Kimi Raikkonen survived contact early on in the Chinese Grand Prix, which damaged the front end of the nose cone on the Lotus, to claim second place in Shanghai. Typically poker faced on the podium the Iceman believed he could have challenged for the win. He spoke afterwards.
That’s your 20th consecutive finish in Formula One. You’re certainly Mr Consistency. You had to work hard for that second place today. You had some damage to the front wing of your car after some contact, so tell us about that and also how it affected the balance?
Kimi Raikkonen: I think in the end it was a pretty okay result. Obviously we want to win but after a bad start the car was handling well but then overtaking Perez, I was next to him and he just pushed me on the kerb but I tried to avoid him but I went on the grass and hit him on the rear I think and damaged the front. That didn’t help but luckily it didn’t affect so much the handling, it was just a bit too much understeery but we could still fight for second place. For sure without the damage we could have been quite a bit faster. Anyhow, good points and we try to do better next time.
A bit of a problem at the start there, tell us about that, and also how much pressure was there at the end as well?
KR: I think we just had wrong settings. The practice start was very good but then it was really bad the real start and we lost some positions and after that the car was okay, but I had a little accident, some problems with Perez and we damaged the nose and the front wing. I was surprised there was no more damage because I hit him quite hard. Also bit surprised that we didn’t have any more problems after that. A bit too much understeer and destroying the front tyre because of that but we still could fight for second place and get quite a good result in the end. Obviously we wanted to try to win but today with all the issues it was not possible.
How much lap time did the problem with the nose and front wing cost you and did it compromise your strategy, would you have gone for or tried a two stop strategy without it?
KR: There’s no way to tell or not how much the front wing damage affected the whole race but obviously the car is not designed like that so it’s not going to help. But I cannot tell you if it’s a tenth or half a second per lap. I was surprised how good the car was, even with quite a lot of damage. It was unfortunate, but I think we also have to be a bit lucky not to lose more. Hopefully next race we can have a normal race and be up there again fighting for a win.
Was it your decision not to change it?
KR: Actually I wanted to change it and wasn’t sure if they changed it because… I think they looked at the wing at the first pit stop but they probably thought that it would take too long or… I don’t know really. I haven’t talked to them. Also, the reason why they probably didn’t change it was that the car was reasonably OK, I could still overtake people.
Can you please describe your view of the incident with Perez?
KR: I got the better run out of turn three and was on the outside on that little kink through to corner four. I thought that he would leave me enough space but he just pushed me off the circuit. I tried to avoid him but there was first grass and then the kerb and then the kerb saved me, I got grip but I couldn’t slow down and I hit him at the rear. I don’t know if he didn’t see me or what happened, but there was no way for me to avoid him any more because I was there next to it and I ran out of road.
In your mind, with this tyre situation, is the most serious candidate for the title now Fernando and no longer Vettel?
KR: He didn’t get it but he has the same challenge. But as Fernando said, from race to race, one team is a little bit stronger at one race and the next race is a bit of a different story. I think all four teams are close to each other so whoever gets it best on Sundays and Saturdays I think will win, so it will be interesting.