Kimi Raikkonen says his move to Alfa Romeo has sparked increased enjoyment of Formula 1 as he has been able to view it as a hobby.

The 39-year-old Finn was replaced at Ferrari by its latest prodigy Charles Leclerc for the 2019 season, with Raikkonen moving in the opposite direction to link back up with the rebranded Sauber squad he made his F1 debut with back in 2001.

Asked how he keeps himself motivated to continue on in F1, Raikkonen replied: “I don’t know really. I don’t have any special things that I try to motivate myself.

“It’s become more of a hobby for me lately than anything else and probably that’s why it’s more fun again, so I always try to do the best that I can.

“Some days it goes a bit better than others, but that’s how it goes when you do a lot of racing. Some days it’s a bit more tricky than others. It’s never really been an issue.

“A lot of people think so but, you know, everybody has the right to say what they think. I just try to do what I can and hopefully… when I feel myself that it’s not what I expect from myself then obviously I try to find a new hobby after that.”

Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur added: “I think it is a great approach. To be fully committed when he is at work and to release the pressure when you are outside of this system.

"For sure he doesn’t take it easy, he is fully dedicated and fully focused. He’s pushing like hell on every single detail, nobody will consider that Kimi is on some kind of vacation.

"You have less pressure when you are running with us than Ferrari but you can put yourself in the same situation with the same target to deliver and achieve. He’s not relaxing at all, perhaps he’s enjoying it more with less pressure.”

Raikkonen, who said he headed into his new challenge having not set any goals for the season, feels Alfa Romeo is better positioned compared to the back end of 2018 when he first drove for the team in the Abu Dhabi test.

“I can’t really talk about last year’s car,” Raikkonen explained. “Obviously I did a test but it’s one track so from my side it’s hard to say what is better on this car than the one they had last year.

“But for sure they did a good job over the winter from the car that I drove in Abu Dhabi in the tyre test to the one we have now. Obviously there’s a lot of things to improve still and it’s a never-ending story and an ongoing thing to try to make it better, holding more downforce and stuff like that.

“I think in general it’s quite a good, solid package and we understand it pretty OK and they seem to have good guys on all areas to bring new stuff. It never comes fast enough but that’s a normal issue in any team you go to.

“I think the basis there is to make it faster all the time, so keep it up and see what we’ve got when we get to the end of the year.”



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