Kimi Räikkönen: “Let’s see what we can do in the second half of the season…” After inheriting the final podium position in the German Grand Prix, Kimi heads to his ‘home’ event in Hungary hopeful of another strong result and perhaps some celebrating with his fellow Finns.
You’re up to fourth in the Driver’s Championship with only a small gap to the drivers directly in front; where can you go from here?
If you had told me in January that we would be fourth halfway through the season, I think I would have been pretty pleased. It’s not a bad place to be, but I think we have a car good enough to have scored more points. I want to win and the whole team is pushing hard to make it happen, so let’s see what we can do in the second half of the season…
How are you feeling heading to Hungary?
It is always nice to go to Hungary. The circuit is not the most difficult of them all, but it is still quite challenging. It is also the last race before the summer break and it’s a great city to end the first half of the season. It’s always nice to have a summer vacation and recharge the batteries for the last – and most important – part of the season.
How do you rate your past performances at the Hungaroring?
I have won once in Hungary and finished second three times. It is very hot and very demanding race. It’s only when you win that you don’t suffer at the Hungaroring. I hope I don’t suffer this time.
Are you happy to receive a podium placing for your performance in Germany?
It’s nice to get the points for third position, but obviously we would rather score it on the track. Having said that I think we did the best we could at Hockenheim from the position we started. Maybe if we had found a bit more pace in the wet of qualifying we could have started higher, avoided the traffic and pushed the leaders, but it is what it is. For sure we were hoping for a bit better, but the car worked well all through
the race and we still brought home some good points for the team so there are some positives to bring to Budapest.
How do you assess the team’s potential heading to this event?
The team has been working hard in developing our car and we are confident we should be competitive in Hungary. Usually we have a hot weekend at the Hungaroring, and that’s what we have been looking forward to during the whole summer. It’s never nice to go to media after a race without a win. I love to win, not to
explain why we were not able to win. Hopefully we can get the result we are looking for.
What are the particular challenges of the circuit?
It’s such a slow and twisty track that you there are two things most of all which are really important for fast lap times; these are good turn in and good traction. If you have those, you have a competitive car there.
The circuit’s tight and twisty: how important is qualifying?
This is one of those circuits where it’s very difficult to overtake. Obviously, you need to get to the front in qualifying and you also ideally want to avoid the dirty side of the track on the grid. We haven’t been the best in qualifying so far, but we have been good in the race in hot conditions and able to make different strategies work. It won’t be the end of the world if we don’t qualify at the front, but it won’t make things easy for us either. Let’s see what happens.
The Hungarian Grand Prix is also sometimes known as the Grand Prix of Finland because so many of your countrymen attend. What does this mean for you?
It is always nice to see the blue and white flags waving. It’s the closest we Finnish drivers get to a home race and a lot of Finns turn up every year. Hopefully I will be able to celebrate with a win for them.