In an exclusive interview on Sky Italia tonight, Kimi Raikkonen talks about making impressions as a F1 debutant, reaching over due success at Ferrari and plans for the future.
Q: What did you think when you came into Formula 1, when you were approached by a prestigious team like McLaren and when you moved to another great team, Ferrari ? Raikkonen: ''I don't remember too much of the first test and the first experience. It was all electrifying and new. It was a fun first year. Certainly, there were also dissapointments, but they're inevitable when you confront yourself with a new experience. You try, but at times you don't exactly know what you have to do and what you don't. It was a more than positive year for the team. I've felt well at Sauber. Straight after the first year I've gone to McLaren, where I've stayed for a a number of years. It was a nice period, eventhough we've expected better results. And then lastly the move to Ferrari. It was the best chance I've had so far. I've won the first race of the season and the title. Moreover, I like working at Ferrari. Like I've said before, there's a nice atmosphere. They let me do what I want and we work well together. I feel well within the team. Without a doubt it's the best experience I've had in Formula 1. From that point of view I succeed in enjoying Formula 1 more than I was able to in the past.''
Q: What did you think at the moment you were alone for the first time after having won the championship ? Raikkonen: ''I was very happy because I had finally obtained what I dreamt of all my life. It was a wonderful feeling. Being there alone, I thought of all the years before I got to the point (of actually doing it - AFCA). A unique and intense feeling, also considering the way in it was won.''
Q: What meant Formula 1 for you when you were a boy ? What's it like now being a worldchamp ? Do you like this kind of Formula 1 ? Raikkonen: ''As a kid I used to watch the Grand Prix'. Everyone was dreaming of becoming a driver, I only started thinking about it at the age of 18-19 though. It was at that age I started thinking of really doing this job. Before that I changed my mind every other day dreaming to become this character or that one, also from other sports. Today Formula 1 is my job and it's also what I love to do. I'm more enjoying it now becuase I've won. I like to drive and to race. Of course, Formula 1 isn't just about fantastic things, but it's part of it.''
Q: There are people that say you're an unlucky driver because you've lost out on two worldtitles. What do you think about that now ? Have you ever thought about being unlucky ? Raikkonen: ''During some moments luck wasn't on my side, but there were also a lot of other reasons to it. Things could have gone differently a few years ago, but at least I've won last year. Moreover, when you loose, you always learn something. It's not the nicest ways of learning, but it helps from a certain point of view. Now I'm content and I don't think much about fortune. When you work solidly, you'll obtain what you want.''
Q: How's your relationship with president Di Montezemolo ? He's said that the longest sentence he has once heard you say was: 'I'm very happy to drive for Ferrari'... Raikkonen: ''No, it's not really like that. I think there were some longer ones. Our relationship is very good. ''He can be hard when it's necessary, but also very amicable and correct with everyone. He's very friendly, like everyone in Formula 1, or better at Ferrari. A good person he is.''
Q: Do you think people like you ? Raikkonen: ''I wouldn't know, ask them. I don't really care. Certainly, there are people that like you and others that don't, but I don't think you can be sympathetic perforce to everyone, so I do what I want and if people don't like that, then so be it. It's not my problem.''
Q: What are your objectives ? Win as many worldtitles as Schumacher ? Or become the 'oldest' Formula 1 driver ? Raikkonen: ''I surely don't want to become the oldest Formula 1 driver, I'll stop earlier than that. I want to get good results and win as many races and championships as possible. I'm not prefixed to break other drivers' records or to remain in Formula 1 longer than everyone else. I'll continue to do so for as long as I like it. I'll stop on the day I no longer have fun.''
Q: Were you as serious as a kind (as you are now) when you were driving karts ? Raikkonen: ''Who, me ? I was a kid, so everything was a lot more fun. It wasn't all that serious. In Formula 1 a lot of things are done seriously. It are different situations. Back then it was a game, it was a lot more fun.''
Q: What's the craziest thing you've done as a kid ? Perhaps so crazy you're father was shouthing: 'Enough Kimi....come here !' .... Raikkonen: ''I wouldn't know, there have been a lot of these things. I've combined a lot of them so I can't remember one particularly...''
Q: What kind of boy were you ? Raikkonen: ''I was pretty wild, always doing things I shouldn't have. It was always like that.''
Q: Is there something that you wouldn't do again ? Something crazy... ? Raikkonen: ''No, for now no.''
Q: Would you like to have a big family ? Raikkonen: ''I don't know. I want to have kids, but not now because I'm too busy.... When you have kids it would be nice to see them also. We should wait some years.''
Q: Do you think you would be a good dad ? Raikkonen: ''I wouldn't know. We'll see...I think I'll manage.''
Q: Have you never thought about it ? Do you think you're cool ? Raikkonen: ''I am who I am.... and I'm happy with myself.
Q: And you're always yourself ? Raikkonen: ''Yes. I don't see why one must change. You're life is no longer nice and fun when you try to be someone you're not.''
Comme souvent sur le circuit Gilles Villeneuve, la voiture de sécurité pourrait jouer un rôle capital dans la course à la voiture et au podium ce week-end, à Montréal.
Selon Kimi Räikkönen, il est fortement probable que la safety-car fera son apparition en piste durant le Grand Prix, et les écuries devront anticiper au mieux cette éventualité afin de ne pas ruiner leur stratégie.
"Je n'ai pas le souvenir d'un Grand Prix du Canada qui n'a pas été neutralisé par la voiture de sécurité, et je m'attends à ce que ça se produise dimanche. Si c'est le cas, nous devrons être très prudents avec la stratégie."
"Avec ce règlement, la chance est très importante dans ces circonstances si vous souhaitez gagner. Espérons que si la voiture de sécurité fait son entrée en piste, ce sera au moment opportun pour nous."
Dix jours après avoir cédé la tête du championnat du monde à Lewis Hamilton, le finlandais n'a toujours pas digéré d'avoir quitté Monaco avec un zéro pointé.
"Je n'ai pas du tout aimé terminer neuvième, sans point. C'était la première course de la saison où je n'inscrivais aucun point et nous ne pouvons pas nous permettre de revivre une telle chose car la lutte est extrêmement féroce."
Cependant, le champion du monde en titre pense que la course de Montréal sera plus favorable à la Scuderia Ferrari, d'autant plus que la monoplace rouge est plus adaptée à ce tracé que sa devancière.
"La stabilité lors des freinages et lorsque vous passez sur les vibreurs est extrêmement importante. La F2008 a beaucoup progressé dans ce domaine par rapport à la voiture de l'an passé. Mais, évidemment, nous devrons patienter jusqu'à la première séance d'essais du vendredi pour confirmer cela."