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Raikkonen on new Ferrari F1 deal: “I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t want to”

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Kimi Raikkonen has shrugged off continual questions regarding his motivation for racing in Formula 1 just days after agreeing to a new one-year deal with Ferrari.

Raikkonen, 37, has gained a reputation in F1 for his direct, no-nonsense approach, which has often been mistaken for a lack of passion or motivation.

The oldest driver on the grid, Raikkonen was announced by Ferrari as being part of its 2018 line-up earlier this week, extending his second stint with the team into a fifth season.

Raikkonen was asked why he felt it was the right move for him during Thursday’s FIA press conference ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, with the Finn offering a typical Kimi-esque response.

“Well, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t want to, and be happy with it. Obviously the team feels the same way so, y’know…” Raikkonen said, tailing off.

‘The Iceman’ offered a more insightful answer regarding his motivation for staying on in F1 later in the press conference, proving that beneath his monosyllabic exterior lies a hardened, determined racer.

“Obviously I want to do well. If I did not feel that I can go fast I wouldn’t be happy in myself,” Raikkonen said.

“If I wasn’t driving, I wouldn’t be here. I have zero interest to waste my time or the team’s time to be a part of it. It’s not the nicest place to just hang around.

“So the racing is the main thing. Yes, there’s a lot of other sides of F1, but as long as the racing is the biggest part, then that’s it. and as long as I feel myself that I can win races and fight for championships then that’s fine.

“When I don’t feel like that, I will be the first guy to do something else.”

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.