His championship aspirations may be over, but after two charges to the podium in the past two races, Kimi Raikkonen is at least hoping to end the season on a high. Here’s what he said in a Q&A provided by Lotus on Friday.
Q: What do you think of the Buddh International Circuit?
“It’s quite an interesting track; one of the better ones from the modern circuits.”
“It’s quite similar to Korea; long straights, not terribly challenging corners and hard braking. It’s not as technical as Korea which was another new track for me last year, but it’s good. It’s always nice to go to a new place like India. It’s certainly a good track to go fast with a strong car in front of all the others!”
Q: How was your first – and only – race at the track so far?
“It was okay but it could have been better. We struggled for grip over the weekend last year and we made life difficult with the change of setup before qualifying. After that there was nothing really to do on Sunday. In the race itself we had enough speed to challenge for the top positions, but we got stuck behind slower cars and overtaking was impossible. I can remember spending a lot of the race trying to get past Felipe [Massa], so that wasn’t ideal.”
Q: Did you get to see much of India?
“No, it was my first visit and I spent my time in the paddock and the hotel. We only come to race and India is a very big country! The thing I like is eating Indian food, which I really enjoy.”
Q: Japan was quite a straightforward race for you?
“It was a pretty normal race I would say and it’s good that we got some points. I had a very poor start where I left the line with a lot of wheel-spin and lost a few places. This wasn’t ideal and it meant I got stuck in traffic, but I managed to gain some places back later on.”
Q: You spoke over the weekend of the car feeling more to your liking, which must be a positive looking to the remaining races of the season?
“The car felt pretty strong all weekend and we’ve made good progress with it recently. It’s still not exactly as I want it and we’re trying to get rid of some under-steer which is something I don’t like. In Japan, it was hard to show our real pace at the beginning of the race as I was stuck behind slower cars for quite a long time. After the final pit stop when I got a bit of free air, the car was working much better. It ran well in the last half of the race and I was very happy with it.”
Q: We saw some more great overtaking moves from you…
“Unfortunately, when you don’t have an ideal qualifying it makes life a bit harder on Sunday. It’s not easy to overtake at Suzuka and we weren’t so fast in a straight line which made it more tricky, but I got past a few people which was important after the slow start. With Nico [Hulkenberg] I managed to get a good run on him leading up to the chicane which is what made the difference. We did what we could.”
Q: What’s the target for India?
“Hopefully, we finally get it right in qualifying as the last five qualifying sessions have not been that great for me. If we don’t, it’s going to be a difficult Sunday afternoon, although, of course, we’ll keep pushing. If we do get it right, then we can really go for it.”