Raikkonen: Leave me alone I know what I’m doing!

Kimi Raikkonen

Abu Dhabi GP winner Kimi Raikkonen during the post race press conference

Nov.5 (Reuters) – Kimi Raikkonen returned to the top step of a Formula One podium for the first time since 2009, at the weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, leaving his Lotus team in no doubt that he knew what he was doing throughout the race.

Kimi Raikkonen celebrates withe the Lotus team after winning the Abu Dhabi GPThe Finn, 2007 world champion with Ferrari, was typically blunt when his race engineer spoke to him on the radio shortly after he was gifted the lead by Lewis Hamilton’s sudden retirement.

“Leave me alone. I know what to do,” he replied drily.

Raikkonen is famously a man of few words, sometimes unintelligible or inaudible to all but the most attentive of listeners, who would rather let his driving do the talking than engage in chit-chat.

“I’m not so stupid that I cannot remember what I’m doing,” he explained later. “It’s a normal thing. They are just trying to help… I will also ask for help if I need it…different people like different things.”

He said that when he announced his comeback, after two years in rallying and some NASCAR truck racing in the United States, he was the “same as ever” and he has shown that on and off the track this season.

Sunday’s win was his seventh podium in 18 races back and his 19th career triumph in total. He also became the eighth different driver to win this season.

Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Abu Dhabi Grand Prix winner

Seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, 43, has gone almost three years with nothing more than one third place to celebrate with Mercedes but Raikkonen has been on the money right from the start.

He has previously said that he could win if Lotus, the former Renault team, delivered the goods and he was as good as his word at the Yas Marina circuit.

Asked on the podium by his now-retired former McLaren team mate David Coulthard to talk about his emotions and explain how amazing it was to win again, Raikkonen simply shrugged.

“Not much really,” he said, recalling how the last time he had been in such a position he was criticised for not smiling enough. “I’m happy but there’s nothing to jump around about. For sure we’re going to have a good party today and hopefully tomorrow when we are feeling bad after a long night.”

Raikkonen has always liked a good party and having fun is part of the makeup of a man who has entered powerboat races dressed in a gorilla suit, been photographed embracing inflatable dolphins and competed in snowmobiles under the name of the late F1 racer James Hunt.

Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Abu Dhabi Grand Prix winnerSunday was a night of fun, a race win that the ‘Iceman’ set up by seizing second place at the start from fourth place on the grid and then holding on to his advantage despite two safety car periods eating away at his lead.

The victory was the first for the Lotus marque since 1987 when Brazilian Ayrton Senna won for a very different team at the USA East Grand Prix, in Detroit.

Raikkonen’s Lotus team is descended from the Benetton and Renault teams that more recently won two titles with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006 and whose last race win was in Japan with the Spaniard in 2008. Members of the team reportedly like being referred to as “the Enstone crowd”, presumably as a result of the confusion which aroze of the dispute regarding ownership and the use of the famous Lotus name.

“We have had hard times lately and hopefully it gives some belief for the people [in the team],” said Raikkonen who last week signed a contract extension for 2013 with the team that is fourth in the constructors’ standings.

“Hopefully [the victory] gives a bit more support and hope that things will turn around and be even better than it’s been this year.”

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  • Nemo

    The ‘yes yes yes’ radio message by Kimi was pretty funny. Congratulations to him & the team. A great win for them.

  • hillside

    Kimi’s fully focused in getting his first comeback win and doesnt want to be bothered.

  • michaelprescottmacarthur

    My wife and I were almost peeing ourselves listening to his responses to his engineer.

  • Nowhereman

    A great driver for sure.
    A misurable human being for sure.
    Pay him to drive and give up on his interpersonal skills.
    Those skills show flaws in his character and those flaws will keep him from winning anymore WDC for sure.
    Swear all you want off of camera Kimi but clean your mouth up when your on camera.
    Show some class as you embarrassed your team at a time of celebration.

  • Emaaduddin

    @Nowhereman :: I agree with you 100%.
    Inspired by Kimi, even Vettel used words like fuck and shit during the official press conference!!!

  • visartist

    i’ve always liked kimi; no corporate speak and or useless million times repeated soundbites. the guy is a throwback to the drivers of the sixties and seventies and i for one think its great to have a character that drives to his own drumbeat. he is fast. he is direct. he seems to be honest and forthright. he likes to have a good time and anybody that nom de plumes james hunt is allllright!

  • Anthony

    I’m sorry Kimi offended your delicate sensibilities, Nowhereman.

  • taz

    im sure kimi’s words wernt that harmfull, on the other hand vettels words were more offensive that evan DC and the rest of the sly tv crew had to apolagise for vettel

  • Disgusted with 2012

    Let’s put everyone here back to the age of 25, under extreme pressure racing a tough race for almost 2 hours, with several scary moments to recover from a stupid error the day before, and several odd setbacks during the race that threatened to reverse a hard fought championship position… Then, relieved to made it, rush up to the podium in front of a crowd, hot and exhausted. Now, react to stupid questions with a mic crammed in your face as your adrenaline crashes and your blood sugar drops. Don’t forget to watch every word you say, or you’ll face the wrath of a few peanut gallery keyboard jockeys already bent on finding fault with everything you say or do. Whatever… the race was insane, from flag to podium, a slip of a word here or there (missed by media editors) just made it more special.

  • Disgusted with 2012

    For those interested from the Red Bull site:

    Sebastian Vettel: “I’m terribly sorry for using the wrong word on the podium today and I’m sorry if I have offended anyone who was watching. In the heat of the moment, I didn’t use the right words and I apologise. I’ll do it better next time.”

    Seems reasonable now that things have calmed down. At the event, Horner commented “You can see he is pretty excited up there…”

  • Kimi4WDC

    Vettel’s comments were not necessary, you could just see he used bad words only to match Kimi. He should keep to being him self.

    Kimi is other hand is pretty natural :D

  • james

    seb did good all things considered-Kimi was “just Kimi” like any craftsman give him the right tools and he’ll build you a skyscraper