United States GP - "I don't know what to expect"
Kimi Raikkonen faced the media around lunchtime in the Indy paddock, earlier than usual for a Thursday but done deliberately to help with European newspaper deadlines. "It was not a good time, and it started badly as I had no grip off the line and the car did not move," said the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro man, as he jumped straight into the subject of his Canadian Grand Prix. "The race was very difficult with the way things were going, made even more complicated when some debris from Kubica's car got stuck in my front wing and then I lost the brakes. Not the easiest race, but at least we got some points in the end, which could be useful later. There is no point thinking about what might have happened if there had been less chaos. It is always like this in Canada and part of the reason is that the tyres kept getting cold behind the Safety Cars and losing grip while the track surface there is the sort that is like driving on ice once you get off the line."
Over in Raikkonen's former team, most of the attention is now focussed on Hamilton who is having an exceptional rookie season. "As for our rivals, I cannot say I am more worried about Hamilton than Alonso now, as in Monaco, Alonso also had a difficult race," commented the Finn. "Here for example I think we will have a good car. The fact that Alonso finished behind me and that my team-mate did not finish did help my personal position in the drivers' classification. I hope I can have a "proper" race here and then we can see what the situation looks like again. Of course I wanted to do better over these last three difficult races but I think we can turn it around. There is no big problem on the car and of course we can improve. But it is not as though we have lost a whole second in the last two races. There is nothing wrong with the car. Here we will get a better idea of where we stand. There is still a good atmosphere in our team and I am not interested in these stories about an argument between the two drivers at our main rivals, because it has no effect on our work. We just need to get better results than them. Here at Ferrari I feel at home and I like the people so I think from that point of view, everything is going well. Now we just need to start getting the results which we are capable of. I just have to be patient and I know I am getting exactly the same support as Felipe within the team, it is just that he has had some better results earlier this year.
In Canada, BMW had an excellent race, but Raikkonen feels they might not show such good form here. "We knew they have been strong since the start of the year and Nick has been going well all season, but here I expect it to be more of a fight between us and McLaren and I also expect it to be very close," he suggested also explaining that he was happier with his performance in qualifying than in the beginning of the season. "I think I now understand the tyres better and my qualifying performance over the single lap is much better. That is very important, because one thing that has affected us is that with the cars in this year's configuration and with the tyres we have, it is very difficult to overtake if you start from a poor grid position. The effect of losing aerodynamic grip when following a car closely is the same as before but now we cannot make up much of that grip through the tyres as we could in the past. But that situation is not specific to us and applies to everyone."
So what should Indianapolis have in store for him. "It is my first time with my new team here at this track so I don't know what to expect even though Ferrari has a very good record here. We will find out tomorrow once testing starts."