Q: Kimi, you’re a model of consistency, this is your 90th podium. I know you don’t really care about that, because you’re all about victories but again the start compromised you and then it was just a question of damage limitation?
Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, actually the initial start wasn’t too bad but then all the guys… I was next to, I think it was Valtteri… but all the guys behind me got a massive tow and I was kind of left alone, and then the people behind me managed to tow past me. It was a disaster after that. But I just had some patience and once the guys in front of us stopped we had enough speed to improve but obviously not a lot happened after that.
Q: Kimi, Valtteri says the Mercedes wasn’t good enough here in Mexico, how was the performance of the Ferrari?
KR: I don’t know really! It’s hard to say, because I was on my own most of the race. Again, in the beginning I was stuck behind a Force India and I couldn’t get past, but once he went to do his pit stop I had decent speed, but it was quite a handful the handling, it wasn’t the nicest. But I don’t really know as I was on my own since that point. The guys in front of me were so far [away], and behind there was not really anything. It’s hard to say. It wasn’t too bad but I kind of expected it after a difficult day yesterday. I think the biggest issue was not being very strong in the start. The initial start wasn’t too bad but then I was side by side with Valtteri and then everybody in the front formed one line and I was outside of it and behind me guys were towing me and I was left kind of alone and then I had a pretty disastrous first two corners. Anyhow, it was what it was.
Q: Can we just a few words from you on the achievement of Lewis Hamilton, now a four-time world champion?
KR: I think you have to go and talk to him.
Q: We will do, but the achievement?
KR: Well, it’s great for him, a lot of wins, a lot of championships. Good, but what can I say? I think…
MV: Basically, you don’t care, right?
KR: No, I don’t! Can we be happy about it? In a way yes, but…
MV: I think we’d prefer to be in that position, right?
KR: You can be happy for him but inside, you know, you…
For Kimi, once you were on your own, you sort of kept the pace with Valtteri, but were you just keeping the pace or was that as fast as the Ferrari could do today?
KR: Obviously we were far from anybody and if we really wanted to go faster, for sure we could go a bit but we were so far away that it really didn’t make any sense, we really didn’t have the speed to catch up 20 seconds, so what can you do? You just end up bringing it home and you try next time.
Q: (Juan Pablo Garcia Noriega – Capital Motor) Kimi, you were closer this season to Mercedes. What is the biggest challenge for 2018?
KR: Obviously I think it’s the same for everybody. We try to improve, we try to do things better and make a faster car. Overall we made quite a big step from last year. I think it’s small details that made a difference this year, but for sure the aim is always to improve and make things better and you know we are not the only one, everyone is going to do the same and to be honest we are only going to see in the first race next year where everybody is, and who has made what. In testing you get some idea but we have still two races to go and we do them as well as we can and start preparing for next year.
Mexico – A unique track makes for a unique challenge. At the end of a busy Friday, Scuderia Ferrari drivers gave their comments on the Mexican circuit and their runs with the SF70H, during which all three tyre compounds were tried out in both fast-lap and long-run configuration.
“It was a normal Friday, trying different things and solutions to use in the car,” said Kimi. “Because of the high altitude the track conditions were not easy, always feeling a bit slippery. In some places it was ok while in some others it was a bit more difficult. Obviously you always want to have an easier and more straightforward day, with a better feeling from the beginning, but it’s the normal story on Friday. It’s the first practice and we can improve. In the evening we’ll go through everything, figure out what’s best and get ready for tomorrow”.
Max Verstappen US GP penalty: Raikkonen had no idea what happened
Kimi Raikkonen says he had "no idea" why Max Verstappen was penalised for his overtaking move on the final lap of Formula 1’s United States Grand Prix.
Red Bull driver Verstappen was handed a five-second penalty after the race for having gone off track to overtake Raikkonen for third at Turn 17.
The penalty meant the Ferrari driver was promoted to a podium finish, while Verstappen dropped down to fourth, having started from 16th.
Raikkonen admitted he did not know how Verstappen had passed him.
"I have no idea what happened with Verstappen or why he got the penalty," said Raikkonen.
"I had no idea what happened to him apart from he got past me at the second last corner.
"Obviously I was disappointed just after the race when I thought I had finished fourth but there was some issue with Max.
"I got to go on the podium but didn’t see it, I don’t know where he went."
Raikkonen, who admitted Verstappen’s move surprised him, said he was angry he had let the Dutchman through.
"I was half surprised," said the Finn. "I saw him in my mirror and tried to slow down the whole thing before, the previous corners and I thought I had enough covering on the corner, and then suddenly he was there.
"I saw in my mirror and I was a bit surprised, at that speed – I was a bit pissed off he got past me but I didn’t have chance to slow down."
Fast-tracked into the sport with the shortest CV on four wheels, the unknown newcomer who came from nowhere and said next to nothing immediately proved he knew exactly what he was doing: driving a Formula One car as fast as it could possibly go. The car couldn’t always keep up with his talent and it took seven seasons for Kimi ‘Iceman’ Raikkonen to become World Champion. Notoriously inanimate and uncommunicative, the silent speedster’s frozen expression in fact masked the hidden depths in one of the most original – and popular – characters in the sport’s history…
Kimi Matias Raikkonen spent his childhood in a house built by his great grandfather in Espoo, a suburb of the Finnish capital, Helsinki. To provide for Kimi, born on 17 October, 1979, and his older brother Rami, their hard-working parents Matti and Paula toiled, respectively, as a road builder and an office clerk.
Money was scarce but the Raikkonens were a happy family and their humble homestead surrounded by open countryside was an ideal environment for the two rambunctious youngsters to flex their racing muscles. At first (when Kimi was just three years old) the brothers tore around on miniature motocross bikes fitted with training wheels. A move to karts paved the way for Kimi (who began competitive karting at 10) and Rami (who eventually became a successful rally driver) to make rapid progress in motorsport, though it came at a cost. Matti had to work nights as a taxi driver and nightclub bouncer and funds diverted to karting meant plans to replace the outside lavatory with a proper bathroom in the family home had to be postponed.
Kimi, a reluctant student who used his schoolbag as a sled to slide down snow-covered hills, enjoyed winter sports, especially ice hockey, though he eventually gave it up because he hated getting up for early-morning practice. At 16 he left school and enrolled in a course for mechanics, believing this skill might be the only way to stay involved in motorsport. Very soon his mechanical expertise, and the need for family funding, became superfluous, as Kimi’s natural talent for driving fast led to sponsored rides.
Following a rapid series of successes in Finnish, Nordic and European karting, he jumped into a racing car and promptly won two British-based Formula Renault championships. In the fall of 2000, despite having just 23 car races to his name, he was given a test by the Sauber Formula One team. Impressed by his immediate pace and assured approach, Sauber shrewdly signed the 21-year old to drive for them in 2001. His having short-circuited the conventional route to the top provoked fierce debate over his right, let alone his readiness, to race at the pinnacle of motorsport. Raikkonen rapidly silenced his critics (he finished sixth in his Grand Prix debut) and attracted the attention of McLaren, who saw him as a likely successor to the retiring two-time champion, Mika Hakkinen.
One Finn after another proved to be a good thing for McLaren, for whom Kimi the ‘Iceman’ never gave less than his maximum, always driving to a personal limit that at least equalled, sometimes exceeded, the best of his peers. Experts endlessly praised his seamless, straightforward, mostly mistake-free style. "I never really think about what I’m doing," Kimi said in a rare outburst of self-analysis. "I just do it."
His five seasons at McLaren coincided with a period of unevenly performing, often unreliable, cars. Yet he finished second in the championship twice (2003 and 2005), won nine races and finished in the top three on 36 occasions. His podium appearances and subsequent TV interviews exposed him to public scrutiny under which he tended to squirm and fidget, tugging his ears, rubbing his nose and trying to hide beneath his baseball cap. He seldom smiled, spoke sparingly in a mumbled monotone, then all but ran for the nearest exit.
Yet in his private life the poker-faced enigma’s icy reserve was prone to spectacular bouts of thawing out. ‘Drunken Race Ace Kimi Bounced Out Of Lapdance Club For Fiddling With His Gearstick!’ shrieked a headline in a British tabloid newspaper. Spanish media gleefully reported that the vodka-loving Flying Finn was found lying fast asleep outside a bar embracing an inflatable rubber dolphin. In Monaco he was filmed cavorting on a yacht, swaying unsteadily on the upper deck then falling onto on a lower level where he landed on his head.
"What I do in my private life doesn’t make me drive any slower," the free-spirited speedster insisted. In truth, the Iceman’s private life was running smoothly and he was well-settled on the domestic front, having in 2004 married Jenni Dahlmann, a gorgeous Finnish fashion model and former Miss Scandanavia. At their sumptuous Swiss home there was plenty of room for their two dogs and Kimi’s car collection. Asked to name his most prized possessions, he replied: "My wife and my Ferrari Enzo."
In 2007 he began driving a Ferrari Formula One car for a living, having been hired (for a reported $41 million a year) to fill the considerable void left by the departing seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, whose unrivalled work ethic and team leadership qualities were not part of a Raikkonen repertoire that seemed more akin to another past champion. A week before his debut with the team, Ferrari’s new recruit was in Finland, winning a dangerous snowmobile race he had entered under the alias of ‘James Hunt.’ When the same ‘James Hunt’ later competed in a powerboat race dressed in a gorilla suit Kimi said he invoked the name of his hero as a riposte to the media sensationalisation of his private life.
He got off to a fast start with Ferrari, winning the season-opener from pole position, though by the penultimate race he was third in the driver standings, behind the McLaren team mates Fernando Alonso, seeking a third successive title, and Lewis Hamilton, the record-breaking rookie. Though Raikkonen had won more races, five to their four apiece, he remained the longshot among the trio of contenders at the final race, in Brazil. The phlegmatic Finn delivered sensationally, winning the race and the 2007 World Drivers’ Championship by a single point.
On the podium the new champion swigged and sprayed his champagne and, grinning at last, the Iceman broke his silence with a virtual torrent of words. "I’m very happy. I came from pretty much nothing but my family, friends and sponsors helped me get here. People will probably look at me differently and make up more stories about me. But I’m going to lead my life as I want and that’s it."
And so he did. In two more seasons with Ferrari his results tapered off, as did his interest in continuing. At the end of 2009 Ferrari offered him a lucrative way out by buying up the final year of his contract (to make way for Fernando Alonso). Kimi spent the next two seasons amusing himself in the World Rally Championship, an experience he found no substitute for competing at the pinnacle of motorsport, where he returned in 2012 to drive for the Lotus F1 Team.
His comeback was a resounding success. He finished a remarkable third overall in the championship and led Lotus to a highly respectable fourth in the team standings. He was the only driver to complete all 20 races, one of which he won memorably. En route to his popular victory in Abu Dhabi the entertainingly enigmatic Iceman became irritated by ever more anxious radio instructions from his increasingly frantic race engineer. Kimi silenced the voice in his ear with a phrase that immediately entered Formula One folklore: "Leave me alone. I know what I’m doing."
Kimi continued to know what he was doing, winning the first race of 2013, coming second in six others and collecting enough points to finish fifth among the drivers, despite missing the last two races to have an operation to repair a back injury. Then, in keeping with his tradition of independence, he announced he was leaving Lotus and would in 2014 return to the team where he won the 2007 championship: Ferrari.
His return to the Scuderia was a disaster, prompting speculation that the Iceman had finally melted. Humiliated by his team mate Fernando Alonso, who scored three times as many points, Raikkonen blamed his worst ever results on an inability to change his car’s handling to suit his driving style. The phlegmatic Finn handled the setback philosophically – “It doesn’t matter. It is what it is.” – an opinion that was shared by Ferrari, who retained his services for 2015.
‘Lacklustre’ and ‘underwhelming’ were some of the terms critics used to describe a 2015 season that seldom went smoothly for Kimi Raikkonen. There were more incidents and accidents than usual and he finished a distant fourth in the championship, well behind his new team mate Sebastian Vettel. Yet he remained arguably the most popular driver and Ferrari renewed his contract. “It’s not been an ideal year,” Kimi admitted. “That’s how it goes.”
A resurgent Raikkonen – rejuvenated by a contract extension for 2017 and remaining relaxed amid the chaos that unsettled his team mate Vettel – was often Ferrari’s main threat in 2016.
“In the morning the weather was a bit tricky to start with, but all in all it was an ok day,” said Kimi. “Just a normal Friday, in which we tried different things and learned as much as possible. Every circuit can be tricky when you’re trying to go fast, and for sure there can always be an improvement; but it was only the first day of practice. We don’t know what the other teams were doing and obviously it’s too early to make any predictions. All we know is that tonight we have some work to do for tomorrow”.
Kimi Raikkonen: I don’t care what critics think of my 2017 driving
Ferrari Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen says he is happy with the way he has driven this season and he does not care what other people think.
While Sebastian Vettel emerged as a genuine contender for the drivers’ world championship, Raikkonen has failed to match his team-mate’s exploits so far this season.
Raikkonen, who will stay on with Ferrari for 2018, is fifth in the drivers’ championship 99 points adrift of second-placed Vettel and has scored just four podiums to his team-mate’s 10.
"My driving has not been too bad in my view," said Raikkonen.
"What other people think, I don’t care. I know what I can do. Some days are easier than others for many reasons.
"I wouldn’t been here if I didn’t feel I could drive well and fast and be where I feel I should be."
Four of Vettel’s podiums have been victories but Raikkonen’s best result is second, having followed Vettel to the flag in Monaco and Hungary.
He has scored 12 points fewer after 16 races than last year and Raikkonen conceded his results do not necessarily back up his view.
"If you look purely at the points, I’m far from where I want to be but that’s a combination of many things," he said.
"When it comes down to the team and the people I work most closely with, I’m very happy.
"But as a team, we always want to improve and that’s every day.
"It doesn’t matter which team you go to, there isn’t a single team that isn’t interested in improving things.
"Even if you win and get a one-two, there are always things you can improve.
"It’s a never-ending story, especially in this sport, but in many sports.
"It’s been a far from ideal year but that’s how it goes.
"We try to finish it well and then turn the page, start from zero and go from there."
Ferrari has lost a haul of points in the last three races, owing to a first lap crash in Singapore that wiped out both drivers and further unreliability in Malaysia and Japan.
Raikkonen refused to get downbeat about the situation, despite the results hampering his chances of overhauling Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who he trails by 44 points, in the drivers’ standings.
"We try to do our best all the time," he said. "We have to understand and fix the issues but that is part of F1.
"It’s not the first time unfortunately and it will not be the last time.
"That’s part of F1. We’re all together and try to do better always."
Kimi Raikkonen: Ferrari can still win any of 2017’s last four GPs
Kimi Raikkonen believes Ferrari can win any of the 2017 Formula 1 season’s remaining four grands prix if it can eliminate mistakes and get on top of its reliability problems.
Ferrari’s championship aspirations have imploded in the last three races, with the team now trailing Mercedes by 145 points while Sebastian Vettel is 59 behind Lewis Hamilton with 100 remaining.
Vettel and Raikkonen were wiped out on the first lap in Singapore, and both were hampered by engine problems at different stages of the Malaysian GP weekend.
Then in Japan, Vettel retired early on with a spark plug failure, while Raikkonen could only finish fifth following a grid penalty prompted by damage from a practice crash.
Asked which of the final four races – United States, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi – offered Ferrari the best chance of victory, Raikkonen said: "Any of them, as long as we do everything as well as possible.
"It’s a bit unknown, the tracks are different from each other.
"So we go every weekend, start from zero and do the best that we can and avoid the issues and mistakes."
Ferrari had a car capable of taking a one-two in Singapore and arguably Malaysia too, while in Japan it looked capable of pushing Mercedes before it hit trouble.
But the engine problems, driver error and misfortune has contributed to Ferrari scoring just 22 points in those three races compared to 105 for Mercedes.
"I don’t know what is going to happen – nobody knows," said Raikkonen regarding Ferrari’s chances in the constructors’ championship.
"But I know we are going to push until the last lap in the last race and see where we end up.
"It hasn’t been the greatest races lately but I think we have the speed when they put things in the right place – that is at least something positive."