A race weekend with… Kimi Raikkonen
06 Nov 2008
While Sunday in Brazil belonged to Lewis Hamilton, last year’s Interlagos race was a different story altogether, with the Grand Prix ending in equally heroic circumstances as Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen claimed his maiden drivers’ title.
Following his 2008 return to Sao Paulo, we caught up with Raikkonen to ask how it felt to be back, and to discover how he spends his time ‘in the office’ over a race weekend and find out why sleep plays an intrinsic part in his pre-race regime…
Q: We were in Brazil this weekend, what do you associate with this circuit?
Kimi Raikkonen:For sure I had there the best memories of my racing career. The 2007 Grand Prix will always remain in my mind and in my heart!
Q: You don’t take to the track until Friday morning, but when do you like to fly in?
KR:It depends on the programme. Usually in Europe I arrive at the track Thursday late morning, so I do not touch down later than Wednesday afternoon.
Q: Do you make an effort to discover your surroundings at a race, or do you stick to the airport-hotel-track-airport itinerary?
KR:No, unfortunately there is not too much time during a race weekend. It is different maybe when there are back-to-back races overseas, like Japan and China in the last two years. Then, for instance, I love to go to Tokyo and spend two days there.
Q: What’s your exercise regime over a race weekend? Does it vary according to the race location, demands of the circuit etc?
KR:No, basically it remains the same. The only change this year was for Singapore, as we had to adapt to a different timetable.
Q: What’s your preferred accommodation at races - city hotel, hotel near the circuit, your own motorhome near the paddock?
KR:It depends where the race is hosted. If it is a street circuit I like city hotels. If not, I prefer to stay not too far away from the track. But, as I said, it depends case by case.
Q: Anything you have to have provided in your hotel room or any luxuries you always bring with you from home?
KR:No, I am a simple man! I only bring with me my computer and my iPod.
Q: Do you enjoy entertaining friends and family during a race weekend?
KR:Usually the family is not with me because we don’t really have time to spend together, so it would make no sense to have them around.
Q: Do you get the chance to go out and socialize on Friday and Saturday night?
KR:Friday we finish our technical programme late so I just go back to the hotel. Saturday there is more time, but I prefer to spend the time in a relaxed way.
Q: Any drivers you particularly like hanging out with?
KR:No, not specifically.
Q: Your favourite race for nightlife?
Q: What’s the best night out you’ve had at a Grand Prix? And have you ever overslept the next morning?
KR:Brazil 2007 - you can easily figure out why!
Q: What do you have for breakfast on a race Sunday?
KR:The same as for a normal day: some cereal and milk.
Q: How do you spend the morning on race Sunday?
KR:On Sunday morning we have a series of technical and sporting briefings with the team. Then there are the commercial activities which usually last a total of 45 minutes. In the meantime, I usually sleep as much as I can.
Q: How do you like to get to the circuit on Sunday morning? Do you drive yourself?
KR:By car, driving myself.
Q: How do you like to spend the hour or so before the race? Any superstitions or pre-race rituals you always go through to bring you luck?
KR:No, nothing special. As I said before, I try to sleep as much as possible.
Q: Do you have a lucky charm?
Q: What do you do to stay calm as you’re sat on the grid awaiting the formation lap?
KR:Nothing special. Usually I listen to my race engineer who repeats the starting procedure and the latest news.
Q: How do you wind down after the race?
KR:It depends on the result. If it is a good one I love to chill out with my friends. If it is a bad one, I prefer to go back home as soon as possible.
Q: If things don’t go your way and you retire early, do you prefer to get away as soon as possible, or hang out and watch the rest of the race?
KR:I would prefer to disappear but I still have to participate in the post-race debriefing so I just stay in my room and wait for that.