BAHRAIN GP – POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE
(Conducted by Sir Jackie Stewart)
Well, congratulations on a fantastic race, you must be very happy and it’s a hell of a season you’re having. Well done. Kimi – terrific. Happy?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Obviously you’re never happy when you finish second but I think after a difficult start to the year I’m a bit pleased to get some result – a bit better result. Obviously we came through in the end very quickly but we run out of the laps but I think we have to be happy after where we qualified, after we finished, but obviously we’re looking for a bit better results still.
Well, it’s a terrific success for Ferrari to come back as strongly as this. You must be pleased about that?
KR: Yeah, I’m very happy how the team is working and obviously after last year where we are now is a big step and everyone is working very well together. The atmosphere is good now and we have a good direction to keep pushing. It seems to be working well and things are improving, so I’m sure as a team we’ll get there and to be able to be all the time fighting for wins, but it will take a little more time.
Q: Kimi, fourth on the grid, second at the finish, first podium since Korea 2013. Alternative strategy for you. Obviously the middle stint was the key to your grand prix. Tell us about that and the pace that you were able to maintain against everybody else on the softer tyre. But also, you questioned at the end the decision to go onto the soft tyre – how did that work out, was it the right thing to do in the end?
KR: I think we had a few different plans. How to run the race and obviously this one was one of them. It all really depended where we are after a few laps. But I think we did a very good job out of it and the medium tyres worked very well for me in the second stint and I could pretty much… quite easily keep up with them, even catch them. They were working fine so obviously I was wondering if it’s the right choice to go on the soft at the end – but obviously it was the correct choice, they were much faster still. So, I was able to catch Nico and got past him. We did more or less the maximum that we could do today and obviously if you think that we were ahead of Nico earlier, he got past me on lap two or three or something, so we lost some time but I think we had a pretty good race and hopefully we can have many more.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, after being fourth in Malaysia and China and being out of top three for 18 months, how much do you appreciate this comeback to the podium?
KR: Obviously it’s much nicer than being out of it but, you know, you come second and obviously we got quite close to the Mercedes today but it’s a bit disappointing after that always – but I’d rather take this one than something else. You cannot feel happy. We are happy to be second but it’s still disappointing. It’s not what we want to do. Big thanks to the team. I had a pretty hard time last year. This year in the beginning, just some bad luck in the races but, you know, the team has done a great job over the winter and everybody is pushing together, in the same direction and I’m sure we are only going to get stronger and better as a team and improve the car. So, it’s a great place to be.
Q: (Khodr Rawi – F1Zone.net) Kimi, do you think the only possibility to beat Mercedes is by trying a different strategy, trying to undercut them because beating them on track seems a bit difficult now?
KR: Well, I don’t think it’s the only way. Obviously on some circuits we can get closer, some not, but I think obviously the first step is to improve our package, that will happen in the future and hopefully get closer. One step is to qualify more higher up, make better starts and go from there. I think we had a pretty decent speed today but obviously if you’re behind any cars and you lose any seconds, you will pay a price for it in the end. I think we just have to keep working and improving the whole package and how we do things. I’m sure we will get there and we can fight for wins every weekend after that.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Kimi, you were flying in the second and third stints on both type of tyre but you struggled in the first stint. Have you any idea why?
KR: I wasn’t struggling really. I didn’t feel that it was much problem. I got passed by Nico, I passed him at the start and I got passed by him and obviously you lose quite a bit of time and Page ? of ? 3 4 then he passed Seb and we were pretty close to each other. I felt I was faster but obviously it’s pretty hard to pass. I think that we did the maximum, more or less. Yesterday we lost a place to Nico, but after that, once we got the mediums and the new set of softs at the end, the car was very good, so I could keep up good speed and everything was running smoothly, but already at that point we were a bit too far off first place.
Q: (Matt Youson – Racetech) Kimi, can you tell us how this year’s car is an improvement on last season’s. Everybody talks about the power unit but is it just that or is there a lot more?
KR: Obviously a big chunk of it is the engine itself. It’s a big improvement on horsepower plus reliability but you cannot just give all the credit to them. The car has improved a lot: much more downforce, the car is handling much better because of that, and obviously how the whole package has been done and put together. I think the big key is that all areas have improved quite a bit plus the people have been working more closely, as one team putting it together more nicely, so obviously the end result is what we have now and then as I said earlier, I’m very happy how things are going, very happy with the team and I think not many people expected after last year that we can be in this kind of position this early and now we are going in the right direction, so I’m sure we will get there but we want to start winning races more often and we just have to have some patience and do the work that we’ve done so far and we will get there.
Q: (Khodr Rawi – F1Zone.net) To all three of you: is the challenge of the championship against the rival teams more difficult than against your teammate, because you don’t know what others have or what others are planning in terms of strategy and that sort of thing?
LH: It’s all hard. It’s difficult to say which one is harder. When you’re fighting the guy in your team with the same car you’ve got the data. Sure it’s more on the limit when you’re fighting another team. There’s pros and cons, there are advantages and disadvantages on each side. You just try to do your best job, that’s what motor racing is all about, to be fighting other teams, that’s what we’re here to do.
NR: It’s both different but both tough. It’s difficult to go into the details but it’s tough to battle Lewis last year and this year and it’s tough now to battle the Ferraris now that they’re in the mix.
KR: I think it doesn’t make a lot of difference. Obviously with your teammate you more or less know what he’s doing and in the race when he’s going to stop but you have to beat all of them so it’s really the same end result.
| Source: fia.com |