Kimi Raikkonen, the winner of the last Grand Prix in Barcelona a fortnight ago arrived at the Istanbul Park circuit, where he won three years ago and as usual on a Thursday, he had his regular pre-weekend meeting with the media, admitting that he was more comfortable at Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro than last year.
"For sure, I am finding my job easier this year as it is my second season with Ferrari," said Raikkonen. "The longer you work with people the more you understand them and how they operate, what they want to do and what they expect from you. Of course, the car is different this year, but the rest of the environment is the same and we know how to get the best out of the car."
As the championship leader after four rounds, Raikkonen can be happy with the way the season is going, however, he insists his attitude does not change at all. "I want to win every race, but unfortunately that isn't always possible," he said. "But my attitude is always that I am trying to win. That is my approach to every race. Usually, after qualifying, you get a clearer picture of what you can expect. In Barcelona for example, it was a completely trouble free weekend right from the start which is very important and I was confident from the beginning. Then on Saturday, qualifying on pole was the key to a good Sunday. I got to the first corner first, then I pushed hard but felt it was under control all race long, although the Safety Car made life more complicated."
The season has not yet reached the end of its first quarter, but already the press are talking about titles. "I think it is too early in the season to start thinking about the Championship title," insisted Kimi. "We have often seen that the races in Monaco and Canada which come up next, can see situations change quickly. It is difficult to say how strong we will be there, but after those two races, then maybe we will start to see what we can expect for the rest of the season."
If Raikkonen is naturally unwilling to speculate too much about the Turkish GP before the start of practice tomorrow, he does not expect any major surprises. "I hope this weekend is similar to the last race with everything going well and so we can be very competitive again. A lot will also depend on how the McLarens and BMWs perform. In some ways they can help us, because depending on which one of them is more competitive, they can take points away from one another. Ferrari has always gone well here and I have won here the first year so this is a positive element, but my feeling is that the other teams could be more competitive this time than they were last year."
And finally, a question about the banning of electronic driver aids: "To be honest, if the car is working well, you don't really notice the lack of traction control," he replied. "It is only when the set up and balance are not yet perfect that you miss driver aids a little. We had expected that managing the tyres might have been a problem with these new rules, but so far this year Bridgestone seems to have done a good job and this has not been the case."