Exclusive - Raikkonen & Button on 2006 02 Nov 2006
Kimi Raikkonen may have failed to win a single race in 2006, but after consistently scoring in every event he finished, he leaves McLaren an admirable fifth in the driver standings. Jenson Button, meanwhile, will remember 2006 as the year he won his first Grand Prix and, while his Hungarian triumph was not enough to better Raikkonen, Hondas late resurgence certainly bodes well for next year. Speaking exclusively to Formula1.com, both drivers look back on their seasons
Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren
Championship position: 5th (65 points)
Wins 0, Poles 2, Fastest laps 3
I think it is clear that this season we have not met our expectations, unfortunately it has not been the best year for the team, but you know you have seasons like that in motor racing. McLaren is a great team and for sure things will turn around. Looking back at the 2006 season I would say that my personal highlights have been my podiums, personal lowlight for me I guess would be not getting on the top step. And would I have changed anything? Guess I wouldn't. If something happens in your life that you don't like, you have to forget about it and move on.
Jenson Button, Honda
Championship position: 6th (56 points)
Wins 1, Poles 1, Fastest laps 0
I was thrilled to end the 2006 season on the podium in Brazil and it was one of the most enjoyable races of the year as the result came out of a genuine fight, with our car showing great competitiveness. This is a fantastic way to go into the winter where I'm sure we will all have the motivation to push harder for a much stronger 2007 season. Winning in Hungary was definitely the high point of my season. It was a great moment both for me and the team but it's in the past now. I've celebrated that win and now I just want to get on and win again.
The team has learnt a lot over this season. It was tough for us in the first half as we did not perform to our pre-season expectations but everyone stayed positive and kept motivated. We worked out the development direction that we needed to take with the car and made a series of significant improvements to the aero, engine and suspension in particular. Having Honda take full ownership of the team has also been a very positive step for us. I have always had a very good relationship with Honda; I believe in them and they believe in me, so there's a lot of mutual trust. We all listen to what each other has to say and we work together on the areas in which we need to improve.
Having Rubens (Barrichello) as my team mate this year has also been good for me. He came from a team which has been so successful and could tell us where we needed to improve the team and car. He is also a very quick and consistent driver - in both qualifying and the race - so he's been a useful benchmark.
Looking forward to next year, we want to be contending the world championship in 2007. We have to be positive and make that our aim. We are one of the few leading teams to have driver stability from this year to next, which will be important as other parameters like the tyres will be changing.
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