Kimi Raikkonen has revealed that he is ready to start his second season with Ferrari, boosted by the ongoing reaction to his clinching of the 2007 Formula One world title.

The Finn has admitted that he could not have anticipated the welcome his success would receive, but says that he feels invigorated by the way the season turned out.

"I can say that I fell in love again with this sport," he revealed after receiving the plaudits of the tifosi at Ferrari's traditional end-of-season celebration at Mugello, "These were joyful days, with many celebrations. It seems I can't stop smiling.

"Wherever I go, there are people who congratulate me. It seems that everybody in Italy is as happy as I am! Wednesday in Maranello was wonderful, when we celebrated the wins of the two championships with everybody from the Scuderia, but I have to say that Mugello was even better, [celebrating] in front of thousands of fans and numerous Ferrari clients."

Returning to the Tuscan circuit brought other memories flooding back for Raikkonen, but he insists that most will be supplanted by those of the 2007 campaign.

"When I was going to [Mugello], I remembered the first time I drove a race car, back when I was driving in the Formula Renault, and then my first race in Formula One with Peter Sauber," he recalled, "I remember these feelings, but it is really something else driving the car with which I just won the championship at Mugello - it was like a second triumph. I was really happy and very proud being part of the Ferrari family when I saw all the fans celebrating. Thank you all so much, with all my heart!"

The Finn insists that he will now take a short break from the sport, before coming back refreshed and ready to take up the cudgels once again.

"There was a great surprise waiting for me after the celebrations at Mugello," he revealed, "I should have gone back to Switzerland, but [wife] Jenni and my friends had planned something else. We went to Helsinki and celebrated the win with people who have always been close to me. This was a great way of coming back home for the first time as a world champion.

"Now I'm on holiday. I'll try to chill out as much as I can and charge up my batteries. I drove almost every week during the last season and now is the time to think of something else than four wheels. I'll try to forget Formula One a bit, but that will be difficult, as this year was really special to me."

As was common with Michael Schumacher, Raikkonen will skip the mundane post-season track work, leaving that to team-mates Felipe Massa and Luca Badoer instead.

"I won't go to the tests in November in Barcelona, but I might be back on the track in December," he concluded, "But it will be great to start my second year with Ferrari now that I have won the title. It will be a new challenge, even more exciting, because I want to feel this joy again."

 

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