Raikkonen: I would rather start in the front and finish in front, life would be easier

Kimi Raikkonen  celebrates his eighth podium of the year in Korea

Kimi Raikkonen celebrates his eighth podium of the year in Korea

Kimi Raikkonen has made it a habit of turning mediocre grid positions into podiums and at the Korean Grand Prix he was at it again, converting ninth place into a second place. He spoke about his afternoon of work in the cockpit of the Lotus E21.

You had to start a little bit further back in ninth place. How was the drive to get yourself back into a chance of getting on the podium?
Kimi Raikkonen: It was OK. I mean from the beginning I lost I think one place on the first lap, no, on the first straight, but then there was an accident so get it back. The car was just understeering too much, the whole weekend, even today, so I have to try to look after the front tyre and that was really the limitation on how much I could push and obviously we were stuck behind the traffic after the pitstops and then we decided to stop earlier and it was a good move and obviously the safety car helped a little bit but we had the speed and we could run until the end. So even without the safety car we could have maybe run until the end and still have a podium position. So it was good – but not ideal.

Tell us about the pass on Romain going into Turn One. It looked rather close.
KR: I think he moved a few times on the left. I got a good run, he made a mistake in I think the second-last corner and I got the good run and I heard that there will be yellow flags at the end of the straight so I knew he’s not going to pass me back with the DRS because it’s not open with the yellow flags. So I thought I would try to overtake and it was not too difficult.

Eighth in the early stages, could you imagine being second at the end?
KR: We have done that before, so obviously… it’s not ideal to start so behind and not having maybe the best weekend. Bit similar to the last race really but the car was a bit better in the race. Still not ideal, a little bit too much understeer and I lost one place or two places at the start and then got them back in corner three. And then I was able to pass people and then sat behind them again after the pitstop. I had more speed but I couldn’t get past and then we decided to stop a bit earlier and when the safety car came for whatever it was, five laps or something, obviously it helped a little bit for us to close the gap in the front but we managed to pass all the cars apart from these two guys already, before the safety car. So it maybe helped a bit in the end because my front tyre was in quite a bad way, it kind of ran out of the rubber in the end. So I couldn’t go much longer any more – but obviously that’s the part of racing. Sometimes it helps you a bit.

I’m sure you were pushing hard right at the end but just nothing you could do about Sebastian?
KR: No, I mean. Let’s put it this way: even it we would have started behind him, we still don’t have the speed of him. Not far off from him in the race with a little bit from all the tyres but I mean it’s so difficult to overtake if you’re not massively faster. So, I think that was pretty OK what we did today.

And a pretty good result for the team.
KR: Yeah. I think that’s the more important. For them to get their… not the maximum points but not far off. I think we scored quite a bit more than the guys in front of us in the championship so it’s good for them.

You said after the first initial graining phase that the times were improving but that safety car… was there anything on your Friday data to suggest that you might have actually made it to the end, without the safety car?
KR: We would probably have tried it, or looked at some point at how the tyres… without the safety car we gained a lot of time and lap places if we’d stopped earlier in the last pit stops, so who knows? In the end we didn’t stop again now. You can always say that if but it makes no difference. You have to react and do what you think is the right thing and sometimes certain things help you. My front tyre was pretty done in the end but we finished the race in a pretty good position. We would probably try to run until then anyhow.

You had some action moments in this race, coming from the back, first with Fernando Alonso, then with Romain. From the start of the race to the finish of the race, can you describe it and did you enjoy it?
KR: Yeah, it was nice, I think we had pretty OK speed and then we made the most of it after yesterday. The car still wasn’t ideal today but we managed to be a bit faster on used tyres than some others. At the beginning I managed to overtake a few cars and then I got stuck on the second… after the pit stop I got stuck with the same cars again and then decided to stop earlier. I was pretty OK after the restart. Romain made a mistake and I managed to pass him and just didn’t have enough speed at the end and not enough tyres were left compared to them, because they stopped later. It was good fun but I would rather start in the front and finish in the front. It would have made our life a bit easier.

 

  • Boycottthebull

    Sorry Kimi but Grosjean had a good 30 seconds on you when the pace car came out. You may have worked your way to the podium but your second place was pace car luck not skill. (Ive upset the Kimi can do no wrong fans now havent I? Soz

  • Real world

    Kimi beat RG. Kimi made up 7 places. Kimi was a lot faster in clean air. Kimi overtok RG. Kimi had to deal with a pit stop blunder which put him behind alonso, after having overtaken him by great driving. RG cried like a baby for the team to give him Kimis second place after having messed up for himself. Kimi pulled a safe gap on older tyres and there was no pressure at all in the end coming from RG. So pure luck, right? Get a grip and do a reality check!

  • MAD EEVE

    @Real World Mate are you sure RG was begging on the radio for that place. I am sure the team was asking him to attack kimi.

  • TT

    @Mad eeve. Boullier himself said that Romain was asking for a team order because he “was faster”. He was told to race Kimi because he was behind him because of his own mistake.

  • TT

    @ ..tthebull. I think Kimi said that he made it to 3rd before the safety car, and would have made it to the podium, he never said that 2nd place was from skill. So what’s your point?

  • T.lung

    @boycotttbull I agreed with TT. So what’s your point?
    Kimi oledi say the safety car just help a little only. Lol……he past RG was from it skill, that truth.

  • Tamburello_1994

    Raikkonen: “I would rather start in the front and finish in front, life would be easier.”

    Why would you want that Kimi? Then you would be no better than S. Vettel . . . Winning from pole isn’t any thing special. No skill is needed for that. You need to start midpack and lap the entire field twice to prove you’re a great race car driver.

    Don’t take the wimp’s way out.

  • Binoy

    @bull KiMi overtook romain who had fresher rubber and holdon to that till the end. Thats not luck,thats skill. He might not have caught up with romain without safety car,but like kimi said podium was still possible.

  • Tinto

    Qualifing is not Kimi’s forte… Excellent as Alonso in the race where the pace is slower due the traffic and the likes.

    IMHO Grosjean is growing into a formidable driver, next year without Kimi, and with a good car we may see a different Romain.

  • farizY

    @Tamburello_1994

    Haha, good one. Sarcasm does not get any better than this.

  • kimifan

    Only heard Lotus team wanted Gro to race after he was overtaken by Kimi, but as our commentators said Romain was fair saying he couldnt… So I must believe it was the team who tried to force Gro to chase Kimi — was it not because of the bonus they still owe Kimi? 18 points are more expensive than 15 :D