Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen remains very much the joker in the pack of the 2012 championship, sitting fourth in the standings – ahead of the likes of Hamilton and Button – despite not having won a race. The Finn’s secret is consistent podiums – a trend he plans to continue at Monza on Sunday, even if he is starting from the fourth row – and he hence believes the title is still possible, as he explained exclusively to Formula1.com…
Q: Kimi, you’ve never won at Monza. Isn’t it about time? What are the chances tomorrow?
Kimi Raikkonen: Well, I have been fast here many times, but then funnily something always happened. (laughs) So let’s hope that we give ourselves a chance tomorrow.
Q: What would you sacrifice to win the race – black in front of a sea of red?
KR: We don’t sacrifice anything. We are just doing our best. Of course we want to win and we will do anything possible to get there. We have to be smart.
Q: What does being smart mean?
KR: To get the best out of what we have?
Q: Is that all?
Q: You start from the fourth row tomorrow. What does that mean here in Monza?
KR: Well, it’s no secret if I say that it is not the best possible place to start, but that is where we ended up after two days so it is all about making a good start and getting through the first chicane without any issue. (laughs) Then I am sure that we can fight for a podium.
Q: There is a lot of talk about the Spa start. This sort of start accident has happened many times before, so why so much fuss now?
KR: I have no idea. I was not involved in the issue so ask the people who were. I have nothing to say about it.
Q: But the consequence is that now everybody is talking about closed cockpits? Do you have an opinion on that?
KR: I think this sport is dangerous and if you are not happy to take the risk then you should do something else. I am sure there are plenty of drivers who are willing to take the risk driving a Formula One car as it is now.
Q: Are you eyeing the championship? What has to happen to make it happen? Your team principal Eric Boullier said that you are still in the game for the title…
KR: We need a bit stronger package if we want to win, but yes, we are still in it. One race can change the whole situation in your favour. We are not yet as fast as we would like, so be sure that I will do my best tomorrow.
Q: What do you mean by a stronger package? What does it include? The car, the aero, and the driver?
KR: Everything has to get better. We need more speed, more downforce… then we will see.
Q: You and the team seem to hit it off. Will you carry on into 2013?
KR: I am happy this year here – and for next year let’s see. In Formula One you never know. Things can change overnight. (laughs)
Q: Other teams desperate for results have no doubt been knocking on your door. What – and who – could lure you away? A bigger team with limitless resources? A bigger salary?
KR: I have no interest in talking about those things because one word about it would get hyped into many half true stories, so I’ll keep it to myself.
Q: What about a return to Ferrari? Are you ready to swap black for red?
KR: Same answer as before.
Q: Watching you stroll through the paddock, you seem to be so laidback. Are you now beyond the huge ambitions that seem to be the name of the game for so many other drivers?
KR: I am just who I am. I don’t have to pretend to be somebody else. I do my own thing and I am happy with what I am doing.
Q: What’s still the best thing about being a Formula One driver?
KR: For sure not talking to the media. I am not a big fan of b*llsh*t questions.
Q: So what kind of questions are you happy to answer?
KR: Such a question doesn’t exist! (laughs)
Q: So let’s get back to the usual driver question after qualifying – where do you see yourself finishing the race?
KR: Hopefully we have a stronger package than the guys in front of me. It is a long race. Doing a good first lap will be crucial.
Q: Who is the logical winner for you?
KR: Ask me after the race – I have never pretended to be a soothsayer. (laughs)