May 26 2013 Latest news:
Michael Bailey , Formula One correspondent
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Kimi Räikkönen admitted he would have gladly accepted the 73-point start to his Formula One comeback if it had been offered to him before things got under way – but the Lotus driver still wants more.
The 2007 world champion gave a trademark terse interview ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix from the Hethel-backed outfit’s motor home: no flustering at a likely wet race, no annoyance at not bagging a 2012 victory.
And the Finn has been around the block to know things are going pretty well on his return to Formula One for Norfolk’s iconic marque.
“I didn’t really have much to expect for my return,” said Räikkönen. “Of course I wanted to do well and if you had said at the start of the season I would have had this many points already then I would have been happy to take it.
“But we haven’t got all the things completely right and I know we could have done better at certain places and certain races.
“It’s disappointing not to win, but each time we try again. I don’t get sad about it. Obviously I want to win, but I’ve been in the other positions before.”
And while you won’t catch Kimi looking too far ahead, he also won’t be writing off his chances as a championship contender this season as the E20 continues to look a strong car.
“Like I have always said, I will take it race by race and there is an awful long way to go, and we will see towards the end of the season where we are,” he said.
“We are not in the bets possible position at the moment, but we just need to keep doing what we are doing, try to avoid the bad races and hopefully we keep ourselves in contention.”
Lotus are certainly in a better position than last season, as the Enstone outfit prepares for its home race at Silverstone.
The Norfolk marque sits third in the constructors’ standings, just four points ahead of Ferrari but already with more points than their entire 2011 campaign, while Räikkönen is sixth in the drivers’ standings – closely followed by team-mate Romain Grosjean.
Räikkönen is looking forward to his Silverstone return, but knows that on past 2012 form Lotus’ success may well depend on how Saturday’s qualifying shapes up.
“I always enjoy it here,” said the Finn. “I enjoy the circuit. The track is slightly different now, but I still enjoy the feeling of coming here.
“I think we’ve had good chances in a few races but I haven’t got the best out of it and maybe made a few mistakes sometimes. I think in Valencia we did a pretty good qualifying and hopefully we now feel a bit more comfortable off the back of that, and we can start to find the right direction to get the small details and keep improving here.”
As for Grosjean, he is now a married man after tying the knot with Marion Jolles since the European Grand Prix a fortnight ago.
But the young Frenchman, who has impressed on his own F1 return, does not feel his first failed attempt at the sport with Renault in 2009 was a mistake – far from it.
“Let’s turn it a different way: can you say no when you get a chance to go into Formula One?” said Grosjean. “The answer is no. It was not a mistake. It was a good experience being in a team with Fernando Alonso, it taught me a lot and all that experience is in my pocket.
“I’m very happy to be back and very proud to be a part of Lotus, and everything I learned then is very important to me today.”
Räikkönen saved his final word for Marussia test driver Maria de Villota, who lost an eye in a test accident at Duxford during the week – and clearly remained in everyone’s thoughts at Silverstone as she remained in hospital.
“I only know what I’ve read, but it is a very sad thing and hopefully she will get better as quickly as possible – this sort of thing can happen in this sport,” Räikkönen added.