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Indian GP - Thursday press conference – Pt.2

25 October 2012


Questions from the floor

Q: (Shridhar Poddar – Sakal Media House )
Kimi, how has the break from Formula One to rallying helped you, because your second stint has been turning out to be as good as the first one?

Kimi Raikkonen:
It hasn't really done anything. I was pretty happy to go and do something else for a while, did some racing and I'm enjoying it again. It's the same places - OK, there are some new circuits and places to come to this year and a new team, but apart from that, Formula One hasn't changed and it's exactly the same. For me, nothing's really changed. People always talk about where I was last time, that I didn't have the motivation but I thought I drove better than I ever drove in the last year; it was just that we had a pretty bad car at that time. Nothing has really changed for me.

Q: (Vinayak Pandey - Hindustan Times)
Narain, you have probably driven on this circuit a lot more than other drivers. The conditions in Delhi were unexpectedly cool and there was a rain shower on Wednesday. Should the temperatures become cooler than they are right now in qualifying and on Sunday, do you see any particular changes in the way the cars will handle or the outcome?

Narain Karthikeyan:
I think the track is already in a lot better condition than last year; it was very dusty, and because of the landscaping that they have done, the dust has settled, there's no more construction around the circuit so we already have a higher level of grip and the circuit looks quite nice. As you know, I drove the MR Formula 2000 car a month ago; it was already very good. Temperatures won't matter, they are going to drop a few degrees from today, I think, but it's OK. The tyres are fine; compared to last year, the hard compound - we have the same allocations but it's a little bit softer so it should be fine here.

Q: (Chetan Narula - PlanetF1)
Kimi, how big a challenge were Pirelli's tyres for you, because the last time [you were in F1], you had different tyres, and now you have totally different compounds and everything?

Kimi Raikkonen:
I admit that I had some thoughts about the tyres before I did one private test - OK, it wasn't the race tyres, it was some other even more worse tyres but I thought that they were fine. When you come from rallying, they have much more grip and the tyres were OK for me so after that, I already knew that I would not have any issues, because there was a lot of talk that maybe it was not good, but when I came back, I didn't really remember how it was two years earlier, so I thought that the tyres were completely fine and I still do so. OK, they wore off a bit faster than in the past in some races but it's the same for everybody and they've been doing a very good job for Formula One so I'm happy with that.

Q: (Chetan Narula - PlanetF1)
And you haven't won this year but despite that, how good a comeback has this been for you?

Kimi Raikkonen:
Yes, I'm happy. If you had told me before the season that I will be in this position with this many points and stuff like that I would have taken it but of course when you do some good races you always want more and more and then you're disappointed if you're not. If you do well you want more and more. It could have been better but it could have been much more worse also.

Q: (C. Raghunath - The Hindu)
Kimi, do you fancy your chances this year? You're third in the championship...

Kimi Raikkonen:
Yeah, of course. We've had a chance. It's the difference like in 2007. We had a car that you knew that could win all the races and right now we are not the fastest car so we need more help to really win it but we will keep trying and hopefully we can achieve it. We will try until there's no chance but it's a bit different situation. But if we can improve the car in the next three races, you never know, so...

Q: (Vinayak Pandey - Hindustan Times)
Kimi, after which race did you feel that the Lotus team didn't have the same competitiveness as it had at the start of the season?

Kimi Raikkonen:
I think in Spa we had some signs but then we have seen this year that one race you can be very strong and the next not so good, it's been up and down between the teams. For some reason, after the summer break, some of the teams have been much more consistent. I think we still have a good car. We improved it in the last race again but we are not at the level that we maybe were compared to others at the beginning of the season.

Q: (Gary Meenaghan - The National)
Nico, you said that you mentioned that you got here on Monday. Could you just give us an idea of some of the things you've been doing since you got here?

Nico Hulkenberg:
Well, mainly a lot of media interaction. We are an Indian team so there is quite a bit of interest, so we've been around, talking to a lot of TV stations, went to some studios, did a sponsorship event with Hackett which is a team partner in clothing. It's only two days and two days pass pretty quickly.

Q: (Gary Meenaghan - The National)
Did you meet Vijay?

Nico Hulkenberg:
No, we haven't met Vijay.

Q: (Shreyas Sharma – Mail Today)
Narain, since you are closely associated with this track, some changes have been made, although the changes are minor. Do you think it will make the race more interesting, faster?

Narain Karthikeyan:
No, the layout remains the same, just that the kerbs are extended a little bit in turns five and six and then they put some astroturf to keep the dust down because a lot of cars were going off in that particular corner last year. Apart from that, as everyone has said, the layout is fantastic and I'm glad they haven't changed anything, it's nice to drive on, it's pretty flowing and it's fast.

Q: (Shridhar Poddar – Sakal Media House)
To all the drivers, whoever wants to answer: the long straight is something that the DRS was really tailor-made for although we didn't see too much overtaking last year. How much overtaking do you think there is a scope for over here?

Narain Karthikeyan:
We won't be doing much overtaking so I think...

Heikki Kovalainen:
We have the same problem as Narain so...

Bruno Senna:
Normally, the overtaking is more due to the tyre difference between the cars than to long straights or DRS. Long straights always help a little bit but if you're coming from a corner like turn two, which is a long corner where you put a lot of heat into the tyres, into a hairpin, where traction is a bit more compromised so overtaking really is more due to the tyres than anything else in current Formula One. But if you're in a Toro Rosso then you have about 20kph more top speed than everyone else then you can overtake as well


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