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Q&A with Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen
Friday 04th May 2012, 19:39 by Ryan Wood
© Lotus F1 Team & LAT Photographic
Q. It took you four races into your comeback before you achieved a podium – were you surprised at this?
Kimi Raikkonen: I never had any doubts in myself and it is clear we have a good car so in some ways the podium could have come sooner. We had the car already in the first three races to be up there, but we made some small mistakes and it cost us a lot. I would have been much happier if we had managed to get the victory, but nevertheless it’s a good result and the team deserved it for all their hard work. We have been good in every race so far, so hopefully we will be regular visitors to the podium this season.
Q. Are you frustrated not to have taken the win?
KR: I chose the wrong side to make it past Sebastian (Vettel). I didn’t make it past and after that, I pretty much knew that was it. Of course, I wanted to win. I would have been much happier with myself after the race.
Q. You did not attend the Mugello test – is this an issue for you?
KR: We didn’t have any major new parts to test and we don’t race at Mugello so I was not crying when it was decided that I wouldn’t test. I know the track well but there was no need for me to drive. I am here to race and that is what I will do in Barcelona.
Q. You must have completed a lot of laps of the Circuit de Catalunya over the years; what are your thoughts of the track?
KR: I have tested there very many times. It’s a challenging circuit - great fun with a good car, but not that great with a not so good car. Usually a car going well in Barcelona, goes well everywhere. We had a good car there for the second pre-season test even if the car wasn’t quite together for the first one.The car has improved and I feel more comfortable in it.
Q. What are your thoughts on the Pirelli tyres and the strategies needed for the best results?
KR: No matter what the tyres you always have to make a strategy to suit them best. The tyres are fine for me. For the strategy I work with my engineers and we make the best choices we can. Sometimes we get it right, like in Bahrain. Sometimes we get very close, like in Shanghai. After the race in China and after the qualifying in Bahrain, people probably started thinking that we are idiots and cannot do anything right. But we showed in the race why we did what we did. It was close already in China and this time our strategy paid back very nicely for us. It’s all part of racing and the same for everyone.
Q. Are you looking forward to racing in Europe again?
KR: I really like racing in Europe. We don’t have to travel too far and all the energy is saved for the weekend itself. Traditionally the real season starts while coming back to Europe. For me it’s just great.
Q. What do you think can be achieved in the Spanish Grand Prix?
KR: I expect Lotus to be very competitive at Barcelona. It’s going to be very, very close between the top teams. This is the only circuit where the teams have already tested with the new cars, and the set up is crucial as the track changes with the wind and temperature. All the teams have updates for the first European race, which makes it even more interesting and even tighter at the top.
Q. You have some good memories of the Spanish Grand Prix?
KR: Yes, I have won there twice, and there’s nothing better than winning in any Grand Prix. Those two wins are my only podiums in the event.
Q. Four races completed; what do you want to achieve from the next four?
KR: Let’s see what happens. As I’ve said, the car feels good everywhere we’ve been so far. I am here to race and I race to win. That is the target for me and the team. We want to win Grands Prix. We have a good car and we saw in Bahrain it is good enough to win. That’s the target.
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