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Don't try changing 'special' Raikkonen - Stewart
Saturday 12th January 2013, 12:02 by Ryan Wood
© Lotus F1 Team, LAT Photographic
Sir Jackie Stewart says Lotus are doing the right thing by allowing Kimi Raikkonen to be himself, rather than trying to change his attitude.
The Finn is notoriously difficult to interview and prefers not to take part in media events - something which was forced upon him during his time at McLaren and Ferrari. Lotus however has taken a different approach and Stewart believes this is paying off.
"With the knowledge and experience he [Raikkonen] has, and the mind management he has, he doesn't care about PR, journalists or interviews. He doesn't want to do them," the triple world champion said during an interview at Autosport International.
"You don't change Kimi Raikkonen, you don't change him," he insisted.
"I speak to him very seldom on a weekend, because if he wants to speak to me, he will come and speak to me.
"If I and go tart him up, he thinks 'what are you talking about? Why bother me?' That is how the reaction would be."
Stewart reckons the more relaxed atmosphere at Lotus, which has allowed the 33-year-old to be himself and focus on racing, is part of the reason he did so well in 2012.
"He is a very special person, the most special of any grand prix driver past and present.
"His return was better than [Michael] Schumacher's return. He was up there every single race he was in last year, and he delivered."