Vettel: Raikkonen’s lack of politics makes him best team-mate
Sebastian Vettel says Kimi Raikkonen is the best team-mate he has ever had in Formula 1 because the Finn does not try to play political games.
Vettel has not always got on well with team-mates, having famously clashed several times with Mark Webber at Red Bull.
He and Raikkonen collided at the start of the Singapore GP earlier this season, but only because the German moved across to defend from Max Verstappen.
The four-time world champion has formed a strong working relationship with Raikkonen during their three years together at Maranello, where he has comfortably asserted himself as the lead driver.
They will remain team-mates for at least next season, with Vettel signing a new deal through to 2020 and Raikkonen extending his stay at Ferrari to the end of 2018.
Asked by Autosport in an exclusive interview what sort of team-mate he prefers, Vettel said: "It’s not your decision – and I don’t think it should be. So I don’t mind.
"Obviously it makes it a lot easier if you have somebody who you are working with that you feel the respect.
"You know, many times people tend to make things much more complicated than they are, especially in Formula 1, so it’s good if you can work with somebody where there are no politics or no confusions or anything.
"In this regard Kimi is probably the best team-mate that I had. He is pretty straightforward, but I also got along well with Daniel [Ricciardo].
"Then with Mark [Webber], obviously at times we had our differences.
"Also I have to say we were different generations, so we probably from the start were not that close, but that is how it is."
Having relished his switch to Ferrari since joining at the start of 2015, Vettel says that satisfaction for him these goes beyond pure results.
"I am very happy and honoured to race for Ferrari," he said. "But I want to win. Do I measure happiness in success? Probably not.
"But what makes me happy is if I can get out of the car and say that I’ve done everything I could and I’m happy with my own performance
"I think it makes me extremely happy to see that, to have the team behind me, to see that we are all together as one team.
"And apart from the racing side, obviously all the challenges that I have at home."
Sebastian Vettel: Kimi Raikkonen was ‘a lot faster’ in Hungarian GP
Hungarian Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel has admitted Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was "a lot faster" than him as he struggled with steering problems.
Vettel realised on the grid that his car’s steering was not right, but he hung on ahead of Raikkonen and the Mercedes to take a win that rebuilt his F1 championship lead over fourth-placed finisher Lewis Hamilton to 14 points.
Though Raikkonen repeatedly told Ferrari over the team radio that he was faster, they maintained position throughout.
"Kimi had good pace and could go a lot faster than me for the majority of the race," Vettel acknowledged.
He said the steering problem had worsened through the grand prix.
"It was a tough one. I was hoping for a bit more of a quiet afternoon," said Vettel.
"I felt already there was something not right when we dropped the car on the grid.
"The steering wheel was not on straight. It didn’t feel right and then it got worse.
"I did try to adapt, I knew you could not change it, and then I tried to save the rears.
"We spoke a little bit on the radio about it, talking through the problem.
"They told me to avoid the kerbs but on a track where you use the kerbs, it compromises your performance.
"In the second stint I wanted to make sure I could use the tyres so I was holding back.
"In the end I was pretty well flat out and they were behind me queuing.
"It is good you cannot overtake around his track. I had no room for error."
Raikkonen had challenged Vettel at the start but was then stuck behind him for the rest of the race.
"Our starts were pretty similar and I got a tow effect and with a team mate I am not going to force the issue at the first corner," said Raikkonen.
"We’re going to fight but fight fair, but since that moment there is not an awful lot you can do.
"We were pretty safe stint on the first stint as we pulled away from Mercedes and then I caught up at the end of the stint.
"I had the whole race following Sebastian and hoping he goes as fast as he can and not saving tyres, as the Mercedes was catching me."
Hamilton closed on the two Ferraris in the closing stages, but Raikkonen said he never felt under real pressure.
"I was not too worried because car was handling well," he said.
"I could follow [Vettel] very well.
"But it wasn’t ideal because I felt I had the speed and I was stuck in the middle."
Q: Kimi, there’s huge Finnish support here, maybe a couple of words of Finnish for your fans before we got to English…
Kimi Raikkonen: Oh, I think they all understand English. Obviously great support, unfortunately I couldn’t give them the win. We had a one-two as a team, so I had a great car today, but obviously when you… I had a mistake yesterday in qualifying. I got a good start but I didn’t want to force the issue and obviously after that just kept following the 71 laps. Not ideal, obviously I want to win, but it’s great for the team.
Q: You have been very consistent on this race track, this is your eighth podium here. Sadly, six of those have been second place. Clearly you had the speed today; it’s just impossible to overtake on this circuit…
KR: Yeah, the other guy has to do quite a big mistake or have some issue. It’s not easy to overtake and especially with team-mates you take more care. But at least they are still happy – that’s the main thing.
Q: Kimi, how do you feel after that one? You’ve said that you had a very good car, do you think you had the pace to win this grand prix?
KR: Yeah, definitely. But obviously… I had a pretty decent start, our starts were pretty similar but obviously I get the tow effect and braked slightly later but obviously I’m not going to force the issue in the first corner. We’re going to fight, but we’re going to fight fair. Since that moment there is not an awful lot you can do. I had a very good car today, like it was yesterday, but obviously my mistake didn’t help. The biggest chance was in the start and then took it quite easily at the beginning and my car was handling well and I was closing up. We were pretty on the safe side in the first stint because we pull away from Mercedes and then I catch up with Sebastian again in the end of the first stint but once he went in I had very good speed, I could have stayed longer out. I guess there are reasons – maybe the Mercedes they stopped earlier and they fresh tyres so… Anyhow, the whole race, basically, following Sebastian and hoping that he goes as fast as he can but not saving tyres because then there was a Mercedes catching me. Once you are in the middle it’s a bit awkward place, because if you get a bad exit in the last corner or something the guy behind you with the DRS might get you with a good run but actually maybe once when I got a little bit sideways. I must say the car was great today. I was just, basically, following my own rear wing, same looking at least. Obviously I want to win but great for the team.
And Kimi, that pressure from Mercedes?
KR: I was really not too worried. Obviously I talk with the team in the radio but I was not too worried because my car was handling so well. Even though I was very close, the whole race, to Sebastian, my car was still very good and no issue with the tyres. I could follow very well through the last corners. I had only one… two times a small issue in the second-last corner and then in the last corner pushed a bit too much, really the only time my car snapped, even once. But it wasn’t ideal, obviously, because I felt I had speed and I was stuck in the middle because then it’s always… we know how fast they can be on the straights sometimes, Mercedes. I also felt pretty comfortable because my car was so good that I didn’t really… once there was traffic or something and I dropped a little bit back, I could just speed up and make the gap before the last few corners. So, that was just… to know what we were going to do because I could have slowed down in the first part and speed up in the last part. It helped me a bit. Not a big worry.
Q: (Péter Vámosi – Vas Népe) Question to both Finnish drivers. Are you interested in a day competing in the Race of Champions as Team Finland? Mostly the question is for Kimi as you had opportunities with testing Peugeot at World Endurance Racing, NASCAR, whatever, so you have really tried out many cars. And Valtteri, what are you interested in more; to compete in Race of Champions or Stars and Cars?
KR: I’ve been asked to be there many times but I always said that once they go back to how it started with rally cars and then the proper circuit with the two lines, with the gravel and asphalt, I’ll be in – but before that, forget it. It’s not… it’s a show, that’s it.
Q: (István Simon – Auto Magazin) Question to Kimi. Had President Marchionne not been here today, would you have tried a proper overtaking manoeuvre against Sebastian? Because you’re car has been obviously faster today…
KR: No, it makes no difference. Obviously we know as team-mates what we have to do and like I said, I had a pretty good run into the first corner on the first lap but being team-mates… we can fight but we probably leave a bit more space and not going to force the issue as maybe against somebody else. At the end it was obviously for a one-two and I can only look what I did yesterday and complain to myself I was not in a very good chance to win the race – but nevertheless my car was good and, as I said, we had a plan as a team and, y’know, it was a fair game. Seb was yesterday first and he got away first and obviously the aim was whichever way we finish we’re going to finish one-two. That’s the aim. No difference would the president be here or not. To be honest I haven’t seen him – apart from podium. Haven’t had time so far today…
Q: (Ysef Harding – Xiro Xone News) This is for Kimi and Valtteri: after speaking with a number of Finnish fans last night who were very passionate about you guys, and finding out that saunas are a thing in Finland, they asked me to ask you guys what you plan to do for the break and how will you celebrate being on the podium today?
KR: Obviously we have the test on Wednesday so from that point there’s not an awful lot of plans. The biggest plan is to be with the family; obviously we have some time and spend time with them. We have to travel an awful lot so it’s great to have some freedom now.
Q: (Luis Vasconcelos – Formula Press) We are in a unique situation in which the three podium finishers don’t have a contract for next year as far as we know. Is this going to be a priority for the next four weeks or are you happy to sort it out later in the season?
KR: No different than any year. It’s not really my decision. For the team knows what is my preferred option and then see what happens.
Q: Kimi, you have a great record at Spa; do you think Ferrari can challenge Mercedes there?
KR: For sure there are some circuits that fit us better because there are areas that we have to improve, probably especially for qualifying, the Mercedes has better horsepower but it depends on so many things. It’s not just purely that you look at the layout of the circuit – ah this is going to be good for us and this is going to be… The tyres… We can’t have it which conditions there are going to be and a lot of small things which will make a difference. Let’s have a holiday first and see what happens at Spa but obviously if you purely look now, you would say it’s not going to be as easy for us as here but obviously we try to improve and we are going to do our best.
Q: (Zsolt Godina – F1vilag) Kimi, do you feel that you could have done a better job with the strategy with the pit stop with a possible longer first stint to win this race?
KR: I wondered it but obviously I had no idea what was happening behind us when Mercedes stopped before us and then Valtteri went a lot faster with the fresh tyres so the team asked me to come in. I had good speed on the in lap so I wanted to stay longer but I have to trust what the team is telling me and obviously they see the big picture so… We got close but it’s OK.
Ferrari’s Vettel: Raikkonen has not had deserved results in F1 2017
Ferrari Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen has not had the results his performances so far this season have deserved, according to his team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
While Vettel leads the championship after four grands prix, having won two races and twice finished second, Raikkonen has managed just one podium and is already 37 points adrift.
Raikkonen was fourth in Australia and finished more than 40 seconds adrift of his German team-mate in fifth in China, prompting Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne to say he wanted talks about the Finn’s form.
He recovered from a bad start to finish fourth in Bahrain and ahead of the Russian Grand Prix said "everything is fine" regarding his relationship with Marchionne before delivering his best weekend of the season where he finished third, just over 11 seconds behind Vettel.
Four-time champion Vettel was sympathetic to Raikkonen’s early struggles and believes his fortunes will improve as the year goes on.
"He probably didn’t have the races he deserved," said Vettel.
"In Bahrain obviously the start, the first lap cost him a lot, otherwise I’m sure he would’ve been on the podium.
"I see exactly what happens and things didn’t go 100% in his direction so far but I don’t think there’s any doubt inside the paddock that he’s one of the most talented drivers we have.
"I don’t think anybody else could go to WRC and perform at the level he did, just come back and be right up to the pace again.
"I don’t think there’s anyone who doubts his skills or his talent but, as I said, you need to have a lot of things coming your way.
"If you look back last year, I had some races where things didn’t come [my] way – it’s up and down but usually throughout the season it sort of equals out."
Raikkonen believes things can get better if Ferrari improves the "small details" given the close margins between the top four drivers.
"I think I have had a little bit of a rough start to the season," said Raikkonen.
"It’s far from ideal but the weekend [in Sochi] has been a step forward.
"We have been more happy with how things have been running but we still only finished third.
"We keep trying and keep improving and I’m sure we’ll get there, but the small details have to be exactly there and then you will get the first place.
"The four or five of us are very close most of the time, so it’s the small differences that make a big difference in the end."
Ferrari SF70H: presentata la nuova monoposto del Cavallino
La Ferrari ha presentato la nuova Ferrari SF70H, la monoposto con cui disputerà il mondiale 2017 di Formula 1. La vettura è stata svelata in diretta web da un garage della pista di Fiorano dai piloti Sebastian Vettel e Kimi Raikkonen.
Nome in codice 668 la vettura celebra i 70 anni della Ferrari. Il design risente ovviamente delle modifiche al regolamento con l’adozione dell’ala anteriore a freccia, l’ala posteriore di dimensioni maggiori e gli pneumatici Pirelli maggiorati. La vettura vista oggi, a passo “corto”, potrebbe di fatto già essere abbandonata per le prime gare europee: i tecnici Ferrari starebbero infatti lavorando già ad una versione B, profondamente rivista nell’aerodinamica.
Il muso non sembra cambiato molto rispetto al 2016 mentre è stata adottata la pinna sul cofano motore.
I tecnici, coscienti di un livello aerodinamico non ancora all’altezza della Mercedes, hanno spremuto al massimo la power unit V6 turbo ibrida, ottenendo un incremento di potenza senza sacrificare l’affidabilità.
La “Ferrari della Ferrari” copre i 100 Km del filming day a Fiorano
Maranello – Il numero richiama i settant’anni di storia di quello che, nel mondo dell’automobile, è qualcosa di più di un marchio. Le lettere della sigla indicano semplicemente la Scuderia Ferrari e la propulsione ibrida (Hybrid). Il tricolore italiano è ben visibile sulla “vela” del cofano motore, con un look che richiama gli anni ‘70. La Ferrari SF70H destinata al mondiale Formula 1 ha mosso i primi passi oggi, sullo storico circuito di Fiorano, mettendo assieme nello stesso giorno presentazione, collaudo funzionale e “filming day” per le esigenze commerciali. I 56mila pezzi che la compongono sono il frutto del lavoro e dell’impegno collettivo di oltre mille donne e uomini della Gestione Sportiva, attraverso una gestazione durata dodici mesi. Una vettura anche visibilmente diversa dalle monoposto degli ultimi anni, perché diversi sono i contenuti regolamentari, che nel 2017 pongono l’accento soprattutto sull’incremento delle prestazioni.
La saracinesca del box di Fiorano – allestito per l’occasione con un look tutto diverso – si è alzata alle 9,45, sotto gli occhi del Presidente e AD del Cavallino Sergio Marchionne, del team principal Maurizio Arrivabene, del direttore tecnico Mattia Binotto, dei piloti Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel e Antonio Giovinazzi, e di tutti i dipendenti che seguivano la presentazione dalla vicina sede di Maranello. Dopo la preparazione di routine, la monoposto è uscita dal box alle 11,20 ora italiana, equipaggiata con pneumatici “Demo” destinati ai filming day, vale a dire con le stesse misure “maggiorate” delle gomme di quest’anno, ma mescole diverse. Una visione rara, quella di una monoposto dell’anno in corso sulla pista di casa della Ferrari: i regolamenti attuali non permettono più di svolgere prove nel corso della stagione, se non quelle collettive. Fanno eccezione, appunto, i 100 Km consentiti per la giornata promozionale, che Raikkonen prima e Vettel poi hanno sfruttato nel corso della giornata, dividendosi in parti uguali la distanza massima fissata dalle regole, nonostante la pioggia che ha ritardato alle 15,40 la prima uscita di Sebastian.
A fine giornata, a tutti i dipendenti è stata data l’opportunità di vedere la SF70H da vicino, prima che la monoposto venisse imballata per essere spedita al Circuit de Catalunya, dove da lunedì 27 inizierà la prima di due sessioni di test invernali, della durata di quattro giorni ciascuna. Vettel ha in programma di guidare lunedì e mercoledì, Raikkonen si alternerà a lui martedì e giovedì. Le prove riprenderanno poi martedì 7 marzo.
Ferrari, Maurizio Arrivabene: “La SF70H è frutto del lavoro di tutto il team”
In un’intervista rilasciata ai canali ufficiali Ferrari, Maurizio Arrivabene ha raccontato le prime emozioni, le sensazioni provate durante la presentazione della nuova SF70H, la vettura con cui il team di Maranello cercherà quest’anno di conquistare quel titolo che ormai non vince da 10 lunghi anni. Per Arrivabene il lancio ufficiale della nuova Rossa è stato “Una grande emozione, la stessa che si ha ogni qual volta si scopre una nuova Ferrari sia che si tratti di una vettura stradale sia di una Formula 1″. Il team principal, inoltre, ha specificato come il risultato finale della vettura sia frutto di un grande lavoro e della professionalità di tutto il team.
Singapore GP: Ferrari’s Raikkonen tipping three-team fight for pole
Kimi Raikkonen is hopeful Ferrari will be in a three-way fight with Formula 1 rivals Mercedes and Red Bull for the Singapore Grand Prix pole.
Raikkonen finished Friday 0.275 seconds behind pacesetter Nico Rosberg as the top four, which included the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, were separated by just 0.4s.
"This morning was a bit tricky but the afternoon was quite decent," said Raikkonen, who was unusually upbeat after the two sessions.
"If you have a good feeling with the car, it makes all the difference around here.
"The afternoon was nice, it was quite easy and the lap time came. So far, so good."
Only at Monaco has a Mercedes driver not claimed pole position this year, but the Finn believes it could all be up for grabs on Saturday.
When asked whether Ferrari would be fighting with Mercedes and Red Bull, Raikkonen said: "Hopefully yes.
"We had a good feeling and it feels like we can do something this weekend but we don’t know what will happen tomorrow.
"We’ll see. Hopefully we’ll be there."
Raikkonen’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel, polesitter and winner in Singapore last year, finished the day in fifth.
The German accepted the blame for simply not putting a good lap together but echoed Raikkonen’s positivity ahead of qualifying.
"My lap wasn’t good enough," he said. "Kimi had a very good lap.
"I wasn’t entirely happy, I was struggling a bit with the car balance and therefore not really finding the rhythm, but all in all it’s been a good day.
"Tomorrow is important – it’s very difficult to pass here so we try to trim everything towards qualifying.
"If we get everything right, it will be very tight but we have a good chance to position the car well."
Speaking about the pace of rivals Mercedes and Red Bull, Vettel said: "Both looked very strong.
"Mercedes is the favourite and we are in the same boat as Red Bull."
Kimi pleased with handling “but it’s only Friday”
“The first practice session was tricky, I struggled a little bit, but the second practice was good: everything worked and the car was handling pretty well. Here in Singapore, if you get the car right, it’s a lot easier to go faster. Today we had quite a good feeling, but for sure there is still something to improve. It’s hard to say if we can be strong, it’s only Friday, but the feeling was positive. So far so good, but tomorrow is another day, we’ll see where everybody is and then we’ll go from there. We’ll give our best and hopefully we have the speed to challenge our rivals.”
Raikkonen: Verstappen will have massive crash if he doesn’t change
Kimi Raikkonen believes Max Verstappen will have a "massive accident sooner or later" if he doesn’t change his behaviour in on track battles in Formula 1.
The Ferrari driver was furious with Verstappen for the way he defended on the Kemmel Straight in the Belgian Grand Prix, feeling the teenager moved too late to cover the inside line.
"The problem is when I came with DRS I am 15-20kph faster than him and once I turn he waits and waits and turns after me," said Raikkonen.
"The speed difference is quite high so I have to brake and slow down to avoid him.
"It’s not what should happen at full speed, but for whatever reasons the stewards say it is OK.
"If I would not have braked we would have had a massive accident and I’m sure it will happen sooner or later if this doesn’t change.
"It seems to be OK [because Verstappen was not penalised], so it’s interesting to see once something happens who is to blame.
"Maybe it needs an accident before things get more clear to everybody, but hopefully not because it can be bad for somebody and nobody wants to see something like that happen.
"Fighting hard is fine but something like that should not be correct."
Raikkonen’s Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who was caught up in a first-corner tangle with Verstappen and Raikkonen at the start, says he will talk to the Red Bull racer about his driving.
"I’m not a fan of penalising people, it’s not the way to educate," said Vettel.
"We need to talk to each other, we need to have respect.
"The best way to educate is to talk rather than create a fuss in the media.
"We are men and it is best to stand in front of each other and talk to each other.
"It’s right to criticise but it’s wrong to try and make too much of a story.
"I get along with him, I like him, but certain movements, especially under braking – which I faced when I was racing with him – are not correct.
"It’s probably something that needs to click and he needs to understand."
Speaking about the first corner incident specifically, Vettel described Verstappen’s move on the inside as "bold", and explained that he turned in on the two cars to his right because they were in his blind spot.
"With hindsight it was easy – if I’d turned in later or wider only those two would be making contact and I’d get away with it," he said.
"But the problem is that you can’t fit three cars in that corner and the inside one is able to trigger trouble on the outside, which is what both Kimi and myself suffered from."
Max Verstappen slams Ferrari’s Vettel/Raikkonen after Spa collision
Max Verstappen has hit out at Ferrari Formula 1 drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel after an incident-packed Belgian Grand Prix.
Red Bull driver Verstappen collided with the Ferraris at the first corner as all three cars tried to get around the La Source hairpin side-by-side, and he had more run-ins with Raikkonen as they fought back through the field later in the race.
Raikkonen was heavily critical of Verstappen on the radio, saying "his only interest is pushing me off the circuit completely" and later calling his driving "fucking ridiculous".
Raikkonen was particularly unhappy with Verstappen moving late to defend his position on the Kemmel Straight, which he claimed forced him to brake at full speed to avoid an accident.
When asked by TV crews if he needs to tone down his driving, Verstappen said: "To be honest, it’s a big lie.
"I’m just defending my position and if somebody doesn’t like it it’s his own problem.
"After Turn 1 when they do something like that, I’m not going to give up my position that easily afterwards."
Raikkonen added: "I’m all up for fair battles and close racing but when I have to back off on the straight when I’m making my move, that’s not correct.
"I had to brake from full speed. I haven’t had that with any other driver."
The teenager put most of the blame for the "ridiculous" first-corner collision on Vettel, who was on the outside going into the corner, with Raikkonen in the middle.
"My start wasn’t great but I dived on the inside, I didn’t lock a wheel, so I was easily making the corner," said Verstappen.
"But they just kept squeezing me and at one point I was on the inside, Kimi was squeezing, but then Sebastian just turned in on both of us.
"He knows he is on the outside and he just turns into the corner where there are two other cars.
"That took my front wing, I had a lot of damage and my floor got destroyed, so from there the race was gone."
Verstappen could only recover to 11th, missing out on points, as he struggled for pace with his damaged car.
Kimi Raikkonen Q&A: Pressure not affecting Ferrari form
They may not have won a race this year, and they may currently be feeling more pressure from Red Bull than they’re applying to Mercedes, but – in the opinion of Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari are in a much better position this season than last. In an exclusive interview, the Finn explains why he believes victories are within sight, discusses the heavy weight of expectation that comes with driving for the Prancing Horse, and holds forth on the thorny subject of his future in F1…
Q: Kimi, it is a bit of an irony that after six races the ‘fill-in’ is doing better than the actual star of the team. What do you make out of that?
Kimi Raikkonen: Ha, I don’t feel like a ‘fill-in’! We are a team and we try to do well! Period. Yes, it is what it is right now but it is still early season and we definitely hope to be higher up soon as a team…
Q: …but do you feel like the darling of Ferrari right now?
KR: No! (laughs)
Q: Very recently Seb (Vettel) said that if he could choose just one team mate it would be you. But Seb is also somebody who hates to be second best so how does he cope with that exactly?
KR: Nothing has changed. We both work for the team and do our maximum – and that is a benefit for both of us – and for the team. The main issue for both of us right now is to put Ferrari to where it belongs. Yes, we haven’t had an ideal season – both of us – so far, but hopefully we can be right up there in the future with both cars – and then let’s see where we end up.
Q: Ferrari started with a mission this season – to challenge for the title. But recently something always seems to happen in races that interrupts that mission. What is the main reason from Kimi Raikkonen’s point of view?
KR: That sounds as if we would not be in a fight. But let me tell you: we are in a fight and will fight until the last moment and try to win the championship. So far there hasn’t been an ideal start of the year – we’ve both had DNFs and those circumstances don’t help in the standings – but be sure that we won’t give up. We are working like hell – and we will get the results!
Q: How much have reliability issues played a part? The new Ferrari engine doesn’t seem to be the real killer…
KR: We had small issues that had cost us quite a few points – but no major troubles. The team has been very quick to fix these things and now we are happy on that side.
Q: This year Ferrari wanted to close the gap to Mercedes, but currently they are the ones being threatened – by Red Bull Racing for P2 in the pecking order. Are Ferrari in a defensive situation?
KR: As I just said, we haven’t had the most straightforward start of the year, but I am sure that we have the speed and I know that we are able to fight for wins. And we want to win races! We don’t care who we are fighting with. Ideally it has to be a Ferrari finishing first and second!
Q: You speak so strongly about Ferrari winning races so it must be pretty disappointing that Ferrari has not won a single race so far in 2016…
KR: We want to win races – of course – and if people say that now we are worse than last year I reply: we are not! The package is good, the team is working better together and we’ve made a big step forward from last year. That is fact – whatever people try to say! That is all nonsense. What is probably underestimated is that the races got mixed up from last season that the races we’ve been usually strong have been moved to a later point in the season and those were we have expected to have more of a hard time have been moved to the beginning of the year. So when it looks like we were doing better last season it does not show the whole picture. Of course, for those that don’t know all the circumstances and only look at the plain numbers it might appear that way. But that doesn’t affect us at all. That is basically nonsense that the media make up. We know that we’ve improved but probably not to the level that we would have wanted. But we are working on that!
Q: What is that level that you call upon?
KR: We want to be where Ferrari should be: at one and two! Be the team that everybody wants to beat.
Q: Ferrari’s president Sergio Marchionne is putting a lot of pressure on the team. Is that helpful?
KR: A team like Ferrari traditionally has more pressure than any other team – that will never change. So everybody expects us to do well – that’s in the name. And we put ourselves under pressure, as nobody in the team is happy if we don’t win. So in the end it does not matter if he (Marchionne) gives us pressure or somebody else. We know what we want to do and want to achieve.
Q: As Finns, you and Valtteri Bottas can rely on the principle of Sisu (loosely translated as a kind of stoic determination) – but lately Nico Rosberg has also claimed that this Sisu is also propelling his career…
KR: …wait a minute! Not me! I have never said that Sisu has anything to do with me! For me Sisu is just a Finnish candy – and whatever people attribute to that mental side of Sisu I don’t buy it!
Q: No driver triggers as many rumours about his F1 future as you – and it’s been the same now for years. Isn’t that tiresome for you?
KR: Not anymore as this has been going on since the second year I was in Formula One! All this speculation doesn’t touch me. I simply don’t care about it – it’s not my business! I do not comment on rumours.
Q: …but haven’t you been surprised that suddenly Nico Rosberg has appeared in the picture, with rumours that he might change Mercedes silver for Ferrari red?
KR: As I said: I am not interested in commenting on any crude stories. I know what is going on – and that is enough for me. I know that will not stop any rumours – but I also know that the future will prove many people wrong! But: my lips are sealed! (laughs)
Q: But Formula One is still what you want to do?
KR: I would not be here otherwise. If you don’t enjoy what you do the normal impulse would be to stop it – no?
Q: Is there a feeling of still having unfinished business in F1? You are the last Ferrari world champion so definitely no unfinished business here…
KR: Ha, I still to have business here! As I just said: I would not be here if not. If I would not enjoy racing or being part of Ferrari I would not be here. Our aim is to put Ferrari back where it belongs – and that’s not unfinished business – that’s a mission! And racing is still my passion – even though F1 has changed a lot since I have started. Every year it seems to get more and more silly – but I keep out of that and don’t get involved!
Q: So let’s find out what has to happen for Kimi Raikkonen to call 2016 a good season
KR: If we win, we will be happy. If not then the job was not good enough. We want to win the championship and not single races – that’s why we are here – not just for being here. Anything is not what we want.
Q: If you could pick one race from all the races to come that you would love to win, which one would you pick?
KR: It doesn’t matter. The best (answer) is as many as we can. And in the end all race wins give you the same amount of points – so I am passionless about a particular race. But best we could start this Sunday!
Ferrari driver Raikkonen’s lack of ‘games’ a good fit, Vettel says
Sebastian Vettel would be comfortable with Formula 1 team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and his lack of "tricks or games" staying at Ferrari next year.
Ferrari waited until the 2015 summer break to re-sign Raikkonen for this F1 campaign and is likely to wait until the same window again before making a decision about next season.
Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas, Nico Rosberg, Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean are said to be in the frame to take Raikkonen’s seat and partner Vettel in 2017.
Raikkonen, who won the 2007 championship with Ferrari and rejoined the team in ’14, said he is happy and wants to stay beyond this year.
When asked by Autosport if he would want Raikkonen to stay on, Vettel said: "I certainly don’t mind, we definitely get along.
"It’s easy to work with him because you don’t need to worry about any tricks or games or whatever that are potentially a distraction to getting the job done."
On the potential of Ricciardo joining Ferrari, which would reform the partnership the two had at Red Bull, the German said: "I raced with him in 2014 and we didn’t have any problems.
"It’s not my decision, it’s not my job to sign people.
"I don’t mind him, I like him, he’s a strong guy.
"He had a good season in 2014.
"This year, it’s difficult to judge as you don’t know what is going on internally, but from what I know, he’s a good guy."
Vettel was overshadowed by Ricciardo in 2014, with the latter winning three races and finishing higher in the championship.
When asked if he would favour having the Australian as a team-mate again because he has unfinished business, Vettel said: "Not really, 2014 is behind me.
"The way I look at it is different to what [other] people look at and what they remember.
"In the end you don’t take the raw result.
"It’s the same as on a test day, someone is P1 but he is P1 for many reasons.
"I haven’t spoken with the team, it hasn’t been a subject that has come up yet.
"With where we are currently, we are busy enough trying to close the gap – that’s the main priority."