Raikkonen: "I'll use a new engine" Maranello - I always like coming back to Silverstone. It's a great track and it has always been working out for me since the beginning of my career. I've raced the first time here when I was in Formula Renault...
Raikkonen: "I'll use a new engine"
Maranello - I always like coming back to Silverstone. It's a great track and it has always been working out for me since the beginning of my career. I've raced the first time here when I was in Formula Renault and it was my preferred track: fast and demanding. Winning at Silverstone gives you a great feeling, because to get there you have to do everything perfectly. I did it with Formula Renault and last year with Ferrari. It's one of the fastest and most difficult tracks on the race calendar. I don't know why, but I'm a bit nostalgic every time I come back. I like being here whatever the weather is like. At least that's the same for everybody.
We've done some tests here last week. There was lots of wind and it was quite difficult to test all the new parts we brought with us. But I think that we've taken a small step ahead and it seems to me that the car is very competitive.
Last year it went very well for us at Silverstone and obviously I'd like to repeat that result! I made a small mistake in Qualifying, when I took the last corner too wide and I lost the Pole Position, but once we had considered the fuel on board I was still faster than Hamilton. Then with the empty track ahead I could give it all and win the race.
As far as we can tell after our tests last week there will be a tough fight between us and McLaren. That's not a surprise because traditionally these two teams always went well here in England. It will be about tenths of a second again. We'll fight for Pole Position and this time we need to use the track to our advantage.
I'll give it all to stay ahead in Qualifying. Starting from the Pole does make the race much easier, as we could see at Magny-Cours. I didn't win there, but I've already archived the disappointment. I'll arrive with a positive approach at Silverstone, because I know that I should have won in France. I'll use a new engine because the Team doesn't want to risk anything, although the rules say that you will not be punished if you have to change the engine.
It's almost half way through the season now and there were ups and downs. That's quite normal and we are in a good position to fight for the title. I hope to win more races in the second half of the season, because we have a great car, able to fight for victory everywhere.
"Fond memories of Silverstone"
Silverstone - One week after his day of testing at the home of English motor sport, Kimi Raikkonen was back in Silverstone for the start of the British Grand Prix weekend and his opening remarks when asked how he thought the ninth round of the series would go for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro were: "I think we should have a strong car here and be competitive because I had a good feeling at the test here last week, even if I did not do so many laps. Silverstone is a nice circuit and a good place to come and I here there is going to be a very big crowd this weekend which will make a nice atmosphere. The fans here are very passionate about motor sport. I've heard the weather could include rain on Saturday and Sunday, but we should be competitive in all conditions. I raced here a lot in 2000 when I had a very strong season winning a lot in Formula Renault. I enjoyed my time here, racing on a lot of nice small tracks and I have fond memories and I like driving on this Silverstone track."
Raikkonen's second place finish in France a fortnight ago was remarkable considering the problem on his F2008, but he was sanguine about the failure. "It was just an unlucky situation," he said. "A cracked exhaust pipe can happen at any time and it was just unfortunate that it happened when it did in the race. It was the first time anything like this has happened to me since I have been at Ferrari. It was a bit tricky at first, misfiring and lacking power, but the team helped me over the radio and lap by lap I got used to the situation and managed to deal with it, even though it got worse again towards the end. Fortunately, I had enough of a gap at that time to stay ahead of those behind me."
Even though the season will only reach its halfway point on Sunday, the media is already speculating about the final outcome. "The championship situation has not changed since the last race, but there are still a lot of races left to go and we have seen already that the positions at the top of the order can change quickly as it is so close between a few of us, much closer than last year," said Raikkonen. "I still have a good chance to win, as I am only five points behind which means everything can change again in just one race. It is always important to win the races, but it depends what the others who are fighting for title will do, because, as long as I finish ahead of them, that is the main thing, even if I don't win on Sunday. But of course I will be trying to win."
The FIA press conference today featured the three British drivers and David Coulthard announced he would retire from driving at the end of this season. As a former team-mate at McLaren, Raikkonen was asked for an appreciation: "David is a very nice guy and I enjoyed my time as team-mates," said the Finn. "Everyone comes to a point where he has to stop and David is 37 so I guess that time has come now. But he is still driving well so he has made the right decision in quitting while he is still competitive in an F1 car. Me retiring? I have a contract for next season!"