Kimi Raikkonen has always been a laid-back character, but his demeanour after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
suggested that victory no longer held the same thrill for him.
Having appeared irritated by instructions from the pit-wall throughout the 55-lap race, the Finn seemed downbeat on the podium, while his familiar lack of enthusiasm for press conferences could not be lifted by the excitement of taking the Lotus name back to the top of the podium.
“I'm happy, but there's nothing to jump around about really,” he told podium interviewer, and former McLaren
team-mate, David Coulthard, “If I win it's great, if I don't, I will try again - it's not the end of life. For sure, we're going to have a good party today and, hopefully, tomorrow, when we are feeling bad after a long night, we will remember how we feel [now] so…”
Insisting that he was happy for the team, which claimed its first victory since the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix, Raikkonen admitted that he had few other emotions.
“Last time, you guys were giving me sh*t because I didn't really smile enough, so maybe [it's the same] this time, but I'm very happy for the team,” the Finn, who also claimed the first victory of his comeback after two years in rallying, “It's really [been] a hard season for the team and not an easy time. Hopefully, this gives them more belief, not just for the guys making all the work but also for the guys who run the team. I hope this can turn around the tables and give us many more good races and wins. If not this year, then next year.”
Even returning Lotus to the list of F1 winners for the first time since 1987 appeared to hold little significance to the 2007 world champion who, quite rightly, pointed out that the current team bore little in the way of links to its illustrious namesake.
“It's a long time for them, I guess, [and] I don't think there are any [of the same] people in the team any more, [so] it's a name,” he shrugged, “It's the same [Renault] team since Fernando was there, just a different name. It's a great name for us, [with a] good past but, you know, I race for a team whatever the name is, I don't really care. It's just for the guys who do all the work. Maybe it looks good in somebody's eyes but, for me, it really makes no difference.”
The win was the first for Raikkonen since the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix
with Ferrari, and helped cement his hold on third place in the current standings although, ironically, his chances of adding to his lone world championship were ended by Fernando Alonso
and Sebastian Vettel
joining him on the podium.
“I wouldn't put money on me!” he joked, “I think we knew already, a few races ago, that we didn't have the speed to challenge at the front, [but] we always said that we would keep fighting and trying to do the best that we can.
“We got the win [and] we might have lost the championship on the same day, but I don't really care. We didn't really expect to be fighting with them anyhow. We've always been a bit behind and not really had the speed to challenge them in normal races. Now, in the last few races, we've had very good speed and, finally, we put all the things together and won. We will try [for the championship] again next year.”