Source: ts.fi | Translation courtesy of Nicole
Kimi Räikkönen has, together with Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg, driven every race lap in all 11 races so far. In Hungary he achieved the third 2nd podium. Räikkönen had to prove to all tv-viewers how impossible it is to overtake a fast car in Hungaroring.
“In order to overtake on this track we would need in addition to the DRS-wing a car that would have been at least one second faster than the one driving ahead. Now we didn’t have that car,” Räikkönen’s race engineer Mark Slade told Turun Sanomat.
Then where did Räikkönen lose the victory then – in qualification or in the unsuccessful start with his half-powered KERS?
“Absolutely in the qualification. In order to win Kimi would have had to get at least to P2 or P3. From there he could have gone straight after Hamilton,” Slade said.
Then which of these three 2nd podiums have been closest to victory?
“We got closest in Bahrain. Now the car wasn’t as fast as it was there,” Slade evaluated.
The second half of the season looks good.
“We get to go to Belgium in a good stitch, where Kimi has won 4 out of his last 5 races. Lately we have learned a lot about the car and are in better positions in qualifications also,” Slade got excited.
Kimi was asked after the race if he feels he is driving for this year’s WDC.
“That’s how I have thought during the whole season – more or less,” he said. “Now we are again closer to the top, although we dropped down one position. As long as we get ourselves in good grids where we can race for trophies, we probably get more higher in points also during the second half of the season.”
“The car is going in the right direction. We just have to take everything out of it, then hopefully the victories also start coming,” Räikkönen said.
Lotus expects Kimi Raikkonen to commit himself to another year with the team, despite the Finn being linked with Ferrari.
It emerged over the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend that Raikkonen is on the list of contenders at Ferrari if the team elects to replace Felipe Massa in 2013, despite a strained relationship between the 2007 world champion and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.
Neither Raikkonen nor Ferrari moved to totally dismiss the idea at the Hungaroring, but Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says he is not worried because he sees no better option for his driver than staying where he is.
“It is nice that Ferrari is in the newspapers, but I don’t know that Kimi has plans to go back to Ferrari,” explained Boullier, who saw Raikkonen challenge for victory at the Hungaroring.
When asked if he expected to keep both Raikkonen and team-mate Romain Grosjean next year, Boullier said: “Definitely. There is no reason for them to leave.”
Ferrari insists it is still happy to bide its time over choosing its second driver for 2012, even though that may mean losing an outside chance it could have of luring Raikkonen away.
Team principal Stefano Domenicali said: “Kimi was a world champion with us and I saw the speculation in the media but nothing more than that.
“I can confirm what I said to you last week; basically we are not in a rush to make a decision or announce anything because we want to take our time.
“We are aligned with Felipe and we want to protect him, and it is important for this championship. So there is nothing new to report.”
When asked to categorically rule out interest in either Raikkonen or Jenson Button, who was linked with the team in reports in the Italian media, Domenicali said: “There is no rush on our decision and no information I can give you now, but I think the drivers you mentioned have contracts with other teams and we are not in a rush.”
F1 editor Adam Hay Nicholls’ opinion on Ferrari ditching Kimi:
Another storming drive from Kimi to rise up through the ranks and clinch second place – his fifth podium of the season. The Iceman though, has no intention of letting up in his Championship charge…
Q: Kimi, so close to the win but it didn’t quite come ; are you happy to take second place away from this weekend ?
KR: You can come as close as you like to a win, but at the end of the day we didn’t get it so there’s no point worrying about it. I had an ok start but then we had an issue with the KERS and I could only use fifty per cent of it and lost a position to Fernando [Alonso]. From there the first few laps were not so good because we were trying to get the KERS working but after that it was fine. Unfortunately I was stuck in traffic for quite a long time, so I just tried to save my tyres and push once we got some clear track. It seemed to work both times and we gained a lot of time on those few laps.
Q: It all got a bit close with Romain in the first corner ; just how tight was that ?
KR: The team told me it’s going to be very close after my stop and I made a mistake with the pit lane speed limiter so for maybe five extra metres after the line I was still on it. Luckily there was still enough of a gap and although we were side-by-side in the first corner I could keep my position quite easily. It was just one of those things.
Q: Did you feel like you has a shot at passing Lewis [Hamilton] with the DRS at any stage ?
KR: Not really to be honest. It was not so bad following the car in front through the last corner but in the turbulent air you’re always going to be about a second later on the power so they just pull too far away. The straight is not long enough to catch up so even the DRS didn’t really give you any chance to overtake. My only real hope was that he would run out of the tyres and then we would have had a shot but that never happened. If there were maybe twenty more laps it could have been a different story.
Q: It’s another case of ‘so close yet so far’ this weekend ; surely that win is on the way…
KR: We always try to win ; some days you get close to it and it’s a bit disappointing that we haven’t quite made that final step. We know the reason though ; we’ve not been so strong in qualifying as we have in the race which makes life harder for ourselves on Sundays. Of course we would rather win than come second or third but it’s a long season and I think we’re improving all the time. If it comes then great, if not we’ll keep trying. I’ve been in the business long enough that I don’t really worry about things too much. We’ve improved our position in the championship both for myself and for the team, so as long as we keep doing that hopefully the win will come.
Q: Did you have a chance Kimi, with the DRS?
KR: Ah, no. It was not so bad to follow through the last corner but you’re, I don’t know, one second later on the power every time so they just pull too far away and the straight is not long enough and the others are too fast. So it didn’t really give you any chance. My only chance was that they would run out of the tyres and then you will have a chance – but that never happened, so we probably should have had 20 more laps – and then it would have happened.
Q. So, are you happy with second place or did you feel you could have won it?
KR: I didn’t, so there’s no point to worry about it. I had an OK start but then we had an issue with the KERS and I only could use 50 per cent and I lost one position to Fernando, so the first few laps were not really good because we were trying to get the KERS working. After that it was OK but the same situation with Alonso, I was stuck behind him and just tried to save my tyres and push once we got the clear circuit. It seemed to work both times and we gained a lot of time on those few laps.
Q. And what about the time you came out of the pits and found yourself alongside Romain?
KR: Yeah. The team told me it’s going to be very close and I made a mistake with the pit lane speed limiter so it meant maybe five metres after the line I was still on it, so I thought that I really didn’t do a very good job out of there – but luckily it was enough gap and we were side-by-side in the first corner, but I could keep my position quite easily at that point. But it was one of those things: we had a lot of speed but just couldn’t use it in all the race.
Q. (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, you have been second three times when Lewis has won here. Have you ever been close to overtake him?
KR: I don’t know. It was a long time ago to remember the past. Today it wasn’t – it was many years. It makes no difference if you don’t get past. We were second best today and third. I think it was good for the team but of course we will keep trying to win and hopefully it will come soon.
Q. (Joo Gabor – Index) Kimi, it is your fourth second place this year, I think. Aren’t you getting a bit annoyed about this? Spa is coming up, are you confident that you can break it?
KR: I think I’ve only been second twice, not three times, I don’t know. Anyhow, we always try to win; some days you get close to it and it’s a bit disappointing that we cannot and we know the reason: we have not been so strong in qualifying and we keep making it very hard for ourselves on Sundays but it’s not annoying. We still keep putting ourselves in a good position to at least have a chance to win and get good results, good points for the team. Yeah, you would rather win than come second or third but it’s a long season and I think we’re improving all the time. If it comes it’s great, if not, we keep trying. I’ve been in the business long enough that I don’t really worry about things too much. We improved our position, our situation in the championship for myself and for the team. Maybe we are one place behind right now but we are closer to the front. As long as we keep doing that and hopefully the wins will come, then we will give myself and the team a good chance.