Raikkonen: The team is doing good work and we deserve to be here

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 on the podium. Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday 22 April 2012.

Kimi Raikkonen back on a grand prix podium after a three year absence

Apr.23 (PVM) The loudest cheer for the top three on the podium went to Kimi Raikkonen as his popularity, since returning to Formula 1, has taken on cult like status and his speed has hardly been diminuished by his two year absence – second place in the Bahrain Grand Prix signals that the Iceman is back with a vengeance.

Raikkonen is smiling more these days – he attributes the cheery disposition to his Lotus team who seem to be bending over backwards to ensure that their superstar wants for nothing. However the fact that James Allison and his team of engineers have delivered a very effective car to him is probably the single biggest smile inducing factor of the entire equation.

With the E20 Raikkonen has constantly been at the sharp end of proceedings, after China he warned that he was overdue a big result. Well it came, with second place at the Bahrain Grand Prix where he challenged hard for the lead but had to settle for second. The 2007 world champion spoke about his afternoon in the deser.

Welcome back to the podium in Formula One. You had the tyres but was the race win there for you instead?
Kimi Raikkonen: I think we gave ourselves a chance at least. It’s a bit disappointing that I didn’t manage to do it. But I made a small mistake at the beginning and lost one place to Ferrari. I had to re-overtake him and it took a little time. I got past the people quite easily but if you look in the end I think we still took too long and we couldn’t win the race. But at least we got the podium with both cars. After the last race we tried hard and failed and probably people thought we were a bit stupid. Even after yesterday what we did. But it turned out to be the right decision and I think the team deserves what we have achieved now. We have been working hard. We’ve not been 100 per cent happy with how the weekends have run so far but finally we’ve got some proper results for the team, so it’s an important step.

Had you been able to get past your team-mate Romain Grosjean in the middle part of the race, a little sooner, would that have made the victory a little easier for you? You certainly had the pace in that middle stint?
KR: Yeah but there are no team orders and we know the rules. I try to get past as quickly as I can but it’s not easy with two similar cars. It’s always easy to say afterwards ‘if we had done that’ but in the end we were not fast enough to win and we have to take the second. I got one chance on Sebastian but I chose the wrong side under braking, so that was it really. In the end I didn’t have any other chances to try. It’s disappointing to finish second but after the last race we have to take it and be pretty happy.

Your rivals changed their car during the course of the weekend to suit the characteristics, di you do that too?
KR: My car was the same the whole weekend. We tried two cars with different floors but I mean in the end I don’t think there’s much difference between them but for sure it looks like we did the right thing. The car cannot be too bad because we finished second and third, we’re still not happy in certain areas but that’s a pretty normal thing. You’re never really 100 per cent happy with things. You always try to find something new and improved. But, I mean, great thing for the team to finish second and third, so I’m happy for them but a bit disappointed to not have more, to not be able to challenge more for the win. I’m not winning but that’s life.

Was it difficult even with the DRS to get really, really close, close enough?
KR: I think like you saw on TV I got close enough once to have a chance to try but I chose the wrong side, so that’s about it. After that my tyres dropped off a bit and I couldn’t get close enough. Yep, next time we try, hopefully we can put ourselves in a similar position later on this season in the next coming races. It’s not going to be easy but we will try. And that would be nice.

Was it the right decision to come in for the last pit stop at the same time as Sebastian? Could you have waited one more lap?
KR: That was the plan. Even if we came in a lap later it would be more or less the same. That was our plan and we followed it. They came in at the same time.
You’re now going to have three days of testing in Mugello ; do you think that some teams are going to bring big updates, like Ferrari who are struggling a lot? What are your plans for your cars, are you also having big updates? Do you more or less know the direction?
KR: I don’t what the others are doing, you will have to ask them. I’m not aware of our plans regarding the test and we will see what happens there. I haven’t talked about it. We first have to finish this race and then put the effort into the test and then go racing after that. I can’t say what the other teams are going to do. We try to find more understanding of the car and improve it.

Do you think Lotus can keep up the momentum for the next races?
KR: We will try. It’s the same story; I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next races but the team’s been pushing hard to try to improve the car, bringing new parts, but of course they haven’t been working as well as we hoped, but anyhow, they are bringing new updates every time when they can. We try to keep pushing and stay up there, but I cannot answer because they are not. That’s our aim and that’s what we’re working for and hopefully it will happen, but who knows how well we can improve or what the others will do. The team is doing good work and we deserve to be here and hopefully we can stay up here in other races also.

Are you surprised that it took you only four races to return to the podium?
KR: It could have been in the first three races also, not putting ourselves in a bad position and some problems, being a bit smarter than certain teams but we know from the winter that we have a very good car, good baseline package and just have to make the right decisions and put ourselves where the car can be. This weekend it worked, last weekend it didn’t. We know that the speed is there, we just need to try to get everything exactly right.

  • Pitwall

    Go for the championship Kimi !

  • Alex

    Kimi you got this !

  • george

    Welcome back ICEMAN!!!!you were truly missed

  • kaka007

    you r d champ and go for the championship…..
    if only lotus keeps the development in right direction