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Minggu, 23 November 2008

2004: 4 Podiums


2. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), 1h24m44.830s (+ 2.130s)

Q: Kimi, what a start! Take us through that start and those early laps.
Kimi RAIKKONEN: It was good. The start was very good, to get the first place, and I just went as quickly as I could and I think after the first lap there was already quite a big gap. I kept pushing all the time but then I was a bit unlucky with the traffic, I got stuck behind the two Minardis after the first pit stop and this cost me way too much time. Every time I came out with new tyres I got stuck behind someone but that is racing and at least we got the second place in the end.

Q: Indeed, your first podium since Suzuka last year. But, from the safety car onwards, you were very close to Michael within a couple of laps of the car going in and then Michael started to pull away again.
Raikkonen: Yeah, I think the last set of tyres I had more difficulties with at the rear end than any other set so, like Michael said, I was hoping that I could get past the two lapped cars very quickly so that I could really challenge him with the new tyres. I got close to him but not past him. But for me, the team, Mercedes, for everyone, it is a good result because after a really difficult start to the season we finally got things going the right way and got back on the right track and we got some results. Now it is only the second race for the car so hopefully we can improve it.

Q: Kimi, that 3.5-second lead at the end of the first lap - what about that? What were you thinking?
Raikkonen: I just tried to do my best and push as hard as I could because I knew that Ferrari might be quicker than us over the race distance so I tried to build as much gap as I could. I did it well, but every time when I came out from the pits I was stuck behind someone so I couldn't use my new tyres, really, to gain more time. Then Michael got in front of me and I was stuck behind him. I tried to pass but I wasn't quick enough.

Q: Did you think you could win when you were right behind him there?
Raikkonen: Of course, I was always thinking that, I didn't give up before we finished the race. And in the last part, when we were behind the safety car I was also thinking that if I went past the two cars between us quickly then I would have a good chance because with new tyres I might be able to pass him. But it took too long to get past those two cars so I wasn't able. But in the end second place was good for us.

Q: What have you learned about the MP4-19B this weekend that you can take into, say, Hockenheim?
Raikkonen: I guess that it is a quick car and it is reliable but we still need to improve it and I think we are getting some new parts for the next race and hopefully we can go more strongly and maybe we can try for a win. It is a very positive start because it is only the second race that we have taken this car and we can really race with it, so it is very good for the team and for all the people.

Q: (Juha Paatalo - Financial Times Deutschland ) Question to Kimi, could you describe your feelings sitting in the car today and being able to fight for victory for the first time since Japan last year?
Raikkonen: Of course it was good, nice feeling, to be back racing for the podium and for the first place, not only just for me, but for the whole team because we've been having a really difficult season and everybody has been working to try to improve that situation and now finally with the new car, the 19B,� we are starting to get in the right direction, in the right way, so for sure it was very nice to not just be fighting for one point in seventh or eighth place. So I am much more than happy now, but I would be much more happier to be in first place but we cannot get everything straight away. So we need to still keep working hard and try to improve the package and then hopefully by the end of the season we are in the position where we really can challenge for a win at every race. That what we're aiming for.

Q: (Pascal Dro - Auto Plus) Kimi, when the safety car came in, you put in a wonderful lap just after the safety car came in and then Michael pulled away. Can you tell us exactly what happened from there to the end of the race?
Raikkonen: Because I had new tyres, you can see sometimes that the Michelins are working very well straight after you go out, so I was able to pull away. Then at the end I had more fuel than in his car. Maybe I struggled a little bit more on the last set of tyres then the others, I was sliding a bit from the rear of the car so I was not able to keep a distance or to keep close to him so I backed off for a little while, and then tried to push again after that.

Q: (Bob Bull - BBC Three Counties Radio) The British Grand Prix could be under threat, would you be sorry if you weren't racing in Great Britain?
Raikkonen: It's a nice circuit to race on. We get some overtaking so it would be nice to come back here.

1. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), 1h32m35.274s

Q: Kimi, an eventful day, a great race and an alarming first corner from your point of view; it looked as though Felipe Massa was right up inside you there.
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Yeah, I got quite a good start. I went on the outside and then halfway through the corner, I think it was Massa hit me in the rear. The car then felt really a bit funny and I almost came in, because I thought something had broken at the rear but I kept going and there was only a little damage on the floor. Then I got past Michael after the restart but after that, after I got past Michael, I got some sort of problem with the downshift so every time when I went down to downshift, the car was just pushing forward and the gears were not going in. So the whole race I was struggling, I was quite slow at that point but then sometimes it started to work. I was turning the switches all the time and trying to get the car back to the finish line and it wasn't easy to try but it was good enough to win.

Q: Amazing. Talk about that last restart. The pressure was on, Michael was right behind you, a few laps to go, everything to play for.
Raikkonen: Yeah. I know that it should work pretty well after the restart and quite often when we slow down after really fast laps the tyres even get better, so the tyres worked very well on the first and second lap after the restart and I think I got the fastest lap on the restart lap. I couldn't hope for a better result today.

Q: An incredible win, the first win for your team since Malaysia 2003. Your thoughts on the team finally returning to the podium?
Raikkonen: It's very good for the team and for me. We've had such a difficult season and when we got the 19B out, we had some speed and results but we have still been struggling to finish sometimes and we've finally now got what we deserved and hopefully we can keep it up this year and challenge for the title next year.

Q: Kimi, some final thoughts from you: a great race, Michael clinched the championship here and you raced him hard and fast throughout the day. Your thoughts and reflections on that race?
Raikkonen: I must say very happy because we won the race and we've been working hard. And congratulations to Michael on winning the championship and hopefully we can challenge him or whoever it is next year. But for the whole team it was a very good day: starting from tenth and finishing first. Maybe many people didn't believe that we could do that, but we had a strong car already on Friday and even in the wet conditions it wasn't bad, but I made a small mistake yesterday which cost me some places, so there will definitely be some good partying today.

Q: Kimi, starting tenth on the grid, did you ever think you could win this race?
Raikkonen: I knew that the car was pretty good because in the only dry running we did on Friday we were quickest so I was quite hopeful to be at least on the podium here, but maybe I wasn't thinking that the car was as good as it was, even though we had quite a few problems with the shifting. Every time when I tried to downshift, the car was just pushing and the gears were not going on so I was struggling quite a bit with it in some points. Sometimes it worked and sometimes not and I almost spun off a few times because it locked up the rear end completely so I'm pretty happy with the results we got in the end.

Q: When was that, Kimi, when did you start having that problem?
Raikkonen: It started after I passed Michael, maybe two laps after that, like lap ten or something or eight.

Q: And then it happened all the way through the rest of the race?
Raikkonen: Yeah. I think for a few laps it was working and then I started to have the problem again so I was changing the switches on the steering wheel at every corner and trying to get some sort of idea how I could manage to push again, because I lost so many seconds in those two laps before I could know that it was going to happen under braking, so that was good for us.

Q: So how did you cure it then? You just had to drive around it...
Raikkonen: Yeah. Actually we have a different position on engine braking, so one of them was working but that's like extreme, so it's like locking the rear wheels all of the time so I was using it at the hairpin and into the chicane because otherwise I couldn't stop the car. So that was the only way and then changing the position for the other corners.

Q: Early on, you overtook David; was that easy, how did that work out?
Raikkonen: I just went flat out through Eau Rouge and up the hill I was much quicker up the hill and I was just went past him.

Q: And any other major moments?
Raikkonen: No, not really. Only once. I think Alonso was having some problems because he was leaking oil from the car and I came behind him through Eau Rouge and got a little bit sideways there but that's all.

Q: (Dan Knutson - National Speed Sport News) We have seen a great race today. Meanwhile in Athens another great competition, the Olympics, is coming to a close. What particular events and athletes have you guys been following at the Olympics?
Raikkonen: Actually I went there for a promotion so I saw the basketball and the beach volley competition. That's all really.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi - La Gazzetta dello Sport) Kimi, do you think after this victory that you can fight in all of the last races with the red cars?
Raikkonen: I think so, once we get everything sorted out and we don't have any problems. I think the rest of the races should be pretty good for us, but it will be difficult to win always and we will give our best as a team and hopefully we can win some more races.

Q: (Livio Oricchio - O Estado de Sao Paulo) Kimi, some drivers with Michelin tyres had punctures, the rear right tyre blew up - Button, Montoya. Were you worried about that?
Raikkonen: No. The only thing at the start of the race that I was a little bit worried about was that my car was damaged because I think it was Massa who hit me in the rear at the first corner so the car felt a little bit funny when the safety car came out. But luckily enough there was only small damage on the floor so it didn't really hurt me much.

Q: As driver would you say the track was clean. Obviously there were some incidents and it is difficult to clean it all up, but would you say it was pretty good?
Raikkonen: Yeah. I guess this is always a little bit dirty so it was as clean as the marshals and the people could do it.

Q: (Juha Paatalo - Financial Times Deustchland) Kimi, there was a moment when you were standing on the podium and looking down at your crew. What were you thinking?
Raikkonen: Of course I was looking at them, but I was also looking at the other people also. I was happy, happy for myself and for the team. We've been working hard especially because the start of the season was so difficult for us so finally we have got some good results and something back from the hard work and hopefully we can keep it up and we have learned from the mistakes we did. So I'm pretty confident that next year we should be back were we are now and hopefully fight for all the wins.

Q: (Anna Vassilieva - Auto Business Weekly) Question for you. Which tyre manufacturer was the most successful today, Bridgestone or Michelin?
Raikkonen: I guess...If you only look at the Grand Prix I think Michelin won, but overall it is quite difficult to say. My tyres were working really well today all of the race so I was very happy with the tyres and hopefully it is the same situation in the next races.

Q: Kimi, an English journalist said he would run naked around Silverstone if McLaren won a race this year. Will you be there?
Raikkonen: I think so. I definitely will go and hopefully it is raining heavily, so it will be even more fun. (laughter). Let's hope that he will keep his word.

3. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), 1h29m13.889 (+ 1.469s)

Q: Kimi, a very close race in the opening stages there and a very short middle stint you had there in your fuel strategy.
Raikkonen: Yeah, the car was pretty good all the way though the race but we did a little risk because I was always stuck behind Rubens and tried in the middle to drive past him but it didn't pay off and actually we lost the second place from that. But we are here to try to win the races and not to finish second so I am not too disappointed really right now. I was quite happy with the car all the way through but with the last set of tyres at the beginning I was struggling but in the end they came good again.

Q: What was it like following Rubens in that first stage of the race on this circuit? What is your impression of this circuit? Could you have tried to overtake him or would it have been very risky?
Raikkonen: I did all I could but I wasn't able to get close enough. It's pretty okay to follow other people but the problem is if you don't get close enough you cannot even try and I was just a little bit too far away. I didn't have the speed on the back straight, so I was not able even to try to overtake.

Q: Kimi, third place, are you happy with that?
Raikkonen: Yeah, it was the best that they could do. I think we were taking a little bit of a risk in the middle of the race to try to pass Rubens. We did quite a short fill on the second stop but it didn't pay off but we tried to win the race and not come second so I am not too disappointed to lose second place.

Q: It was almost as though you were able to pressure Rubens but towards the end of the stint you would drop away again.
Raikkonen: Yeah, he seems to go a little bit quicker always at the end, but I was able to keep the pace fairly similar so I could not pressure him any more when I was able to stay with him. That was enough, but unfortunately we were not quick enough to pass him.

Q: Car, engine and tyres OK?
Raikkonen: Yeah, the car was very good. Since the start of the race we were quicker and the tyres were very consistent so I think the whole package was good and at the end of the race it got quicker and quicker all the time so I was able to catch up with the others but it was a bit too late.

Q: (Dan Knutson - National Speedsport News) For the last 90 minutes you have been the fastest three drivers in all of China, but at other times this weekend, and tonight when you go back to the hotel or the airport, you have to be driven because you're not allowed to drive in this country. What has it been like to be a passenger for the last few days? (Laughter)
Raikkonen: I was OK. Actually our traffic was not too bad any day. Our driver was taking it easy, in the back on the Mercedes it is pretty nice.

Q: (Clifford Coonan - Irish Times) What do you think sets this track apart from others?
Raikkonen: It is always nice to come to new circuits and new places. I think this is a very nice circuit to drive. The first two corners are a bit tricky but the rest of the circuit is pretty normal. It's a very similar design to some other circuits. It's nice, there's nothing wrong with it.

Q: (Yanyan Pang - China Radio International) Is there anything you were not satisfied with in the first Chinese Grand Prix?
Raikkonen: Good answers, so I will leave it there.

Q: Kimi, a fantastic race, as we said, 1.6s behind as you rejoined from your final pit stop, what were your thoughts then, did you think you could do it?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Yeah, I was trying. I got close but not close enough to try to do anything. But after the first pit stop he got past me and I was a bit too careful under braking in the first corner so maybe I lost it then, but anyway it's good to finish the season in second place.

Q: But you did win the race out of the pit lane, but then he got you at the end of the straight. Tell us about that little race into the lefthander at the end of the pit lane?
Raikkonen: Yeah, I wasn't sure how much he could get there but then he got behind me and then got on the better side under braking but it was just a nice race, but when I pulled out of my pit stop I couldn't see him at all so I didn't know he was next to me, so we were driving side-by-side out of the pit but luckily we didn't hit each other, so it was good.

Q: Kimi are you a bit disappointed?
Raikkonen: Of course always when you can't win you are disappointed. We did what we could today and unfortunately we were not able to win.

Q: What about those opening just streaked away?
Raikkonen: Yeah the car was good and the Michelin tyre is very competitive now. They are very good in these types of conditions. Unfortunately I would rather have had a dry race from the beginning because Michelin would have had a better chance.

Q: And then when you came out so close behind him at the end.
Raikkonen: Yeah not close enough. We needed to be in front of him but it didn't happen and I could still close the gap. But that is it I couldn't do anything else. I tried to get close enough to do something but I was not able to do it.

Q: If you could go back to do something different is there anything?
Raikkonen: I think so when he passed after the pit-stop I took it a bit too careful into the first corner so I think the race was pretty much decided then. I think we were a little bit lacking in the speed in some parts of the race so I couldn't stay with him. It is always easy to say afterwards that we would have done this.

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