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Raikkonen: I'm not driving any differently

NEWS STORY
31/08/2018

Aware that meeting the media is one of the downsides to a job that he clearly still enjoys, it was a case of 'grin and bear' it for the Finn as he faced the press at the FIA press conference.

The inevitable, numerous questions about next year were dismissed with an "I don't know, it's out of my hands", but still they came.

While the Finn has had some lean spells over the last couple of seasons, leading to a kick up the backside from the late Sergio Marchionne, this year, for the most part, it has been the Kimi of old.

A convincing run of podium finishes was brought to an end last week when he was one of several innocent victims of Nico Hulkenberg's overenthusiasm, while his two others DNFs this year were out of his hands. Indeed, but for an unsafe release in Bahrain and an engine failure in Spain, the Finn would be a lot closer to the Hamilton/Vettel dog-fight.

Approaching his 39th birthday, asked if he still enjoys the challenge, Raikkonen was in no doubt.

"I enjoy the racing; I don't think that's a secret," he replied. "The rest not, but that's part of the job.

"Do I want to race?" he continued. "Yes, otherwise I wouldn't be here today. I don't see that's suddenly going to disappear. Who knows, it might be, but I doubt it. Like I said, I don't know, so we'll see what happens."

Bearing in mind that he is the 2018 grid's 'elder statesman', when asked how he can keep performing at his current level, he admitted: "It's hard to know.

"I don't feel that I drive any differently than 10 years ago," he continued. "I think I drive pretty well, in my books at least, and that's enough for me. I wouldn't be here if I didn't feel I can drive as well as I feel that I should.

"That's my tool to measure and decide when it's enough. Who knows. I don't know. Maybe I wake up one morning and I just don't know how to go fast any more.

"I don't think there is a time," he added. "It's more feelings and how do you feel yourself doing it - good or bad.

"People always say that the speed will disappear but until this day I feel that it hasn't disappeared for me. But maybe there is a morning you wake up and it's just not there anymore. It could be like that but I don't think you just put a date, you just turn this old or that and it's just not there. If you have it, you have it and if not... that's it."

Like his speed, the Iceman's dry wit is as rapier sharp as ever. Asked why, as the most private driver in F1, he has chosen to collaborate on a biography, which, according to initial translations, is surprisingly frank, he retorts: "Probably you had a wrong translation. What about that?

"No, how is it secret," he continued, "because I lived through it and there have been an awful lot of stories about it, a lot of things. I don't know how you think it's such a secret. I don't think... it's something that I decided to do. It's just a short story until now, it's not such a big thing in my view.

"Like I said, I lived through it and it just happens to be now it's in a book. Probably most of the things a lot of people know, maybe not all, but I don't feel that there is something different in my view, but obviously probably for you guys it is different."

Check out our Friday gallery from Monza, here.

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