May 17th, 2013 (F1plus).- It is only four points what separates Kimi Raikkonen from Sebastian Vettel for the top spot in the Formula 1 standings, and the Finn is committed to erase that gap. Surely the E21 is proving to be a worthy tool to aid in that purpose, but the Monaco circuit is a special one where all previous learning’s don't necessarily apply, hence, there’s a new challenge.
Lotus wants to keep the momentum coming, but it is known that for Monaco qualifying is paramount, so they have to manage for a high grid position, something that has been something of a weak point for the team.
Kimi Raikkonen expresses his views about the upcoming race through a press released made by the team (at F1plus we chose to leave the format intact to protect its context).
You must be feeling pretty good with your championship position and the performance of the car this
Well, we’re not in first place so we can’t be too happy. For sure it’s not a nightmare, but we’ve still got a lot of
races yet to come and anything can happen in Formula 1. Monaco’s a different challenge, so we’ll have to see
what happens there this year.
Last year’s Monaco Grand Prix was not one of the team’s better outings, so you’ll be hoping for better
We certainly won’t make the mistakes we made last time. There were a few things we didn’t do right over the
weekend and we suffered because of that. Sometimes that’s the way it goes, but the important thing is not to
make the same mistakes again.
How do you define the Monaco Grand Prix?
It’s useless to put races in different categories, because all of them are as important as each other if you want to
win a Championship. However, as a real special race there is nothing like Monaco; there is no better feeling than
to get things going well there. To race in the streets of Monte Carlo is really different from everywhere else and
it’s a challenge I look forward to every year. It is very, very difficult – almost impossible in fact – to have a clean
weekend down there.
You won in Monaco in 2005; how did that feel?
I’ve only managed to get it right once before and you really experience the greatest feeling you can get by
winning it. My win in 2005 ranks up there with my most memorable, so to win it again would be just as special.
What’s the challenge behind the wheel?
It’s such a narrow, twisty track; you have to be extra sharp and focused through every single metre. It gives such
a good feeling; a fast lap around Monaco. Overtaking is almost impossible, so to really enjoy racing there you
have to be in the front.
What about the atmosphere?
Monaco is always special. It’s an interesting place to go to, with a lot of fans and a lot of parties going on; or so
I’m told. It’s a completely different atmosphere from anywhere else.
What’s your approach to the weekend?
We have to focus on qualifying. It’s a difficult place to race as it’s so narrow and – as I said before – passing is
nearly impossible. I was stuck behind Rubens [Barrichello] in 2009 and we had KERS then, but you just couldn’t
get past. We’ll have to see how the tyres perform and if there are any good strategies to be made, but the most
important thing is to qualify well. It’s difficult to know how good the car will be in Monaco as you can’t simulate its
characteristics; certainly not at any of the circuits we’ve visited so far this year anyway. We can say the E21’s
been fast everywhere else so let’s hope it’s also fast there.
With qualifying so important, is it a worry that this doesn’t seem to be one of the E21’s strongest areas?
We’ll do the best we can, but of course everyone will be trying to be on the front row. It’s not impossible for us,
but we won’t know how good we are until we get there. We know that tyre changes have to be made so there are
opportunities if you run a different strategy to your rivals, but it’s certainly more difficult here than anywhere else.