Thursday in Spa-Francorchamps
Kimi – I feel great
“I feel great, I’m really happy to be with Ferrari for one more year, it’s a great team to be with, there’s a great team effort and a great atmosphere and I’m sure we can do great things for the future. Compared to last year Ferrari made a better car, we are improving all the time and the results are showing that. The feeling in the team and the way people are working together are the best I’ve ever found. In the second part of the current season we’ll have to do better, trying to minimize mistakes and problems, aiming for the front all the time. Next year I’m sure we can have a good car, because we have all the people and the tools to do better. On Sunday it will be the 900th Grand Prix for Ferrari, I have had great moments with the team, it’s great to be part of a team with so much history, and we’ve achieved a lot together. Spa is a very nice place to come, it’s a great circuit for the drivers and the spectators. Things here are never easy, everything can suddenly change and the race can be quite exciting for everybody. We’ll try to have a good weekend and see where we end up.” [via ferrarif1.com]
Kimi, we have to start with you. Obviously Spa has been very good to you over the years – four wins – but your drive for 2016 confirmed yesterday. What do you hope to achieve given the way the team is developing at the moment and your own performance level at this stage of your career?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Well, obviously it the same as every year – we want to do as well as we can and hopefully challenge for championships for next year and I’m sure we can produce even a quite bit better car than this year next year. Obviously the team is all working well together and we all feel very good and obviously I’m happy to stay there but we have to try to do a good second part of the year and maximise what we have and then prepare for next year.
You will have seen that after he won Sebastian gave you a lot of support with his words in Hungary before the break. What did that support mean to you?
KR: I know him well and we have a very good relationship and it’s nice… I don’t know exactly what you mean, I mean I haven’t read so much things lately, but he tells me and I tell him if he does well and I do well, we have a very good feeling of respect in the team. It’s always nice to hear from him also. We try to beat each other in the races but we still can be friends as before, so I think that is also very good for us as a team that we can work very closely.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, fighting for your fifth victory here, does it help you that all the pressure of the new contract is now put behind and you don’t have to prove yourself that much any more?
KR: It doesn’t change anything. I mean we still try to do the same as every other race. So, that contract thing, it’s not going to change our approach for the weekend or the end result. Hopefully the end result will be good but no, we will do the same things as in all the other races. So, hopefully we can have a good weekend, no problems and see where we end up.
Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Serra) Kimi, you are approaching your sixth season with the red car. You have won a title, some races, you’ve got some podiums. What are you still missing in your experience with Ferrari?
KR: Obviously we want more wins, me and the team, but I’ve had good years, difficult years, some up and downs but I always enjoy it, always enjoy it more when things are going more nicely when you get results but as a team, I’ve had a great time there and I’m very pleased that we can be working together next year again. As a team, as they are now, I really feel that we are going in the right direction and we can do great things in the future. No, if I miss something… like I said, people more happy, we are more happy when we can do better results. Obviously you write less negative things after that. We keep working and believe in what we’re doing so I’m sure we will get there and we will have many happy days in front of us and a lot of good results.
Q: (Angelique Belokopytov – Autodigest) Lots of drivers just love Spa for its legendary corners, for opportunities to overtake and so on so my question is for all drivers: what do you dislike in Spa, what would you optimise or improve? So let’s start with Kimi as he has the record for the most wins of any driver here?
KR: What would I change? I think I would go back to how the last chicane was, coming into the chicane and I guess it was called the Bus Stop at that time, it was nicer than how it is now. It was just better, kind of more like it should be. Now one part is a bit different to the others, the new one doesn’t feel like it fits exactly there. I think it was a nicer corner, there was a bit more speed, over the kerbs more. I guess that not much else has changed really, a little bit the first corner.
“I think he’s a very good driver. Other than that, I think it’s good for the team,” said Vettel on Thursday at Spa.
“I got the same question in Hungary but now it’s a bit different, but it doesn’t change anything to the answer.
“I have a good relationship with him and it’s good to keep stability. The best thing is that we work together, working for the team, doing our best, and for sure everybody wants to race them himself, but I don’t think either him nor myself have egos that stand in the way of the team.”
He added: “It’s not my decision, but for sure I was asked for my opinion and I said I’d love to keep working with Kimi.
“The half season that I’ve had so far, I think the results are not fair because Kimi had a rougher season than I had. That’s how it goes sometimes.
“But in terms of performance I think it has been very, very close. And most importantly I get along with him. Nothing has changed since we became teammates, so I think that’s positive for the team.”
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