Abu Dhabi GP: Championship hopes pretty much over says Raikkonen
By Berthold Bouman
Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen, who signed for another year with Lotus, has admitted his chances of winning the 2012 Drivers’ Championship are pretty much over. Raikkonen finished seventh in India, and is still third in the race for the title, but he is 67 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel. “The Drivers’ Championship battle is pretty much gone for me I think, but hopefully in the next race we can have the speed to be able to take more Championship points,” said the Finn ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
He has only raced once at the Yas Marina track, in 2009 and it was his last race for Ferrari as he retired after the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. “I’m looking forward to improving on my record at the track and I’m sure it should be a more interesting race for me this time round,” he said.
Asked about the track he said, “The facilities are second to none at Abu Dhabi. The track layout makes it really challenging for overtaking, while there are not too many places to pass. You really have to qualify well to be on the top, and to get a strong result from there. There are many corners and you need good overall downforce and grip. The car has to ride the kerbs very well, too.”
What are the challenges of the Yas Marina circuit? “Having an evening race with a mixture of day and night makes a different challenge from circuits that we see anywhere else. We start with the sun and finish with the lights. It’s different, interesting and spectacular too,” replied Raikkonen.
The Iceman still hopes to score points for the championship this weekend, “Hopefully we can be a bit smarter and use our race speed to take some more Championship points. The car is good, and if we manage to qualify higher, then I think we would be in a good position to be able to take the most from the next few races.”
After his return to the sport at the start of this season, Raikkonen is satisfied with his Lotus team, “I have been very happy with the team; how they work, how they approach the races and how they invest in developing the car. I think with the progress behind the scenes at Enstone we could be fighting for the podium even more often next year and also be able to make a stronger challenge for the Championship.”
Asked about his motivation, he gave the same answer as he always gives, “My motivation is as strong as it’s always been. I’m keen to race on!”