Kimi Raikkonen says partying helped play a role in him becoming a better Formula 1 driver. 

Raikkonen has gained something of a reputation for his off-track lifestyle as a ‘party animal’ throughout his career, but the 2007 world champion insisted finding a work-life balance has benefitted him. 

Speaking in F1’s official Beyond the Grid podcast, Raikkonen confessed his belief that “having fun” with his time outside of the sport has ultimately led to better “end results”. 

“Obviously it’s been a joke often,” The Finn explained. 

“But I actually think it’s more true than a joke that I’ve often been driving better [after] doing whatever I want between the races than if I’m just not having fun and drinks and stuff. 

“There’s too many proven theories… that it might work better after you’ve had a bit more fun. 

“That whole summer was more or less racing and partying. It’s nothing new - for me it’s normal. Outside it might look a bit weird, but for me, in the past, it was a very normal story.

“I always thought that [it makes you] more relaxed and you need to put more effort and concentration in [on track] because you’re a bit unsure. And then the end result comes better.

"I always joked in the past that as long as you have more drinking days than hangover days you are all fine. For sure on that point the numbers were right."

Raikkonen, who turns 40 later this year, has joined Alfa Romeo for the 2019 season after his second spell with Ferrari came to an end last season.

“I enjoy it otherwise I wouldn’t be here today,” Raikkonen explained. “I guess I enjoy the speed but I never really thought about it too much.

“I enjoy racing. Testing is great with the new cars and it’s always exciting to see the new cars but let’s say I am happy that there is only like eight days in the end because after a while we are going around the same circuit forever. 

“The main thing is the racing and going against each other and doing everything as well as you can. It’s painful sometimes when you do mistakes or you don’t get exactly what you want but I guess that challenge is also the one that is enjoyable.” 

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