TEAM REPRESENTATIVES – Maurizio ARRIVABENE (Ferrari), Frédéric VASSEUR (Sauber), Guenther STEINER (Haas), Gil DE FERRAN (McLaren)
Q: Maurizio, please can we start with you? Welcome. There have been lots of announcements coming out of Ferrari this past week. Your 2019 driver line-up is sorted, with Charles Leclerc replacing Kimi Räikkönen. Talk us through how and why that change has taken place?
Maurizio ARRIVABENE: How and why? It’s not clear? OK, I try to be clear. When you make some choices like this, that are related to the driver, you don’t have to look only at the short-term commitment but also at the long-term commitment. A long-term commitment means it’s not only for next year, it’s for the future of the team – how you are going to grow a young talent, and what you want to expect from him for the future. That’s very simple. It’s not a decision taken by Mr Simpson; it’s a decision taken by me, discuss it also with the top management, that is taking into consideration many, many factors. This has nothing to do with the respect that I have for Kimi, that is great, as a human being and a driver, but if you have to do a choice, thinking about the future of the team, I think we made the right choice, for us and for Kimi. And the way that we wrote the press release was absolutely intentional. We were using a different style, breaking a bit the rules of Ferrari, that is normally going to communicate this in one line, broke the rules, giving also tribute and respect to Kimi for what he has done with us and wishing him the best for the future, and the best for the future it’s here.
Q: Fréd, thank you for waiting. Yesterday in the press conference, Kimi wasn’t that forthcoming when asked about his move to Sauber, so can you just put a little bit of flesh on the bone for us. How did you persuade Kimi to continue his career with your team?
Frédéric VASSEUR: I don’t want to say, like my future driver, ‘why not?’ but I think for us coming from where we were last year… I had a look this morning on the FP1 of 2017, I think it is a huge opportunity to have in our car, in the Alfa Romeo Sauber, one of the three world champions who will race next year. It’s a huge opportunity for the team, for the brand, for everybody. We know that we are quite a young team also and we need to have someone leading the team with a huge experience and I think Kimi will fulfill all the parts of this.
Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) Maurizio. How concerned are you by the errors being made by your lead driver in several races this year, and questionable race management decisions by the team – and what are you doing about them?
MA: Oh my God! Again! OK, I start from the second one and I want to be clear, once and forever. I mean, I would ask some of you, all of you, who is so crazy to give team order to a driver at the start of the race? I mean, we do our thing with the maximum professional effort. Before the race we are looking at the video of the start of the race, our team manager is giving instruction on the best line to follow to the driver. The only team order you can tell to the driver at the first corner is “guys, I would like to have both of the cars OK.” All the rest, I mean, it’s nonsense. I explain you the reason why. Kimi, in the case of Monza, was in pole position. Do we agree for once on this? He was in pole position right? Sebastian was 8m from him. How you think that Kimi can look on his side where Sebastian is? In your opinion, the order is “Kimi, please slow down when you start, and don’t worry if Hamilton and all the others, they are overtaking you.” What we are discussing about? That is the answer to your question. And then, team order, do you think the team orders, they were invented in Monza last weekend? I don’t think so. It’s 28 years that I’m in Formula One and I always heard team orders. There are many ways to give it to the team: before, during, after. That’s not important. The problem in Monza is that you have no time to give team order to anyone, because at the third corner it’s happened what has happened. So, this is the reality. I mean, don’t expect me to give team orders to the driver at the start of the race, looking forward to the first corner. It’s too dangerous and it’s crazy.
Q: (Stuart Codling – Autosport) Fred, what do you expect Kimi to bring to your team next year that you haven’t got already and can’t get elsewhere?
FV: Clearly Kimi has huge experience in F1, I think he already told that yesterday. For the team, we are building up every single department and I think he will be very supportive in the process. I think from aero to design office to track engineering, tyre management, I think everybody in the team is more than welcome to have Kimi on board in the future. It’s a step forward for us for sure. This is on the technical side and on the more marketing and commercial side, for sure it’s a huge push and if you have a look at what we had last week in terms of social media, so it was probably the first time in our lives that we have so many connections. On both sides, I think it will be supportive for us.
Q: Fred, are there still a lot of people at the team who can remember him from 2001?
FV: Some, yeah. For sure, I was not there but some guys came to my office saying ‘ah, superb that Kimi’s back.’ But I don’t want to consider the fact that Kimi’s coming back that we have to think about the future, not about the past.
Q: (Jake Michaels – ESPN) Maurizio, you said earlier that Kimi’s move from Ferrari to Sauber next year is the best thing for Ferrari and for Kimi. Can you explain why that’s the case and why the best thing for Kimi isn’t to stay at Ferrari?
MA: It’s quite simple. I also said that it’s very important to look at the situation of the team in perspective, perspective meaning two or three years. So in my opinion, that is justifying enough our choice to have a young driver for next year, to grow up and that’s it. It’s not a decision that is look on the actual situation or only to next year. My job is to look forward to the future of the team. That was the justification of the choice.
Q: (Jerome Pugmire – AP) Maurizio, just to follow up on that, Kimi said yesterday it wasn’t his decision and wasn’t his choice. Can you explain how he took the decision and did he try and persuade you to change your mind? How did he feel about it?
MA: I think Kimi was funny also yesterday during the press conference. I try to be funny too. What did you expect Kimi to tell you, that Homer Simpson took the decision? Of course I took the decision but I have to say that the relationship with Kimi is so good that he understands. It’s not only a question of telling him this is the decision. If you do my job properly, it’s to take him through the process, and I took him through the process of the decision and he didn’t even try to say ‘yeah, I would like you to change your mind’ or something. He’s a professional driver. Then I heard many other things like ‘ah, you know, telling him in Monza was the wrong time.’ Think about if I had told him in Belgium and Sebastian was winning the race? Kimi was in the same position and then it was wrong to tell him in Belgium. So the right time is not written on the paper, but what is written on the paper is that when we sign contracts with a driver, we sign a contract with professional drivers. I always talk with my two drivers as professional drivers and I’m expecting from him the maximum of professional effort and to use all their professional skills and Kimi is one of them. Kimi was so nervous and so unhappy that I told him on Thursday, if I’m not wrong, in Monza but he was so unhappy that he made pole position on Saturday. We’re talking with professional drivers.
FV: I have to make him unhappy ever single weekend!
MA: Yeah, in fact that’s what I was thinking afterwards, because when I read some criticism and I said I accept the criticism, I was thinking OK, if it’s like this, I’m going to make him unhappy every weekend so he’s going to give us the pole position. Guys. We are talking about professional drivers not kids that they are driving at the luna park.
Singapore – Il primo giorno a Marina Bay è dedicato soprattutto a prendere confidenza con le insidie di un tracciato che conta ben 23 curve, dove la prima sessione si svolge alla luce del sole e la seconda già in notturna. Kimi Raikkonen ha concluso la giornata segnando il miglior tempo alla fine della P2 – tra l’altro segnando un nuovo record della pista non ufficiale, su un tracciato ridotto di 2 metri in lunghezza – mentre Sebastian Vettel è stato l’unico pilota a non trarre vantaggio dalle Hypersoft. A seguito del contatto con la barriera verso l’ultima chicane, la sua SF71H è dovuta rientrare in garage per le dovute riparazioni fino al termine della sessione. Tuttavia, la macchina sembra essere veloce e la lotta per domani è aperta.
“Oggi tutto è filato liscio”, ha detto Kimi. “Durante la prima sessione abbiamo controllato diverse cose e abbiamo fatto alcune modifiche. Nel secondo turno di prove tutto sembrava funzionare. E’ stato un venerdì normale, ma ovviamente questa pista è diversa da molte altre e la seconda sessione si svolge in condizioni differenti rispetto alla prima. Gli pneumatici si sono comportati bene come ci aspettavamo. Le Hypersoft senza dubbio permettono la migliore aderenza in assoluto, per cui sono molto utili qui, almeno per pochi giri. Ovviamente non durano come le altre mescole, ma ne siamo consapevoli. Ho provato due fondi diversi; non c’è una differenza enorme fra l’uno e l’altro, ma non useremmo qualcosa se non pensassimo che vada meglio. Adesso continueremo a fare il nostro lavoro e vedremo come andrà domani. Di certo saremo tutti molto vicini”.
Q: Kimi, if we could start with you please. You’ve been generating a few column inches this past week. Can you just talk us through what happened and why you’re on the move next year?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: I guess you know what happened. I don’t know what else you want to know. This is what happened. As we’ve said many times before, it’s not up to me, it’s not my decision in the end. Anything after that is obviously my decision but this is the outcome. At least we have an outcome.
Q: You say it wasn’t your decision to leave Ferrari, but it was your decision to go back to Sauber, so just talk us through why you’re doing that?
KR: Why not.
Q: What is it about the team? On current form there is quite a performance differential between Ferrari and Sauber, so what have you been told…
KR: Yeah, but then there’s a lot of differences between all the cars, you know. If you take other teams, there are not many cars, if you take this year, that are on the same level. That’s how it has always been. I mean, see what happens in the future so…
Q: But, Kimi, what have you been told about the performance? Tell us why you want to go back to Sauber?
KR: Because I want to. Why do you try to make it so complicated? I don’t know anything more than you guys, purely where they have been finishing. Obviously I don’t know what will happen next year, nobody knows what will happen next year when it comes to the speeds of the cars and the teams and obviously we can always guess but we will see what we can do. Obviously I have my reasons and that’s enough for me. I don’t really care what others think and as long as I’m happy with my own reasons, it’s enough for me.
Q: And you’re still passionate about racing? The fire…
KR: No, I’m not actually. Just by pure head games for you guys I happened to sign and I’m going to spend two years there just not being happy.
Well, Kimi, thanks for the insight.
KR: No worries.
Q: (Abishek Takle – Mid-day) A question for Kimi. At what point did you know that you wouldn’t be driving for Ferrari next season and when did the Sauber talks actually start?
KR: In Monza I knew. Obviously I know people from there [Sauber] from the past and basically it started after that.
Q: (Edd Straw – Autosport) Kimi, you said you still know people at Sauber and you’ve obviously kept ties with the team. Has it always been a bit of a thing in the back of your mind that it might be a nice thing to do later in your career, to go there, back to where it started?
KR: No. I don’t think it’s always been there. Obviously, you never know in the end what will happen. This is just how it ends up to be going actually, and yeah, I wouldn’t say there have been plans for a long time that this is going to happen, so…
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, you have said that you are only interested in winning. Do you have to find a new target for next year when racing with Sauber?
KR: I don’t know. I don’t think… I mean, obviously the aim is always that. I mean, is it realistic? Who knows? You can only aim for the best, best positions and see what comes up.
Q: (Beatrice Zamuner – Motorlat.com) Question to all four drivers. What are your thoughts on the idea of fielding a third car to the grid.
KR: I think if would be nice to have a lot of cars but then, I don’t know. So many things that it will change. It’s pretty difficult to work it out.
Q: Kimi, we’ve just witnessed history, the fastest ever lap Formula 1 of Monza. How does it feel to get Ferrari a front-row lock-out?
Kimi Raikkonen: Obviously it’s great for tomorrow, but it’s only half the job done and I think it couldn’t be a better place to be on pole position. It’s our home grand prix, it’s in front of all the tifosi, so hopefully tomorrow everything goes smoothly and we end up in the same positions.
Q: Well, you’ve given these guys something to cheer about. Ultimately, they are the strong point Ferrari, aren’t they?
KR: They are, always. It doesn’t matter where we go around the world, but obviously here at our home grand prix it’s full of great tifosi. So hopefully tomorrow is as good as today.
Q: Kimi, it all came together for you at the end in Q3. Just talk us through that final lap and what it feels like to be back on top here at Monza, of all places?
KR: If you need to choose, for our team it’s probably the best place to taker the pole position. Obviously we’ve been close a few times but it never really went right in the end. It’s been a bit tricky, the second chicane, the whole day. The last run was pretty decent, let’s put it this way, enough for pole position. Obviously there were a lot of games – who is going first, getting tows and this and that. But in the end, there was a train of cars and that’s enough. The car’s been working well; obviously conditions have been a little tricky but nevertheless I don’t think we’ve changed the car at all since the first runs really. It all seems to be running pretty smoothly so far, so hopefully tomorrow it’s a similar situation.
Q: Kimi, you got quite a reception on your slow down lap as well?
KR: I don’t hear them. Obviously we know that we have a lot of fans, a lot of tifosi here, so I think being one and two is great but like I said it’s only half job done, so tomorrow is another important part, so hopefully we can give them another great result.
Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Kimi, you mentioned the near-misses you’ve had in qualifying this year. How important was it to end that here and was it a relief in any way to get that monkey off your back?
KR: Not really. It’s not my first one. If this would be the first one then of course it’s different but we keep trying always and sometimes it works out, sometimes not. It’s not as easy as it probably looks on TV, looking on the screens. Yeah. Today, I think the whole weekend has been working pretty well with everything. The conditions have been changing a little bit but nevertheless I was close. After the practice, we knew that there was three cars, one of them was going to get it and today it was me. Happy about it but it doesn’t really change anything. Tomorrow is always the main job to done.
Q: (Joe van Burik – Autocar.nl) To follow up on that question to the Ferrari drivers. Exactly one year ago you seemed to be in a similar position looking at the championship standings. Are you confident you can keep up the momentum now going to the end of the season or has anything changed compared to last year?
KR: A lot of things have changed since a year ago but I think the aim is always the same. It doesn’t matter which team you are in, which year it is. Obviously, we want to win. It’s simple as that. What will happen at the end of the season and the end of the championship, nobody knows. We can only do our best as a team and, yeah, work as hard as we can. Is that enough? Time will tell. That’s the aim. I will not start guessing what will happen.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, it’s very difficult to tell from your emotions, but was that the greatest feeling you have ever had after qualifying? Putting Ferrari on pole?
KR: I think I have 17 times before a similar story. This is a special place, for sure, to get the pole position in our home Grand Prix, in front of all the fans. But it isn’t any different to the other ones, in many ways. It’s good today, hopefully tomorrow is another good day.
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) To the Ferrari drivers, having to fight your teammate at the first corner, does it change your mindset compared to the Mercedes?.
KR: No different than any other race really. Obviously we know, as a team, we can race but we obviously need to be careful with each other but I don’t see how it changes to anybody. I don’t think anybody will purposely take a stupid amount of risk to damage somebody else’s car and your’s at the same time. Same story.
Kimi in pole con un giro “storico”, davanti a Seb
Monza, 1 settembre – La grande folla dei tifosi ha festeggiato il risultato della sessione di qualifica della Scuderia Ferrari che partirà dalla prima fila sulla griglia di partenza per il Gran Premio d’Italia – la gara di casa – di domani. Kimi Raikkonen ha conquistato la sua 18esima pole position in carriera, alla velocità media di 263.587 km orari, segnando così il nuovo record di tutti i tempi in F1 e superando il precedente primato, quello di Juan Pablo Montoya nel 2004. Sebastian Vettel è secondo, con un gap di 0.161 secondi rispetto al compagno di squadra. La SF71H si è comportata bene per tutto il weekend finora, ma la squadra è ben consapevole del fatto che i punti verranno dati domani e si impegnerà per raggiungere il miglior risultato possibile.
“La macchina è andata bene per tutto il weekend” dice Kimi “e sapevamo che sarebbe stata una battaglia serrata. Tutti e tre i settori ovviamente sono stati cruciali; finora la differenza non era mai stata grandissima, per cui si trattava solo di capire chi avrebbe fatto tutto al meglio: ed oggi sono stato io. E’ fantastico ottenere la pole al Gran Premio di casa di fronte ai nostri tifosi. Quando guidi non riesci a sentirli, ma riusciamo a vederli mentre ci acclamano e oggi ci hanno dato un grande sostegno. Come squadra abbiamo fatto un ottimo lavoro, non avremmo potuto fare di meglio. Sono molto contento di questo risultato, ma purtroppo non ci garantisce nulla per domani. Metà del lavoro è stato svolto, ma domani è il giorno più importante. Di certo abbiamo una buona macchina e la posizione migliore dalla quale partire. La gara è lunga e molte cose possono accadere. Dobbiamo fare un lavoro perfetto e speriamo che domani andrà altrettanto bene”.
Q: Thank you and good luck for the weekend. Kimi, coming to you, a man who is seeking his 100th podium in Formula 1 this weekend. A lot of the tifosi here at Monza will be wondering what you’re doing next year, so the inevitable question: when will know more about your future?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: I don’t know. At some point, that’s for sure. Probably you can expect anything in here, that’s what I’ve learned over the past, so yeah, we’ll see, I don’t know.
Q: Do you want to come back for more, Kimi? Are you still enjoying the challenge of Formula 1?
KR: I enjoy the racing; I don’t think that’s a secret. The rest not, but that’s part of the job. Do I want to race? Yes, otherwise I wouldn’t be here today. I don’t see that’s suddenly going to disappear. Who know, it might be, but I doubt it. Like I said, I don’t know, so we’ll see what happens.
Q: (Frederic Ferret – l’Equipe) A question for Kimi and Sebastian. Can you tell us the feeling to be a Ferrari driver at Monza. And another question for Seb, what is the feeling when you win in Monza, even not for Ferrari?
KR: Obviously the driving doesn’t change. It’s our home grand prix, so it’s more busy. We have a lot, a lot of support, a lot of tifosi here, so that obviously makes it a lot different. But if you purely talk pure driving, racing, it’s the same job than any other place. It just happens to be our home race. Obviously it’s an important race for us, for the team, as any race, but it’s for sure special. You feel it straight away when you come here, today or yesterday, in the show in Milan, it’s great. Hopefully we get a strong result from the team not just for us but for all the fans and tifosi.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, your greatest feeling here, is it pole in 2006, as you have not won here?
KR: Hard to say. I don’t think it’s been very good over the years, but I always enjoy coming here. First of all, it’s a nice, great circuit, it has a lot of history. It’s close by from home, so easy to come. I had some good races here for sure, not perfect. I’ve been on the podium with Ferrari once or twice. That’s been good. Not exactly what we wanted but important, so yeah…
Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines, Racefans.net) Kimi, you’ve always struck us, over the last 18 years or whatever you’ve been in F1, as a very private individual, yet you recently authorized a biography. I’ve read some excerpts that have been translated and it seems to be fairly open about your lifestyle etc. Why are you willing to open yourself to the world like that?
KR: Probably you had a wrong translation. What about that? No, how is it secret, because I lived through it and there have been an awful lot of stories about it, a lot of things. I don’t know how you think it’s such a secret. I don’t think… it’s something that I decided to do. It’s just a short story until now, it’s not such a big thing in my view. Like I said, I lived through it and it just happens to be now it’s in a book. Probably most of the things a lot of people know, maybe not all, but I don’t feel that there is something different in my view, but obviously probably for you guys it is different
Q: (Daniel Horvath – Racingline.hu) Kimi, as the oldest driver on the grid, what’s your personal feeling, how long can you perform at this level?
KR: Hard to know. I don’t feel that I drive any differently than 10 years ago. I think I drive pretty well, in my books at least, and that’s enough for me. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t feel I can drive as well as I feel that I should. That my tool to measure and decide when it’s enough. Who knows. I don’t know. Maybe I wake up one morning and I just don’t know how to go fast any more. I don’t think there is a time. It’s more feelings and how do you feel yourself doing it – good or bad. People always say that the speed will disappear but until this day I feel that it hasn’t disappeared for me. But maybe there is a morning you wake up and it’s just not there anymore. It could be like that but I don’t think you just put a date, you just turn this old or that and it’s just not there. If you have it, you have it and if not… that’s it.
Q: (Alessandro Sala – Tercer Equipo) Question for the men in red, the first one to Sebastian. If this year you should be World Champion, we should read next year ‘my five titles’ biography? And for Kimi, both Ferraris first row, at the beginning of the first variante, which should be your move if you are side-by-side with Sebastian?
KR: I don’t know. We’ll see. Obviously our aim is to be with both cars in the front and then see how it plays out – but obviously we know what we can do. We can race each other and we always try to beat each other but to be fair at the same time. I don’t see anything different on that
Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globoesporte.com) To Sebastian and Kimi, it’s more or less in the line of your last answer, Maurizio Arrivabene said that it’s very important for Ferrari to push Mercedes, they are not used to it over the last four years at least – but it’s also true that many people believe you have the best car, and many Italians say Ferrari has a great chance of being World Champion this year. If you go outside you hear this from many Italians. You feel this pressure that will exist?
KR: I don’t think there’s any more pressure. I think all the pressure is that we want to do well: ourselves; our team. So that’s normal pressure that we put unto ourselves and something that we want to achieve. So, I don’t know. Is our package best? One weekend yes, next might not be. It’s that close that small differences will dictate who’s fastest over that weekend or the race on Sundays. If you don’t get everything right, you might not win. So, it’s very close. Certain conditions; certain circuits, one is a bit better for one team and the next one for the other team. We’re talking small differences in the end result. So, we can only do our best and see what happens, where we end up on Sunday.
Kimi anything to add?
Kimi, anything to add?
Do you feel you’ve got Mercedes rattled?
KR: I don’t know. You need to talk to them. Obviously, I don’t know. I’m not really interested in what their thoughts are. We do our stuff and try to do the best that we can and obviously improve and go forwards.
Q: (Alessandro Bucci – ItaliaRacing.net) A question for each driver. Which is, or which are, your favourite Italian Grands Prix during your career.
KR: I enjoyed going to Imola also. Good racing. I don’t know. I’ve never had very good races at either places but that was a really nice circuit to race. It’s close by. I call it an Italian Grand Prix. Here, not one that would probably be better than the others. Some decent, let’s say.
Q: (Barbara Premoli – Motorinolimits.com) Question for Kimi. I know you won’t answer me –but I need only to see your expression. In Monza, we have always had a big announcement. So, we have to expect something? Lift the cap! Look at me.
KR: Better glasses maybe? You need to talk to the team. It’s not up to me. That’s about it. Not my decision in the end.
Q: Well done, great result. Kimi, we just talked to Valtteri and he was told to hold station. We heard you team coming on and not really telling you to move but telling you that tyre temperatures were critical. You said: ‘tell me what you want me to do’. You understood what they were trying to do wanted but you wanted it to be very clear that you needed the instruction to let Sebastian through.
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, we have certain rules but it wasn’t clear enough. I had speed and obviously it was a bit in a moment in the race that I wasn’t ideally to stop… yeah, that’s what happened. In the end, it didn’t change an awful lot. It was a tricky race with the rain and it was pretty slippery in a few places. I had a small moment with one of the lappers, the Sauber, under braking and Valtteri got past me, so not an easy race. Happy to finish. A bit disappointed but I’ll take it today and we’ll try next time.
Q: We saw your team-mate go off in the hairpin there. Do you think the Ferrari was more sensitive in those conditions, it was more difficult to drive than Mercedes today?
KR: I don’t know, I only drive my car, so that’s only what I feel like. In the past it’s been very difficult in that amount of rain and I was surprised by the grip we had. It was very difficult to know where the grip is and where not. Usually when you go fast and suddenly it’s not there, there is nothing you can do.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globoesporte.com) To Kimi. Kimi, when we have the restart of the race on lap 58, surprised with the performance of Mercedes in these last ten laps, considering Ferrari seemed to have the fastest car all you were on ultrasoft and new tyres, Valtteri also. But Lewis had ultrasoft from lap 42. Were you weekend?
KR: Yeah, for sure. They were very strong. All the stories that we are so quick on the straight. It wasn’t really the case after the restart. Yeah, I think for sure there was some difference I guess, because Valtteri had a good run. I was surprised overall how good the grip was, because it was still some rain and it was pretty decent grip and the tyres were still cold but I think the ultrasoft worked pretty well in that rainy condition. Usually when you have that amount of rain it’s usually pretty slippery but yeah, it was slippery in some places but most of it was still… you had some grip. Quite a surprise overall from what I remember from the past. Usually it gets pretty slippery quickly.
Q: (Heikku Kulta – Turun Sanomat) To the Finnish drivers: how long do we Finns have to wait for a Finnish victory or is P2 going to be the maximum for the rest of the season?
KR: I will keep trying. Who knows? Maybe, maybe not. We will try every weekend and every race and we’re not far from it but obviously so far it’s not been happening so we will try next weekend again and I’m sure it will come but obviously there’s no guarantee or anything. Things change quickly and we’ve seen it . Home today and come back next Thursday and do a better job.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globoesporte.com) Next Grand Prix is on a completely different circuit to the two previous ones, Silverstone and here. Considering what you know from your car in this season, what can you project for the Budapest race?
KR: Very difficult to say, I think. It’s traditionally been good for us but there’s a lot on the weather, what it’s going to be like there. In the past years we would probably be feeling more stronger to go there but it’s the same as always. It’s going to be close and whoever makes the best out of it is going to come out on top. We go there and try and do the best that we can and see what we get.
Q: (Edd Straw – Autosport) Kimi, can you just talk through your thought process coming up to the second pit stop. We could hear on the radio that you were keen to take the risk and just stay out because there wasn’t too much to lose for you so do you regret the fact the team didn’t let you stay out, because even when they called you in you did say ‘are you sure?’ so was there an opportunity missed there?
KR: No, it’s always easy to say afterwards but honestly we don’t know what would happen if we stay out. I’m 100 percent sure that the ultras worked better plus I had very used tyres at that point already but I can’t give an answer if it would have been just fine or a complete disaster, so that’s always an unknown and you try to weigh up the differences and hope that the new tyres will give you some grip to come back. Obviously we knew that the Mercedes will be on one of the some aged tyres but they seemed to be the right decision in those conditions so I don’t have an answer, I don’t think anybody would have an answer what the end result if we stayed out or not. Who knows. That’s how it goes.
Q: Kimi, a question you get every year, how does your future look right now?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Same as always, every year. We’ll see.
Q: No news about your future then, but this year you’ve looked comfortable on Sundays and it was your fourth podium of the season last weekend, but you’ve admitted that Saturday didn’t quite go to plan. What have you and the team got to do to make sure Saturdays run a bit more smoothly?
KR: Just do better. Better results obviously and be more further up. Obviously that makes the Sundays a lot easier, especially most of the races it has been very difficult to overtake. The last race was a lot different on that side, so it was also more fun. I think we have been pretty decent all the way through in qualifying, part from the last part, or the last runs, so just need to tidy up a bit.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Scott Mitchell – Autosport) Kimi, I know you get plenty of questions about your future, but there was a link earlier in the week suggesting that McLaren might be interested in your services. I know that a while ago you suggested that you would be happy to see out your career with Ferrari or would you entertain the prospect of continuing in F1 with another team?
KR: I don’t know really. I said, I think it was 2007 already, that I would finish Ferrari and obviously at some point it didn’t look like that and now it looks like that again. You never know what comes after and this and that, but we will see. As always a lot of talk and I’m not really happy to comment on those. We’ll see at some point what happens, including me. Let’s wait and see.
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action and Speedsport) Kimi, in France, with Vettel on the back foot, you were free to run your own race. Was that more fun, to be able to race for yourself and not have to play a team strategy?
KR: I don’t… how you tried to ask it is probably a bit wrong. I think really it comes to how the circuit was and how we could race against each other and actually overtake. If you take a couple of recent races, you haven’t been able to overtake really; everybody has been pretty much following each other. I think in that part, for whatever reason, we were able to race than say a couple of races before. Obviously what happened in the race, we were racing two different between ourselves so it was all normal. I don’t think that really made it certainly different, him being in front of me or behind. I think it was the case of actually being able to overtake and race wheel to wheel with people, that was the most fun for a while.
Q: (Andrea Tajthi – Motorsportmania.hu) My question is for Kimi. It seems that your wife means to starts to collect your podium caps. She already has a third place and second place caps. Do you want to also give here a first place cap also, in the near future?
KR: Obviously, I’m happy to give it, if we get it, but the cap is not the reason to try to win or not to win. We keep trying and hopefully we’ll get there.
Q: (David Croft – Sky Sports F1) Question for Kimi, really simple one Kimi, have you or any of your representatives had a chat with anyone at McLaren regarding the possibility of driving for them next season, whether you’re interested or not.
KR: I spoke to them, for sure, but in the past a lot obviously when I used to be there. Like I said, I have zero interest to get involved in all the nonsense, in my view.
Has anyone had a chat regarding next season?
KR: You would like to know, would you? You can take it as you want. I don’t think you anyhow ask our opinions about a lot of stuff you guys write, so, it goes either way, you can put yes or no. You usually write what you decide yourself, whether it’s true or not!
Kimi, do you still feel like you’re in the title race this year?
KR: If you purely take the points, for sure. If you count how many points there are left, for sure, yes – but obviously we’ve got, not the ideal things happening in a couple of races where we didn’t finish, so that put us in a little bit trickier position – but apart from that, we’ve been pretty OK. So, we keep doing, and try to stay out of any issues and to put things solid, as well as we can. It’s going to be a long way still – but of course with the two small issues have not been ideal but it’s not a disaster.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Daniel, if you could pick your own team-mate who would be ideal for you?
DR: I know the answer you want, right? Kimi! Or Valtteri! Just pay me the €200 later. Shall I answer it seriously? I don’t know. No idea. But you can write that if you like. Sell more papers in Finland!
Kimi, your thoughts on an extra DRS zone. As you said in France, we had more overtaking last week.
KR: Yeah, I mean half of the track is DRS, so it should make it pretty easy. I don’t know if it’s too easy or not. Obviously we want overtaking but there must be a point where it’s kind-of artificial overtaking. But let’s see.
Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS) Do you think this year this lap can be done in 59.9s?
Q: Daniel, you’re smiling, have you gone under 60s in the simulator?
DR: No, that seems optimistic. What was pole last year, 1m 02s was it? Maybe if we had a hyper (soft tyre), maybe but no, the DRS will obviously give us a bit but I think to get more than 2s on such a short lap already, that seems cool but a bit optimistic. Yeah.
KR: I don’t know. I guess everybody looks but is it going to happen? I don’t know. For sure Daniel said the DRS will give you free lap time. I don’t know yet. We’ll see.
Q: (Luke Smith – Crash.net) Kimi, Daniel said he would like his future sewn up by the summer break. Do you have a deadline in your mind, when you know what you’ll be doing in 2019?
KR: No, I think I’ve been there so many times so… For sure, before next year I will know. It’s a pretty normal situation on my side.
FM: Kimi, fantastic race for you also. You finished on the podium. What is your feeling after this crazy start?
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, I think everybody more or less got similar starts and it felt quite slippery in the first corner. I chose to go outside but it was the wrong side in the end, I should have slowed down a bit an cut in on the inside, so I got a bit blocked with all the mayhem that happened. Then we did a decent recovery in the long stint and things worked well and in the end we had a lot of speed and I managed to get on the podium
Q: Kimi, what’s your thoughts on Seb’s penalty, you had to avoid that incident at the start?
KR: I didn’t even know that he got a penalty. I saw quickly kind-of what happened but I only see the part when they touched. Things happen, y’know, and obviously, there is stewards, they give penalties if they feel it is the right thing, sometimes they think not for others and we live with it. Is it fair sometimes? Maybe not – but y’know, I think it’s balancing out in the long run between all of us. So, yeah, unfortunate for both of them – but that’s what happens sometimes.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – Globoesporte.com) To all drivers. Three different teams on the podium, like the last race. The next grand prix is a completely different scenario to this one. What can you project for the Austrian Grand Prix?
KR: Hopefully good things. Impossible to really say. It’s a slightly different circuit. We need to make a good weekend out of it. It’s going to be pretty close. I don’t see massive difference between the top three times – but I might be wrong.