After his unbroken run of grand prix points finishes came to an end at Spa, Lotus driver Kimi Räikkönen has reloaded and is set for the final European race of the season – the Italian Grand Prix – at Monza where he has yet to record a victory during his Formula 1 career.
You’ve achieved more wins at Spa than any other track, but at Monza you have none; time to rectify that?
Kimi Raikkonen: It’s true that I have never won in Italy. For one reason or another things just haven’t worked out for me, but it doesn’t mean I can’t drive the track. Just because I have not won at a circuit in the past it doesn’t mean that I won’t win or get a good result there in the future. It is true that I have previously had some very competitive weekends there – once or twice I have been close to the win – but something has always gone wrong. Hopefully we will have a real chance to fight for that victory this time.
How do you feel about Monza as a venue?
KR: It’s a historical place with a unique design where we achieve very high speeds. It’s a real challenge for everyone to be running so fast and a really good feeling in the car. It’s the home of the Tifosi and there will be a lot of Finnish fans there too. The atmosphere is just out of reach for every other grand prix. It’s great to go there with everything working well in your car and see how quickly you can go. It’s the place where we go really, really fast.
What about the challenges of the circuit?
KR: Monza always gives a great challenge. It’s so different compared with the more modern circuits as the layout means the car needs to be set up differently. To go fast at Monza you need a car that is good aerodynamically, stable over the kerbs, and has a strong engine as we are using full throttle for most of the lap. I think we should be pretty good in those areas, but we won’t know exactly how good until we get out on track.
How do you think Monza should suit the E21?
KR: It’s a unique circuit with the high speeds achieved there and everyone will be running the lowest level of downforce we see all year. Low downforce has not always been the best for our car, but the factory has been working hard to get more speed and stability for us with some changes to the car. Let’s wait and see how the car goes on Friday morning and then we’ll have a better idea of what can be achieved.
How do you feel about the DNF you experienced in Spa?
KR: Obviously it was not the first time I’ve had to finish a race early, and most likely it won’t be the last time either. That said, I’m here to race and I want to finish every time, so for sure what happened in Spa was not what we were looking for and not ideal for the championship.
What could you feel in the car?
KR: There were some brake issues at the beginning of the race but we were managing them and it was going okay. We knew the brakes were hot and you could see the smoke, but I was still able to brake okay until a part failed and there was no way I could continue.
Was it a shame to see your unbroken records come to an end?
KR: We knew the day would come. We had such a long period of time with the best reliability of all, so it was only natural that one day luck would go against us. (Lotus F1)
Subbed by AJN.