Abu Dhabi: It was one of the greatest comebacks in Formula 1 and winning a title made it all the more sweeter. That was 2012 and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen set the Yas Marina circuit alight with a sensational drive that saw him on top of the podium after a long gap. Understandably, the Finn, who is set to take the wheels behind Ferrari next year, is looking forward to this year’s race in Abu Dhabi on November 3, and in an exclusive interview to XPRESS, reveals why only a win will do for him.
“Every time that I step into the car my aim is to win, so that will always be the goal. Of course last year was good and very important as it was the first win for the team in a while and the first win since I’ve been back in Formula 1. I will go to Abu Dhabi looking to win there again,” he said.
Raikkonen has always insisted that finishing second or third does not mean much to him and yet he believes his two-year stint with Lotus has been very fruitful despite winning just two races, along with the handful of podium finishes.
“These past two years have been good for me. I have enjoyed driving for a team that has allowed me to be completely myself and also gain success on track,” he said.
And while the 2007 Ferrari World champion may not have the famed Italian engine with him yet, given Renault’s success with the champion Red Bull team and his own Lotus team, the 34-year-old knows he has been driving the best.
“I think the Renault engines have been in Formula 1 for quite a few years and they are very experienced at providing strong and reliable power. The fact that four teams within Formula 1 have Renault engines shows how important and respected they are and it’s always good to race knowing you have a good powertrain behind you,” he said.
In recent years, the FIA has been changing its racing calendar almost every season and while Raikkonen hopes the Indian Grand Prix is back in 2015 after being dropped next year due to scheduling problems, he is not too worried about the constant chopping and changing.
“It’s always good to drive new circuits – as long as the circuit has many challenges and is good to drive then it doesn’t really matter where it is. Of course, some of the classic tracks will always be the favourites as there is often a special feeling about them and a great atmosphere there. It’s always good to go to new places and experience new thing,” he said.
The ‘Ice Man’ is currently third in the standings behind his future teammate Fernando Alonso and with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel having already sealed the title, does he still have something to play for?
“There is a lot that can still happen towards the end of the season – the aim is always to win the championship of course, but each race is important and I will always go into the weekend wanting to be on the top step of the podium and score as many points as possible. Nothing changes for me,” he said.