Raikkonen: There is nothing like Monaco

By on Friday, May 18, 2012

Kimi Raikkonen

Two podiums from the last two races for Formula 1’s most popular returnee in 2012. Here, Kimi looks ahead to Monaco.

Barcelona was your second podium in a row for the team; how was it from your perspective?
To be honest, I was a little disappointed. I expected us to be a bit stronger in the race, especially at the beginning. In the last stint we were very good, but it was too late. We were not fast enough to race and that’s why we couldn’t fight for a win. But we showed in the end that we have good speed.

You were flying at the end – was there anything more you could have done to catch Fernando?
Our strategy was to be fast at the end of the race, and we were. When you’re in this situation you wish the race was a little longer, but if it was longer then the other teams would have used different strategies.
I was pushing as hard as I could and to catch up almost 20 seconds felt good, but there’s a little bit of a disappointed feeling afterwards, as in just a few more laps you could have been fighting for first place. That’s racing and at least we scored some good points. We’re going in the right direction.

Second and third already; do you feel a win is around the corner?
To be on the podium twice already is good. Unfortunately you’re not always going to get there. If you get the chance, you should take it because it’s not every race that you will be able to fight for that position. Hopefully we can keep doing what we’re doing now and at a certain point I’m sure that things will go exactly right and we’ll get there. So far we’ve made good steps forward and the car has been strong everywhere.

How are your prospects heading to Monaco?
Monaco is a little bit different and it’s hard to say how it will go there. The team has done a good job so far and we still have work to do and things to improve. So far it’s going well and I’m happy with it. OK, we’re not 100% satisfied with it because we are not winning but that’s a very normal thing and I’m pleased for the team.

How do you define the Monaco Grand Prix?
It’s useless to put races in different categories, because all of them are as important to me. However, as a special race there is nothing like Monaco. There is no better feeling than to get things going well in there. To race in the streets of Monte Carlo is really different from everywhere else; a challenge I look forward to every year. It is very, very difficult, almost impossible, to have a clean weekend there.

You won in Monaco in 2005 – how did that feel?
I’ve only managed to get it right once before, you really do get the greatest feeling by winning it. My win in 2005 ranks up there with my most memorable. So to win it again would be just as special.

What’s the challenge behind the wheel?
It’s such a twisty and narrow track. You have to be extra sharp and focussed in every single metre you go fast there. It gives such a good feeling a fast lap in Monaco. Overtaking has been almost impossible there in the past so to really enjoy racing there you have to be at the front.

What about the atmosphere?
Monaco is always special. It’s an interesting place to go to, with a lot of fans and a lot of parties going on – or so I’m told. It’s a completely different atmosphere from anywhere else.

What’s your approach to the weekend?
We have to focus on qualifying. It’s a difficult place to race as it’s so narrow and passing is nearly impossible. I was stuck behind Rubens [Barrichello] in 2009 and we had KERS then, but you just couldn’t get past. We’ll have to see how the tyres perform and if there are any good strategies to be made, but the most important thing is qualifying well. It’s difficult to know how good the car will be in Monaco as you can’t simulate its characteristics, certainly not at any of the circuits we’ve visited so far this year. We can say the E20 has been fast everywhere else so let’s hope it’s also fast at Monaco.

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