Kimi: Abu Dhabi win is just the start
Kimi Raikkonen has promised there is more to come from him and his Lotus team following their victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Finn, who returned to grand prix racing this year after a two-season absence, held off Fernando Alonso at Yas Marina to claim his 19th Formula 1 win after several near-misses earlier this year.
Raikkonen was confirmed at Lotus for the 2013 season just ahead of Abu Dhabi, and the 2007 world champion believes his win shows he has made the right decision.
“It’s a pretty good way to show that everyone’s made the right choice,” said Raikkonen. “We’ve shown all season how good we can be, and in Abu Dhabi we showed we can win.
“There is more to come, I promise.”
Raikkonen had finished on the podium six times before winning in Abu Dhabi, and he thinks Lotus’s persistence was the key to finally taking that elusive victory.
“We didn’t give up,” he said. “We had a period where new developments for the car weren’t working exactly as wanted straight away and when you have to test new parts during practice sessions it’s very difficult to make progress, but we kept pushing.
“We continued with the exhaust developments we made during practice in Korea and India and the pace was promising all weekend in Abu Dhabi.
“I was never out of the top 10 all weekend and with that in mind I think we had a good idea that we could be competitive if we could just get qualifying right, which has been the big issue all season long. This time though, we got it right.”
The Finnish driver said he will not change his approach despite the victory and claimed he never felt he had to prove anything.
“I’ve never cared really what people think – if I don’t finish the next race, then they’ll think that I’m as bad as that race. I’ll just do my thing, and if I’m happy with what I’m doing and it’s the best it can be for the team, then that’s that.
“So it doesn’t really bother me if people are thinking differently of me now, than what they did three hours before the race.”
Raikkonen’s blunt radio messages to his team – including an instruction to “leave me alone” when informed of the gap to Alonso – became a sensation among fans after Abu Dhabi.
The Lotus driver said he was simply trying to stay focused.
“Apparently there were a few of our radio messages broadcast on TV and I think in those moments you could hear how much I just wanted to keep my head down, do my job and win the race. All I needed to know was the gap to the guy behind me.
“I think you can probably find other messages from me in the car if you search YouTube; even from my short time in NASCAR.”
Raikkonen has made 500 T-shirts displaying his radio message to give to the Lotus team.