AUSTIN, Texas — Kimi Raikkonen’s U.S. Grand Prix win was his first in Formula One as a family man.
Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari’s resurgence at the U.S. Grand Prix came as too little too late as he heads to the next round in Mexico expecting to be eliminated from the title race.
Kimi Raikkonen gave exactly the sort of response you would have expected after ending his five-year wait for a Formula One victory.
The Ferrari driver claimed a popular victory on Sunday, 2,044 days since winning at the 2013 Australian Grand Prix for Lotus. It was his first for Ferrari since the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix during his first stint with the team.
A lot has changed for Raikkonen since his last visit to the top step of the podium. The man once known for his partying antics away from the race track has settled down to family life at his home in Switzerland — although he said the Austin result “doesn’t change my life one bit,” it is the first win since his marriage to wife Minttu and the birth of their children, Robin and Rianna.
When asked how the win would feel now that he could share it with his kids, Raikkonen said: “They’ve been asking for a while for a new Pirelli winner’s cap, and I know we can buy them but that wouldn’t be fair play.
“The wife and kids, I’m sure they’re happy, the kids probably fell asleep during the race but the wife probably feels good. I’m happy for all of us, it’s nice.”
Last month, Raikkonen posted a video to Instagram of his son playing with the small Pirelli wheel given to him after scoring pole at the Italian Grand Prix.
“It’s nice to win again but, like I said, it doesn’t change my life or make any difference. My son asked in the previous race he wanted a new small Pirelli tyre from after qualifying, as he was playing with it, but I’m sure they’re happy. I’m happy to have them, more than happy, so we’ll have some nice talk when we can.”
There were some other memorable soundbites from his post-race press conference.
Talking about what it felt like to hear the Finnish national anthem on the podium, he said: “For sure it was nice to hear it, for sure, especially if you won it, as I’ve heard it sometimes while not winning. Obviously this is what we want, in any race we come to all of us want to win.
The man nicknamed the Iceman remained stoic — frequently stating that the win would have no impact on his life — and signed off with a quote that seems to encapsulate everything about why Raikkonen has gained such a cult status since joining Formula One in 2001.
“Like I said, I’m happy for that, it was a great day and a good race, but it doesn’t really change anything, it’s just a number and life goes on.”