GP Corea, commenti post gara–06/10/2013
Podium not just down to luck of safety car – Kimi
Kimi Raikkonen said he deserved his podium at the Korean Grand Prix on merit and it was not down to getting lucky with the timing of the safety car.
After a lacklustre qualifying performance, Raikkonen started from ninth on the grid and worked his way back through the pack, finally passing team-mate Romain Grosjean to take second. He was undoubtedly helped by the first safety car, making up four positions and putting him in place to attack Grosjean at the restart.
But Raikkonen said he was in a strong position to race for a podium even without the safety car.
"We didn’t do too badly because we finished second," he said. "People might say it’s luck but we put ourselves in a position in the first place. Without the speed we would never have got there.
"The car was just understeering too much all weekend and even today, so I had to look after the front tyre. That was really the limitation of how much I could push and obviously we were always stuck behind the traffic after the pit stops.
"We decided to stop much earlier and I think it was a good move. The safety car helped a little bit but we had the speed and without the safety car we could maybe have run until the end [on those tyres] and still had a podium. It was good but not ideal."
Raikkonen made the move on Grosjean stick on the first lap following the safety car restart, getting a better drive out of the penultimate corner and beating him into Turn 1. The move proved to be crucial and undid the hard work of Grosjean earlier in the race, but Raikkonen said it was not too tricky to pull off.
"He moved two times to the left but I got a good run. He made a mistake in the second to last corner and I got a good run and heard there would be yellow flags at the end of the straight. So I knew he wasn’t going to pass me back with the DRS because it’s not open with the yellow flags so I thought I would try to overtake and it was not too difficult."
Kimi Räikkönen Not Surprised by Korean Grand Prix Comeback
P13 to P3 in Singapore, P9 to P2 in Korea… is there anything our Iceman can’t do? Catch up with Kimi as he talks us through safety car shenanigans, intra-team tussles, and what it’ll take to catch that pesky Bull…
Another fantastic P2 performance; are you pleased – or even surprised – with the result from where you started on the grid?
We did it in Singapore and also a couple of times before that so I wasn’t really surprised. Second place is ok and a good result for the team, but we’re here to win and having to fight your way to the front from a bad starting position is not ideal.
What do you think was the key to your rise through the field?
My start was not too bad. Even if we lost out a little in the first corner I made the places back and then another one too at Turn 3. We made good use of the safety car to push hard in the free air which made up some places and put us third, so that helped for sure. People might say it was good luck, but sometimes these things go with you and others they go against you. We made up some places even before that happened, and if we hadn’t had the speed then we wouldn’t have been in a position to take advantage. You could see at the end that we had more than enough pace to keep the others behind, so I think it’s deserved.
Speaking of the safety car, it got a little close between you and Romain when racing resumed…
It was quite close I guess but we both came out of it ok. He basically gave me the place with a small mistake at the end of the lap and I already knew there were yellow flags into Turn 3, so I knew if I overtook him into Turn 1 he wouldn’t be able to pass me back. It wasn’t too difficult; he defended pretty hard but I managed to get through.
You certainly seemed more comfortable in the car than at any other point in the weekend; why do you think this was?
The issues we had in qualifying weren’t so bad today, but it always seems to be the case that we perform better in the race than on Saturdays. I think I understand the reasons why we’ve been struggling a little on single lap pace now; it’s a combination of small things that maybe we need to do differently early in the weekend, but it’s not like we’ve suddenly lost over a second in qualifying that we can’t get back. It’s making my life more difficult, but it is how it is and we’ll keep working to improve it for the last few races.
Had you qualified better, would you have been able to beat Sebastian [Vettel] today?
Qualifying was pretty awful for me, but it’s difficult to say whether a better grid position would have made the difference. Sebastian was faster than us at the end; not massively, but a little bit for sure and his tyres were fresher too so I think it would have been tough to catch him in any case. We were closer to the Red Bull today than we have been in some races, but not close enough…
Do you think there’s the potential to add to your win tally before the end of the season?
If we can improve our performance on Saturdays then there’s always a chance, so we’ll keep trying for sure and see what we can do.