Kimi Raikkonen fought away back pain to score one of his most memorable, and possibly most deserved, podium finishes when he started from 13th on the grid to finish third in the Singapore Grand Prix. The Lotus driver spoke about the feat afterwards.
You had a back problem in qualifying. Has that affected you during the race?
Kimi Räikkönen: Luckily not too much but now afterwards it’s not 100 per cent but it doesn’t matter: we have two weeks’ time to rest and get it right. I think we did the best that we could and finished third, so I don’t think we could have achieved much more today.
You had to be patient through that race. You really had to believe that you could still be there at the end and take the places when they were there and not make mistakes.
KR: Yeah, I think I had pretty OK speed and then I could overtake a few people and then in the end I was following Jenson and I could see that his tyres were going off so I just gave some pressure and then I have to get past him because obviously some people changed to new tyres and they were catching us quickly. I managed to pass him and pull away and luckily nobody managed to catch me in the end. So, not too bad.
You say very calmly “I managed to pass him” but it was around the outside at Turn 14. It was at tricky one.
KR: Yeah, maybe it looks more tricky. Obviously you have more grip when you brake on the line and you know more or less where you have to brake. Much easier than inside. So, not an easy one but we managed to get past and that’s the main thing.
When you put those tyres on, did you know you were going to try to go on the finish on them – and what in your mind did you think was possible at stage?
KR: We had a plan and we know that what moment, if the Safety Car comes, we try to go until the end, so I knew what will happen and luckily some other teams couldn’t do it and had to pit. I was kind of stuck behind Jenson for most of the race but then I tried to give him some pressure and keep him pushing so I noticed that he started running out of his tyres and I could start to get in closer and closer. In the end I decided to try to pass him and managed to get past – because there were people who stopped for the fresh tyres who were catching very quickly but luckily once I got past I could push a bit more and keep the gap big enough to end it in third place. After [a] weekend where we had some problems with myself and not the ideal setup with all those things and where we were yesterday, finishing third, I don’t think we could have asked much more.
Can you describe the back problem you’ve been suffering from and how do you feel right now?
KR: I didn’t feel it too much during the race but obviously afterwards it’s not ideal and yesterday it was pretty bad. I almost didn’t drive, so between that and finishing third I think we have to be happy – and hopefully we can sort those problems for the next race. It’s not the first time. For a long time there have been some issues with my back. I know that I have some work to do at the end of the year so we have to see what we do.
Was this the most painful race weekend you have ever had?
KR: Yes, I had some pain yesterday but for sure there have maybe been some more painful ones where something goes wrong, it doesn’t always have to be physical pain, there can be something…you don’t finish the race which is more painful in a way. Other things sometimes happen like this weekend and you have to live with it.
Do you think that you will be fully recovered for Korea and what do you target there?
KR: For sure, we will have to see. I think it should be OK and we try to do a better overall weekend there.
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