Q: Coming to another Finn, who had the hot breath of Lewis in his neck all the time. How tough were the closing laps, Kimi?
Kimi Raikkonen: Well, it wasn’t all the time, obviously, it was only in the end. I must admit I had a little bit tricky balance on the first set. It improved at the end of the first run. The second set was very good, the car handled very well and I could catch up with the guys, but it’s impossible to get past here if you have this close the speed of a few cars. Yeah, he [Hamilton] got close to me, also I got close to Sebastian and Valtteri, but I wasn’t too worried, I had a pretty good run out of the last corner, so it was OK.
Q: Kimi, for you obviously, the real talking point was the end. Hamilton was going past cars with sometimes 248km/h on the straight in the DRS. Talk about that and also, he had a couple of lock-ups. Do you think that’s where he lost the momentum that stopped him coming through on you?
KR: He did or I did? OK. Obviously, I don’t really look at what he’s doing. All the time I try to do my own stuff. I had a few lock-ups in the first corner, basically for no really good reason. I was checking a bit, obviously, this year it’s very hard to see from the mirrors where the other guy is, especially in the circuit where it goes a bit up and down: you lose the sight of them. I had very good last few corners so I could see it when we pulled out of the last corner that he was quite far away. I know that they’re very fast when they put full power and full energy and DRS, they catch up a lot by the end of the straight – but I was quite comfortable with a, let’s say, gap in the last three corners and I was surprised that he didn’t go closer to me. That’s why I wasn’t too worried – but then I locked a few times into Turn One because I think I was looking too much in the mirrors and not really braking so heavy and then just locked a bit. To be honest, my car was pretty good. Maybe the first part was a bit tricky. More, close to that first pitstop it got a bit better. The second, with the soft tyres, with the pitstop was very good. I took it very easy in the beginning and was still catching up with the guys in the front but I felt always I took care of my tyres but once I pushed, it’s nothing… you can get close but you cannot really do anything. The circuit, the cars this year, in this kind of place, it seems to be very difficult to pass anybody and it gets a bit boring, unfortunately. I felt that I had a lot of speed but I felt there’s nothing that I could have done. We all stayed the same distance. Yeah. It was a good end result but obviously I wanted more.
Q: Kimi, happy for today?
Kimi Raikkonen: So, so. I felt it could have been better but it was a bit tricky sometimes to get the tyres into the right window for the first two corners to be confident under braking. The last run was better but it wasn’t good enough.
Q: It seems to be key today with these cooler conditions. It’s just made it that little bit more difficult. But generally Ferrari are in good shape for the race I would guess?
KR: Yeah, I think we improved the car for today. Obviously the weather can change quickly here, so we have to wait and see what it brings tomorrow. It’s going to be a long race and we’ll do our best.
Q: And Kimi, two of you versus one Mercedes. Unusual situation, from a strategy point of view that gives you plenty to play with, ‘cos he can’t cover both of you. Thoughts about that and also your performance today.
KR: Obviously, we’ll see that tomorrow, what it will bring but today was a better day than yesterday, for sure. The feeling was pretty good on some laps but it was a bit tricky to have full confidence in the first corner to be sure that the tyres will work well and you don’t lock the wheel. That was really the most difficult. Some sets seemed to be more easy than others and the last set actually I had more grip than I expected. But yeah, not ideal but not too bad. I think the car is very good, position, the handling, so tomorrow is a race and it should be OK.
Q: Kimi, ten years on – we all remember it very, very well from that dramatic day when you won the World Championship here in Brazil, probably the widest smile you’ve had as a sportsman at least. Can you share some special memories of that day?
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: It’s a long time ago. Obviously it was a great day but it wasn’t just about the day, it was the whole year. Obviously it ended on that day but there were some great moments, some not very nice moments but in the end it worked out OK and I was very happy with it but – I don’t know – I haven’t really thought about it too much; obviously after that, yes, but not for a while because it doesn’t really change my life today, thinking about it. I don’t really try and make a big story out of it.
Q: This year, you’ve had a very good car and kept developing it very effectively so where does it go from here for Ferrari? You’ve talked a lot this season about a few fine details here and there which have been the things that have stopped you but tell us a bit about that, where the team goes forward next year and what your personal ambition is in 2018?
KR: Obviously I want to be fighting at the front every weekend, to be able to fight for the championship next year. I think we started pretty badly – we were not really where we should have been – a personal feeling on my side – we’re not really happy where the setup was and it took quite a long time to figure it out and then since then it’s been better but then we had too many DNFs for many different reasons but I think, as a team, we’ve come a long way from year to year and also from last year, made a good step, obviously not enough for what we want but as Ferrari we want to win both championships. But I think we had all the tools this year, we just need to tidy up things and not make mistakes nor have issues on any side, not from our side as drivers or from the team side. These are just small things which in the end played a big part this year, who won the championship and which way it went but I think we have all the people, we have the tools and we have a great car. There are still two races to go and even though the championships are done we try to do the same work we always do and try to win races and then, obviously, we start from zero next year so hopefully we will be up there.
Q: (Gustavo Faldon – ESPN Brasil) Kimi, Felipe Massa is retiring; you were his teammate for quite a while. What can you say about him? How was your relationship and do you feel like he helped you win your title ten years ago?
KR: He’s retiring again, so let’s see if it actually happens or we will see him in the first race next year. I always had a good relationship with him, great atmosphere when we were at Ferrari together. We won two championships for the team as teammates and I think it was a great time. Obviously it was very fast, very good but I wish him all the best if he ends up (not) racing in F1 anymore. We will see what comes in his life in the future.
Q: (Andrea Lopez – Motorlat.com) Kimi, there are only two races left this season; what is the summary you can make of your season this year?
KR: I think it’s very simple that we are in the championship, that’s how good or bad it’s been. That’s how it is this year and obviously we need to learn and make better things next year but we all start from zero next year and it depends on many things over the winter and over the testing at the beginning of the year. We will then get some idea of where we are going to be and then we see in the first races what will happen, but obviously the aim is to do better, to fight for wins and championships – that’s, as a team, what we want to do and as a driver I want to do that. This year, for sure, in many ways could have been better but I guess it can always be worse also.
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”.
Kimi Raikkonen: Max Verstappen has to accept US Grand Prix penalty
Kimi Raikkonen says Max Verstappen just has to accept his United States Grand Prix penalty, even if the Red Bull Formula 1 driver feels it was not justified.
Verstappen lost third place to Raikkonen in last Sunday’s Austin race, after transgressing track limits to pass the Ferrari driver on the final lap.
F1’s stewards penalised Verstappen five seconds for the move, which provoked a huge backlash from Verstappen, Red Bull and many fans.
Raikkonen was also critical of the stewards after receiving what he called a "pointless" yellow flag penalty in August’s Belgian GP, but says being on the receiving end of decisions you feel are poor is part of the game in F1.
"You have to accept it," Raikkonen said. "Sometimes you feel it’s harsh against you, sometimes it goes your way, but that’s how it’s going to be.
"Everyone was saying ‘oh, Mika Salo was helping Ferrari’ but in Spa he was a steward and I got a penalty for nothing, really.
"I got many penalties for reasons were a bit… you feel that is nothing. But you leave it and next time you try to do differently and get a different result.
"They do their work the best they can. I know the feeling when it’s against you is not the greatest, but that’s life."
Raikkonen said having the same group judge every race would not necessarily add consistency, and suggested other motorsport categories face similar problems.
"There’s a few different stewards around and everybody has their own opinions on everything – somebody will be happy, somebody will be sad, and that’s how it’s always going to be," Raikkonen added.
"I don’t see that changing even if we have the same guys always.
"Would we be happy with more consistency? No incident is the same as another, so the end result is not always going to be the same because there will always be differences in the things they’re going to look at.
"Unfortunately, it’s part of racing – we’ll always be discussing this, but if you go to MotoGP you have a similar story there."
The stewards were heavily criticised at Austin for not enforcing track limits consistently, and Raikkonen suggested grippy runoff areas are always going to lead to drivers taking liberties if officials are not strict.
"I think the main part of the problem is that the tracks have so much runoff areas," Raikkonen said.
"If you find a lot of grip in the run off areas, of course you’re going to go there – if you give us a little chance we start running wherever it’s the fastest way around.
"When I started, the circuits had kerbs and gravel, so you’d never think to go there, but every year you have more asphalt.
"In some places we have rules, in some corners we haven’t. Until we put gravel everywhere, it’s a never-ending story.
"It’s one of those discussions that goes on, like with the blue flags, forever."
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."