“The podium will be the only place to see my hair”
He’s never won in Germany, whether in the European or German Grand Prix; the latter of which has seen Kimi Räikkönen retire six times. After a top three placing with Lotus F1 Team last season, can this finally be the year for Kimi at the Nürburgring?
What is it about Germany that hasn’t been kind to you in the past?
I don’t know, maybe I did something bad in a former life? I have always enjoyed driving in Germany, but the problem is that luck has never been on my side there and something has always happened to stop me winning. I’ve got four poles to show my speed on German soil, but six retirements at this race haven’t been what I wanted.
Does it set you more of a challenge to have raced in Formula 1 in Germany 16 times, but never won?
Not really. A race is just a race and you always try to do your best. Obviously in the past both circuits – the Nürburgring and Hockenheim – have not been very kind to me, but I like them both and I have always been very competitive; in terms of pace if not maybe results. I’ve gone very well at the Nürburgring before, just never won. A couple of times I’ve had to stop while leading the race which always sends you home with a bad feeling. Hopefully I can finally get everything right this time. Last year we made the top three in Hockenheim, so let’s wait and see how it goes at the Nürburgring for the first time with this team.
Things looked so promising in Silverstone until right at the end; give us your view
It was a disappointing end to the weekend for sure. Things were going pretty well in the race, but it was a mistake not to switch to new tyres when the safety car came out. I tried to hold on, but with tyres that were maybe twenty laps older than the others it was impossible to keep them behind at the end. It’s a shame as we had good pace and looked set for a pretty easy P2, but this is racing sometimes.
On the plus side you finally broke Michael Schumacher’s record for points finishes…
It makes no difference to the Championship, so I’m really not interested in that.
You had a pretty intense moment behind Jean-Eric Vergne; were you nervous at all?
It wasn’t ideal having bits of rubber thrown at your helmet for sure, but risk is all part of the game. It wasn’t his or the tyres’ fault; if you have sharp edges on a kerb as seemed to be the case there last weekend then these things can happen no matter what tyres you have. It didn’t change our race anyway.
It’s not been an easy run of late; does that affect your mindset?
No. It’s three races now where we haven’t had the result we maybe expect, but hopefully if we can have a bit more luck and also get rid of some of the mistakes we’ll be able to get back to the front.
What’s the Nürburgring like to race?
It’s pretty good, but probably not as much fun as the old one. It should suit us, but the fact is you need a really good car to be competitive there. Most of all you need good traction out of the corners and a stable car under braking. We’re pretty reasonable in both these areas. We have had our issues with cooler weather and unfortunately it’s not usually that warm at the Nürburgring, but we’ll just see what we get and get on with it.
What’s the target for this weekend?
We never promise anything beforehand. A podium would be a positive result and a step in the right direction. We missed that at Silverstone, and it would be good to get back to the top positions. The season is still long and the leaders of the championship are ahead of us. Realistically, all I can do is to do my very best in each race.
Will you tell us the story about your hair?
No. But if I get on the podium in Germany you will see it.