I’m not a brand new driver – Raikkonen

A three week gap between Malaysia and China comes as a welcome break for the drivers. We caught up with Kimi to hear what the 2007 World Champion has been up to, his thoughts on the season so far, and the ‘New Kimi’ who seems to be the talk of the paddock…

Kimi, after a busy start to the year it must be good to have a break before the next race; what have you been up to?

I went straight to Beirut from Malaysia for the Lotus Cars Lebanon dealership launch event which was a good evening. I haven’t had much time back home yet, but I’ll be making the most of it to catch up with people and have a bit of fun. We have to keep training hard to maintain good fitness for every race, so there’s still that to consider.

Now that you’ve had time to reflect on the first two races, how has the season been for you so far?

I think we’ve got off to an encouraging start. It’s been frustrating sometimes with the chassis issues in testing, the qualifying mix-up in Australia and the gearbox change in Malaysia, but we’ve shown we can deal with any problems and come back stronger. It feels like I’ve never been away; the team has done a good job and I’m working well with them which makes things easier. The car feels good and we clearly have the pace to be at the front; we just need some better luck.

There’s been a lot of talk about the ‘New Kimi’ this season; do you think you’ve changed since you left the sport?

Not really, I’m still the same person as I was before. Maybe people see me as more relaxed, which I think is down to the team. It’s a different atmosphere to what I’ve experienced before; everyone is very open and laid back but at the same time they work extremely hard and pay a lot of attention to detail. I feel comfortable here which helps me to focus on racing; I guess that’s why people seem to think I’m a different person, but I’m just as focused and motivated as before.

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