Kimi Raikkonen will be gunning for his third Australian Grand Prix victory live on NBCSN next Sunday, as he makes his second debut for Ferrari following five years away from Maranello.
The Finn joined Ferrari in 2007 and won on debut for the team at the Australian Grand Prix, and eventually clinched the world championship at the final round in Brazil. However, relations with the team soured in 2009, leading to Raikkonen’s departure and the arrival of Fernando Alonso to partner Felipe Massa.
Now, with Massa moving to Williams, Raikkonen has returned to the Scuderia on a two year deal. Having also won the race last year with Lotus, the Finn will be looking for his third win at Albert Park next weekend.
“I remember very well my first win with Ferrari,” he explained. “It couldn’t have been a better start to my seventh year in Formula 1, with a dominant win from pole.
“Winning always feels great for me. Nothing could be better. Last year, we also managed to win, which certainly surprised people because unlike 2007, at Lotus we weren’t favourites, so if I had to compare the two Australian wins, somehow, winning it last year for the second time felt even a little bit nicer after such a difficult pre-season testing period.”
Just like last year, though, Raikkonen is not the favorite to win the Australian Grand Prix as Mercedes and Williams have shown an impressive pace during testing. Nevertheless, the Finn believes that it is impossible to predict who will come away from Melbourne with the winner’s trophy.
“Making predictions has never been my habit and this year there is even more reason not to,” Raikkonen explained. “We are heading Down Under with brand new cars and I reckon it is wide open and anything can happen.
“In Maranello, we have worked hard and the F14 T seems to be a good car, but the track will tell who is quickest. When we start running to see where we are, we will at least have some data to give us a starting point.”
The Australian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN next weekend. For the complete schedule, click here.