what others have or what others are planning in terms of strategy and that sort of thing?
LH: It’s all hard. It’s difficult to say which one is harder. When you’re fighting the guy in your team with the same car you’ve got the data. Sure it’s more on the limit when you’re fighting another team. There’s pros and cons, there are advantages and disadvantages on each side. You just try to do your best job, that’s what motor racing is all about, to be fighting other teams, that’s what we’re here to do.
NR: It’s both different but both tough. It’s difficult to go into the details but it’s tough to battle Lewis last year and this year and it’s tough now to battle the Ferraris now that they’re in the mix.
KR: I think it doesn’t make a lot of difference. Obviously with your teammate you more or less know what he’s doing and in the race when he’s going to stop but you have to beat all of them so it’s really the same end result.
| Source: fia.com |
Just ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Kimi was dragged into a lengthy (by Kimi standards) interview by F1.com! And a good one:
Q: Kimi, Ferrari has changed significantly since 2014. What is the biggest change?
Kimi Raikkonen: I think the team is working well together now. Some people have left and there is a new team boss and now the atmosphere and the way people are working together is much better.
Q: Ferrari’s performance is clearly running north, but at the moment you seem to be mainly fighting for P3 in races. When will that change?
KR: I expect us to get stronger in the course of the season. Yes, we are not happy about where we are right now as we want to challenge for wins, but we have to be realistic when looking of where we finished last year. We have made a good step forward and now as a team are we have to work in the same direction – then I am sure that we get where we want to be. Hopefully in the near future?
Q: Will you still be in F1 racing when Ferrari return to being the benchmark? Your contract runs out at the end of the season…
KR: That is up to the team to decide. They have an option on my services – so go and ask them!
Q: But you also have to like it, don’t you?
KR: (laughs) I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t like it!
Q: What’s still motivates Kimi Raikkonen, the driver? When you took your rallying sabbatical you were through with F1 racing…
KR: Things can change! I want to do well here. That is the main reason why I am still around.
Q: In Malaysia Ferrari caught Mercedes out with a smarter strategy. Will that prove to be your main weapon against them or can you close the gap?
KR: A smart strategy can help, of course. You can gain or lose positions depending on your strategy – but it is not our aim to do it that way. We want to improve our situation as a whole: improve our speed to challenge Mercedes in every single race. Right now we are pretty close to them in the race – not in qualifying, but in the race. We know now where we have to improve and we are working on that.
KR: No different to any other team mate!
Q: The two of you together in the same team – that sounded like a match made in heaven. Is that how it is in reality?
KR: I think we are a good pair – leave heaven out of it! (laughs) We can talk things over, and that is a lot. We both want to put the team in a position to improve.
Q: Is your situation, working together in the same team, helping you to bond more privately?
KR: Not really, no more than before. We just work in the same team – and it is easy together. We talk easily together.
Q: Does it help that neither of you is overly political?
KR: I would say so, yes. The good thing is that if there is something (that comes up) we can talk to each other – we can talk to each other directly and not have to use mediators. But we don’t have any issues and I don’t expect us to have issues. But who can look into the future? Who knows?
Q: Sebastian has had the edge in terms of results so far. Why is he doing better than you?
KR: He has done better races. We had some issues in the first three races and obviously made some mistakes in qualifying, but that is part of the game, so no big deal.
Q: 2014 was a tricky year for you – does it feel much better now or are you beyond such emotions?
KR: The feeling in the team is much better, but the results are still not what we want. Yes, compared to last year finishing third or fourth is a step forward, but we want to win – win all the time. As a team we’ve done well so far, true. (We’ve got) the maximum that we could right now. But are we happy or satisfied? Not really. We want more. We are here to win – and yes – that is still pretty emotional.
Q: There is the saying that only fools are satisfied…
KR: …that is not completely true. If you had a good fight and pulled the maximum out, you are happy. First and foremost you have to be realistic. We have come a long way from last year – and yes, there are still many steps to make.
Q: If you could make one wish, what would that be?
KR: Some good races? Sounds boring, I know…
Q: Niki Lauda said to succeed in F1 racing you ‘have to be a b*st*rd’. Were you one, the year you won the championship?
KR: I have been the same all along. Maybe he felt that he had to be. Everybody feels differently – and he likes to talk…
KR: We are racing in the evening so the temperatures are lower, so no help in that respect. I think that we will race at the level where we realistically are.
Q: You have a little baby boy. What values do you want to give him for his journey through life?
KR: Life – that is a long time. Right now I hope that he is healthy and stays healthy – and that he grows into a happy little boy.
Q: How would you rate yourself as a dad?
KR: I don’t know. You’d have to ask his mum. But he is a calm baby – so we are doing something right!
| Source: formula1.com |
Kimi Raikkonen told Italian channel RAI TV how happy he is being a father, in an interview broadcast during the Chinese GP weekend. Raikkonen also talked about working alongside Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari and how refreshed the team is feeling after a successful start to the season.The big question at the end is whether Kimi will remain at Ferrari for next year… But Iceman doesn’t reveal much in typical fashion.
Rough translation, courtesy of
Q: Are you worried about the advantage that Sebastian is earning on you?
Kimi: It is not the ideal situation, but this is the reality. I keep pushing and we’ll see how it will finish.
Q: How is the relationship with Sebastian?
Kimi: The relationship is fine, as before. People believe that between me and Seb internal problems may arise because of the different results, but we get along as friends and especially as collegues. It is normal being against each other on the track, but for the team we work together.
Q: What is the atmosphere in the team after the changes of last winter?
Kimi: Inside the team we work well and in harmony. All the team go in the same direction. It is the best moment, as in group dynamics, of all my experience in Formula 1.
Q: How do you feel now as a dad?
Kimi: I am very happy with being a dad. It’s nice, obviously it is a different feeling, something new for me, especially hold in my arms this little adorable baby. Unfortunately I’m very often out and not at home, but that’s life. When he will grow up, I will bring him with me. I’m very happy right now. I have a beautiful family, who supports me, even when I return home after a bad race.
Q: Will you remain in Ferrari next year?
Kimi: We have to understand what the team principle wants and thinks and if Ferrari wants me. Time will tell.
I was really excited to see this issue arrive. It has two articles on Kimi, one written by James Roberts during the pre-season testing and the other by Andrew Benson ‘investigating’ whether ‘Kimi is a true great’. Needless to say, the latter is no question for me. He is an F1 great because at the end of the day, he is the fastest of them all in my humble opinion. For me, it’s as simple as this – Pinnacle of motorsport; Formula 1. Pinnacle of speed?; Kimi Raikkonen.
Roberts’ feature was enjoyable as it interviews Kimi and reveals some funny things like new Ferrari team principle Arrivabene finding Kimi on the floor and not sure why! But there was a point to it and no alcohol was involved; Kimi was watching the SF15T being worked on. A happy sounding Kimi made this interview a pleasure to read.
The second feature by Benson was poorly written for an F1 magazine charging £5 per issue. Disappointed in F1 Racing for not having another writer to do this feature such as Peter Windsor (who knows what he’s talking about and hasn’t got his head up Alonso’s butt!). But if you want to waste 10 minutes reading it as I wasted scanning it, go ahead.
F1 Mastermind: Quiz yourself on Kimi’s career
I haven’t actually quizzed myself in a long time regarding Kimi’s career, so I gave it go on the camera :) No cheating either! How did you do?