Kimi Räikkönen has taken his 19th Grand Prix victory – the 48th win for an Enstone team – with a glorious day-to-night victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Kimi made an excellent start to take second place at the start from fourth on the grid, then capitalised when Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren retired. Romain Grosjean did not finish the race after being involved in an incident for which Sergio Perez was deemed responsible.
Kimi maintains third position in the Drivers’ Championship on 198 points; a diminished 47 shy of Fernando Alonso and an increased 31 ahead of Mark Webber. The team remains fourth in the Constructors’ Championship on 288 points; a reduced 30 behind McLaren and an increased 152 in front of Mercedes.
Kimi Räikkönen, P1, E20-05
"I’m very happy for the team, and for myself also. You never know what’s going to happen during the race; the safety cars made it quite tricky, but I’ve had similar races many, many times this year. Today we had a clear circuit to be able to use our speed. Perhaps we were not the fastest at the end, but we were quick enough and consistent enough to win so it’s great for the team. We’ve had some difficult races in the second half of the season so it’s fantastic to come back with a win."
Romain Grosjean, DNF, E20-03
"I am very happy for Kimi as it’s the win we were waiting for and it’s an unbelievable result for the whole team. For myself I’m disappointed as I was running pretty well. It was a tight battle with three of us in a row at turn eleven, then Sergio [Perez] went off track at turn thirteen and came back on the inside at turn fourteen leaving me with no room to go anywhere else. Mark [Webber] then came from behind and we touched; it was a big shame. A great day for the team, but an unlucky one for me."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal
"I have one word first of all: Great. Then there are many words such as ‘relief’ and ‘deserved’. It’s obviously a very well deserved result for the team. I’m pleased for Kimi and he did a very good job. We’ve been pushing very hard all season and we’ve nearly had it before. There’s a little frustration not to have had a win sooner, and we have been waiting for it, but it’s a fantastic feeling to finally take that victory and a superb reward for the team. It’s great for Formula 1, it’s great for Kimi and it’s great for our team."
James Allison, Technical Director
"When you are as happy as this it is hard to avoid lapsing into cliché. Despite being tantalisingly close several times this year, we have waited a long time to return to the top step of the podium. It is a massive tribute both to a flawless drive from Kimi and to the tenacity of the entire Enstone team for never having taken their eye off the prize all year. With two races left in the season we go on to Austin with a spring in our step, invigorated to do it all over again and see what we can achieve."
Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader
"It’s just an awesome feeling to finally win a race; the first victory for the Enstone-Viry partnership in its present configuration. All season the chassis-engine package has been strong and everyone has worked incredibly hard in the last few weeks to successfully introduce new parts to get that last piece of performance. It all worked out beautifully today and hats off to Kimi for judging it perfectly."
How does it feel to take your 19th win ?
I’m very happy for the team – and myself – but mainly for the all the crew here and everyone at Enstone. It’s been a hard season and I feel this win is well deserved for everyone and just what we need. It’s also something great for all the fans who have continued to support me and the team. We’ve not had the easiest time in the last few races. Hopefully this gives everyone more belief, not just for everyone working at the track and at the factory, but for everyone behind the scenes running the team. I hope this can turn around the tables and give us many more good races and wins; if not this year, then next year.
How does this win stack up against the other eighteen ?
To be honest it’s just another win on the list for me. It’s great of course, because it’s been a few years, but the wins prior to this one were very similar ; we didn’t have the best car, but we fought and still won. It’s great to win now, so people will stop asking me if I can win or not, and at least it makes it a bit clearer !
Is it good that you’ve answered that ‘when’s the win coming’ question ?
I never cared really what people think – if I don’t finish the next race, then they’ll think that I’m as bad as that race. I’ll just do my thing, and if I’m happy with what I’m doing and it’s the best it can be for the team, then that’s that. So I really don’t care if people are thinking differently of me now, than what they did three hours before the race.
Tell us about your emotions as you took the chequered flag ?
I’m happy, but there’s nothing to jump around about. We still have a few races to go, I’ll try to do the same again. For sure, we’re going to have a good party tonight and hopefully tomorrow, when we are feeling bad after a long night, we will remember how we feel. I’m just happy for everybody in the team.
Tell us about your start ?
It was key to get behind the faster car and not get stuck behind cars that aren’t as fast as us. We had a good position on the grid and we made it better at the start. I think we’ve had some very good starts before and compared to the others, today was a pretty normal start on our scale. I managed to pass Mark [Webber] and Pastor [Maldonado] before I changed into second gear. I’d had a very good practice start on the warm-up lap so I knew this was going to be good.
How long will your celebrations of this win last ?
I have almost two weeks. As long as I manage to get myself to the next race I think the team is happy. Maybe I will try to get home at some point.