Kimi Raikkonen believes he drove better when he was enjoying a party lifestyle in Formula 1 because it increased his levels of concentration.
The Finn gained a notorious reputation for drinking and partying between races earlier in his career, something that continued when he returned to the sport in 2012 with Lotus. As revealed in the authorized book ‘The Unknown Kimi Raikkonen’ last year, he went on a drinking spree during a three-week gap between races in Bahrain and Spain, finishing on the podium on both occasions, and Raikkonen believes that lifestyle had a benefit on his performances.
“Obviously it’s been a joke often, but I actually think it’s more true than a joke that I’ve often been driving better doing whatever I want between the races than if I’m just not having fun and drinks and stuff,” Raikkonen said on the latest ‘Beyond the Grid’ podcast for F1.
“There’s too many proven theories… that (you drive) better (after you’ve had) a bit more fun,” says Raikkonen. “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.”
Raikkonen’s final season for Ferrari last year saw him pick up one victory at the United States Grand Prix and finish third in the drivers’ championship. That result meant he attended the FIA Prize Giving Gala in St. Petersburg, Russia — where a drunken appearance on stage enhanced his cult status. The 39-year-old will race for Alfa Romeo this season.