|© Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic/Lotus
He’s never won in Germany - whether in the European or German Grand Prix - the latter of which has seen Kimi Raikkonen retire six times. Can this finally be the year for the Iceman at Hockenheim?
Do you have everything you need to be successful at Hockenheim?
Yes. We’ve got a good car, we understand the tyres quite well, we’ve shown that we can be fast and race well... there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be fighting for another podium.
What is it about Germany that hasn’t been kind to you in the past?
I don’t know, maybe I did something bad in a former life? I’ve always enjoyed driving in Germany, but the problem is that luck has never been on my side there and something has always happened to stop me winning. I’ve had four pole positions which shows my speed on German soil, but six retirements haven’t been what I wanted.
Does it set you more of a challenge having raced in Germany 15 times but never taken a win?
Not really. A race is just a race and you always try to do your best. In the past, the races I’ve contested in Germany have never gone as I had been hoping for. Obviously both circuits - Hockenheim and the Nurburgring - have not been very kind to me. I like them both and I have always been very competitive there. Maybe it will all come together this year.
Looking back to Silverstone, the E20 seemed to be going well?
We were really quick on the hard tyres, especially at the end of the race. It’s just a shame we didn’t have the space on track to use it for the whole race as unfortunately I spent quite a lot of time stuck behind slower cars so we couldn’t show our full pace until we were in clear air. We were close to Felipe (Massa) at the end, but we just didn’t have enough laps left to get another position. I was really pleased with the car. It felt good all weekend and we’re definitely getting closer to finding the full speed from it.
What do you need for a fast lap at Hockenheim?
The car can make all the difference here, and luckily we’ve got a good one. You need good traction out of the corners and if you’re lacking rear grip it’s hard to get the pace from the car to challenge for the top positions.
How important is it to qualify at the front?
When I was last in Hockenheim in 2008 overtaking was quite difficult. Not as tricky as some circuits, but not easy at all. This year with the tyres, the KERS and the DRS it could be easier to overtake, especially if we are better on our tyres than the opposition. It’s not all about qualifying at Hockenheim, but certainly it makes life easier when you start from the front and have clean air.
So a start from the front and clean air ahead; anything else you’d like in Germany?
Some hot weather would be good. Usually in Hockenheim it has been very hot and everybody has had problems with the tyres going off. Obviously, for us, the hot weather suits the car fine. Our car prefers the hot temperatures and in the long runs it’s not that hard on tyres. Let’s have some real summer weather in Hockenheim.