Raikkonen: "A driver's ability has a greater influence here"
Instead of the tidy order of a normal race track, the motorhomes and hospitality units are dotted around the Monaco harbor in whatever way can be found to make them all fit in to a very small space. But the world's press had no trouble finding the bright red beacon that is the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Media Motorhome. Inside it, they found Kimi Raikkonen holding his first press conference of the Monaco GP weekend.
And the first question looked back to the previous race in Istanbul and the fact that Kimi regretted the loss of the first free practice session due to a gearbox problem: "If you want to get the car right, then you miss one and a half hours of practice, and if the weather then changes, it is very hard to catch up," said the Finn, making a statement that applies even more to a track like the street circuit here in Monte Carlo.
Last year, this famous race did not go famously for the Scuderia, even if Felipe Massa managed to make it to the podium in third place. And generally, it is fair to say that for a team that has won so many races so many times, even when on top form, the Prancing Horse has often stumbled here, not winning since 2001. However, Raikkonen feels progress has been made: "I think we are in a better position than we were in here last year," he maintained. "We had a good test last week in Paul Ricard. Let's see how we go tomorrow. Hopefully, this year we are in a position where we can challenge for the win. We have some new parts just like we would at every other race and of course the car is running in high downforce configuration, which I was able to test at Ricard, even though it is impossible to perfectly simulate Monaco at that track, but it is still the best convenient option to prepare for this race."
Kimi is not known as "The Iceman" for nothing and rarely shows too much emotion. But when asked, even he admitted that a victory around this famous venue would be special. "A win here gives you the same ten points as any other win on the calendar, but for sure it is nice to win this race, especially because of the atmosphere you have here, its unique position and the crowd being so close to the track."
Asked who he felt had been the best driver he had seen lapping the Monaco circuit, Kimi took the diplomatic approach: "Maybe someone who has already retired! But among the current ones, I think Alonso, Hamilton and Felipe, who was third here last year, all have the ability to do well on this track. In past years, I have had some very nice battles with Alonso, which were fun. The other aspect of this circuit that I like is that, in a sport where the technical side has a very big influence on the final result of a race, at this circuit, a driver's ability has a greater influence on the outcome. But all the same, if you do not have a good car you cannot win."
Felipe does not like it and you? "I think every driver has his own favorite circuit. It is a matter of personal taste. I like Monaco.