Australian GP - POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE - 09/03/2003
3. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), 1h34m51.316s (+ 9.192s)
Q: Kimi, you decided even earlier to switch to dry tyres. Talk us through that decision?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: We weren't really sure on the warm-up lap that it was dry enough for dry tyres but then before we came on the starting grid I decided, with the team we decided, to come in and change to dry tyres and put enough fuel for one stop and it was a good decision. But, unfortunately, it didn't really work out so well. I got tried for a penalty on speeding on a pit lane but that cost quite many places.
Q: But you had a brilliant race with Michael Schumacher. Let's talk about that. That incident at the end of the straight as well, he was alongside you there and he was on the grass as he came out.
KR: Yeah, I think so, the first corner is a bit too tight for two cars and someone needs to give up and it was this time him. It was a good race against him. Maybe he was a little bit quicker than us but not much.
Q: Did you know at that point when you were racing with Michael there that you were under investigation for that speeding infringement?
R: No, it came quite late because I did the exact same thing with the pit lane speed as the time before when I had this drive through penalty and I didn't even notice that I was speeding but I guess there is some guys who noticed.
Q: How was it racing with Michael, would you describe it as clean racing?
KR: Yeah. It was quite difficult: the first part of the lap was quite easy to keep him behind but then always in the first corner he seems to always get quite good exit in the last corner and I had some difficulties a couple of times but it was quite good.
Q: A certain amount of frustration for you as well, Kimi?
KR: Yes. It seemed to be quite difficult in those last 20 laps to stay in the first place after making a mistake, speeding in the pit lane. I didn't get why it was speeding because I used the pit limiter much earlier than the line.
Q: But third place from 15th on the grid?
KR: Actually, I started from the pit lane. I came in before the start to change to slick tyres and enough fuel for a one-stop and then picked up the places with a little bit of overtaking?
Q: What was it like in those early laps?
KR: Not too bad actually. Some corners, it was slippery, like five and six, where there had been no sun under the trees. But the rest of the circuit was quite good.
Q: And the pressure from Michael?
KR: Yeah, a little bit. But he never got in front of me. Unfortunately, I didn't win the race, but at least our team won and that is a good thing.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Kimi, could you describe when and where you made your different decisions about tyres before the start?
KR: I clearly did it on the warm-up lap because if we stayed on intermediates we would need to be in after ten laps and we would lose more time than if we go straight in with the slicks and one stop strategy and I think it was good. We were just unlucky in the race but that was our decision.
Q: Kimi, your decision not to let Michael past, do you think you scored an important little psychological victory there?
KR: No not really, I just tried to keep him behind and he got on the brakes, he got on the outside of me but as I was on the inside of the corner, it was quite easy to keep him behind and then the corner was too tight for two cars and he ran wide.
Q: Did you enjoy that?
KR: Yeah, of course it was nice. (Laughter)
Q: Can I ask you to look ahead to Malaysia not that we've got some form on the board and some idea of what's happening?
KR: I think it's quite difficult to say what's going to happen but hopefully we will have a much better weekend than this weekend because, as David said, we had the speed all weekend but I guess we made quite a big mess in qualifying and that didn't really help us but maybe we were a little bit lucky but also in the race we had the speed and we scored a good finish and I think that's a good thing. But like they said, it's going to be really difficult what's going to happen in the next race. It's a completely different place and also the weather will be much warmer and hopefully it will suit our tyres better.
Malaysian GP - POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE – 23/03/2003
1. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), 1h32m22.195s
Q: Kimi, Ron Dennis calls you the iceman, the floor's yours, how hot was it? What was that race like, what are your emotions?
Kimi Raikkonen: It's difficult to say right now really. I think it will be tomorrow when I really notice that I won my first race. The race was quite hot, but actually I didn't need to push so hard in the last 20 laps. I was just driving around and coming home.
Q: You started from seventh on the grid, what are your thoughts about not being on the front row and winning a Grand Prix from that position?
KR: I think that now they have changed the qualifying system you never know what other teams are doing and you have a chance. Of course at the start there was a little bit of ...I don't know what happened, but some people last a bit of time. It was a good race for us.
Q: When you were chasing Fernando in that first stint, were you trying to picture, with the team, what sort of strategy he was on?
KR: No, I just pushed as hard as I could. I was catching him all the time a little bit but then there was slower cars and it was not so easy to catch him and luckily we ran much longer the first stint and we came in first.
Q: Was it a trouble free race after that?
KR: Yeah, pretty much. The tyres worked very well, Michelin brought really good tyres for this and also for the first race and the team - the guys made a good job on the pit stop and the engine, everything, the whole package was great. We put in so much effort over the winter and it's paying off now and it's good for all of us.
Q: Kimi, is this the beginning of a McLaren-Mercedes reign in Formula One?
KR: Hopefully. We don't know but so far it's looking really good. We're leading both championships and we will do our best. There are still 15/14 races to go. It's a long way but we are in quite good shape now because we are still using the old car of course, like Ferrari, but hopefully, when we get our new car we will be even quicker.
Q: Kimi, how did it feel on the podium, hearing the Finnish national anthem, leading the championship, what were your feelings?
KR: Very good but I think there is still a bit to go to notice that I've done it. I think tomorrow will be a different story but, no, biggest thanks to the team, to the Mercedes people, to the team people, the engineers, everyone. Michelin have been putting in lots of effort also and everything that we did during the winter has now paid off and it's looking very good so far but of course, there are still many races to go but nonetheless, this is a good show for us.
Q: What did you see of the chaos at the first corner?
KR: Two cars hit one another in corner two and then one of them spun off. First, I was deciding to go outside and then I noticed that a car was going backwards to the outside of the circuit and I just turned the car at the last minute to go on the inside. It was a good decision because I was a bit slow but I didn't lose any places.
Q: You had Nick Heidfeld ahead of you; how easy was he to pass?
KR: Not too difficult actually. We had very good straight-line speed and the traction and braking has been good all weekend and it was quite easy to pass him.
Q: Did you think you could win from seventh on the grid?
KR: I think so, now, that it's very difficult to say, after qualifying, what teams are doing. You've noticed that Michelin has been very strong the whole weekend. Of course, I wasn't expecting a win but nevertheless it was very nice to win it. My qualifying wasn't so good and that's why we were further away from the first place than we should have been. On the warm-up lap, the car felt good and I was quite confident but of course, I wasn't expecting to win, but it was very good.
Q: Otherwise, was everything pretty much perfect?
KR: Yeah, the car was running really nicely and on the last twenty laps I was driving pretty easily, just bringing the car home and didn't have any difficulties. The handling was just perfect. I lost a little bit of time lapping people but it's the same for everyone. Otherwise everything worked well.
Q: Kimi, congratulations. Do you believe in your heart that you will be world champion this season?
KR: (laughter) I really don't know. This is a long season still, and so far everything has been correct for us and hopefully it's going to be the same thing for the rest of the season. We're in quite a good position because we will have our new car hopefully when we start the European season and we can improve our speed even more
Q: Kimi, first congratulations. It took Mika 96 tries, you 36. Are you proud of breaking his record?
KR: Of course it's nice to get it earlier in an earlier race, still I feel that I have been a little bit unlucky not win last you or win the last race. Nevertheless, this came now and I'm very happy. I haven't been counting how many races I have done or how much everyone else has done before they have won their first race. I just have been trying to do my best and trying to win the race. Now it's come and, for sure, it should be much easier now because people are not asking me all the time 'when are you going to win your first race. It's easier now.
Q: Kimi, I believe you started using the twin-belt system from this race. Is that correct?
Q: Is it more effective?
KR: Yes. The first race I did with the normal HANS system and I didn't have any problems but because it was available I tried it once in a test and the belts weren't the right length there were some problems anyhow and I wasn't able to use it in the first race but now we've got a new set of belts and it wad good for me and I decided to use it because even though I had some problems before I think always that it was better like this.
Q: This question is to Kimi. How will you celebrate tonight?
KR: (smiles) Actually, I'm flying back to home to Switzerland this evening and I don't think there's much partying today, but we'll see.
Q: Kimi, congratulations. Did you fully trust you pit lane speed limiter during the pit stops (laughter)?
KR: Yes. We had a problem with the software in the first race and I was maybe a little bit slower into the limit zone than in the first race but we fixed the problems in testing and it was fine all weekend and I didn't worry about it too much. I had a feeling; hopefully, it was going to work now because I was in the situation in the last race. No, the team worked very well.
Q: Kimi, you do well today so perhaps you have some good advice for the Finnish soccer team who are going to play Italy in the World Cup qualifying match?
KR: (laughter) Hopefully, we will win against Italy but it's difficult. Italy is still one of the best countries in football. I guess the guys will fight and we will see (laughter).
Q: Well done, Kimi. What about the heat today? Have you lost much fluid in the car? Did you find the heat a problem out there?
KR: Of course, it's a little bit hotter than usual, but it wasn't too bad, actually. I was expecting it to be more difficult. Maybe it was because I did not have to push so hard for the last 20 laps. I was just driving along and I it was just like any other race.
Q: This is for Raikkonen. A hypothetical situation. If you had to choose between two drivers to be your partner, who would you choose: that's between Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve (much laughter)?
KR: I really don't know where you're aiming with that question, but David is a great team-mate and he was unlucky today not to finish the race and this is completely fine now what we have.
Brazillian GP - POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE - 06/04/2003
1. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN MERCEDES), 1h29m53.179s
TV UNILATERALS Q: Kimi, what about your start, brilliant, taking the lead when you did? Kimi RAIKKONEN: Yes, I think so. The first two laps were quite difficult - what were the conditions? - and so? after that I got past the other cars and it was much easier to drive, because in the first place there was no spray from the other cars. Things were going well, and then there was a safety car and afterwards it was a good decision that we didn't come in at the first safety car. Things went quite well, the whole race. Maybe we were a little bit lucky but a win is a win and that's all that matters.
Q: Can you just explain why you didn't come in at that first safety car period?
Raikkonen: I think that it came so quickly that we didn't make the decision quickly enough but in the end it was the right decision, so thanks to the team. It was a difficult race because the conditions were so bad and the safety car was out so often, but I'm pretty happy.
Q: You were losing time to David towards the end there, what was the problem?
Raikkonen: I think so because I came in later and the tyres were newer than his and they then were graining more and they were almost slicks and I wasn't able to push so hard.
Q: Kimi, tell us about the conditions, especially at the start. Give us some idea of how difficult it was?
Raikkonen: Of course, the start is always difficult because you don't know how the circuit is, but the first few laps were extremely difficult, especially when you're behind someone, because you don't see the corners and the cars in front of you and you're guessing all the time. After I got into first place it was much easier because I saw the corners and things were going much better then.
Q: Did the safety car come in at about the right time after the start? Did you feel that there was a drying line?
Raikkonen: ?No. I think it was still OK, but in the end it all worked well for me because I didn't come in at the first safety car period and it was a good decision.
Q: Did you change onto dry tyres?
Raikkonen: No, no. When I came in we just put more fuel in, new tyres. I think we dropped a couple of places but we were still behind the leaders and I was able to overtake a couple of cars after that and gain places but then the circuit started to dry up and I had some difficulties with tyres. It took quite a few laps before they started to get quicker and quicker and David was pulling away, but just before all these things happened I was catching him a little bit and I was quite happy.
Q: When Giancarlo overtook you, what happened there?
Raikkonen: Actually the tyres, after I had problems with them, they came back and then they went off again and it was a bit too slippery and I lost the rear grip in the middle of the corner and I just ran wide and Giancarlo got past me. OK, we were a bit lucky that we won the race but anyhow first place is what counts and I'm not complaining.
Q: It might seem strange that you won again after your first win two weeks ago, but history actually relates that a number of drivers have won again after their debut win but this was a little bit luckier, wasn't it?
Raikkonen: Oh yes, but I've also been quite unlucky in some places and I know how it feels to lose a race with a couple of laps to go. But that's racing and it's the same for everyone and we were slightly more lucky than maybe some others. It was good, I'm very happy and the team did a great job and the car was working perfectly. The Michelins were very good when it was very wet.
Q: Was the car set up for full wet or was there more you would have liked to have done? Raikkonen: No, actually we don't need to change the set-up too much from wet to dry. It seems to be pretty good in both conditions and that's a good thing because if we have races like this and also especially with the new regulations where you are not allowed to change anything, it's very good.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Kimi did you think you had finished runner-up?
Raikkonen: Yeah. We were not sure if the race had been stopped completely or if we were going to restart. I went to the FIA and they told me I had won the race and I am really happy.
Q: After the discussions on Friday afternoon and there was so much rain and we see so many cars crash in the race. Should we have had a race in these circumstances?
Raikkonen: I think it was the right decision to start behind the safety car and when the race started the conditions were much better. We were able to race safely. Really it is difficult with the water on the circuit and I think it was more difficult that on a rain tyre. It was safe enough and it is good that nobody has been hurt.
Q: Kimi you have a great advantage in the championship?would you like to be world champion? Raikkonen: If things keep going at this rate yes, but sometimes you are lucky and sometimes less lucky. We will do our best and our goal at the start of the race was to score as many points as possible. If we keep scoring points it is good for the championship and it was good because the drivers did not score so many points. As long as keep scoring points with the old car, we are looking good for the championship. We will do our best.
Q: You are just 23 years old and after three races you lead the championship. What is your personal feeling?
Raikkonen: It is great. It is very similar to the last race but it is better because I have won two in a row, leading the championship with more points. It looks good for the championship but it is too early to say where we are going to finish, but so far things are good.
Q: Kimi, were you going to stop again?
Raikkonen: I thought that I was coming in but?
Q: Did your team know Giancarlo might be running low?
Raikkonen: I was too busy doing my best on the circuit.
Q: Kimi when you lost the position to Giancarlo, you have understeer. Were your tyres gone? Raikkonen: Yeah the tyres were starting to give up a little but. I got a bit out of shape with understeer.
San Marino GP - POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE – 20/04/ 2003
2. Kimi RAIKKONEN (MCLAREN), 1h28m13.940s (+ 1.882s)
Q: Kimi, a two stop strategy, obviously compromised by your grid position but a great result in the end?
mi RAIKKONEN: Yeah, it was good drive for us, but the teamwork was great and the strategy worked quite well. I got quite a good start and then I tried to hold onto the leaders and everything went pretty well.
Q: You had a bit of pressure from Rubens at the end of the race.
Raikkonen: Yes, a little bit too much. He got quite close but it wasn't a problem.
Q: Kimi, pressure for quite a lot of the race for you from Fernando Alonso at the start and Rubens at the end. How much pressure was Fernando putting on you?
Raikkonen: Not much actually. I didn't have any problems actually, I just tried to keep up with the leaders and do my best. There were no problems.
Q: We saw your tires at the one point, your right front, which look liked as though there was nothing on it at all. Did you have any problems at all?
Raikkonen: No, not with the tires. The car was quite difficult to drive with the second set but then the last set were good.
Q: You were losing a bit of time on the second set then?
Raikkonen: Yes because I was pushing so hard because the car was oversteering.
Q: Otherwise everything was okay?
Raikkonen: Yes, only in the second pit-stop I had some difficulties to get off the blocks because I came in in second gear and I tried to select first gear but I couldn't. There was no gearing and it took a bit of time to find a gear.
Q: Still leading the championship?.
Raikkonen: Yeah it looks good so far. We need to push hard and try to keep our lead and then we will get the new car and be able to fight for the wins again.
Q: We are told the car will be within the next month, but the next race do you think?
Raikkonen: I don't know. I haven't even seen the car.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: To the drivers. In the drivers' briefing were you allowed to cross the line at the pit-exit because some of the drivers crossed the white line and nothing happened?
Raikkonen: I don't know even what line you are saying. There is some line but it goes over the exit and you need to drive over it otherwise you are never going to get on the circuit. (Laughter).
Austrian GP – POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE – 18/05/2003
2. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), 1h24m08.250s (+ 3.362s)
Q: Kimi, you had a lot of pressure from the Ferraris all day but made a great second place and you took something like four seconds out of Michael when it began to rain in the first third of the race.
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Yeah, the car was quite good, it was good to finish in second, but I'm still disappointed not to have won the race. When it started to rain, I think the Michelins worked a little bit better than the Bridgestones under those conditions and we were able to go a little bit quicker but it was not enough.
PRESS CONFERENCE Q: Kimi, second place, what happened at the start first of all?
Raikkonen: I did not have a very good start. I lost a place to Montoya and then I just tried to keep Rubens behind me and after the first few laps it was a little bit more stable and more settled to push again.
Q: What about the end, he actually got ahead of you. How hard was it then?
Raikkonen: Yes, I just tried to keep him behind and managed to hold onto my second place. It was quite difficult because we had a few problems with the car and to finish second was the best that we could do today.
Q: Can you tell us exactly what those problems were?
Raikkonen: A bit on the engine side but it lasted at the end and that is the main thing. It was hurting our speed a little bit but the main thing is to finish the race and score as many points as possible.
Q: When did you have that problem from?
Raikkonen: Quite early on, but what can you do? The team tried hard and everything stayed together and we had quite a strong race.
Q: Without that problem do you think you could have given Michael a bit more of a hard time? Raikkonen: Maybe, but I don't know. There is no point talking about that because afterwards it is easy to say that maybe if we didn't have any problems...but no, I am quite happy with what we achieved.
Q: And at least you are still the championship leader...
Raikkonen: Yeah, but it is getting smaller and that is the bad thing. But we need to keep fighting and do our best.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Kimi, can you explain how Michael overtook you because we did not see it on TV and secondly do you think the program has changed for the new McLaren after this result?
Raikkonen: The new car, we are testing that next week for the first time and it all depends how good it is. If it is reliable straight away and quick then who knows we might end up having it at the next race but so far it is not been planned. But the pass with Michael, he passed quite easily. I decided to take the inside line but he had much better traction out of the corner and I was not able to keep him behind and he just got past me at corner two.
Monaco GP – POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE – 01/06/2003
2. Kimi RAIKKONEN (MCLAREN), 1h42m19.612s (+ 0.602s)
Q: Kimi , you were on the front row but Juan Pablo got the jump on you into turn one there... Kimi RAIKKONEN: Yeah, I'm not very lucky with second place on the starting grid. I always seem to get bad starts. Okay, the race was a little bit just following Montoya to try to get past but here, you don't have any chances to get past if they don't make any mistakes. I knew that I would run a little bit longer on the pit stops but on the first and second pit stops I always had traffic when he went into the pits and that completely destroyed the chance to try to get past him.
Q: Kimi , what happened to you at the start?
Raikkonen: It looks like it's not very good for me to start from the second place, because every time I have lost at least one place. But I don't know, I just didn't get the traction and lost one place, almost two, but I just managed to keep the Renault behind me.
Q: Then what were the tactics towards the end when you were right on his tail?
Raikkonen: I was just hoping that something would go wrong or that he would make a big mistake so that I was able to pass him. I knew that he wouldn't have too many problems to keep me behind, but I still tried to keep up some pressure. I was a bit unlucky with the pit stops because every time when he went in I was stuck behind the cars and I wasn't able to push but that's racing and maybe next time it will go better.
Q: How about the car during the race, and the tires?
Raikkonen: It was great. I think at the beginning of the race I was a bit slower than them because we started with very low pressures and these took a little while to come in. But after that it was really good and I think we got the quickest lap time in the race and I was quick, but just not at the right time.
Q: How worried were you about the track conditions, starting on the front row, given that there was so much dust down from the previous races?
Raikkonen: Yeah, I was pretty worried about it. I was watching the race when they put it down because I think there was oil and liquid on every corner and it wasn't very good for us but actually it was OK, the circuit was fine and we didn't have any problems.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Kimi , how much are you waiting for the new car and do you think you could have been in front with it here?
Raikkonen: Of course, it will be nice to get the new car because you always have to remember we are still with the old car against all the others with their new cars and we can still give a good fight against them and do podium finishes. But I think we need to have a good race in the next race and then with the new car I am sure we can fight for the win big time but I guess we need to wait and see.
Q: Kimi , in a different situation in the championship could you try to pass Juan Pablo at the end of the race.
Raikkonen: Yeah, if I had a chance then for sure I would go for it but I didn't have any real chances and then it is stupid to take any big risk and especially now. Maybe in some other circuits it would have been more easy to try something but here it is pretty much impossible to overtake anywhere.
Q: Kimi , how good was the car through the race, particularly thinking of the engine? Were you able to push it as hard as you expected to right from the start or did you have to take any care with it?
Raikkonen: No, everything was working well but if you are behind someone it is going to be a more easy life for the engine and the car if you than if you are going to push 100 percent but I didn't have any problems with the car, the engine or the tires. The car was running really well and handling-wise it was perfect.
Q: At the beginning of the race it seems the last corner of the track was not so clean. Was it a problem for you? Raikkonen: It was a little bit slippery but it was pretty much okay.
British GP - POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE – 20/07/2003
3. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), 1h28m48.210s (+ 10.656s)
Q: Kimi, a spectacular race from you as well. How did you feel in those opening laps? It looked as if you could pass Jarno if you had the opportunity.
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Um, yeah. I was just maybe a little bit quicker at the beginning of the race but I was not able to get close enough on the back straight to try to overtake him. Then I started to lose the rear grip a little bit and Rubens was so much stronger out of Club that I wasn't able to hold him off. Then came the safety car, and after the re-start I got a really good re-start and overtook Trulli and got many places after that.
Q: At the second stop you actually stopped four laps earlier than Rubens. Was that because of the tire situation or was that always planned?
Raikkonen: I don't know really, because all the plans went a bit different when the safety car came out and we decided to stop. I was just going as long they're going to tell me to come in but it worked out well. The first few laps were OK and then I dropped the rear tires a little bit again and it was difficult.
Q: Just talk us through that incident at Bridge from your point of view?
Raikkonen: I knew that because he had overtaken me before after Club corner into the next braking and I knew that he had much better traction out of that long right-hander and I tried to hold him off and I was able to for two corners but then he was beside me in the Bridge and I just tried to go around the outside but got a little bit on the dirty track and ran slightly wide and he got past.
Q: And after that, the tires or the grip went away?
Raikkonen: Yeah. At the end of the race, the tires were OK again but it took so many laps to come back that it was difficult and then I don't really know, maybe it was oil or something else and braking into corner seven, after the back straight, I touched the brakes and just lost the rear completely and I was quite lucky to get back on the circuit.
Q: Kimi, I guess you are a little frustrated because it could have been second.
Raikkonen: Yeah, I don't really know what happened at that moment. I just went normally as always in the corner and touched the brake and lost the rear completely and ran wide. I lost one place but, okay, it was still lucky to get back on the circuit and score more points than Michael.
Q: You were right behind Cristiano for one stint. How quick was he?
Raikkonen: He was pretty quick on that point but he was on less fuel and he wasn't really holding me off too much and I was not able to overtake him, but all the rest before him I was able to overtake quite easily and got quite a big lead at that point but unfortunately it wasn't enough today.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Did any of you guys see the crazy guy running on the track and what did your team tell you on the radio?
Raikkonen: Yeah, I saw him, but he just jumped over the fence and started running to the circuit but I passed him at that point.
Q: Kimi, do you think the pace you had today was the maximum for the car. Was it perfect today?
Raikkonen: For sure I would have gone quicker if I had been able to but that was what I got out of the car today. With the new tires it is really good and once the tires get quite old it was good, they came back, but in the middle point I was suffering a bit with the rear tires and I was not able to go so quickly. But, you know, it is still points more than the guy in front of me in the championship and one point can make a big difference.
Q: We have all laughed about the guy coming onto the track but it is a pretty serious safety issue as well. Do you think that is something the Silverstone authorities have to look at to improve security here?
Raikkonen: I think so it can happen anywhere. Any circuit, always some idiot can jump over the fence and run on the circuit. It has just happened here, it has happened in Germany . I wouldn't say they should blame Silverstone but it just happens there was just a guy who decided to do it just right today and it was bad luck.
Q: Kimi, with five races left do you still think you can win the championship given the scoring system doesn't help?
Raikkonen: Yeah, it is still open. We still have a good chance and the seven points now is one less than before this race and you never know what happens in the races and it can turn around completely very quickly in the next race. We are pushing hard as a team and we are serious and we will see if we can manage, but we do our best and hopefully we can get it back before the end of the season.
Hungarian GP - POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE – 24/08/2003
2. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), 1h39m18.228s (+ 16.768s)
Q: Kimi ,seventh to third on the first lap, a great start and that really set the tone of the race for you.
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Yeah, I got a very good start actually. I tried to go outside again but Barrichello blocked me this time and I needed to brake in the straight but then I went on the inside and then back to the outside and everybody else moved to the inside of the corner and I was able to brake on the clean side and got many places. Then I got past Barrichello when he made a mistake. I was stuck for a little while behind Webber which cost quite a lot of time but Alonso was able to pull away, but that's racing. I'm quite happy with second place from seventh and it's better now in the championship of course.
Q: That's certainly the case: Michael 72 points, Juan Pablo 71 and you 70 points.
Raikkonen: Yeah, it's more closer, anything can happen in the race and hopefully we can improve the car and be quick in the next race also.
Q: Kimi, that was just the result you needed wasn't it?
Raikkonen: Yeah, of course you hope to win but that was not possible and second place was the best that we could to today. I am quite happy with that. Seventh to second is a good race and many points for us.
Q: How was the car?
Raikkonen: The car in the race was good. I had a little bit of difficulty in the last part of the race with the tires and then they started to work again but it was much better than it was in qualifying yesterday.
Q: How badly were you held up by the Jaguar early on?
Raikkonen: I think I was more than a second quicker per lap straight after he went into the pits but I was not able to pass him quick enough and Alonso pulled away, but that's racing. It is important that I got more points than Montoya and Schumacher.
Q: What about the pace of Fernando, he was just disappearing.
Raikkonen: Like I said, that's when we were stuck behind Webber. I don't know if he was quicker all time or not but once he is 20 seconds in front of you it is pretty difficult to catch anyone. I just tried to keep my second place and it was quite easy then.
Q: One point behind Juan Pablo, is this where the ice man has to keep his head now?
Raikkonen: It has been pretty good results for us now. The championship is pretty close, anything can happen now. Hopefully we can have some new parts for the car because it is basically the same as the start of the season and we need to get something new now. We will get a new aero package for the next test and hopefully it will work out in the next race.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Kimi, how do you think your cars will perform in the next three races coming up?
Raikkonen: I think Indianapolis should be pretty good for us. Monza last year was quite difficult but like I said we should get some new parts for the car, a new engine also and hopefully we can be stronger there.
Q: The organizers invested a lot of money into the new parts of this circuit. Did it make it more enjoyable?
Raikkonen: I enjoy the circuit more now. There are still parts you can improve, especially on the safety side, but the circuit itself is quite nice to drive.
Q: Kimi, would it be particularly nice to overtake Michael in the World Championship in Monza ? Raikkonen: I guess it doesn't matter where you pass him in the points as long as you can do it then that is the main thing.
United States GP - POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE – 28/09/2003
Q: Kimi, looking so good, great start, took the lead at the start, then the rain.
KIMI RAIKKONEN: Yeah, I think so: we lost the race because we were very unlucky with the weather today. But what can you do? I was fighting as much as I could. We only got second place. Of course, it's not the best, because Michael won, and we came second for the championship.
Q: But you are still in the championship.
RAIKKONEN: Yeah, but he's always making our life more difficult. But at least we’re in the championship. You never know, maybe we have another very difficult race in the last one, and it can all happen there.
Q: It's amazing the differences between the Bridgestones and the Michelins in those conditions. RAIKKONEN: Yeah, I think so. It was just when it's a little bit wet, you can still run with the slicks, which is always to be more stronger. But if it gets really heavy rain, I think we’re in with a good chance. If it's between those two, it's just not working, our tires are not working as well as the Bridgestone. It is much better than last year or beginning of year. Hopefully we're going to get there. (End unilateral.) (Start press conference.)
Q: Kimi, leading the early stages, then you had those two stops. Are you surprised to be in second place after that?
RAIKKONEN: A bit unhappy to finish second, really. But I think the weather wasn't in our favor this time. The beginning of the race was good, we were strong. Just our rain tires are not as good as Bridgestone's. We lost the race pretty much. But second is still OK.
Q: You're still in contention. What are your feelings about that?
RAIKKONEN: Yeah, but it would have been much better to be other way around, to win the race and able to help us more. Again, there is always a chance now. You never know what happens in the next race. It can be another very difficult race for all the people. We just need to make most out of it.
Q: Any fun for Kimi?
AIKKONEN: Actually, I'm going to fly home this evening. Not much else. Well see maybe in the home a little bit. We celebrate after the season if we get something good.
Q: Kimi, what was the toughest moment for you in this race? When you lapped Montoya, did it cross your mind that he could resist?
RAIKKONEN: No. He let me pass quite easily. Once you get the blue flags, you need to let the people behind you pass. I think the whole race was quite difficult. Had a little bit fight with Ralf, then he went out when I tried to pass him. Got a little bit sideways on the oval part because I went inside of him. It was raining, on the slick tires, then side by side, had a little fight. No, it was a good race. Was quite good fun. Unfortunately, we didn't get the win. But we're still in the championship and see what happens.
Q: Did you ever feel comfortable with your tires? If so, what kind of adjustments did you try to make, you and the crew, during the race?
RAIKKONEN: Yeah, I think so the beginning of race was really good, the tires were working really well. Even when it got a little bit wet, I mean, when we were on the slick tires, I think so it was a good moment for us. Then once we went for wet tires, I think so the first like five laps was OK because it was so wet that the Bridgestone, they have as much advantage over us. But then once it started to dry up, we started to struggle little bit. When I came in the pits, all my four tires was almost slicks. It was hard to just keep on the circuit. But we didn't want to come earlier in because you never know if it start raining more or drying. We were try to keep going as long as we could to make a right decision, either go on new wet tires or on the slicks.
Q: Kimi, if you could change something of your tactic today, what would you change? RAIKKONEN: I would change the weather, I think so. Right choices, every time we came in the pits, almost all the Michelin runners (inaudible) on that part of the race when it was wet. It was just unlucky with the weather.
Japanese GP - POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE – 12/10/2003
2. Kimi RAIKKONEN (McLAREN), 1h25m22.828s (+ 11.085s)
Q: Kimi , you were almost there. How big an impact do you think that shunt yesterday have on your weekend?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: No, of course it didn't help us but it's past now and thanks to David for letting me use his car. I tried to get it back in good shape but I think we were a bit unlucky with qualifying yesterday. The last five guys or whatever it was got a little bit of rain and it didn't help us. But, you know, we got second place again. It's not very nice to finish second almost every time but we were just not quick enough to win the title this year. But at least we didn't lose because of bad driving.
Q: Kimi , you did as much as you could. The car, especially in comparison with David's towards the end, didn't seem to be at its best today.
Raikkonen: No. We have been struggling with set-up a little bit this weekend . We just didn't get it right. The first set of tires was pretty much okay but then on the second I was struggling quite a lot with the grip. It wasn't like just understeering or oversteering it was everything. It was quite hard, I was pushing as hard as I could but I was just not very quick.
Q: Earlier on you were right up behind Cristiano da Matta . Were you much quicker than him? Raikkonen: Yeah, I think so, like a second, but they were quite quick in a straight line and I was not getting very good traction out of the last chicane. I always got very close but not quite close enough to try overtaking him into turn one and it cost me quite a lot of time but that is racing and next time we try to get past.
Q: Second in the world championship was not what you were hoping because everyone aims for first. But what are your feelings after this season?
Raikkonen: I think it has been a good season for us and for me. Okay we really had big expectations before the start of the season and I think we have done very well. We have been quite quick and the car has been much better, much more reliable than last year and we have improved a lot. Thanks to the team, they have worked very hard all season, and to David, to everyone. But this year maybe we were consistent but just not up there on the speed and hopefully we can catch up for next year. I think if we can improve as much as we did over the last winter we should be in a good position to fight for all the wins and to have a good chance to win both titles.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: Kimi , did the pit-stop strategy affect your car's performance?
Raikkonen: I think we had a good strategy but it is hard to say really whether it would have been quicker with three stops than two stops but I think overall we would not have been as quick as Rubens and it wouldn't have helped much.
Q: Kimi , did you change the strategy during the race after you saw what happened to Michael? Raikkonen: No, we were planning a two stop anyway. I think they changed it a little bit for David but we were planning this.
Q: Kimi , did you think you were going to be world champion at any moment in the race? Raikkonen: I guess there was always a chance until we went over the line to finish the race and there have been many times when people have retired on the last lap. We were pushing until then and hoping for the best and you never know. This time it wasn't enough but we try it again next year.
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