Kimi Raikkonen says his victory in the United States Grand Prix proves his doubters wrong but downplayed the significance of the first win in his second Ferrari stint.
Starting from second, Raikkonen overtook Lewis Hamilton at the start of the race and a one-stop strategy then saw him hold off Max Verstappen and Hamilton in a close finish. The win is Raikkonen’s first since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix when he was driving for Lotus, but he says he wasn’t overly concerned by the lack of a win for Ferrari up until this point.
“It’s not a big deal for me, it’s a much bigger deal for a lot of the people,” Raikkonen said. “If it comes, it comes; if it doesn’t, it really doesn’t change my life one bit.
“I’m happy we are here and that we win but I think the biggest difference is the way people look at you. If you look at people in a different way if they win or not, it doesn’t make a lot of difference in my mind. But obviously I’m happy, just proving some people wrong it’s enough fun for me.
“Obviously I wanted to win, that’s for sure. I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen or not because sometimes it’s been close and something maybe happened. With five laps to go it was going to be OK because I knew my tires were still OK and once they get close enough, it’s so difficult to follow.
“It’s nice to hear [the Finnish anthem], especially if you’ve won. Obviously that is what you always want, at any race we come to, all of us want to win. I’m happy for that, it was a great day to prove some people wrong and having a good race but it doesn’t really change anything for me. It’s just a number. Life goes on.”
And Raikkonen suggested his family would be more excited with the rewards of victory, joking that his wife and two children wanted him to bring home a first-place podium cap.
“They’ve been asking for a while, so more interested in the Pirelli cap than probably the win itself! I know that we can buy it also but I know it’s not fair play to bring them if I had to buy it. So yeah. I have a lovely wife and kids and I’m sure they’re happy. I’m not sure if the kids… they probably fall asleep during the race but the wife probably looked at it. I’m more than happy for all of us.
“It’s nice to win again – but like I said, it doesn’t change my life or they don’t look at me differently. My son asked the previous race that he wants a new Pirelli – the same tire from the qualifying – because he wants to play with it. Again, I’m sure they’re happy and I’m happy to help them, more than happy. We’ll have a nice talk when we get home.”