In a new Media Centre, part of a major refurbishment of the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit in Montreal, Kimi Raikkonen was one of the first drivers to meet the press, in this afternoon's official FIA Press Conference. In typical Kimi style, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver quickly dismissed the last race, when asked about the Monaco Grand Prix. "As I said before, it's one of the races that didn't really work out. I got no points from there. But, it's in the past and hopefully we will have better results here."
The Finn was far more forthcoming when asked about the challenge of tackling this unusual and low downforce circuit in the post-electronic aids age. "I guess it's going to be more difficult than in the past years but probably we at Ferrari have a better car than last year," reckoned Raikkonen. "It really depends on how well you get your car working but I don't think it's going to be quite as different as everyone expects. People thought that every circuit this year should be more difficult, but there hasn't been a major issue, nor much difference speed-wise. I guess the first few laps on Friday are going to be quite slippery but once we get some rubber down it should help."
One journalist pointed out that Raikkonen has finished every race here in the points, including one tough drive from twentieth to sixth and the Scuderia driver admitted this track suited him: "I like the place but usually something always goes wrong or happens, but still we have been able to finish the races and score points, but hopefully we will have a good weekend and not really have any mistakes or problems. I would expect that we should have good enough speed to try to win here so we will see what happens."
Although Kimi failed to score in the last race, thus slipping off the top of the Leader Board, he did not feel that this made this race particularly important. "Of course we would rather score maximum points than losing any more points to Lewis but there's still a long way to go and we've been in much worse positions before," he maintained. "It's not vital but for sure we want to have a good result. The championship always ends up very close between the top drivers, top teams, but nobody knows. It's close and hopefully we can come back and be in the front when it counts. But I don't feel any pressure. We won the title last year and this time last year we were in a much worse position. One bad race doesn't really make any difference. OK, we lost the lead, we could have easily taken a few more points but it didn't happen, so we come here and try to do better and try to get back in the lead."
Raikkonen also felt that his lack of points in Monaco did not mean the team were in a similar situation to this time last year. "For sure we were much stronger in Monaco, but with all the circumstances that happened for us and all the things didn't really go the way we were planning," he explained. We expect to be stronger here again than last year. Things can easily go wrong or right. If things go right, I don't see any reason why we cannot win here. It's too early say, but that's what we're aiming for and then we will see what happens after this race."
And the inevitable final question about rumors that the reigning world champion would hang up his helmet at the end of next year. "There's been rumors like that for many years," said Kimi with a smile. "I always say that I still have a contract until the end of next year. I haven't made any decision as to whether I will keep going or not after that. So far, that's the last contract that I have and we will see during this year and next year what happens."
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