Q: Thank you Lando and enjoy yourself this weekend. Kimi, we’ve heard about the performance of the McLaren, tell us a little bit about the Alfa Romeo. The season started very well for you guys but it appears to have dropped off in the last couple of races. Why do you think that is?
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: Honestly, we were not that fast. I think, definitely not what we wanted but in Monaco if you qualify quite badly that’s pretty much where you are going to race. After Saturday, after the first few laps and the first pit stop you know where you are going to be. But in Barcelona I think we understood some things that were wrong. Those are two separate things but I think those circuits overall were not very good for us. Hopefully we are back here a bit more normal position but we are only going to find out over the weekend, so we’ll see. Nothing major wrong, it’s just that we lack speed.
Q: Now, it’s Lando’s first weekend here. It didn’t go so badly for you back in 2001, your first time here, you finished fourth. Tell us a little bit about the track, the highlights from a driver’s point of view?
KR: It’s quite a tricky track in the end, because obviously… It’s not really a street circuit but it’s very narrow on the exit of the chicanes, so if you get it wrong you have to push over the kerbs and if your car is not very good over the kerbs it’s easy to touch the walls. Plus, there are a lot of brakings (sic) that have to be right. It not an awful lot of corners but it’s not the easiest place to get right.
KR: I haven’t been in the boxes or in a garage, so its hard to say. What I heard is that it’s better for the guys to work, so I think they will appreciate a lot. I think you’ll get the very honest answer from them if you ask after the weekend how was it. I’m sure it’s better for them to work and for everybody here, so that’s a good thing.
Q: (Luis Vasconcelos – Formula Press) Question for Kimi and Dany. Kimi, one-third of the season almost done. How is it to be back in the midfield after 16 seaons fighting at the front.
KR: I think the work itself is no different. Basically do the same stuff, it doesn’t matter which team you are in. Racing, I think there has been some good battles. If it’s like Monaco, even in the front, if you’re stuck behind somebody, it’s not the greatest place for racing but there’s been good battles here and there. I wouldn’t say that a lot of things have changed. I think you get more close battles in quite a few races because the midfield teams are more close together. At least there’s been some overtaking this year – but generally the working side hasn’t changed. It’s a bit less busy, so that’s a good thing.
Raikkonen not worried about Alfa dip in form
The start of Kimi Raikkonen’s first year back with the Sauber/Alfa Romeo squad began swimmingly, with the Finn scoring across all four of the opening races of 2019, including a fighting drive to seventh place at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Since then, however, the going has been tougher, with neither Raikkonen nor Alfa Romeo taking any points in either Spain or Monaco. Yet despite that, the 2007 world champion believes the team are more than capable of getting themselves back into the midfield mix.
Having been the most consistent midfield performer of the season up until Baku, in Spain, Raikkonen struggled to 14th place in qualifying, before ending up in the same spot in the race, while in Monaco the Finn was again 14th in quali before coming home a distant 17th place at a track that he was on pole at for Ferrari two years previously.
But both Barcelona and Monaco are downforce tracks – and Raikkonen believes that it’s this factor that showed up the weaknesses in his C38 challenger.
“On the downforce side, maybe we don’t have as much as we’d hoped to have,” he said. “Obviously those two tracks are full downforce so you had what you had but if it’s not enough, it’s enough… but in the test [after Barcelona], we understood some things and hopefully we are better off [in Canada].”
Montreal’s Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is a far lower downforce, more power-rewarding circuit, which could be good news for Raikkonen and team mate Antonio Giovinazzi, given that both will be running Ferrari’s upgraded power unit that they first got a taste of in Monaco. But putting that power to good use in qualifying, Raikkonen admitted, would be his chief target in Canada this weekend.
“I think it’s a work in progress. We have to tidy up small things and make qualifying a bit better, so then things will turn out to be okay. I’m not worried – obviously things haven’t been great the last two races but I think we have all the tools to still be in the fight there and we just need to put it together.”
Raikkonen’s strong early start to the season means he currently sits 10th in the drivers’ standings ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, eight points shy of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz up in seventh place.
Q: Thank you Sergio. Kimi?
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: Yeah, I don’t know what year it was, but it was a long time ago, ‘80s, that’s for sure. I think the first memories were somewhere where Keke was racing when he blew up his tyre or something, maybe Adelaide or something, with the long straight, maybe the last races that he did. So anyhow, obviously I was cheering for the Finnish guys, but I didn’t think that I… maybe you dream when you’re a kid, but once you start doing go-karts and everything I didn’t really believe that it was going to happen, because obviously you need a certain amount of money to get from go-karts to racing. Maybe I believed a bit more when I got my managers helping and then actually got to race in Formula cars and then obviously it went very quickly. I guess it was a dream but not very realistic at that point, but it went fast once it started to go there.
Q: Kimi, great start to the season for you and Alfa Romeo, points in both of the opening two races. Can you tell us, what are the strengths of this year’s car and has the performance so far changed your goals for the season?
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: No, it hasn’t. I didn’t really have any goals, so it’s pretty hard to change them. I can’t really talk about last year’s car. Obviously I did a test but it’s one track so from my side it’s hard to say what is better on this car than the one they had last year but for sure they did a good job over the winter from the car that I drove in Abu Dhabi in the tyre test to the one we have now. Obviously there’s a lot of things to improve still and it’s a never-ending story and an ongoing thing to try to make it better, holding more downforce and stuff like that – but yeah, I think in general it’s quite a good, solid package and we understand it pretty OK and they seem to have good guys on all areas to bring new stuff. It never comes fast enough but that’s a normal issue in any team you go to. Yeah, I think the basis there is to make it faster all the time, so keep it up and see what we’ve got when we get to the end of the year.
Q: Anything different on the helmet design to celebrate 1000 races?
KR: No. I wanted to have an open-face helmet but there were some regulation issues…!
Q: (Steven Wade – AP) Kimi, we see that this summer you’re going to break an F1 record for the most races contested, how do you stay motivated? You’ve had tremendous success already, how do you stay motivated and stay on top of your game?
KR: I don’t know really. I don’t have any special things that I try to motivate myself. It’s become more of a hobby for me lately than anything else and probably that’s why it’s more fun again, so, yeah, I always try to do the best that I can. Some days it goes a bit better than others – but that’s how it goes when you do a lot of racing. Some days it’s a bit more tricky than others. It’s never really been an issue. A lot of people think so but, y’know, everybody has the right to say what they think. I just try to do what I can and hopefully… when I feel myself that it’s not what I expect from myself then obviously I try to find a new hobby after that.
Q: (Michael Butterworth – Xinhua News Agency) To all four drivers, keen to know your thoughts on the Shanghai circuit and if there are any particular features or characteristics that make it especially challenging or unique?
KR: I think it’s a nice track. It’s been the same since I came here the first time but some good overtaking opportunities and quite good fun to drive.
Q: (Velimir Jukic Auto-Focus) Question for Kimi. They say you are slower for each kid by about one second. How are you compensating for this now that you have two seconds slower conditions to drive?
KR: Maybe I somehow go faster at the same time to compensate it! I don’t think that kids make any difference. There are an awful lot of stories based on nothing in F1. I didn’t ever feel that there’s something happening on my driving when our family got bigger – but I don’t know. I guess it depends from people to people also. Sometimes it might have an effect but at least on our side, on my side, I don’t feel it. Obviously the life changes a lot outside of racing but yeah, pure driving they didn’t really effect on my side.
Q: (Julien Billiotte – AutoHebdo) How do you think Formula One will look for race number 2000 in forty or fifty years’ time? Will car racing still exist and what kind of cars could we see on track? Or would you like to see on track?
KR: Yeah, it’s impossible to know what will happen. Probably there will be racing, some sort of racing, who knows what? It’s been 1000 races so I don’t think it’s going to disappear suddenly somehow but who knows? We’ll find out.
Q: (Zoran Zivkov – Top Speed Magazine) When you look at the past and history, if you’d had a time machine, in which period, in which era, would you like to come back?
KR: I’ve gone back for the second one any more. I guess in the past, I would look at seventies, sixties, late sixties, seventies. For sure it would have been more fun, more relaxed, more pure racing but obviously much more dangerous but that’s normal at that time.
Q: We saw you with a James Hunt helmet a few years ago, didn’t we?
KR: Bit more than a few years but yeah.
Q: (Duan Yiyi – Titan Sports) Kimi, no matter which team you are in you always seem to be the fans’ favourite here in China, so from your perspective what characteristics do you have to attract so many fans in China?
KR: I have no idea. You should go and ask them. I think generally in Japan, China we Finnish people seem to have a lot of fans. It’s great, especially here. I cannot go anywhere but that’s a part of… the other side of the fans. I’ve always had a lot of fans here, since the first time we came here so I’m happy about it. I don’t know the reason. I guess you would probably get the answer if you go and ask some in front of our hotel, you can ask them there. Or at the airport.
Q: (Dieter Rencken – Racing Lines, RaceFans.net) You may have noticed that in Bahrain McLaren was sponsored by an e-cigarette brand, Vipe. Particularly the three fathers there, how do you feel about this? Do you feel it sets the right sort of example for your children?
KR: No, I have no issue. I don’t see the connection that if my son sees advertising on any of the… doesn’t matter if it’s alcohol or cigarettes, something, I don’t believe that that affects his choices whatsoever. That’s my belief on that. Did it affect my choices when I have seen them in the past? Rules are rules, whether you can do it or not, that’s not my business but I have no worries.
Q: Kimi, after eight seasons, this is your final race with Ferrari. What does this team mean to you and what will you miss most about it?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: I don’t know. Obviously I had this leaving them once already so it’s not a new thing. I’m not sad because I don’t see why we need to be sad. We will stay as friends. We’re going to see a lot of us anyhow in the paddock so not an awful lot changes. We’ll both go for new things and I think it’s exciting but we’ve had good times with the team, great people. We’ve had some difficult times, but that’s part of business and I think that’s how it should go: sometimes it needs to be a bit hard. No, obviously I won the championship with them, as a driver. We twice won the team (championship) so I’m very happy to be part of it because there’s not many people who have done it. We will happily go different ways. We’re not that far away from each other and we will keep doing what we do.
Q: And just looking at this weekend, you’re in a tight battle with Bottas, just 14 points separating you in the championship. How important is that third place for you?
KR: I don’t think it’s changing my world any way. If I end up third, I think we need to go wherever the prize giving is so it’s a negative thing in the end, you know, more travelling but we’ll see.
Q: Can I just throw this to the Ferrari drivers? Sebastian and Kimi, what are your thoughts on what happened between these two drivers in Brazil?
SV: We can go? Now? I don’t know. I have an opinion. I’m not sure I should say what I think.
KR: Not really. I saw it afterwards. Boys and boys and that’s how it goes. I don’t think anything bad happened in the end it’s probably in many eyes, if you take the whole picture, maybe it’s not the greatest thing in many aspects but it’s not the end of the world. That’s how it goes.
Q: (Marco Privitera – LiveGP.it) Kimi, after your long experience with Ferrari, what will be the next target for next year and the rest of your career?
KR: I haven’t really thought (about it). We’ll see once we start driving the new cars next year where we are roughly, purely by feeling and then we go from there. Obviously it’s a different challenge but I enjoy also, that’s why I (inaudible). We’ll see. If you ask many people there are lots of different opinions how it’s going to go but we’ll find out next year and we’ll do our best. I think we have a good change to do some great things. Where that’s going to take us, who knows? We’ll find out but we’ll see what happens once we start next year and then after that, I haven’t even thought about it.
Q: Sebastian, can you name something that you will miss about Kimi next year?
KR: Short meetings from my side.
Q: (Abhishek Takle – Mid-Day) Kimi, just to follow up from what you said earlier: like you said, it will be a new challenge next year at Sauber. What do you think you will enjoy most about driving for Sauber next year?
KR: Obviously I don’t know yet because… I’m pretty sure it’s a much smaller team than where I’ve been now, at Ferrari, but I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be different in many ways but the aim is still the same, do well in the races. I think it’s more pure racing and less the other stuff in there. Hopefully it will turn out to be good for both of us and that’s our aim. I think it’s what we can do, but obviously I might be completely wrong but we’ll find out. I have a good feeling about it and I’m excited to go there. But it’s close to my home which is obviously a bonus.
SV: Didn’t you tell me that you’re really looking forward to the simulator.
KR: Yeah, but I have it at home. I told them don’t spend the money on it because I have on at home.
MV: So you will do the set-up work for them for the Friday, for the first practice?
KR: Yeah. That’s easy. No worries. Do it once well and it should be fine.
Q: Thank you Max. Kimi, thank you for waiting. Great to see you back on the top step of the podium last weekend in Austin. Can you just tell us with the benefit of hindsight how much you enjoyed that race and everything that came after – and did you send a cap home for Robin?
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: No, it’s for the wife but I’ll bring it with me after this race. It was a great result obviously and a good race and we had to fight for it quite a bit, so I think it didn’t come easy. But I think it’s good for us and good for everybody. I think it was an exciting race. What else to say? We were happy. Hopefully this weekend we will be strong. The end result we’ll see on Sunday, but we’ll do our best.
Q: This has been your best season since rejoining Ferrari in 2014. It’s also your last season with Ferrari, so how will you reflect on 2018?
KR: I don’t know. Obviously we’ve gone through it and I don’t see much point to look afterwards at what we did. It’s not going to change anything and we’ll see where we finish. It’s not what we want in the end result, but we did our best and we’ll finish maybe third, maybe fourth, maybe somewhere behind that. It’s not ideal. But it could be worse.
Q: Well, Kimi, you recently turned 39 and you’ve just won a grand prix, so how is age helping you?
KR: I don’t know if it’s helping or harming but it seems to be working still OK. I guess a certain amount of experience helps, that’s for sure. But I think in this sport it’s not probably that necessary to have a massive amount, because you can do a lot of things on simulators. We are doing basically the same tracks. If it’s 5 kilometres, or four, or whatever it is, we are all going to learn it. It’s not like 10 million miles will help more than the shorter distances. In rally it helps a lot more, the experience, but I think for me it’s helpful. I feel better, for sure, than when I started, in the first year. But I guess there is a certain points when it doesn’t make such a big difference anymore.
Q: (Lawrence Barretto – F1.com) Kimi, can you just talk us through the 24 hours after your victory? How did you celebrate? What did you say to your family and to your little boy when you had a chance to talk to him?
KR: They were very happy when we talked. We had a small party. It takes a long time to recover these days, so that part is definitely not the nice part – but the first part is always fun. Not really much, just a few friends and that’s about it.
Q: (Janne Palomaki – Iltalehti) Kimi, your victory last Sunday was received in Finland with overwhelming joy and collective euphoria. Even some political leaders joined in congratulating you. How did it make you feel – and were there any especially surprising congratulations for you?
KR: I haven’t really looked that much on the news so obviously I don’t know who has. I’m happy if people are happy. The main thing is that I feel good, what I’m doing. The rest, some nice, some not, and that’s absolutely fine. Yeah, I think obviously it’s great. I don’t think we always have the biggest support from Finland. So, I don’t know, when we get it, we’ll take it – but, like I said, I don’t know exactly if somebody congratulated. Not many people have my number so it’s not going to be that direct. Like I said, I don’t read too much stuff on the ‘net, so… I’m more than happy and will take all the good wishes on board. We go forward and see what we can do.
Q: (Carlos Alberto Velazquez – Reforma) Question for Kimi. In the last three races here in Mexico there has been three different winners. It’s time to you and Ferrari to win. Do you feel that this weekend as confident as in Austin to make all the Ferrari Mexican fans happy this weekend?
KR: For sure as a team we’ll give our best – but we cannot guarantee anything. Right now we’ll work as normal from Friday to Sunday and then at the end of the race we’ll see what we get out from it. But we’ll do our maximum and hopefully we’ll be up there fighting for the victory.
Q: (Louis Dekker – NOS) Max and Kimi, do you think this circuit is a true Mercedes circuit or can all three teams fight for victory? And does it make your life easier that Lewis doesn’t need a win?
KR: I think that if you look at the past years, all three teams being up there, and then it really depends on the small things whoever came out on top. It’s impossible… it’s pointless to start guessing right now who’s going to be up there, or if one team is going to be better than another. We don’t know. If we look at previous races it can go either way. I don’t know if it’s going to be any easier if he only needs three points to get the championship but who knows?
Q: Kimi, any decisions about you and Sauber?
KR: We’ll see. I think we’re quite open to any decisions.
Q: (Francisco Alcalà – Global Com Group) What are your thoughts about Fernando Alonso leaving this season and will you miss him at the end of it?
KR: We have had some good battles over the years. It’s how it is, unfortunately, and the fact is that we’re all going to stop at some point. We always know that’s coming and us older ones have to go at some point. That’s how it goes and I’m sure he will find some exciting racing for him and who knows what happens in the future.
Q: (Ben Hunt – The Sun) To all drivers, although Kimi, you might chose not to answer it: are you a bit surprised by the mistakes that Sebastian Vettel has made this year and do you think that he has thrown this championship away, given the commanding lead he had at the early stages of the season?
KR: Well the first thing is that sometimes it happens and he pushes and pushes and sometimes he gets it wrong and unfortunately it happened to him a few times. I think we’ve all gone through it, it’s part of the game.
Q: Kimi, happy 39th birthday during the week, still plenty of speed there isn’t there?
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, a little bit too slow, but I can deal with it. No, it’s been a pretty positive day and for sure I think we got pretty close. It’s far from ideal but I feel good with the car. We’ll try tomorrow; it’s going to be a long race, and nobody really knows how the tyre will survive, because of yesterday’s rain, so it will be interesting.
Q: And of course you will start on the ultrasofts, unlike people around you?
KR: Yeah, not much to lose, so we’ll try to make a good start and go from there and see what we can do. I think it should be OK.
Q: Kimi, similar question to Sebastian really, with the gaps so close. Were you happy with your run, or do you feel you left anything out there?
KR: I think if you do a few more tries then for sure that amount you can improve. It’s just a very small difference somewhere, and you could be suddenly that much quicker – but this is what we got today. I think the last run was pretty good but the previous had very little grip, so then I was surprised how much on the last run I had, so obviously, when you have a bit more consistent grip it’s more easy to know how much you can actually push – but yeah, it was OK.
Q: And Kimi, you’ll be starting on the ultrasoft. Do you think the supersoft holds an advantage or are you confident?
KR: I have what I have and I’m happy about it so we will see how it works out tomorrow. It’s a bit impossible to say.
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.