31 October 2013
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: 2012 still ‘just another win’ for Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen insists that his first victory since returning to F1 nearly two years ago is still just another notch on his record and nothing more.
Kimi Raikkonen says he is looking forward to returning to the Yas Marina circuit for this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but not necessarily because he won there last year.
While admitting that his first victory since returning to F1 at the start of the season was a decent reward for the effort he and the Lotus team had put in during a competitive season, the win itself still does not hold a particular place in his heart.
“I was very happy for the team, and myself obviously, but mainly for the all the crew and everyone at Enstone,” Raikkonen reasoned, “It was a hard season, so the win was well deserved for everyone and just what we needed.
“It was something great for all the fans who have continued to support me and the team too but, for me, it was just another win on the list. It's great, of course, because it had been a few years, but the wins before were very similar - we didn't have the best car, but we fought hard and still won.
“[Heading back to Abu Dhabi], you just approach it like any race. I had a good result there last year, but I had a very boring race there the first time I visited in 2009. I'd prefer to have another good result, but you don't know how strong you'll be until you get to the circuit.”
The 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the first to feature on the F1 calendar, closed the book on Raikkonen's first stint in the top flight before he left Ferrari and headed for a two-year sabbatical in the World Rally Championship.
“That was a boring one, I can tell you!” he grimaced, “I finished back in twelfth position and there was nothing I could do about it. Those sorts of races are not the best.”
Despite that, however, the Finn enjoys Yas Marina and the unique characteristics it brings to its grand prix.
“It's a great place to go,” Raikkonen admitted, “It's good to race at a circuit where you have had a strong result before. The facilities are second to none. The track layout makes it really challenging for overtaking, as there are not too many places to pass, so you really have to qualify well to be at the front and get a strong result from there.
“It's a track where you really hope to get everything nicely together during the whole weekend. When you succeed with that, it's a good place to race. I have had one very boring race being stuck in the middle group and then one great race fighting for the victory at the top. I know which I prefer…. and a race like last year would be good, rather than the one I had there in 2009.”
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