Arriving on time in a closed door event on Wednesday, Kimi Raikkonen was in a state of jetlag and weariness as he went through the question-and-answer session with barely audible answers.
Before I went for the session I was expecting to get short and blunt answers from the Finn, which he is often said to give. Surprisingly, despite being tired and the widely-known fact that he is not fond of media interviews, I thought he managed the questions alright, though half the time he was mumbling.
Still having the same cool demeanour that he is known for — hence the nickname Iceman — Raikkonen signed autographs continuously for all at the private event, not even rejecting a model of him in a former Ferrari race car.
Looking like he could do with more sleep, Raikkonen repeatedly said that he will try his best for a good result and that he did not hold any expectations for his comeback.
The 2007 World Champion has had a rather successful comeback so far, with six podium finishes in the last 13 races, though a race win still eludes him.
"Winning is the easiest way to achieve the championship, but unfortunately I haven't been able to win this year but we have been putting ourselves close to there, giving us a chance at least. We haven't made any big mistakes," he added.
Describing Singapore as "hot and humid", Raikkonen recalls the Marina Bay street circuit as a tricky and unforgiving one with little margin of error. His past two experiences here have not been ideal — he crashed in 2008 and only managed 10th in 2009. He still holds the lap record, clocked in 2008, for the circuit though.
At that time, Raikkonen was with Ferrari, before he left the sport and went to compete in the World Rallying Championship for two years. He is now driving alongside Romain Grosjean for Lotus-Renault.
"I have a good relationship with the team. People are pushing 100 percent and they are real racing people not so much politics, they want to do well in the races and that is a good starting point. I enjoy working with the people. They are very nice and I'm happy here, but you never know what happens in the future Right now I'm happy with what's going on," said Raikkonen about his current team.
When asked why the title fight this year is so open, Raikkonen thinks that it is "the different rules which made the big difference, the tyres too, hence making the field much more level".
Cheering Raikkonen on from the comfort of their own homes are six-year-old twins Hoe Jun Kai and Hoe Yan Kai. The young fans of F1 were one of the first in line to get Raikkonen's autograph at the private event. Bringing along miniature model cars for him to sign, the twins were all smiles after getting the opportunity to meet their idol upclose.
Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. More of her at www.cheryl-tay.com.