Raikkonen exclusive – Sportbild interview
The man of few words talks. The reason why he is taking Vettel in his private jet, why he doesn’t extend his contract with Lotus at the moment and why a second world championship title wouldn’t make him happier…
Q: Mr. Räikkönen, the drummer of Guns Roses told us, that you had been drinking together. Is there a little rocker inside of you?
KR: ”In general, I like music, but not such music. The guys of guns ‘n’ roses are just cool. I don’t care if they’re famous musicians or not. I just like being together with such guys.”
Q: You were flying home from China together with Sebastian Vettel. From Munich on, in your private jet. Would you do so for every driver colleague?
KR: ”No, but not everyone lives near Zurich.”
Q: It says, Vettel has no more friends in the paddock. Is that true?
KR : ”It is basically difficult to have friends inside the Formula One, but we two are. We aren’t seeing each other as often as before because Seb moved a bit wider away, but I still would call him my friend in Formula One. I know him best of all.”
Q: He (Seb) is still being critized for ignoring team-orders in Malaysia. How would you have acted if the team told you to stay behind your slower teammate?
KR: ”Always you journalists with your would-if-questions! Team-orders are a part of Formula One. Sometimes you stick to it, sometimes it doesn’t make sense. Team-orders can be that your engineer tells you to do this or that, but you wanted to do it the other way round. Then I won’t listen to my engineer and do what I want.”
Q: Just like Vettel. Afterwards he told honestly what he’s thinking about his teammate. How did you like that?
KR: ”Seb has his opinion and he told it. He is honest and open. That’s a good thing, I like that.”
Q: How did Seb change because of his three titles?
KR: ”He didn’t change. Sure thing: He’s getting older and gets to know more about the sport. But apart from that, his personality didn’t change at all. He’s still a normal, funny and nice guy.”
Q: Now you two are fighting each other for race victories and the championship. Will you remain friends?
KR: ”Yes. We trust each other, that neither of us will do something stupid in a in fight. We’re honest and open. If it comes to a crash between us, we probably will be complaining about each other (laughs). But that should be it then. Everyone has an argument sometimes, it’s just normal.”
Q: In Bahrain, he beat you. Are you still winning against Seb in Badminton?
KR: ”We haven’t played for a long time. But the last time we did, approximately three years ago, Seb lost, that’s right.”
Q: Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez is assuming that you are staying with Lotus.
KR: ”It can be that he wants me to stay. In fact, I haven’t got a contract for next season yet. But things in Formula one can turn around fast. Honestly: I just don’t know what I will be doing next year yet. Ask me again in six months.”
Q: You told the Bild newspaper that you want to return to a top team. At RedBull Racing, Mark Webber’s spot will likely be available. And Dietrich Mateschitz wants you.
KR: ”I don’t know what you want from me! Here at Lotus, we are winning races. That’s enough. It doesn’t matter that we are spending less money than the other top teams here at Lotus as long as I am winning. But once again: I don’t know what happens next year. For now, I am trying to get the maximum out of the season. Then I will make the right decision for me. I am not wasting my thoughts on the future. And I’m not worried about finding a seat. I can live without Formula One, too.”
Q: Then why are you sitting here with us and doing an interview?
KR: ”Because Formula One is motorsport on the highest level. And according to that, there will always be days like this, when I have to do a lot of boring interviews.”
Q: Currently, you’re 2nd in the championship. Are you able to win the title against Sebastian Vettel?
KR: ”It’s true: At the moment we’re doing pretty well pretty often. But that doesn’t guarantee the championship. The second place in Bahrain was good, but it doesn’t help when Seb keeps winning all of the time. We have to find something else.”
Q: What would a second World Championship title mean to you?
KR: ”A second title would be nice, but it wouldn’t make me happier. The most important thing is to be satisfied with yourself.”
Q: What is so special about your right foot that your tires last longer?
KR: ”It isn’t just my foot. It’s a combination of the driver and the car. My Lotus is gentle with the tyres and that makes it easier for me.”
Q: It seems that you’re happier at Lotus than that Ferrari or Mclaren.
KR: ”No you can’t say that. A team from Italy is complete different to one from England. I had a good time everywhere.”
Q: You aren’t showing that at all. Are you going to laugh in the basement? (German proverb, I don’t know how to translate it properly. It means, that you won’t show your humoristic side to all people)
KR: ”I don’t show the real me in Formula One. Most of the people are behaving differently at work and in private.”
Q: While listening to your team radio, one could get the opinion that you aren’t getting along well with your engineer…..
KR: ”Yes, but you can only listen to a small piece of it. Of course, we have different opinions at some times. It seems that i’m yelling at him all the time, but that comes with the loudness. Inside the car it’s terribly loud.”
Q: You are a big James Hunt Fan. Are you going to watch the new movie about him and Niki Lauda?
KR: ”Yes, I will. In these times, Formula One was just pure racing. Motorsport how it should be. Not so much talking about it. I like that.”