AUSTIN, United States, Oct 22 – Kimi Raikkonen lived up to expectations Sunday when he refused to change his customary laconic style after claiming his first Formula One win for more than five years.
But the 39-year-old Finn, who triumphed for the first time in 113 races dating back to the 2013 Australian Grand Prix, could not resist an ultra-dry riposte at the expense of Lewis Hamilton.
Sitting in the green pre-podium room after the race, he leaned across to speak to the Briton, who was frustrated in his bid to clinch a fifth title and finished third.
“So, did you win the championship today?” asked the Ferrari man, who will be leaving for Sauber next year.
The delivery was so deadpan that the Mercedes driver was caught off-guard and muttered only a brief response.
It was a classic addition to Raikkonen’s collected quotations, a list that included his radio response to a Renault engineer: “Leave me alone, I know what I am doing.”
Raikkonen and Hamilton may both have been unaware of it, but Sunday’s race came exactly 11 years after the Finn’s victory and drivers’ title triumph for Ferrari in Brazil in Hamilton’s 2007 debut season.
That race ended the Englishman’s title dream for that season.
Typically, Raikkonen played down his success on Sunday while all around him dashed around in celebration.
“It’s not going to change my life,” he said. “The champagne tastes the same. It’s no different to the last time on the podium.
“We always come to the weekend to do our best and if we do our best then we expect to be up there to fight for the win. We did it today. I felt confident and it worked out.
“I never really made such a big thing out of it. I’ve won races and a championship so it’s not like I’ve never done it before.
“One more would never have changed my life. Maybe others would looked at me differently, but it’s not everything. It’s nice for sure but it’s not everything. It’s not really life is it?”