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Raikkonen is ready to win 04 Mar 2003

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren on the beach at the Melbourne Stoke House.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 6 March 2003

After racing wheel-to-wheel against both Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya in 2002, and coming so close to a maiden victory in France, Kimi Raikkonen knows he is ready to win in Formula One. But he says he never felt any particular buzz while fighting the multiple world champion.

"In a racing situation it doesn't really matter who it is. It depends so much that some people you know won't do silly things, and some you don't know about. When I am inside the car it doesn't matter who it is; if you have a chance to overtake them, you always try.

"At Magny-Cours Michael was just another guy to beat. Of course it was the first time in F1 when I was in first place, but it didn't really give me any more pressure because I was leading; the situation was just a bit different.

"Of course I was thinking that I could win the race. I didn't drive full speed any more, I was going quite easy, because I knew that the gap was staying quite easily the same. If I had had to go a little bit quicker, I would still have had a little bit left to improve my lap times. Then I hit McNish's oil...

"I was quite annoyed, for quite a long time. It was so close. But those things happen. Hopefully it will still come."