Stop the presses: Here’s a Kimi interview

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As great as it is to have Kimi Raikkonen back in a Formula 1 car for a second season, the really great thing about his return trip to the sport is his interviews.

The official F1 site has a new, exclusive one with him. And, as always, it is great.

And I write that before I’ve even read it. I’m that confident. Here we go…

Q: There was only one race in 2012 – the Chinese Grand Prix – in which you didn’t finish in the points. Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says your biggest strength is your race craft. Can you explain what race craft is for you?
 Ha, I don’t have anything to explain! It is so much simpler – I do my best in the race. If it works out – good – but I don’t have any plan. Is that race craft?

You can see why I was so confident, no? I’d like to remind people of Allen Iverson’s wonderful, “It’s TKTKTK.”

Q: Could it be that you start a bit slow but once you get going you roll over many others?
 That sounds too categorical. It’s like this: sometimes it is more difficult than at other times. Sometimes you have a good car, at others you don’t. People tend to mystify simple things! (laughs)

I’m about 84% sure he mentioned Emmanuel Kant under that laugh.

Q: There are those drivers who train intensively, for example Jenson Button with his triathlons, or Mark Webber with his biking. You don’t appear to be that kind of person…
 You don’t know that – you don’t know what I do! I do my thing, but I have no interest to tell! (laughs)

For the record, that’s two answers in a row that end in a laugh. Also: Vodka drinking clearly = training.

Q: Your young team mate, Romain Grosjean, had quite a difficult year in 2012. Did you ever offer advice or did you keep out of the matter completely?
 It is not my business so I kept out of it. I am not here to explain what to do. Everybody has his own way of doing things and you cannot so easily adapt that for somebody else. He had a tough time, but sometimes that happens. That’s life.

OK, so I’m going to kind of call Kimi out on this. I think it’s pretty well established that it is a team mate’s job to offer advice and help out, especially toward younger team mates. Just look at how well Kobe Bryant’s assisting Dwight Howard on the Lakers. (That was for Mark H.) On this front, Kimi is lacking something essential. Does he make up for it in other areas. You judge.

Q: So you are not the Jedi master taking an apprentice under his wings?
 This is not Hollywood – this is Formula One. I try to figure out my own stuff.

OK, with answers like that, he does. I sit corrected.

Q: At 33-years-old, you are currently the second-oldest driver on the grid. Does maturity help or is it completely overrated?
 That is not good! (laughs) Sure experience helps a bit, but I’ve never figured out when it’s the point that you have enough experience. What comes then? If you do 10,000 more races I don’t think you will get seriously better. I think what is more important is that you can look back on experience from the previous season with your team. If you have experience with your team and the people there, that helps.

I’m honestly shocked to read he’s the second-oldest driver. I suppose I know that, but… well, he brings a bit of youthful exuberance to things, no?

Q: You and Lotus seem to be a really good fit. What do you think are the reasons for that?
 It is a real racing team – they want to race and not worry about the other stuff. There are not many teams that do that. There is far less politics than at many other teams. I enjoy it here. Sure there are things that the team doesn’t have – we don’t have the budget of the big teams – but we are all trying to do the best we can with what we have.

A happy Kimi is a fast Kimi. Of course, one could argue there has been a lot of politics around the team, if not in it. I wonder if, with the name/ownership issue fading, the team will get more internally political. Something to watch this year?

Q: Does it surprise you that you are still Ferrari’s last world champion?
 Ha! Yes it’s nice. But it will change one day. Maybe this year, maybe next year.



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