Kimi: First? I'd rather be 4th
GIVING THE GALA A SKIP: Kimi Raikkonen would rather not win the 2012 championship if it means he can avoid the prize-giving gala in December.
Author: Alan Baldwin
YEONGAM, South Korea - Kimi Raikkonen would rather finish fourth in the Formula 1 World championship than end up second or third because then he could skip the 2012 prize-giving gala in December.
Raikkonen, 2007 World champion with Ferrari but now at Lotus, is third in the current standings after 15 of the 20 races.
He said: "It doesn't matter if I am second or 10th, it makes no difference. I'd rather be out of second or third place so I don't have to go to the prize-giving. It makes no difference to be second or fifth if you don't win."
NO RACE WIN IN 2012
At the beginning of 2012, when he began a comeback after two seasons in World Rallying, Raikkonen would have been happy had he been told he would be third at this point but his ambitions have grown since then.
"Once you do a little bit well, you expect to do better and you want to do better all the time," said Raikkonen, who has yet to win in 2012 but has scored points in the last 12 races with six appearances on the podium.
Under championship rules, the top three drivers attend the governing International Automobile Federation's prize-giving gala. It will be held in Istanbul; New Delhi was host in 2011.
Raikkonen, a racer who just wants to get in the car and drive it as fast as possible with the minimum amount of talking, has never hidden his dislike for media activities and sponsorship functions. He will be racing at the Yeongam circuit, some 400km south of the capital Seoul, for the first time this weekend - the race made its debut in his absence in 2010 - but Raikkonen said he had done no special preparation.
He hoped to walk the track before Friday practice but has done little simulator work.
"It's never the same as driving. I don't think it makes a lot of difference," he said.
Fourth-placed Lotus has brought significant updates to the race, including a new exhaust, hoping to cut the gap to Ferrari in third place. Team principal Eric Boullier has talked about the start of a new era for the team.
Raikkonen said: "We know some numbers from the wind tunnel and all the calculations but until we run anything, we do not really know what it is going to bring us. We hope it will work - we expect it will improve our position a lot."
Stay with Wheels24 for the Korean Grand Prix.