Kimi Raikkonen admits that winning the season-opening Australian Grand Prix was special for various reasons, but insists that there is nothing to get too excited about.
The laconic Finn, well known for his laid-back reaction to a lot of things, cruised to victory in Melbourne after making one fewer tyre stop than his rivals, and later branded the victory one of the easiest he had had in an F1 career that included world championship success in 2007, but maintained that everything had gone to plan for the Lotus team – unlike testing.
“After the winter test, when I probably did the least laps of everybody, everything worked well, we had no issues with the car all weekend,” he noted, “We didn't have a very special winter the previous year and not this winter either, but the car has always been good in the race so so far so good. Hopefully, it goes on like this.”
Victory in Melbourne was Raikkonen's second since returning to F1 from a two-year rallying sabbatical, after triumphing in Abu Dhabi last season, but he refuses to be carried away with his early success.
“A win's a win, it doesn't really matter how you get it,” he claimed, “Of course, I'm happy that we didn't really have to go full speed all the time, so it's kind of a good sign, a good race for us, but as I said, it might be a completely different story in the next race, so there's nothing to jump up and be so extra happy about, because it's a long season. We want to be on the top for all the races and it's going to be a hard season for that.”
Raikkonen's point is particularly pertinent having seen Lotus struggle to keep pace in the development last season.
“Of course, it's not going to be easy for us, although I'm sure we have the people, all the tools, to make it,” he acknowledged, “The money is a big part of the thing. For sure, we don't have the same budget as Ferrari
or Red Bull
or Mercedes, but we did pretty well [last year] on the money and the things we have.
“If we get more money, it will give us a better chance against the bigger teams. We have good plans and, if we can follow it up, it might be good, it might not. It's a long season and, if you do things right, it will go nicely, but one thing can change the whole year. If you do a few things a little bit wrong, it can turn around and go downhill after that, so we just have to do our normal things, like we did last year, put good effort into new parts. So far, it has been good, so there is no reason why we can't keep it up.”