Tag Archives: Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen Q&A: “I keep making my life difficult on Saturdays…”

Kimi Raikkonen calls Spa his favourite circuit, and the Finn has a great record in the Belgian GP. In order to get his title challenge back on track he really needs to finish ahead of Sebastian Vettel when action resumes. Can he do it? Here’s a Q&A provide by Lotus today.

You were second in Budapest before the summer break; how good would it be to go one step better at Spa?

“Usually I’ve achieved a good result at the Belgian Grand Prix, but what has happened there before doesn’t help me right now. Of course, it doesn’t cause any harm either and it would be great to win at Spa for a fifth time. Extra points are always good and if you win the race no-one scores more points than you.”

How has your history been at the circuit?

“For me there have only been good memories from Spa and it’s great to go racing there. You can’t get the same kind of a feeling anywhere else. It’s great to race with a modern racing car at a proper circuit which has such a great tradition.”

What are the challenges of the track and should it suit the strengths of the E21?

“Spa offers very challenging high-speed corners and you need to get the right set-up for the car. As we’ve seen so many times this year, a good grid position is extremely important. It will be very decisive at Spa too, even though it is may be easier to overtake there than at some other tracks. It’s crucial to have a good car aerodynamically to tackle the fast corners and it’s a long lap, so to get the right time you really need to maintain the best rhythm. So much depends on the qualifying result, so we need to find a decent set-up on Friday and Saturday and have a solid qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. I don’t know how it will suit our car this year. Last year we were not very strong there. I think we know the reasons and for sure our car is better this year, but is it good enough to be fighting for a win? We will see on Sunday.”

Why has Spa been so good to you in the past?

“Sometimes there are certain circuits where everything seems to run smoothly, and then there are other circuits where I have no luck at all. Of course, we will do our very best to win this race. I have been on the top step of the podium a few times at Spa and I want to be there again.”

Does this make Spa one of your favourite tracks?

“I bet every driver likes Spa. For me it is the greatest racing circuit in the world. It is my favourite place. I have liked the place since my first ever visit there in 2000 with Formula Renault.”

How are you feeling about your championship position?

“I am now back in second which was a good way to enter the summer break. I finished ahead of Seb in Hungary so obviously scored more points than him there. To beat him, we need to be winning races and if we keep finishing second like we’ve done many times this year it’s probably not going to be enough for the championship, but you never know what might happen.”

Where can improvements be found?

“Well, obviously I keep making my life difficult on Saturdays in qualifying so then we pay a price, but we still have a good car in the race. Now we have tyres that are a little bit different we have to understand exactly how to use them. We made progress in Budapest so it should be easier in Spa, but that will be the same for everyone. To win, it’s always better to be starting near the front.”

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Kimi Raikkonen Q&A: “Monaco is just a distant memory”

He may have been feeling a little punchy after the Monaco GP, but Kimi Raikkonen has now put his disappointment behind him, so in theory there won’t be any confrontation with Sergio Perez in the Montreal paddock. Instead Kimi is now looking forward to Canada, a race he has won in the past. He’s also experienced disappointment, none greater than when he was hit by Lewis Hamilton in 2008 while waiting at the end of the pitlane. Here’s a Q&A supplied by the Lotus team.

Q: What are your feelings after Monaco?

“We had a bad result on Sunday in Monaco; that was clear for anyone to see. It could have been even worse, but it could have been much better as well. We came out with one point so at least we got something back after losing the solid fifth place, but that’s not much consolation. The car felt good for qualifying and the race which is a positive as it was another circuit – and a difficult circuit – where we’ve been able to have the car pretty much as we wanted. We still lack just a little bit of speed in qualifying sometimes, but our race pace was good again; not that you can show that when you’re stuck behind slower cars like we saw in Monaco. We don’t know how the car will be in Montréal –we will have the answer to that question soon – but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be competitive again.”

Q: It was quite some fight back you made at the end of the race…

“Well, that was a bit different as I had fresh tyres and we should never have been in that position in the first place, but it was good to at least get a point at the end. In a way, it almost makes it more frustrating as when we had the clean air after the pit stop it was probably the first time you saw how quick our car really was.”

Q: You were pretty frustrated after the race?

“No-one wants to lose so many points thanks to the actions of another driver, but that race is over; Monaco is just a distant memory and I’m all ready for Canada.”

Q: What’s your opinion of Canada?

“I have won there which was pretty good, but I have experienced some setbacks there as well. Many times the race has been quite a lottery as there seem to be different things which affect it. The weather can change a lot, sometimes the tyres or the track aren’t working very well, sometimes there are a lot of safety cars, or sometimes another driver runs into the back of you when you’re waiting at a red light. As for the place itself, I’ve always liked Montréal. It is one of the nicest cities we visit all year.”

Q: What do you need for a good result in Canada?

“A good car. Like at every circuit you need to get the set-up exactly right. You need a well-balanced chassis in the medium downforce configuration and you don’t want to be too hard on brakes as there’s a lot of aggressive braking there. It’s something I quite enjoy, the stop and go style of the circuit.

Q: Is Montréal another circuit where qualifying is crucial?

“Qualifying is important at every circuit, but not as essential as it was in Monaco to get a good result. It’s not easy to get past, but there are one or two places to overtake.”

Q: What are your thoughts on the Championship after losing ground to Sebastian Vettel?

“For sure we lost ground on the lead in Monaco, but it’s not over yet. It’s still early in the season and twenty-one points behind is not too much to catch up; especially if Sebastian has a bad weekend too at some point. The most important thing is that we return to our race level before Monaco to get things going our way as soon as possible.”

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Santa Kimi arrives at Enstone!

Boullier and Lopez with their early Xmas present!

Kimi Raikkonen made his first visit to the LRGP factory today and stayed on for the (somewhat premature) Christmas party, which provided him with an easy way of getting to know fellow team members.

“It is my first time in Enstone,” said Kimi on the team website. “So it is very nice to see the factory – it feels good. It is a very warm feeling and I’m very relaxed. I haven’t really read the newspapers about all the excitement but it is quite normal, isn’t it? It doesn’t put any more pressure on me. I always try to do my best, so I don’t put myself under pressure. It will be exciting, yes, but no pressure really and we will see how it goes.”

“I think we decided that we had to look forward in terms of performance and the key way to see how good a car is, is to have a good driver,” said Genii boss Gerard Lopez. “Kimi has proven in the past that he is among the fastest and in terms of age he’s still in his prime. In terms of motivation from what I have seen and spoken to him, he is probably as motivated as ever.

“And the more people question the better it is, because it is going to increase his motivation even more to prove that they are wrong. I’m excited that he is here because I think it’s one of the very important steps in getting the team to where we want it to be – which is one of the top teams in Formula 1…”

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