23rd October – Kimi Raikkonen landed at Zurich airport in the afternoon. These are his first words as world champion back in Europe:
I am so happy it almost hurts. This is THE BIGGEST THING that I have been dreaming of since I was a small boy – to be the champion of the world. I was seven years old when I first saw a race track: it was an old, small kart circuit called Bembole; just five kilometres from where I lived. It was like a second home for me.
Now, 22 years later, I have many favourite race tracks, but the most important one is Interlagos, more than 5,000 kilometres away from home.
I’ve always said that the aim of my career is to become world champion. I came very close a couple of times and in the end everything turned out fine. We have always given our best to try to win. Doing that in sport you have to always push to the max until the end. You never know what may happen in a race; you only have to look at the last three races and you know what I’m talking about. Fuji was really terrible for us: we were at the back of the pack and our race was over almost immediately.
We left Japan and were 17 points behind, without the possibility to fight back. I think I can say that not more than ten people outside of the team would have bet on us. But we didn’t give up. In a certain sense we believe in miracles. China was our joker: we won and the driver on the top of the standings didn’t make any points. That gave us some hope, but there weren’t many chances for us left.
The last race was really emotional. The first four drivers in the field didn’t retire, but there was a tough fight for positions between us and our competitors. Maybe I had the best start of the season and maybe I could have passed also Felipe at the first corner, but I had a plan and it didn’t involve a fight with my teammate. I could see in my mirrors that Hamilton was next to Alonso in turn 3 and that he had a problem. I realized that we had the chance we had hoped for: this first lap seemed to be decisive for the whole championship.
It was a great race and I think that I’ve never experienced such emotions in the cockpit. Everything worked perfectly fine. It was like a birthday present from heaven! We could have had more pace and I want to thank Felipe again for his support: he did what he could do, just like a perfect teammate. As a team we couldn’t do more than a double-win, but when I had crossed the line the most important thing to know was what Hamilton had done. I asked for information over the radio but there
was just silence for a couple of seconds: finally Chris told me that he came in seventh and my heart nearly went into flames due to happiness! This is it: now we’re world champions!
I want to thank all those who have been close to me over all these years, all my fans. I love you all – truly. Thanks to the team: it is fantastic being a part of the greatest team of all times. This year I really enjoyed Formula One more than ever before. I dreamt about winning the title with Ferrari and I bet that this is every driver’s dream. This team never stops: they work at the max and never give up. We had some difficult moments, but we always managed to come back. And this shows the quality of the people working there. Thanks again! But I also want to thank the sponsors and partners: together with them we really have the package of a world champion.
Now I go to the Finali Mondiali at Mugello, to celebrate with all of Ferrari: it’s my first time there and it’s the perfect moment to get there. And then it’s time for a holiday, the first as world champion.